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Baton Rouge Legal Blog

Speeding linked to 23% of crash fatalities in Louisiana

Speed-related crashes killed 9,717 across the nation in 2017, according to the Governors Highway Safety Administration.

In addition to a campaign to change the culture that allows speeding, the organization recommends speed-calming installations such as roundabouts, bump outs, refugee islands as well as signal timing at intersections and ticketing using cameras.

Charges filed in staged accident case

Seven individuals were taken into custody for staging a car accident in Louisiana. After the staged crash, the individuals filed false insurance claims to obtain compensation for property loss and bodily injury. The crash took place in October 2016, and an investigation into the accident began in August 2018. At that time, authorities received a tip from the Louisiana Department of Insurance regarding the accident that took place at Law Street and Forstall Street in Orleans Parish.

The case was investigated by the Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud/Auto Theft Unit. Eventually, detectives determined that the accident involving a 2016 GMC Sierra truck and a 2012 Chevrolet Malibu was staged. All of those who were taken into custody were charged with two counts of auto insurance fraud and filing false public records. They were also charged with two counts of injuring public records and criminal damage to property with fraudulent intent.

Seatbelts may reduce severity of liver injuries

Every year in Louisiana and across the U.S., motor vehicle accidents lead to tens of thousands of fatalities and 2 million emergency room visits. Many of the injuries are caused by blunt abdominal trauma, and the liver and spleen are the two most commonly injured organs. While spleens can be removed in an emergency, livers cannot, so it's important to prevent injuries to them as much as possible.

A study conducted by researchers at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn shows that even while seat belt use cannot prevent liver injuries, it can greatly reduce their severity. For the study, researchers analyzed over 52,200 injury cases from 2010 to 2015 that came from the National Trauma Data Bank.

When pedestrians are injured on interstate highways

Over 10 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents in Louisiana and across the U.S. take place on interstate highways. Injuries are also frequent, but pedestrians who believe their injuries were due to the negligence of the driver may be able to file a claim against that person's auto insurance company. It's possible to file a claim against state or federal agencies for failing to exercise reasonable care toward the users of the highway.

There are many possible reasons why someone would be walking on an interstate highway in the first place. The most common reason is that pedestrians simply want to cross it. This naturally leads to many pedestrians being struck by drivers who either cannot avoid them in time or do not see them at all. It should be noted that more than 90 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur at night.

Traffic accidents a leading cause of death

Louisiana residents should be aware that traffic accidents are now the eighth leading cause of death for people of all ages worldwide. For children and young adults between five and 29 years old, traffic accidents are the first leading global cause of death. Accidents are especially dangerous when they involve pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists. Globally, only 29 percent of traffic-related deaths are car occupants.

The country a person lives in has a strong influence on his or her likelihood of dying in a traffic accident. Although only 1 percent of motor vehicles are in low-income countries, those countries are responsible for 13 percent of traffic-related deaths worldwide. Even though higher-income countries have better protections in place such as speed limit laws and traffic lights, accidents are still a leading cause of death.

How to recognize common forms of Medicare fraud

Working in a hospital can be both a rewarding experience and a draining one. The flurry of activity and continual challenges that the job provides can be thrilling to some.

However, in such a fast-paced environment, mistakes are bound to happen. Especially when it comes to paperwork. So how can you tell when a billing error is just a mistake or if it could point to a bigger issue?

How businesses can address breaches of contract

Businesses in Louisiana may do everything they can to protect themselves by drawing up contracts and working to create clear agreements. On far too many occasions, however, other parties fail to follow through on an agreement, causing significant damages for the business. When creating a business contract, the agreement includes obligations for each of the parties involved. If one party fails to follow through on their pledge, this is known as a breach of contract.

Breaches can take different forms; in some cases, work may be delayed, sub-par in quality or never completed at all. Some breaches of contract can be significant or material while other breaches may be immaterial and not lead to monetary damages. After a breach, one or both parties to the agreement may seek to recover financially or have the original contract enforced. Informal negotiations may help both parties to arrive at an agreement outside the courtroom. However, commercial litigation could also emerge from a contract dispute.

Important safety tips for winter driving

As soon as winter rolls in, Louisiana drivers need to start thinking about winter driving safety. Life-altering collisions can happen in the blink of an eye, and drivers must be ready for anything that comes their way. With a bit of foresight and some diligence, most drivers should be able to stay safe during the coldest months of the year.

One of the best ways to avoid a dangerous accident is to check the weather and road conditions before heading out. If the weather seems unpredictable, then drivers might want to leave a few minutes early or avoid the roadways entirely. At the very least, they need to make sure that the roads aren't blocked. Diligent drivers might also want to plan out alternative routes just in case of an emergency. No one wants to get stuck in a pileup during a major snowstorm.

Individuals can bring qui tam actions

Many Louisiana companies work with the federal government, and are paid by the government for their goods and services. If the company involved submits a false claim to the government, it may constitute fraud or another actionable crime. Any individual who has information about such false claims may file a qui tam action. If the government prevails, the person who brought the action may be entitled to a percentage of the funds recovered.

A qui tam action alleges that a person or organization has submitted a false claim to the government. Examples of false claims include charging the government for services that were never provided, overcharging the government, selling something but not delivering it, failure to test a product properly, making false statements about product quality or any other scheme designed to defraud, steal from or cheat the government. It is not required in a qui tam case to demonstrate that the defendant intended to submit a false claim. Liability exists if a false claim was submitted knowingly, deliberately ignorantly, or with reckless disregard for the truth of the claim. The focus in a qui tam case is on conduct, not intent.

Louisiana investment broker sentenced to 14 years in prison

A Louisiana investment advisor was sentenced to 14 years in a federal prison on Nov. 13 for stealing as much as $1.5 million dollars from his clients. The 71-year-old Mandeville resident was also ordered to forfeit $1.1 million and pay his investors back another $1.1 million. Should the man live long enough to complete his sentence, he will be required to serve three years of supervised release. Reports indicate that the man was sentenced as part of a plea agreement he entered into with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Louisiana.

The man admitted to prosecutors that he defrauded his mainly elderly clientele out of more than a million dollars over a three year period that began in 2013. He is said to have told his clients that he was putting their money into extremely safe insurance and securities investments, but he really spent the money supporting his lavish lifestyle and making good on promises made to individuals who had already invested and were becoming impatient.