Can Tinnitus Be Caused by Whiplash in a Car Accident?

You’ve been in a car accident and suffered a whiplash, plus you have a constant ringing noise in your ears. Your doctor diagnosed tinnitus, and now, you are curious to know if the car accident caused your tinnitus and whether you can file a claim based on this condition.

Yes, you can file a claim for damages for any injury you suffered in a car accident, including tinnitus. One of the causes of tinnitus is whiplash, i.e., head and neck injuries.

The term “whiplash” typically refers to neck pain, headaches, and a stiff neck. However, there are other symptoms associated with whiplashes, such as ringing in the ears or tinnitus.

Tinnitus caused by Whiplash

Whiplash is an injury to the neck caused by forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip. Whiplash commonly occurs during a rear-end auto accident.

Statistically, about 80% of whiplash injuries due to traffic accidents recover within a few months. However, about 15% – 20% develop “late whiplash injury syndrome” with many complaints including neck pain, headache, disturbances of the head sensorineural systems, including vertigo, hearing loss, and tinnitus.

Sometimes injured persons don’t focus on tinnitus at the time of the accident but research into “late whiplash injury syndrome” explains why ringing in the ears after a car accident often goes undiagnosed for weeks.

Tinnitus is defined by WebMD as “a common condition characterized by the sensation of sound for which there is no external source outside the individual.”

In other words, people with tinnitus hear noises such as ringing, clicking, or buzzing when no environmental or external sounds are present. The late whiplash injury syndrome is frequently permanent.

Because of its permanent presence, the constant ringing in the ear often becomes intolerable and is severely disturbing to daily life. The degree of psychical impairment depends on the intensity of the tinnitus. Simple, non-contact whiplash injury can cause long-lasting, chronic disturbances.

Sometimes, ringing in the ears after a car accident is the result of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Trauma can cause damage to the brain function resulting in tinnitus. At some point, individuals recognize the ringing is not going away and seek medical treatment.

Tinnitus occurs when the nerve pathways of the ear are damaged by head trauma. When these nerves are affected, it causes a “rewiring” of the brain’s tone map. Individuals who suffer a traumatic brain injury may have dormant nerve clusters in the brain activate.

The activation of nerves results in information flowing an incorrect route and sent to a part of the brain not meant for processing auditory information. Accordingly, these clusters of nerves not generally associated with hearing create a ringing the ears.

Can you file a claim for tinnitus caused by a car accident?

Yes, you can file a claim for tinnitus caused by a car accident; however, just like in any personal injury claim, you must meet some legal standards. Louisiana’s negligence law is codified in Civil Code Article 2315 (A)which states: Every act whatever of man that causes damage to another obliges him by whose fault it happened to repair it.

Tinnitus is just like any other injury, it requires proof you have the condition, that the motor vehicle accident caused the disease, and the other party was at fault in causing the accident through his negligence.

To establish your claim, you must show that the negligent conduct was a cause in fact of the harm you suffered, the party had a duty and breached their duty, and finally that you suffered damage because of the breach of the obligation.

Once liability is established, the party at fault is responsible for your losses. The recoverable damages are divided into two categories, special damages, and general damages.

Special damages are easy to determine. They are the actual hard dollars lost because of the accident. The party at fault is responsible for any medical bills, past and future, past, and future lost wages and any personal expenses you have related to tinnitus.

You are also entitled to recover general damagesGeneral damages are not as simple to value; they include personal losses such as past pain and suffering, future pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.

What legal steps should I take regarding my tinnitus injury after my accident?

Contact our office for a free consultation with an experienced attorney as soon as possible after your car accident.  Ideally, you should set up an appointment within one week of the accident for several reasons:

  • Insurance companies move fast and begin their investigation of your claim immediately
  • It would help if you had legal advice before the first offer the insurance company gives you
  • Proceeding without an attorney increases the chances of a mistake that costs you money

Insurance companies sometimes offer “fast cash” to settle your claim. Don’t rush; likely, you don’t know yet what the total cost of your injury will be. Many tinnitus ailments cause chronic pain or permanent disability. A lawyer can help you assess the full value of your recovery and help get you the total amount of money you are owed.

If you have been injured in a car wreck contact our office to schedule your free case evaluation. (225)686-8006 

Who’s At Fault in a Roundabout Car Accident in Louisiana?

Roundabouts are widespread across the country and in Louisiana. When used in the manner designed, traffic circles are safe and efficient. However, many drivers are unaccustomed to driving in roundabouts and cause car wrecks. When car accidents happen in roundabouts its essential to know who’s at fault for the wreck.

Once a car has entered the roundabout, it has the right of way. The driver without the right-of-way is typically at fault for a wreck in a roundabout.

If you are the driver with the right of way, you likely are not at fault for causing the car wreck. However, because there are a variety of reasons for car accidents in roundabouts, we will look at the legal obligations in more detail.

Why is it important to determine who’s at fault?

Determining fault is vital in a car wreck because fault establishes liability, that is: who made the mistake that led to the accident. The party liable for an accident is responsible for paying the other persons’ damages caused by the wreck.

When a car wreck happens in a roundabout, just like other accidents, it’s essential to gather information to support your position.

Parties in a car accident often disagree about who is at fault for the wreck. So take steps to ensure your version of the events is established. Accident reports, witness statements, and pictures can be used to prove your case.

Police Reports

Call the police as soon as practicable after an accident. The officer sent to investigate the wreck fills out a standard accident report. In the form, he notes the traffic conditions, time the accident occurred, weather conditions, and other details crucial to the wreck.

Other responsibilities of the investigating officer include noting the conditions of the drivers, take witness statements, and documenting their names, addresses, and telephone numbers.

Request the name of the investigating officer, the law enforcement agency he represents, and the report number. The information is needed for you to request a copy of his report. After you receive a copy of the report, review it for any errors, and request an amendment if you find mistakes in the report.

Witness Statements

Independent witnesses are often the pillars to determining fault in a car accident. After a wreck, speak to as many people as possible at the scene. Find out who saw the accident and collect their name, telephone number, and address.

The investigating officer should have the witnesses’ names, telephone numbers, and addresses on the accident report. Still, they don’t always do what they are should, so you need to get the information as well.

Even when an officer gets witness information, it not always written legibly or doesn’t accurately memorialize their account. You may have to contact the witnesses to confirm their honest recollection of the facts surrounding the accident. If the witness supports your position, volunteer to draft the account and ask them to sign it.

take photographs

Almost everyone has a camera on their phone, so take advantage and take pictures of the accident site. Include photos of the cars involved in the accident, the drivers, and witnesses.

In roundabout accidents, pictures can tell your story, where the cars were located, the severity of the damages, and assist in determining who is at fault for causing the wreck. The photographs are often your best evidence in proving your case.

Who’s at fault for a rear-end car wreck in a Roundabout?

The car in the traffic circle has the right away; however, what happens in a rear-end accident. The following vehicle is presumed at fault in accidents. The presumption of guilt can be overcome in some instances but not likely when traveling in a roundabout.

Cars in a roundabout are responsible for maintaining a safe distance between themselves and the vehicle in front of them. In traffic circles, the gaps between cars are shortened to only a few feet from one another.

If the driver of the following vehicle is not paying attention, traveling too closely, or speeding it likely won’t have time to brake if the car ahead slows down suddenly. The following car is typically at fault for causing a rear-end collision in a roundabout.

Who has the right of way in a roundabout?

The rules of the road establish which party has the legal duty to grant a ‘right of way’ to other road users. But just because another driver should give way to you doesn’t give you the absolute right to crash into them if they don’t.

All users of roundabouts should be alert, patient, and considerate. The purpose of a traffic circle is to keep the flow of traffic moving. However, don’t believe you have ‘right of way’ and you are impervious or at a reduced risk of being in a crash.

Vehicles, including bicycles, already in the roundabout have the right of way in a traffic circle. Cars approaching a roundabout must give way to any person already established in the traffic circle regardless of which direction they are coming from.

In roundabouts with multi-lanes, a driver should be aware of which lane will get them to their destination before they enter the traffic circle. If they start to exit at the wrong spot and attempt to swerve back into the roundabout, they could cause a wreck. If a driver causes a rear-end accident when swerving back into a traffic circle, they are likely at fault.

Traffic approaching from your right has priority unless directed otherwise by signs, road markings, or traffic lights. Pay attention to road markings, which may allow you to enter the roundabout without giving way.

If so, move forward with caution and still look to the right before joining. Note that drivers in roundabouts often don’t signal at all or signal incorrectly.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development provides a PDF pamphlet with diagrams and rules applicable to roundabouts. You can access the rules by clicking on their links.

What happens if you miss your exit on a roundabout?

If you miss your exit, you should indicate with your blinker you are continuing right and go all the way around the traffic circle. When you see your exit put on your blinker indicating you are leaving the roundabout.

Roundabout car wreck claims.

One of the most common places traffic accidents occur are either in or approaching roundabouts. Approaching and driving in a roundabout takes awareness of not only your positioning but also the location of other cars.

Accidents in traffic circles are typically due to drivers getting in the wrong lane for the exit that they want and end up cutting across and running into other drivers.

If you have been in a roundabout accident and suffered an injury, as a result, contact our office. Roundabout claims are often complicated because liability is not clear. We can help navigate your claim to a successful resolution.

Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, call our office and speak to Sonja Bradley. She is a lawyer experienced in car wreck cases. You can call our office directly at (225) 686-8006 to schedule your free consultation.

Do Pre-Existing Conditions Affect a Personal Injury Case?

It’s not uncommon for people to have chronic pain or a previous injury when involved in an accident. But how are pre-existing chronic medical conditions and prior injuries considered in the context of a personal injury case?

The party at-fault in a personal injury case is responsible for the injuries they cause. Their responsibility extends to the worsening of pre-existing conditions.

To recover damages for pre-existing conditions is complicated; however, the at-fault party takes his victim as he finds him and is responsible for all damages flowing from his negligent act.

What’s considered a Pre-Existing Condition in a Personal Injury Case?

Pre-existing conditions are illnesses or injuries that started before the accident occurred. There are two types, chronic conditions, and prior injuries.

Pre-existing chronic conditions

A chronic condition is commonly considered any disease or physical ailment that lasts for more than three months. Typically, as people age, they develop chronic illnesses, such as orthopedic, heart, or pulmonary diseases.

If you suffered from a chronic low back condition before an accident, it’s feasible an accident would cause damage in your low back. Has your pain changed since the accident? Has the pain increased? These are essential questions you have to be able to answer.

Your doctor may have objective tests of your back before and after the accident that shows changes in your back. His examination and testimony are relevant in confirming your claims.

For example, an MRI of your lumbar indicated a bulging disc without nerve impingement before your accident. And after the accident, an MRI showed the same disc was herniated and impinged a nerve. The MRI’s are objective evidence that the accident aggravated a pre-existing chronic condition.

Can a car accident worsen degenerative disc disease?

Yes, although insurance companies and defense attorneys tell victims otherwise. If you’ve been injured and have preexisting degenerative disc disease, you are entitled to be compensated for your injury.

Your pre-existing condition makes you at an increased risk for further injury and doesn’t nullify your personal injury claim. See the case summary below of Augustine v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company below. (eggshell plaintiff)

Previous Injuries

Previous injuries are injuries previously sustained from an earlier accident. Let’s say you were involved in an automobile accident and broke your arm. You went to the hospital and was put in a cast. The following week, you’re in another accident, and your arm is hurt again.

Does the most recent accident cause more damage to your arm? If so, to what extent? Your arm was hurt before the second accident. Does the at-fault party have to pay again for a limb that was broken in a different accident?

These questions will have to be answered by your doctor or other medical experts. However, if the damage to your arm was made worse by the second accident, the at-fault party will have some responsibility to pay for your losses.

Should You Mention Prior Injuries?

Yes, you should always be honest about prior conditions, especially with the attorney representing you. Being dishonest can effectively diminish your chances of a fair recovery.

Lying, or failure to disclose an old injury jeopardizes your entire case. It not only tarnishes your injury claim it also diminishes your credibility in all other aspects of your case. Opposing counsel use failure to disclose prior medical conditions as a weapon to attack plaintiffs’ truthfulness.

Recovery for a Plaintiff suffering severe pre-existing conditions

There is a legal theory referred to as “the eggshell plaintiff.” It’s a catchy phrase, but what does it mean? The eggshell theory stands for the premise that a defendant takes the plaintiff as is.

In other words, if a persons’ skull is thin as an eggshell and cracked during a minor rear-end accident, the at-fault party is responsible for all damages flowing from the injury. The eggshell condition can not be used to shield the at-fault party from full responsibility for the injuries.

The eggshell plaintiff in Louisiana

The supreme court of Louisiana addressed this situation in the case of Augustine v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. In the Augustine case, a 74-year-old woman was involved in a minor rear-end collision that resulted in no damage to either vehicle.

At trial, the woman testified that she had arthritis before the accident, and the pain increased afterward. The jury awarded the woman $50,000.

State Farm appealed the judgment was excessive based upon the slight impact of the vehicles. However, both the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal the Louisiana Supreme Court confirmed the jury verdict. The Augustine case solidifies that a defendant takes his victim as he finds them.

You need to provide a clear and detailed explanation of your prior medical condition, not only so you get the proper medical care but also so you can be justly compensated.

Defense attorneys and insurance agents will try to pin every injury illness and injury on your prior condition. Honesty, about your medical history, is the best approach to getting your proper treatment and compensation.

Medical Records

One advantage of pre-existing conditions is the paper trail documenting your medical history. It is essential to notify your attorney of all doctors who’s treated you so they can request a copy of the medical documents.

Your attorney can use the medical records to distinguish your current injuries and also work with your doctors. Medical records are useful in depositions of medical witnesses and during the trial. They provide critical information so a judge or jury can have a full picture of how the accident aggravated your prior condition.

Take steps to protect your case

If you’ve been in an accident and had a pre-existing condition hire an attorney. Insurance companies and defense attorneys’ primary responsibility is to save their clients money.

By hiring a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney soon after your accident can help you build a strong case by relating your current condition to previous medical issues.

Call Sonja Bradley, an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney.

Don’t let defense attorneys or insurance adjusters bully you because of a pre-existing condition. An experienced attorney can help you recover all the damages you suffered because of someone else’s fault. Damages you are entitled to recover are pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and disability.

Sonja Bradley is an attorney with offices in Hammond, and Livingston, Louisiana.

Are Parents Liable for Their Children’s Car Accidents?

Your eldest child got her driver’s license, and then she got into a car wreck. Fortunately, no one was severely injured, but she was at fault for the accident. Now the question is, are you, as her parents liable for the damages she caused?

Parents can be financially responsible for damages caused by their children who are at fault in causing a car accident. Parental liability differs by state, but the general theories of liability for parents are negligent entrustment, vicarious liability, and driving privilege application laws.

The facts and laws are pivotal in determining a parents liability for the damages caused by their child’s negligent driving,

Theories of Parental Liability for a Childs Car Wreck

Teenage drivers are the highest risk drivers for causing and being involved in car wrecks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens ages 16-19. Yes, your child’s welfare is a concern, but let’s examine when you can be held liable, even when you weren’t in the car.

Vicarious Liability for a Child’s Negligence

Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine establishing the responsibility of a person who had the right, ability, or duty to control the actions of another person.

Vicarious liability is based on a relationship with the person who caused the injury. Parents must responsibly supervise and educate their children. The relationship between parent and child establishes responsibility and vicarious liability applies.

Some states impose parental liability by statute for a child’s intentional or negligent acts and also limit their monetary liability. States will have different laws concerning vicarious liability. For this reason, it’s imperative to check the laws where the accident occurred.

Parents Vicarious Liability in Louisiana

In Louisiana, a parent can be held responsible for the damages caused by their unemancipated minor child. Louisiana Civil Code article 2318 codifies the vicarious liability of parents for a minor child.

It establishes that unless a minor has been emancipated either through a legal judgment or marriage, parents are responsible for any damages caused by their minor children.

Parents remain liable even if the child is placed under the care of another person and does not reside with them. However, the parent may reserve the right to proceed against the party caring for the minor.

Parents Vicarious Liability in California

Under California law a parent is vicariously liable for the damages caused by their minor child in three circumstances: 1) When their child’s willful misconduct results in injury,

  • When their child’s willful misconduct results in an injury;
  • When their child’s negligent driving resulted in a car accident; 9. CIVIL LIABILITY [17000 – 17714]
  • When a child causes an injury when using a firearm, the parent allowed the child to use it.

Under Californias, vicarious liability statute parents’ exposure is limited to up to $25,000 for their child’s willful misconduct. To be liable, the child’s action has to result in injury or death to another person or property, and pain and suffering are not recoverable. Californian Civil Code 1714.1

Parents Vicarious Liability in Texas

The state of Texas established civil liability on “a parent or other person who has the duty of control and reasonable discipline of a child.” Texas statute 41.001.

The statute caps damages to $25,000 of actual damages, so there is no recovery for pain and suffering or other general damages. It also limits the ages of children it covers from 10 to 18 years of age.

Statute 41.001 is not the end-all. Aggrieved parties may still file a civil suit against parents if they can show the child had a propensity for bad behavior, and the parents were aware of it.

Parents’ have a “duty of care” to prevent their child from causing foreseeable harm, such as joyriding and crashing a neighbor’s car. Parents that breach their duty of care are liable for the damages caused by their breach.

Parents Negligent Entrustment of a Vehicle to Their Child

A parent can be liable under the theory of negligent entrustment if they knew or should have known the child was not able to operate the vehicle safely but allowed the child to drive anyways. The elements to establish a negligent entrustment claim are:

  • The vehicle owner knowingly allowed the driver to take his vehicle;
  • The driver was reckless, incompetent and/or unlicensed;
  • The vehicle owner knew or should have known the driver was reckless, incompetent and/or unlicensed;
  • The conduct of the driver was negligent, and a cause of the accident and the negligence was the proximate cause of the crash

For example, a parent knows his child is drunk, gives him the keys to his car. The child loses control of his vehicle because he is intoxicated and causes an automobile accident.

Parental Liability Under Driving Privilege Application

Some states require parents to assume the liability of their minor children in the application for a driver’s license. This is true for California and Florida. California Vehicle Code 17707 VC imposes liability on the person signing the minor application for a driver’s license.

What to do When your Teenager has a Car Accident

Your daughter just called you and let you know she has been in a car accident. After you check to make sure she is alright, what do you do next? Try to talk to her calmly and ensure her everything will be ok.

Accidents can rattle adults but it is especially difficult for young drivers. Stress, panic, and anger will lead to more problems, so everyone needs to stay calm. Ask her to check on anyone who may be injured.

After she has checked that everyone is stable, and tell her to put on her hazard lights. Next, ask her to call 911 and give a detailed description of her location. She needs to ensure they know where she is before she gets off the phone.

Tell her not to speak to anyone other than the officer about the facts of the accident. Instruct her to not apologize or say, this was all my fault. Advise her to stay in the car until the police arrive. Her safety is the primary concern.

You need to go to the scene of the accident. Once there, exchange information with the other driver and get the name and agency information of the investigating officer. You will need this information to request a copy of the accident report.

Write down the name and address of any witnesses. Take notes about the witnesses and what they said to you at the scene. Take photos of the vehicles and the location of the accident. Also, take a picture of the other driver’s license plate, skid marks, and anything else that may be relevant about the crash.

Talk to your children about safe driving and what to do in case of an accident. Knowing what to do in case of an accident can protect teenage drivers. Car accidents involving teens happen every day, being prepared, and knowing what to do can minimize the impact.

Car accidents can be extremely stressful and emotional, and an experienced attorney can assist you in receiving the compensation you deserve. Call our office to speak to an attorney experienced in representing car accident victims.

What Happens if you get in a Car Accident Without a License?

You don’t have a license and you were in a car accident. The car wreck wasn’t your fault. Do you have the right to recover damages for your damages and injuries? What happens if you get in a car accident without a license?

Driving without a license is a violation of the law, but it’s also a completely separate issue from your claim for damages. The party at fault is responsible for the damages to your vehicle and any injuries you’ve sustained.

Louisiana negligence laws require the party that causes damage to another to repair it. This mandate is independent of your responsibility to have a driver’s license.

Can You File a Claim against another Party if you were Driving without a License?

Yes, so long as you are not at fault in causing the accident. Unlicensed drivers are not automatically liable for an accident because they don’t have a valid license. Liability is based on the negligence of the parties.

The fault for the accident is dependent on which party failed to act responsibly and safely. For a person without a license to be liable, he must have operated in a careless way that led to the collision. To learn more about proving fault read this article.

Driving Without a License in Louisiana

Although you can recover damages if you were in a car wreck without your license, you have violated Louisiana law against the operation of a motor vehicle without a valid license.

Anyone operating a motor vehicle on a Louisiana highway must possess and present a valid driver’s license when requested.  A licensed driver without immediate possession of the license is subject to a fine of $10 to $500 and up to six months in jail.

Under Louisiana’s “Wallet Program,” a digital image of the driver’s license presented via the driver’s cellphone is sufficient. Driving a car without your valid driver’s license on you is not as severe as driving with a suspended or revoked license.

While you will likely get a ticket, it’s a simple traffic violation and not a misdemeanor. Courts often dismiss the ticket if you show up at court with your valid driver’s license, although you may still be fined.

Driving While Suspended or Revoked

A person who operates a vehicle during the time his or her license is suspended or revoked is subject to jail time, fines, and an extension of their driving suspension. Driving after your license has been suspended or revoked is a crime.

If you are charged, your sentence depends in part on the type of license you had and whether you had prior convictions for driving on a suspended or revoked license. For persons with Class D or E driver’s license, the maximum sentence is a $500 fine and six months in jail. (La. Rev. Stat. § 32:415 (C)(1).

If you have a class A, B, or C driver’s license, the maximum sentence could be $5,000, six months in jail and a civil penalty of $2,500. For any conviction of driving on a suspended or revoked license, your period of suspension or revocation may be extended for an additional year.

Can you go to jail for not having your license?

Persons driving without a valid license can be charged with a misdemeanor. Not having a valid license includes persons who have never had a license or failed to renew an expired license. If charged and convicted, you face up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $500.

Driving with a suspended license is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to six months in jail. You can be fined up to $500 unless you were driving a commercial vehicle, then the fine can reach $5000. Also, an additional year is added to your driving suspension.

However, if your driving privileges were suspended because of a DWI conviction, more severe penalties can be assessed. Check the statute for up to date penalties. It is prudent to get a driver’s license issue straightened out as soon as possible.

Getting your license allows you to drive legally, and you gain some credibility when dealing with the insurance company and courts. It is typical for either of them to use your continued lack of a license against you.

Can you get in trouble for letting someone without a license drive your car?

Typically, if you let someone drive your car, which you believe had a valid license, but they didn’t, you shouldn’t get into any trouble.

However, if you allow a person without a license to drive your car and they were involved in an accident, you could be held responsible if you knew or should have known that the person was unlicensed or had a suspended license.

You could be held civilly responsible under the doctrine of negligent entrustment. To establish liability it must be proven that you knew or should have known the person was unlicensed at the time. The best approach would be to call a lawyer who concentrates on these types of issues, because Louisiana’s negligence laws are relatively broad.

Does having no driver’s license play a role in determining negligence in a car accident?

No, not unless the failure to have a driver’s license played a role in the car accident. Louisiana negligence is established in Civil Code Article 2315: Every act whatever of man that causes damage to another obliges him by whose fault it happened to repair it.  Civil Code Article 2315 (A)

Courts use the following criteria in their analysis to determine the validity of negligence claims:

  • Was the conduct a cause in fact of the harm? In other words, “but for” the actions of the defendant, the plaintiff would not have been injured; and such conduct is a cause.
  • Was a duty owed to the plaintiff by the defendant? Did this defendant owe a duty to this plaintiff, either by law, regulation, or custom?
  • Did the defendant breach this duty? Did the defendant deviate from the duty owed to this plaintiff?
  • What was the scope of duty breached? Was the duty breached meant to protect this plaintiff from this type of injury? The answer to this question is case-specific. Facts are used to determine foreseeability and ease of association.
  • What damages were suffered by the plaintiff? Were the damages suffered caused by the breach of the duty owed to the plaintiff? To read more about Louisiana Negligence law click here.

Will insurance cover an unlicensed driver?

It depends on the facts surrounding the unlicensed driver. Insurance companies require a valid license before they issue insurance. Also, many insurance companies have exclusions of non-coverage for owners/drivers with a suspended license.

However, if the car was borrowed, then the insurance typically follows the vehicle. If a person with valid car insurance decides to loan his vehicle to an unlicensed person, then the insurance should cover the damages caused by the unlicensed driver. One caveat, the owner, doesn’t know the person is unlicensed at the time he loaned the vehicle.

The best way to protect yourself have adequate UM/UIM coverage as part of your auto insurance policy and to hire an attorney experienced with car accidents.

These two actions will ensure you receive fair compensation for your damages.

Sonja Bradley has successfully navigated many cases through the settlement process and courts for accident victims throughout Louisiana.

If you want someone by your side to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve, contact our offices in either Hammond or Livingston, Louisiana.

Can I Sue A Trucking Company Without A Lawyer?

Yes, an individual in Louisiana can file a civil lawsuit in federal or state court without an attorney. Civil actions filed without an attorney in federal courts are referred to as proceeding “Pro Se.” You can click on the link here to access helpful federal civil filing forms.

While the option to represent yourself may seem like a good idea, trucking accidents are very complex. Trucking companies and their insurance companies have experienced attorneys representing them.

These attorneys’ job is to save their clients money, and they use every legal trick to avoid paying accident victims for the damages suffered through their clients’ negligence.

Let’s look at some things you need to consider when going against a big rig company.

Theories of Liability

Driver Error

Employers are responsible for the negligent acts of their employees under the doctrine of vicarious liability. In Louisiana, vicarious liability is established in Civil Code article 2320 by the theory of respondeat superior.

Article 2320 states, “Masters and employers are answerable for the damage occasioned by their servants and overseers, in the exercise of the functions in which they are employed.” Truck drivers typically work for a company.

Companies often hire drivers and categorize them as independent contractors. Specific rules must be followed for a driver to be an independent contractor, regardless of how the company characterizes his employment status. Employment status is an issue that must be diligently examined.

Driver Violations

Federal law restricts the hours a driver can drive a commercial truck per day. The government also has established rest intervals between trips. Drivers and their employers make more money when transporting goods than when resting.

To make more money, they often try to get around the resting mandates, and this often results in accidents. When a driver is on the road too long, he becomes fatigued, sleepy and inattentive.

All commercial drivers maintain a logbook, and you must examine this along with any tracking devices on the truck. You can obtain the information through discovery. It is also necessary to check the numbers and dates for accuracy.

You can often find discrepancies in logbooks when compared to the tracking information and maps. Companies are responsible for the proper training of their employees, and in monitoring their trips for any apparent violations

Hiring Practices

It is critical to know the driving history of the driver who caused the accident. If the driver has a history of accidents, DUI’s, or reckless driving violations, he shouldn’t have been behind the wheel of a big truck.

Trucking companies are responsible for who they hire. Hiring a driver with a bad driving record is negligent, and they should be liable. Also, if the company relied on an outside source to screen drivers, they may be responsible.

Once a driver is hired, the employer must monitor his current driving record. A company is negligent if they allow their driver to continue driving if he has failed drug screens or alcohol screens, caused numerous accidents, or received traffic violations for reckless driving


Mechanical failure can cause accidents. In a case involving mechanical failure, the maintenance records must be examined. Federal law requires trucking companies to keep detailed maintenance logs. Failure to have proper maintenance records or failure to provide proper service is violations and a step in proving negligence.


All cargo must be properly secured for travel on the roadways. If the load shifted during transportation because it was not secured and was a factor in causing the accident, the company is negligent.

Parties that may be liable in a Trucking Accident

Truckers are responsible for their negligent acts, and the trucking companies are responsible for the negligence of their employees’ negligence and the safety of their trucks. But often, other parties bear some responsibility for the damages you have suffered.

Truck driver

A trucker has a responsibility to check his rig for proper loading and maintenance. If the accident was caused by something he should have noticed during an inspection, he could be found negligent.

If an accident occurred because of speeding, fatigue, alcohol, or distracted driving of the trucker, he is liable for his negligence.

Trucking Company

The trucking company, also called a “carrier” is responsible for its drivers and trucks on the roads.

Trailer owner, Cargo shipper, and loader

In the trucking industry, it is common for carriers to work as contractors for other trucking and cargo companies. In these instances, there are multiple layers, and all have a responsibility to follow safety regulations and act prudently.

Violations of acceptable standards or regulations by the other trucking or cargo companies could result in liability for your damages. All their records need to be examined thoroughly. If a trucking company is pulling a trailer owned by another company, the trailer records need to review. Failure to properly maintain trailers often leads to accidents.


Big trucking companies hire vendors to perform work, such as running background checks on drivers. Your accident may be caused by a failure to perform a duty a vendor had the responsibility to conduct, and this would make them responsible for your damages. Third-party vendor’s involvement must be looked at to determine if they have liability for causing the accident.


Manufacturers make parts that fail, either by an unsafe design or in construction. If a manufacturer was negligent, then they are responsible for the damages you suffered and will be a party to the lawsuit. Faulty product design or manufacturing could be a product liability case.

Government agencies

Unsafe roadways cause many accidents in Louisiana. If the road was a contributing factor to the wreck, the local or state government might be held accountable.

The contractor hired by the government to work on a section of the road could also be found negligent. The contractor is negligent if his work was shoddy or didn’t comply with acceptable standards, and the substandard work contributed to causing the accident.

Involved in an Accident with a Semi-Truck? Call Sonja Bradley Today

Accidents involving trucking companies are difficult to pursue without an attorney. The Law Offices of Sonja Bradley has the experience and resources necessary to thoroughly investigate a truck accident and bring a claim against all parties responsible for your losses.

Before you agree to settle your claim with an insurance company or lawyers for a trucking company, schedule a meeting with our office, we will provide a review for no charge.

Can I Have Delayed Onset of Back Pain from a Car Accident?

You had a car accident and didn’t feel much pain at the scene. But in the days and weeks following the accident, your back begins to hurt. Is the back pain from the car wreck? Can a person have delayed onset of back pain from a car accident?

Yes, it’s common for victims of car accidents to have delayed injury-related pain after a car wreck. The back pain could be a severe injury and not realized at the time of the collision.

Even collisions resulting in minor damage to your vehicle can cause serious injury. We are all individuals and our bodies react differently to injury and pain. Some people may feel pain immediately, and others not.

How Long does it take for a Back Injury to Show Up?

The length of time a back injury causes an individual back pain varies based on the person and type of injury. Victims of car accidents are excited, and their adrenaline is flowing, masking pain.

Most people at the scene are concerned about superficial cuts and bruises; otherwise, they are happy they walked after the accident. It isn’t until they go home and try to relax that they begin to feel the pain caused by the wreck.

Often a person will wake up the next day stiff and sore in parts of their body that felt normal when they went to sleep. Even more often, the pain is not noticeable until days following an accident.

The time-lapse between the collision to the feeling of pain often happens in injuries to the spine. The gap in time is due to the complex nature of the spinal structure.

Sometime pain may not become evident for days or weeks after the wreck. The spine is the most frequent area affected in an auto collision, more specifically the back and neck.

How Long Does Back Pain Last After a Car Accident?

The severity of your injury determines the length of time back pain lasts. In most cases of muscle strains, soft tissue damage, and bruises should heal with six weeks of the accident.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke conducted a study of whiplash victims and found their rate of recovery from soft tissue injury to be within three months.

The length of time a person suffers back pain depends on the seriousness of the damage caused to the spine. Some people experience back pain a year or longer, even for the rest of their lives.

An MRI or CT scan of your spine will be able to determine the source of your back pain and help determine the length of time you could suffer in pain.

How do I Know if My Back Injury is Serious?

Most cases of back pain are the result of soft tissue damage often referred to as strains or sprains. Strains and sprains happen when a person’s muscle or ligaments tear or overstretch. These can resolve over time but should be examined by a physician.

Symptoms of back sprains or strains include tenderness, swelling, and muscle spasms. These can resolve with the passage of time, but it is prudent to schedule an examination with a physician.

However, the following symptoms are indicators that require you to see a physician:

  • severe lower back pain
  • bowel and bladder problems
  • numbness, weakness, or loss of sensation in one or both legs
  • difficulty walking tingling and numbness that radiates down the legs.
  • prolonged back pain

The symptoms described above are indicative of a serious problem with the spinal structure, possibly a herniated disc pressing on a nerve root. It could also be vertebrae damage or ligament.

If you have any prolonged back pain schedule an appoint to see a spine specialist. It is best to see a doctor as early as possible for treatment to avoid any permanent damage.

Why does my Lower Back Hurt After a Car Accident?

Your lower back mostly likely is causing you pain because you suffered either a muscle sprain strain or have discogenic pain. Discogenic pain originates from damage to a vertebral disc.

The most common causes of discogenic pain are lumbar sprains, spinal stenosis, disc herniation, and degenerative spinal diseases.

Lumbar Sprains

Sprains in the lumbar region are the result of overstretching of the ligaments, muscles, and tendons in the back caused by trauma. Strains and sprains typically can’t be diagnosed by imaging and instead rely on doctor experience and patient consultation to determine the diagnosis.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis refers to a narrowing of the channel housing the spinal nerves and spinal cord. Spinal stenosis happens in the natural course of aging; however, it can be caused by trauma such as a car accident.

Trauma can rupture disc or bone fragment and invade the spinal canal space, applying pressure to the nerves or cord, resulting in pain.

Disc Herniation 

The spine has a cushion-like disc between vertebrae, the vertebral disc is filled with a soft material. When the material protrudes out of the disc, it’s referred to as a disc herniation. The protruding material often contacts the surrounding nerves causing pain.

Degenerative Spinal Diseases

Degenerative disc disorders is a general term used to describe many different injuries and symptoms related to the break down of the spine or its parts as the body ages.

How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

If you have been involved in a car accident, there is a time limit within which you must file a personal injury and property damage claim. Unfortunately, each state has its own time limit. So be sure to check the time limit in the state you had your accident.

If you were hurt because of another’s negligence, then you are entitled to receive compensation for your losses and pain and suffering.

Time Limit to File a Personal Injury Claim in Louisiana

Louisiana has a brief window of time to file a personal injury claim, one year. Your legal claim for damages must be recorded in the court within one year of the date of the car wreck. The one-year limitation includes a claim for property damage as well. The time limit begins on the day of the crash.

The time limit to bring a suit is based on Louisiana Civil Code Article 3492, which states: “Delictual actions are subject to a liberative prescription of one year. This prescription commences to run from the day injury or damage is sustained.”

Article 3492 codifies that any lawsuit for injury or property damage must be filed within one year, which includes any claim for injury or vehicle damage by a driver, passenger, pedestrian, motorcyclist, or bicyclist after a traffic accident.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident and sustained injury contact Sonja Bradley, in Hammond Louisiana, or Livingston Louisiana.

How Does The Car Wreck Settlement Process Work in Louisiana

Car accidents occur way too frequently in Louisiana. If you’ve been in a car accident, what do you need to do? How do you navigate to a successful settlement of your car accident claim?

The settlement process begins with establishing fault, proving your losses, and negotiating a settlement amount with an insurance company. If this fails, you have to prove your damages in court.

To obtain a proper settlement, you must establish liability and damages. The process needs to begin soon after the accident happened. Settlements of claims are preferable to the unpredictable nature of trials.

Establishing Fault

Establishing fault is essential to negotiating a settlement. The other party has to be responsible for paying your damages. If the other party is not at fault for causing the accident, they have no duty to pay for your losses.

If there is a question of which driver is at fault for the accident, you need to take steps to establish the fault of the other driver. So how do you tackle this task?

Your first step in proving the fault of the other driver is to ensure the investigating officer obtains the correct information at the scene. Next, get a copy of the accident report, collect the names and addresses of the witnesses, and review the law.

At the Scene of the Wreck

If you’ve sustained damages in an automobile wreck, call the police. The investigating officer fills out an accident report. In his report, he documents traffic conditions, time of the accident, weather conditions, and other crucial details.

An essential task of the investigating officer is taking statements of not only the parties but also any witnesses. He should include in the report witnesses’ names, addresses, and telephone numbers.

If necessary the officer takes pictures of the accident scene and provides a narrative description based on the information he gathered. The report may document skid mark length, traffic law violations, and condition of the driver.

Get the name of the investigating officer, and witnesses while you are at the scene. Find out how to obtain a copy of the report.

Legal Basis for Fault

Check local, state, and federal laws; if the other driver violated driving laws, it will help to establish his responsibility to pay for your losses. Use the internet and search city and parish laws. Check specifically for the right of ways and speed limits.


If a witness didn’t give an account to the officer at the scene or their explanation wasn’t clear, ask the witnesses to provide a more detailed version in writing to you.

When Fault is Clear

The insurance company should, in cases of presumed negligence accept responsibility. Left turning vehicles and rear-end instances are the most common accidents that the presumption applies.

Comparative Fault

Louisiana is a comparative negligence state. Comparative negligence means a party is not barred from recovery of damages because they are partially at fault for causing an accident. The parties are responsible for paying damages based on their percentage of fault. This means that a party is only responsible to pay the damages based on their percentage of fault.

Proving Your Losses

To negotiate a settlement, you need a firm grip on the numbers.

Medical Bills and Records

Obtain a copy of all medical records and bills and forward it to the insurance company. Make sure they have all the information on your injury. If you have any physical limitation or disability because of the damage suffered in the accident, you want to make sure it is documented and provided to the insurance adjuster.

If you expect any future medical treatment ask your doctor to note this in your records. Also, call the medical providers’ offices and get a price for future medical treatment. Forward all information concerning future medical treatment to the insurance company.

Car repairs

Once your car has been repaired forward the documentation to the insurance company. If your vehicle was a total loss, gather information on similar car values, and pass this along to the adjuster.

If your car decreased in value because of the wreck, get a statement from a reputable car salesperson or search the internet for information to support your claim.

Other Losses

Louisiana allows for a variety of losses to be recovered because of the negligence of another. For example, an injured party can recover for future pain and suffering and future wage loss. A detailed article on damages in Louisiana law is covered in a separate article.

Negotiating With the Insurance Company

A settlement of your claim has advantages and must be given value. Judges and juries are unpredictable and could award you less than what the insurance company offers. However, there are times when a settlement of the claim is impossible.

Some insurance companies legitimately evaluate claims and make fair settlement offers. While other insurance company’s business practice is to try and trick and deceive claimants.

Ask for copies of their insured insurance declaration page. In Louisiana, the law requires a minimum liability amount of $15,000 for bodily injury or death to one person, $30,000 for bodily injury or death to two or more people in a single accident and $25,000 for damage to someone else’s vehicle or other property.

Don’t accept the adjusters’ word for their clients’ coverage amounts; request a copy of the policy declaration page.

When does a Lawsuit have to be filed?

Mark your calendar on the date of your accident. In Louisiana, a suit must be filed within one year for both personal injury and property damage. This period starts on the day of your accident.

Don’t lose track of the date and get caught trying to file suit at the last minute. Plan to file a lawsuit a couple of months early. If you haven’t settled by then, it is unlikely you will get it worked without a suit filed.

Settlement negotiations continue after suit is filed. You can still settle your claim at any time before a ruling by the court. If you fail to file your claim within one year, Louisiana courts can deny your case no matter how strong your position.

We know negotiating a settlement is hard if you need assistance contact our office. We have over 18 years of representing injured clients. We have extensive knowledge calculating damages and can help you recover the settlement amount you deserve. And if your case has to be tried, we can do that as well.

Why Are Car Accidents So Common

Traffic accidents seem to occur more and more frequently, especially in Lousiana. In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common reasons for car accidents, and steps to help prevent them.

The most common cause of car accidents is distracted driving. Drivers on cell phones, eating, texting, or even reading while driving is all instances that lead to distracted driving accidents.

Distracted driving is a significant cause of accidents on the roads in the United States, but it is not the only causes. Speeding, driving while impaired, and road conditions are also factors in causing automobile collisions.

Distracted Driving: A Common Cause of Automobile Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 3,100 deaths were caused by distracted drivers in 2017. Distracted driving is considered any activity that takes your attention away from driving safely.

Distracted driving can be broken down into three categories:

  • Visual: Looking away from the road while driving;
  • Manual: removing your hands from the steering wheel; and
  • Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving

The biggest culprit of distracted driving is texting. Reading a text diverts your eyes from the road for 5 seconds. If a person is driving 55 miles an hour, you will travel approximately 100 yards without seeing the way.

If you have to text or use your cell phone, the best practice is to pull your vehicle in a parking lot and take care of your business. Texting and driving are too risky.

Driving requires your full attention. States have initiated laws curtailing the use of a cellphone while driving. Visit the Governors Highway Safety Association website, from this site, you can access the applicable laws for each state.

Speeding: A Cause of Automobile Accidents

Speeding causes car accidents; it led to the deaths of over 9,700 people in 2017. Driving at excessive speeds is dangerous, plan and comply with designated speed limits.

Speed limits are established based on road conditions and traffic. Accidents caused by excessive speeding has resulted in 26% of all traffic deaths.

Speeding not only endangers the person driving too fast but also the other people on the road. The NHTSA has put together information to help reduce the number of automobile accidents caused by speeding. You can read their message here.

High-speed drivers are more likely to lose control of their vehicle and requires a greater distance to stop. Accidents occurring at higher speeds increase the amount of damage and injury.

Driver Impairment: A Cause of Automobile Accidents

Driving Drunk

Alcohol reduces muscle coordination and reaction time. It also impairs proper thinking and reasoning, which reduces a persons ability to operate a vehicle safely. Driving under the influence of alcohol results in the deaths of almost 30 people per day.

Driving under the influence is dangerous and it’s illegal. Every state has laws making it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08 or higher. Blood Alcohol Concentration is the alcohol level measured by the weight of alcohol in a specific volume of blood.

Over 10,000 people died in car accidents involving drunk drivers in 2017. The 2017 number is consistent; the average amount of deaths over the last ten years is over 10,000.

Driving drunk is not only dangerous; it is expensive. If you are charged with a DUI, the penalties can include hefty fines, jail time and suspension of your driver license.

Fines can reach thousands of dollars, and if you have to retain an attorney, look to spend upwards of 10,000 dollars. To learn more about DUI laws in Louisiana, read our article.

In many states, people convicted of DUI are ordered to install an ignition interlock device. Interlock devices require a prospective driver to blow into the device before the vehicle starts.

If the operators BAC is above the pre-set limit the ignition will not unlock and allow the vehicle the be started. Interlock devices are an additional expense borne by the person charged with DUI.

If you like to drink alcohol, follow these steps:

  • Have a designated driver before you begin drinking;
  • Have telephone numbers of friends or family members you can call if you’ve been drinking,
  • Plan to call a taxi or Uber driver;

If others are drinking, follow these step:

  • Do not let friends get behind the wheel if they have been drinking, take their keys;
  • If you host a party and plan on serving alcohol, be sure all guest have a safe way home;
  • Encourage others to wear a seatbelt whenever they travel in a vehicle. With the number of impaired drivers on the road, it is best to take precaution and be safe.
  • If you’ve seen an impaired driver on the roadway call law enforcement, you may save someone life.

Reckless Driving: A Cause of Automobile Accidents

Tailgating, changing lanes too quickly and speeding are all forms of reckless driving. Reckless driving or aggressive driving includes a multitude of traffic offenses.

The following is a list of offenses considered to be reckless:

  • Violations of traffic law signals: Running red lights, stop signs, and failure to yield to traffic are some examples;
  • Tailgating: following another vehicle too closely increases the chance of a rear-end collision
  • Passing cars in a no-passing zone;
  • Driving too fast for the weather conditions; Ice, rain, and fog increases the chances of accidents drivers should reduce their speed.
  • Driving too fast for the road conditions; loose gravel, wet roads, potholes, create unsafe conditions, drivers should reduce the speed of their vehicle;
  • Unsafe lane changes: Weaving between cars in traffic increases the chances of a wreck and injury.

Teenagers: Reckless Drivers

Teenagers have a propensity to show off. They often try to impress their friends by driving reckless. They must learn the extent of the damage an automobile can cause.

Remind teenagers to always wear a seatbelt, don’t use their cell phones while driving, don’t speed and obey all traffic signals.

Road Conditions: A Cause of Automobile Accidents

Poor road conditions cause car wrecks. Driving through potholes, uneven road surfaces, and road cracks create dangerous driving conditions. There are many examples of how road conditions can lead to collisions and injury.

An uneven road can cause a driver to lose control of his vehicle and cross the centerline of a highway and collide with oncoming traffic. The American Society of Civil Engineering grades each state’s roads. In 2017 Louisiana roads were rated a D.

The government should maintain roadways in a safe condition. If you spot an unsafe roadway condition contact the proper authority. If you were involved in an automobile accident and believe the roadway was a factor be sure to inform the investigating officer and confirm he notes the condition in the accident report.

How to Prove You Are Not at Fault in a Car Accident

When a car accident happens, sometimes the parties involved disagree on who is at fault or acted negligently in causing the collision. So how can a person prove they are not at fault in a car accident.

To establish fault obtain a copy of the accident report, review the law, and gather witness statements. These are some steps you can take to establish you are not at fault in a car accident.

Often it is clear who is at fault for the collision, but for the times when fault isn’t so apparent, you need to take steps to prove you are not at fault.

Proving Fault

Proving fault is essential in determining which party is legally responsible for paying for the damages caused by the collision. In cases that fault isn’t apparent, there are some steps; you can take to establish liability.

Police Report is used to establish Fault

If you are involved in an accident, you must call the police. The investigating officer will fill out a standard accident report. In this report, he is required to note the traffic conditions, time of the accident, weather conditions, and many other crucial details.

One of the essential tasks of the investigating officer is taking statements of not only the parties but also any witnesses. He should include the witnesses name, address, and telephone numbers in his report.

The officer may take pictures of the scene and provide a narrative of his opinion based on the information he has gathered. The report should also note the length of any skid marks and state any traffic law violations and the impairments of the driver.

Traffic law violations and impairments of the driver can be useful in supporting your position. Ask the investigating officer how you can obtain a copy of the report. Also, request the officers’ name and the law enforcement agency he represents.

Review the accident report. If you find any mistakes by the investigating officer, you can amend the report. Sometimes they make factual errors, such as the wrong times, or incorrect vehicle or insurance information. Generally, you can request a correction by supplying proof to confirm the error.

Factual changes concerning fault is more difficult. Each police department has a procedure for objecting or challenging a report. Contact the department involved in your case and request the procedures. The most common procedure is to attach a copy of your concerns to the initial report.

Research the Law

Use the internet and research the specifics concerning your accident. There may be some parish or state statutes that apply to your case. Check the laws on roadway markings, speed limits, and right of way.

The Louisiana Department of Motor Vehicles division has laws accessible online. If the accident occurred in a city and involves city violations, they likely have the traffic statutes online, if not check the local library and city police office. Any violations of the law will bolster your position.

Witness Statements

An independent witness could be a pillar to establishing fault in a car accident. After an accident, all witnesses contact information should be gathered by you.

The investigating officer should have documented the witnesses names, telephone numbers, and addresses on the accident report. Frequently they will take statements from the witnesses and include the statements in the report.

Sometimes the witness statements are not written clearly or don’t accurately memorialize the accounts as you remember hearing at them while at the scene of the accident.

You need to contact the witness and ask for their honest recollection of the facts surrounding the accident. If the witness bolsters your position, ask them to provide an affidavit or witness statement. You can volunteer to draft the account based on their conversation.

It is not unreasonable for a person not to want to take the time to write up a witness statement for a person they don’t know. If you are willing to draft the document and they only have to sign you are more likely to receive a positive response.

Presumption of Negligence

The presumption of negligence applied in cases when a violation of law or standard practices caused an accident. The presumption of negligence is often used in rear-end cases.


In a rear-end collision it is presumed that the following driver was not prudently driving his car. He was either following too closely for the road conditions, driving inattentively or speeding. In a rear-end case, the location of the damages to the vehicles are often enough evidence necessary to prove fault.

It is important to be aware that Louisiana is a comparative negligence state. In limited cases, the following vehicle may not be 100 percent at fault in causing an accident.

If a party is rear-ended and found partially at fault, their recovery will be reduced by the percentage of their responsibility. Facts and circumstances can overcome the presumption of negligence in some instances. See  Cheairs v. State ex rel. Dept. of Transp. & Dev., 861 So.2d 536 (La. 2003).

Left-turning vehicle

There is also a presumption of negligence in collisions caused by a left-turning car. If a car is traveling straight down a road and a car makes a left-hand turn, the turning vehicle is presumed at fault.

The damage to the vehicles is critical in identifying the fault. In a left-turning accident, the damage would be on the front-end of one car and the front-right side of the other.

Just like in a rear-end cases there are exceptions to the “no-fault” provision for left-hand turns. If for example, the car going straight was speeding or ran a red light.