A single vehicle crash occurred last week in Houma, Louisiana, killing one and seriously injuring another. Shortly after 11 a.m., Louisiana State Troopers were investigating the car accident, which happened on LA 182 east of Savanne Road when the car, a 2001 Ford F-150, left the roadway and struck a tree.
The driver, Kalob Brassier, 31, was headed east on LA 182 when his vehicle left the roadway as it veered right during a left curve. Brassier and an unidentified passenger in the car suffered critical injuries when the vehicle collided with a tree. Both were taken to a local hospital, where Brassier later died.
Neither of the accident victims was wearing a seatbelt. The event is under investigation while a toxicology report is pending to determine if there was chemical impairment.
Wearing a seatbelt and the law
Americans understand the importance of wearing a seatbelt. According to the NHTSA, the national seatbelt user rate was 90.7% in 2019. The consequences of not wearing one are evident as well. There were 37,133 motor vehicle crash fatalities in 2017, and in 47% of these events, the victim was not wearing a seatbelt.
As of 2019, Louisiana was one of 35 states that has primary enforcement laws, which allow a police officer to ticket occupants of a car simply for not using a seatbelt. Although airbags can lessen the impact of a collision, they cannot help when the occupant is ejected from the vehicle, and can even cause severe injury when the occupant is not wearing a seatbelt.
Pursuing a claim for driver negligence
When people have been injured by another driver’s negligence, they can pursue a personal injury claim. If they were passengers when the accident occurred, they can sue the driver for negligence. The elements for a negligence suit are:
- The driver owes a duty of care to other drivers on the road
- A breach of that duty of care has occurred
- Injury has been caused by another’s breach of care
- The injured party has experienced loss and seeks damages
Louisiana has comparative negligence laws as well, which will deduct a percentage of your compensation if your injuries were partly due to your own actions. For example, if a driver or passenger was not wearing a seatbelt when the accident occurred, this will likely reduce the final amount of his claim. It is important to know the laws and seek experienced legal counsel if you have been injured in a car crash so that you may receive the best possible outcome for your claim.