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Riding a motorcycle through New Orleans offers an unparalleled sense of freedom, with the vibrant cityscape on one side and the sprawling Mississippi River on the other. However, navigating the streets of our city can be challenging due to sudden summer downpours and crowded events like Mardi Gras. This poses specific risks even for experienced riders. 

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. It's a good time to focus on important safety tips for motorcyclists in the Crescent City and beyond. 

At Huber Thomas Law, our commitment to the New Orleans community goes beyond legal representation. Our goal is to ensure that your travels in our city are both exciting and safe. You can navigate through the diverse landscape with confidence. We have gathered important motorcycle safety tips based on our knowledge and experience in New Orleans. 

Huber Thomas Law Motorcycle Accident Lawyers New Orleans

By sharing this knowledge, we aim to cultivate safer roadways for everyone—motorcyclists, drivers, and pedestrians alike. Join us in making every motorcycle ride safe and joyful in our city. Let's work together to ensure the safety and happiness of all riders. If you require help from motorcycle accident attorneys, contact us for a free legal consultation.

Evolving Motorcycle Safety: Navigating the Road Ahead

The joy of riding a motorcycle on open roads during the sun-drenched summer months is unmatched. With more flexible schedules and the allure of long vacations, it's a season many riders eagerly anticipate. However, this increased activity also brings a heightened risk. 

Motorcycles account for only 3% of registered vehicles and 0.6% of vehicle miles traveled in the US. However, riders of motorcycles face a higher risk on the road. 

In 2021, motorcyclists accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities. They also made up 17% of deaths of people in vehicles. Additionally, motorcyclists suffered 3% of all injuries to people in vehicles. 

Recent statistics reveal a concerning trend: fatalities among motorcycle riders and passengers rose by 8% from 2020 to 2021. This uptick in deaths is alarming, with the total number of motorcycle fatalities reaching 5,932. 

It's important to note that the number of deaths per 100 million miles driven went down by 2% during that time. Over the past decade, deaths have surged by 19%, underlining a persistent challenge in motorcycle safety. 

The dynamics of motorcycle use have seen significant shifts from 2007 to 2021. While the number of registered motorcycles has increased by 38%, the total miles driven have decreased by 8%. 

The decrease in miles traveled is causing the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled to increase. This shows a complex relationship between how often people travel and the safety of their trips.  

In 2021, a closer look at the circumstances surrounding motorcycle fatalities highlights several key factors: 

  • The majority (67%) of motorcyclist fatalities occurred on urban roads. 
  • 83% of accidents occurred in good weather, challenging the belief that bad weather is a main risk factor. 
  • Half of these fatalities occurred during nighttime hours, stressing the importance of visibility and caution during these times. 
  • Over half (53%) involved two-vehicle collisions, pointing to the need for increased awareness among all motorists. 
  • It is interesting to note that 59% of the riders who died were wearing helmets. This shows that helmets are important for safety, but there are other factors that also contribute to fatal outcomes. 
  • Encouragingly, 72% of motorcycle operators involved in fatal crashes were not impaired by alcohol, indicating a high level of responsibility among the majority of riders. 

In 2021, injuries increased by 5% among motorcyclists. However, the injury rate per mile traveled decreased by 4%. This indicates a slight improvement in safety. 

These evolving statistics serve as a critical reminder of the ongoing need for awareness, education, and proactive safety measures among motorcyclists and the driving public alike. They underscore the importance of helmet use, sober riding, adherence to traffic laws, and the development of skills that can mitigate risks. As we navigate the roads, it's imperative to foster an environment of mutual respect and caution, ensuring that the freedom of riding can be safely enjoyed by all. 

1. Follow Louisiana Motorcycle Laws

Motorcycle laws in the U.S. vary by state. Many states require helmets for all riders, but some only for those under a certain age. Other states, like Illinois and Iowa, have no helmet requirements at all. 

We're thankful that Louisiana is a state that requires helmets for all motorcyclists and passengers. Even if you live in a state without this law, you should absolutely wear a DOT-compliant helmet as they're the best way to protect yourself from a traumatic head injury or death. Between 2022 and 2017, helmets saved more than 25,000 lives 

Other Louisiana motorcycle laws stipulate that you must: 

  • Complete a road rules and skills test to receive a motorcycle endorsement 
  • Make sure to wear the right eye protection when driving, like goggles or safety glasses. If you have a proper windshield or full helmet, you may not need to wear them 
  • Never overtake or pass other vehicles in the same lane (a practice known as lane-splitting) 
  • Keep both hands on your handlebars while driving 

Further, you can only carry passengers if your motorcycle was made for multiple people. Children must be five years or older, in an appropriate seat. 

2. Be Alert to the Most Common Causes of Crashes

Motorcycle crashes most commonly occur when: 

  • Another vehicle turns left in front of you 
  • You hit an unsafe or slippery patch of road 
  • Another vehicle changes lanes into you 
  • Someone opens a car door into your oncoming bike 
  • You were traveling too fast 
  • Another driver stops suddenly, or rear-ends you 
  • Anyone is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol 

RideApart provides helpful information and videos on how to prevent and handle the most common motorcycle accidents. We recommend reading and watching these videos in full, whether you're a new or experienced driver. 

Huber Thomas Motorcycle Accident attorneys in New Orleans

3. Never Drive Under the Influence

We're noting this twice because it's that important. 

At night, 29% of motorcyclist fatalities happen when the motorcyclist had a BAC above the legal limit of 0.08%. Never drink and drive. Make it a rule to avoid driving if you've had even one drink. 

Likewise, avoid driving after any use of prescription sedatives, pain medications, or other drugs. For example, while marijuana may be legal in some states, it can still lead to a change in your driving skills. 

4. Know Your Risks

Before you ever step up to your bike, be aware of and proactive about your specific risks. 

If you're an inexperienced driver, plan to ride in slower, safer conditions until you build your skills. If you are on a newer bike, practice riding off-road and in safer conditions until you build confidence. 

Age also plays a role in motorcycle accidents. Those 50 years and older made up 35% of all motorcycle fatalities in 2021. The reasons for this are many. 

Often, older drivers are "re-entry riders." They rode when they were younger and assume that they still know how to handle a bike. With more traffic, more powerful bikes, and diminished physical skills, this simply isn't the case. 

If you're an older adult who hasn't ridden in a while, it pays to take a safety class to refresh your skills. Follow the other safety tips too, like getting used to your bike and practicing in safer areas before hitting the open road. 

Finally, know that riding with a passenger takes much more skill. You can learn how to ride safely with a passenger here. 

5. Wear Appropriate Safety Gear

We already discussed how DOT-compliant helmets can save lives. These helmets provide appropriate shock-absorption and peripheral vision capabilities. Look for a DOT sticker on the inside or outside of your helmet to ensure it meets safety standards. You can learn more about choosing a helmet here. 

To protect yourself in the case of an accident, you should also wear: 

  • Clothing that fully covers your arms and legs in a thick material, like leather 
  • Boots or shoes that cover up to your ankles or higher 
  • Gloves for a better grip and to protect your hands 
  • Eye protection, such as a full helmet or goggles 
  • Reflective materials for better visibility 

6. Do a Safety Check Before Each Ride

You've received your motorcycle endorsement, practiced in a secure area, and found the right safety gear. Even so, you should still do a quick safety check before each ride. At the very least check: 

  • The weather to ensure there won't be any slippery or unsafe conditions 
  • Your tire pressure 
  • Your bike's brakes, headlights, and signal indicators 
  • For any signs of oil or gas leaks 
  • That any cargo is properly secured and balanced 
  • That your protective gear is in good shape and worn correctly 

7. Practice Active Awareness During Every Ride

Finally, if you drive a motorcycle, always ride responsibly and as actively aware as possible. This means: 

  • Watching ahead for any potholes, gravel, or puddles 
  • Proceeding cautiously at intersections, where most accidents take place 
  • Keeping your headlights on at all times to increase your visibility 
  • Leaving plenty of braking distance between yourself and other vehicles 
  • Using extra caution in heavy traffic or inclement weather 

Not sure if you're aware of the best ways to protect yourself out there? We highly recommend taking a safety class. Louisiana State Police provide different motorcycle training programs, including basic rider courses and advanced lessons. There are a variety of other high-quality safety programs as well. 

8. Practice Motorcycle Awareness on the Road

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is about reducing accidents and raising awareness about motorcycles with all drivers. Even if you don't drive a motorcycle, you can do your part to help all people on the road arrive at their destination safely. 

Here's how: 

  • Practice caution when approaching a left turn, ensuring you use your turn signal and the road is clear of motorcyclists or allowing them to pass before turning 
  • Become aware of motorcycle turning and braking patterns 
  • Give motorcyclists the same (or more) space as you do other vehicles, allowing them a full lane width 
  • Yield to motorcyclists and give them plenty of space—even the smallest nudge can lead to a crash 
  • Check your mirrors and blind spots for motorcyclists before changing lanes or making turns 
  • Avoiding any and all distractions while driving, such as texting, eating, or playing with your car radio 

Huber Thomas Motorcycle Safety on the Road

Get Help from Motorcycle Accident Lawyers After a Motorcycle Accident

Even if you practice all of these safety guidelines, you could still be in an accident. Unfortunately, an earlier report notes that in two-thirds of passenger car and motorcycle collisions, the car violated the motorcyclist's right-of-way. 

If the worst happens, there is help. 

At Huber Thomas Law, we're dedicated to helping victims recover after an accident. We’re tireless advocates for our clients, helping you secure the compensation you need to cover any long-term costs after an accident. We also help you make sense of the insurance claims process. You can learn more about our approach to motorcycle accidents here. 

If you've recently been in a motorcycle accident, contact us today for a free consultation. We can walk you through your legal options. 

Motorcycle ownership has been “revving” up in recent years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, motorcycle sales spiked—and the popularity is still growing. More enthusiasts are enjoying the freedom motorcycling offers on the open road. 

Whether you are a prospective or seasoned motorcycle owner, it’s important to follow Louisiana laws in your ownership and operation. Obtaining a Louisiana motorcycle endorsement is your first step. It’s essentially your green light to ride.  

huber thomas motorcycle laws in louisiana

As a law firm dedicated to protecting victims in vehicle accidents, we see motorcycle cases often. Riding a motorcycle presents its own set of dangers. To better safeguard yourself if an accident occurs, you must follow all Louisiana requirements for motorcycle ownership.  

Read on for our breakdown of everything you need to know. 

How to Get a Motorcycle Endorsement in Louisiana 

 In the state of Louisiana, motorcycle endorsements must be indicated on a license in order to drive the following: 

  • Motorcycles 
  • Motor-driven cycles 
  • Motorized bicycles/mopeds 

You must have this endorsement for motorized cycles with more than 5 horsepower, regardless of the speed or size. It’s essentially your green light for navigating Louisiana streets, highways, and roadways on your motorcycle.  

To receive an endorsement, you must have: 

  • A valid Louisiana driver’s license or learner’s permit 
  • A score of 80% or higher on the Motorcycle Knowledge Test and Skills Test 
  • Skills Test: Your intended motorcycle and helmet, as well as your current license plate, insurance, and inspection sticker. 
  • Alternate: Completion of the Department of Public Safety, Motorcycle Safety, Awareness and Operators Training Program. 

Below we’ve provided more information on your motorcycle endorsement requirements and options.  

For First-Time Endorsement Seekers

Are you wondering if you need a specific license to drive a motorcycle in the state of Louisiana? In fact, a separate license for motorcycle use is not needed. 

If you already have a Louisiana driver's license, you will only get a motorcycle endorsement added to it. Of course, you will first need to prove that you are qualified for such endorsement.  

Below we’ve broken down your options.  

Option #1: Take the Required Motorcycle Skills Tests

To get a motorcycle endorsement, you must schedule two tests at the nearest Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicle location. 

  • Motorcycle Knowledge Test 
  • Road Skills Test 

You can prepare for the Motorcycle Knowledge Test by reading and understanding the Motorcycle Operator Manual. You will need to demonstrate your understanding of the information provided in this guide during the test. This guide covers everything you need to know about Louisiana regulations for motorcycles.  

To take the Road Skills Test, bring the motorcycle you plan to ride, a helmet and eye protection. Your motorcycle needs to be fitted with a Louisiana license plate. You need to fit your motorcycle with a Louisiana license plate. You must also bring your current driver’s license, proof of insurance, and a current inspection sticker. You must demonstrate your ability to safely operate a motorcycle. 

The tests cost approximately $18 with a local fee of up to $6.  

Option #2: Enroll in a Motorcycle Training Course 

For those seeking motorcycle endorsements, there exists another option in the state of Louisiana. You may also take the Basic Rider Course through the Department of Public Safety. You can do this course instead of the written Motorcycle Endorsement Test and Road Skills Test listed in Option #1. The Basic Rider Course includes: 

  • Online e-course (5 hours) 
  • Riding sessions (5 ½ hours on a Saturday and Sunday) 

This course will teach you the basics of motorcycle operation, including maneuvering and risk management. These skills are essential for ensuring safety for both you and other drivers on the road. We recommend taking the Basic Rider Course if you're new to motorcycles or haven't bought one yet. In this course, you will be provided with a motorcycle for training.  

Apply for Your Motorcycle Endorsement

After finishing your tests or the Basic Riders Course, you can now request your Class M Motorcycle Endorsement. You can make an appointment at your nearest OMV to obtain this endorsement. You will need to bring: 

  • Your driver’s license or photo ID 
  • Proof of residency 
  • Motorcycle insurance cards 
  • Certificate of completion from your motorcycle training course 

At your appointment, you will fill out an application, take a vision test, and pay the necessary fees for the application. Once you receive your class M motorcycle endorsement, you may operate under this endorsement for up to 6 years. 

For New Louisiana Residents

The process is simple for new Louisiana residents who already have a motorcycle endorsement from another state.  

  1. Book an appointment at your nearest OMV. 
  2. Bring the following documentation:  
    1. A valid driver’s license
    2. Social security card
    3. Proof of insurance  

You must do this within the first 30 days of residency. You do not have to take any exams. Once approved, the OMV will provide you with a Louisiana driver’s license with a class M motorcycle endorsement.  

The cost for the Basic Rider Course depends on whether or not you have your own motorcycle. The Basic Course is $100 for those borrowing a Department of Public Safety motorcycle. For those with their own motorcycle, the course is $25.  

Louisiana Motorcycle Laws You Need to Know

As a motorcycle endorsement holder, there are other motorcycle laws in Louisiana that you need to follow. These laws ensure that you’re able to enjoy your new ride safely and securely, being mindful of other drivers and passengers on the road. 

Insurance Requirements for Motorcyclists in Louisiana 

As mentioned previously, you will need to show proof of insurance when you apply for your motorcycle endorsement. The OMV will not issue you a motorcycle endorsement without coverage.  

As with any other driver on the road, you will also be asked to show proof of insurance if you were to be stopped or involved in an accident. Your insurance coverage is your protection in the event of property damage or bodily harm. Trust us, you do not want to ride your motorcycle without it.  

In Louisiana, motorcyclists are required to have a liability policy. Minimum policy amounts include:  

  • Bodily injury liability for one person: $15,000 
  • Bodily injury liability for 2+ people: $30,000 
  • Property damage liability: $25,000 

You may want to consider adding other coverages in the event of motorcycle damage and need of repair and replacement. 

  • Collision: Covers your motorcycle if it becomes damaged and needs repair. 
  • Comprehensive: Protects your motorcycle in the event of fire, wind, or water damage, as well as theft or vandalism. 
  • Custom Parts and Equipment: Covers custom upgrades, parts, and modifications.  
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: safeguards you when you crash into someone without insurance or insufficient funds to cover the costs. 

Yearly Motorcycle Inspections for Louisiana Drivers

If it is your first time purchasing a motorcycle, you need to have your motorcycle inspected at a repair shop. You have 40 days from the purchase of your motorcycle to do so. Furthermore, you must complete the inspection at a shop approved by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections.  

Those who have moved to Louisiana with a motorcycle will also need to conduct a Louisiana DPS-approved inspection. Motorcycle owners must inspect their motorcycles yearly. 

Required Protective Gear for Louisiana Motorcyclists

Eye Protection

When driving a car, your windshield protects you from flying objects, including bugs and debris. A motorcycle may not have this layer of protection. To protect your eyes from objects that could cause an accident, you must wear eye protection 

Approved eye protection includes: 

  • Goggles 
  • Face shields 
  • Safety glasses 

During the day, motorcyclists may enjoy wearing tinted eye protection to also shield their eyes from the sun. You are allowed to do so. However, you are not allowed to wear tinted eye protection at night.  

If your motorcycle has a tall windshield, you might not need to wear eye protection. At Huber Thomas Law, we recommend you still do so.  


Riding a motorcycle is a thrilling, yet dangerous, experience. There is a risk of serious injury, including head trauma, when a collision occurs. If you’re wondering whether or not you need to wear a helmet in Louisiana, we’ve got your answer.  

Yes, you—and any passenger—will need to wear a helmet on the bike. The helmet must meet the requirements as outlined by Louisiana law: 

  • Must be manufactured for use on a motorcycle 
  • Must be secured properly with a chin strap while in motion 
  • Must also be outfitted with lining, padding, visor, and chip strap 

Wearing helmets while riding a motorcycle can protect you and your passenger from brain damage and head trauma. 

Requirements for Riding Motorcycles in Louisiana

When operating your motorcycle, there are other laws you need to keep in mind. Below are the regulations as outlined in Louisiana Revised Statutes 32:191. 


  • You must only ride on the “permanent or regular” seat attached to your motorcycle.  
  • Your passengers must also only ride on the “permanent or regular” seat as long as: 
    • The seat is designed for two riders. 
    • Another seat is securely adhered to the motorcycle’s rear or side. 


  • You can only ride with a passenger if the motorcycle is designed for more than one rider. 
  • You must sit astraddle on your motorcycle (facing forward with one leg on each side). 
  • Your passengers must not be carried in a way that distracts from safe operation. 


  • You must not carry any items that keep you from a firm two-hand grasp on your handlebars. 


  • A child who would normally be required to sit in a rear-facing or forward-facing car seat is not allowed to ride in a motorcycle.  
  • Children 5+ years old may only ride on a motorcycle if they are seated properly and wearing a helmet.  

Additionally, Louisiana Revised Statutes 32:191.3 outlines your requirements for footrests and handlebars.  


  • A motorcycle must be equipped with footrests for passengers. 


  • Handlebars must not require the driver to reach above their shoulder height while sitting astraddle and gripping the handlebars. 

Laws on Motorcycle Traffic Lane Use in Louisiana

Motorcyclists enjoy riding city streets and country roads without the bulkiness of a car. The open air circling around you can be a freeing feeling. However, safe lane use is a requirement when riding a motorcycle around the state of Louisiana. 

Louisiana Revised Statutes 32:191.1 allow motorcycles to have full use of a lane. This means that another vehicle, such as a car, cannot overtake you while you are riding a motorcycle. You are also not allowed to overtake another vehicle in the same lane.  

It is often a very dangerous occurrence when motorcycles weave in between lanes of traffic. For this reason, motorcyclists are not allowed to do so. There is a high probability that a moving vehicle will not see you and crash into you, causing a potentially dangerous accident. 

The exception to this is if you are riding alongside another motorcycle. Up to two motorcycles can ride next to each other in one traffic lane. Any more than two is not allowed.  

When the Unexpected Occurs, Choose Huber Thomas 

At Huber Thomas Law, we believe in equipping motorists with information to keep them safe. We compiled the motorcycle laws listed above to protect both new and seasoned motorcyclists in the state of Louisiana. 

By following these laws, you can mitigate the risks that motorcycles can bring. However, the unimaginable and unexpected can still occur. In these cases, you have a team on your side.  

When you, your passenger, and/or your motorcycle has been injured in an accident, we can help. Our motorcycle accident lawyers can help you navigate insurance claims, hospital bills, and more—keeping you informed at every step. 

Contact us today for a free consultation. 

In the city of New Orleans, we have no shortage of spectacle. From parades to costumes to street performers, there are many moments that captivate our attention. We crane our necks to get a better view of the fun and exciting sights that occur day-to-day in our city.

On a more serious note, New Orleans is experiencing a rise in traffic accidents. When these accidents occur on busy thoroughfares, it is common for other drivers to take a peek at what occurred. Curiosity and concern for safety makes it enticing to look at the accident.

However, these distractions have the risk of becoming dangerous, especially if we are driving past them. They are just as dangerous as looking at our phones, falling asleep at the wheel, and other similar disruptions. When other events on the road distract you, many people call these instances "rubbernecking."

huber thomas law rubberneckingAt Huber Thomas Law, we help drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists all over New Orleans navigate their claims after a traffic accident. We protect their interests, ensuring they receive the maximum compensation they deserve. Here's some advice on rubbernecking cases and what to do if you're in this kind of accident.

Overview of Rubbernecking

What is rubbernecking?

Rubbernecking is the act of diverting your attention away from the road and towards something of interest. It is a common yet dangerous behavior on the road. It is most often done when people slowly pass by an accident, emergency, or some other unusual or captivating event.

What is the origin of the term “rubbernecking?”

After reading the definition, you can probably guess why it is called “rubbernecking.” When people engage in rubbernecking, they typically crane their necks to get a better view. They stretch and strain to catch the details in front of them. It may seem harmless, but this diversion of attention can then lead to traffic hazard or traffic disruption.

What are the hazards of rubbernecking?

Rubbernecking may seem benign, but it is very dangerous. Rubbernecking can be dangerous as it diverts attention and may cause accidents for those involved.

It can also lead to a ripple effect of accidents and traffic congestion. This is especially problematic on highways and busy roads.

What is the law enforcement stance on rubbernecking?

Law enforcement strongly advises people to keep their attention on the road. There are so many sights that could catch our eye when we’re on the road, but it takes us away from the task at hand.

In some cases, law enforcement may take action. They may issue fines for those who egregiously slow down and stare at accidents or events on the road.

While rubbernecking can sound benign, the consequences are far reaching. It is another reminder that safe and attentive driving is important for our own wellbeing –and the safety of others.

How a rubbernecking lawyer can help if you've been involved in an accident

Is rubbernecking illegal?

In most jurisdictions, the simple act of rubbernecking is not typically illegal. Law enforcement strongly advises drivers to stay focused on the road to avoid the problems that result from rubbernecking.

In fact, rubbernecking can lead to serious illegal offenses or violations of traffic laws. Below are a few incidents than can occur from rubbernecking:

Distracted Driving

Rubbernecking is distracted activity. People divert their attention away from the road and towards something of interest. This distraction can lead to traffic accidents and violations.

Following Too Closely

Slowing down to view an accident on the side of the road may cause issues. Abrupt slowdowns can cause vehicles behind to crash or pile up.

Impeding Traffic Flow

If a driver unnecessarily slows down, it can cause a disruption to the flow of traffic. Disrupting the flow of traffic is a violation of traffic laws.

Obstructing Emergency Responders

Emergency responders will need to navigate through traffic to assist the collision of interest. Rubbernecking can cause them delays and disruptions in accessing the scene of the accident or emergency. Obstructing emergency responders can lead to legal consequences.

What should you do if you’ve been in a rubbernecking accident?

A rubbernecking accident may look like other types of vehicle accidents. Therefore, the procedures you should follow are the same. If rubbernecking caused your involvement in an accident, you must ensure your safety. You will want to comply with all necessary legal and insurance procedures.

Here's what you should do:

1. Check for Injuries: Your top priority is to check yourself and any passengers for injuries. If anyone is hurt, call emergency services immediately. If it's safe to do so, remove your vehicle out of the flow of traffic. This will help you mitigate additional accidents and injuries.

2. Share Information with Others Involved: No matter who is at fault, you will want to exchange information with all others involved. This involves exchanging names, contact information, insurance details, and vehicle registration information.

3. Document the Accident: If it safe for you to take photos, document the accident scene. You will want to use your smartphone or camera to capture vehicle damage, license plates, road conditions, and any visible injuries. This documentation can be helpful for insurance claims and legal purposes.

4. Contact Authorities: Report the accident to the police. Even if the accident is minor, you will want an official police report. This will come in handy later when conducting insurance claims and legal proceedings.

5. Collect Witness Information: If there were any witnesses to the accident, ask for their contact information in case their statements are needed later.

6. Call Your Insurance: Get in touch with your insurance company ASAP. When you report the accident to them, be sure to provide accurate and detailed information about what happened. Follow their instructions for filing a claim.

7. Seek Medical Attention: Even if you don't believe you're seriously injured, it's a good idea to seek medical attention after an accident. Not all injuries are obvious right away. Getting a medical check-up can make sure you get the right treatment and have a record of your injuries.

8. Cooperate with Authorities: Follow any instructions given by law enforcement officers at the scene. Be truthful and provide accurate information.

9. Avoid Blame and Apologies: Do not admit fault or apologize for the accident, as this could be used against you in insurance claims or legal proceedings.

10. Consult an Attorney: If the accident resulted in significant injuries, property damage, or disputes with insurance companies, consider consulting with a personal injury attorney. A team like Huber Thomas Law can help protect your rights and navigate the legal process.

Every accident is different, so the actions you should take can vary based on the situation and laws in your area. Always prioritize safety and follow the guidance of law enforcement and your insurance company.

Consulting a rubbernecking lawyer if you've been involved in an accident

Who is liable in a rubbernecking accident?

Liability in a rubbernecking accident is determined similar to other types of accidents. It depends on the unique circumstances of the incident. Liability will not be determined until all actions and behaviors of those involved are reviewed.

Common situations may include:

The Rubbernecker is At Fault

If the rubbernecker was distracted and driving without caution, they may be found at fault. They will have to work with their liability insurance to cover vehicle damage and passenger or driver injuries.

The Other Driver is At Fault

There may be cases where the rubbernecker shares responsibility with another driver. If another driver follows too closely, speeds, or makes an unsafe maneuver, it may contribute to an accident with the rubbernecker.

A Third Party is Involved

Liability is complex, and situations may involve other parties. Pedestrians or cyclists may also find themselves in these rubbernecking accidents. Liability will be determined based on the specific actions of all who were involved.

Comparative Negligence

There may be some instances where multiple drivers share liability. A rubbernecker and another driver or third party may be at fault. If this is determined, damages will be apportioned according to their degree of fault.

Determining liability is always a complex matter. Your insurance company and legal team will weigh all evidence in order to determine who was at fault in the accident. Sometimes, this isn’t enough. Battles may ensue as a result of disputes or disagreements of liability.

If you find yourself involved in a rubbernecking accident, you need to protect your interests. This begins by following all proper procedures: contacting the police, exchanging information with other drivers, and documenting the scene.

Even further, you will want a legal team on your side. Huber Thomas Law team will guide you, reduce stress, and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.

Why is it important to seek legal help after a rubbernecking incident?

No matter the type of vehicle accident, legal representation is paramount. In a rubbernecking case, finding a reputable attorney to handle your case is important for several reasons:

1. Determining Liability: Determining fault in a rubbernecking-related accident is not easy. Facts of the case must be reviewed in order to determine liability. Our legal team at Huber Thomas Law investigates circumstances thoroughly, gathers evidence, and interviews witnesses to determine liability. It is how we begin relentlessly pursuing compensation for injuries and damages.

2. Navigating Insurance Claims: Insurance companies notoriously undercut compensation. Attorneys, like those at Huber Thomas Law, can negotiate with insurance adjusters to ensure you receive fair compensation. We can also help you understand your insurance policy and any potential limitations.

3. Understanding Your Rights: When you are involved in a legal matter, you need to be aware of your rights and options. Our legal professionals can provide guidance on the best course of action. We'll give you advice on whether to make a personal injury claim, settle, or go to court.

4. Maximizing Compensation: An attorney can help you seek maximum compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the accident. They can calculate the true value of your claim and ensure you don't settle for less than you deserve.

5. Dealing with Legal Complexities: Legal processes can be complex, with various deadlines, paperwork, and legal procedures to follow. Huber Thomas Law can handle complex tasks for you, ensuring correct document filing and meeting important deadlines.

6. Fighting for Justice: If your case goes to court, our attorneys can represent your interests. We’ll present a strong legal argument on your behalf. We will tirelessly advocate for your rights and ensure that we hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.

7. Reducing Stress: Dealing with the aftermath of an accident, including injuries and property damage, can be incredibly stressful. We will shoulder the legal burden, allowing you to focus on your recovery and well-being.

8. Access to Resources: You don’t need to handle this on your own. We have access to resources, such as accident reconstruction experts and medical experts. This access allows us to provide you with valuable insights and testimony to strengthen your case.

In short, seeking legal help after a rubbernecking incident is essential. A legal team can assist you with your rights. They can also increase your chances of fair compensation. Additionally, they can help reduce the stress of legal processes.

Our rubbernecking lawyers at Huber Thomas Law are skilled and will guide you through the entire process. They will work diligently to ensure that you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.

Choose Huber Thomas Law to Protect Your Interests

With Huber Thomas Law, you have a formidable ally in your corner. We understand that dealing with the aftermath of rubbernecking accident can be a challenging and overwhelming experience. Having a seasoned car accident lawyer in New Orleans by your side can truly make all the difference.

At Huber Thomas Law, we believe in putting our clients first. That's why we offer free consultations to discuss the specifics of your case. It's an opportunity for you to get to know us, and for us to understand your unique situation. We'll provide you with insights, answer your questions, and help you chart the path forward. Don't carry the burden alone – let us stand by your side. Schedule your free consultation today, and let's take the first step toward achieving the resolution you seek.

New Orleans is a walkable city – a feature that both locals and tourists enjoy. The ability to walk through our oak tree-lined thoroughfares and bustling centers of nightlife is a facet of our rich culture. In our city, walking is often easier than driving, especially when you’re heading to the parade route or a French Quarter hot spot.

Yet there are risks that this walkability poses. In recent years, New Orleans has seen more deaths and injuries for pedestrians and motorists alike. This trend isn’t only happening locally. It also follows a trend seen nationally in many U.S. cities. It is alarming to consider that something as enjoyable as walking can become a risk in so many bustling areas of the country.

New Orleans Street with pedestrians and carsHowever, you may be wondering what is causing this increase in injuries and fatalities locally. Recently, city officials have cited a rise in distracted and impaired driving and an increase in larger vehicles on the road. With bigger cars on the roadways, you can imagine there is a higher likelihood of fatality for pedestrians.

With these risks in mind, pedestrians must practice extra caution when navigating our city streets. It may seem benign to quickly cross Magazine Street, hopping from store to store on such a walkable road. However, many locals and visitors may forget the immense threat jaywalking poses. We field many questions regarding this topic, including:

What exactly is jaywalking?

Is jaywalking illegal in New Orleans?

Why is jaywalking illegal?

Do pedestrians have the right-of-way in Louisiana?

What do I do if I was involved in a pedestrian accident?

As a law firm specializing in personal injury, we are your go-to source for questions like these. Read on to learn more about jaywalking and the risks it poses to pedestrians and motorists alike.

What is jaywalking?

Jaywalking is the act of crossing a street where and when it is unlawful to do so. Pedestrians are expected to follow traffic signals and use designated crosswalks safely. Examples of jaywalking include the following:

  • Crossing the road outside of designated crosswalks or intersections (mid-block)
  • Disobeying traffic signals, such as the red hand or “Do Not Walk” symbol
  • Crossing where it disrupts the normal flow of traffic
  • Walking where pedestrian traffic is prohibited

Jaywalking can be dangerous for pedestrians and motorists alike. In the scenarios above, a moving vehicle may have little chance to stop or swerve to avoid a collision. Many jurisdictions provide fines or citations to pedestrians who jaywalk as a means of preventing accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

What is the legality of jaywalking in New Orleans?

The New Orleans Code of Ordinances has several statements on what is and isn’t permitted regarding pedestrian and vehicle flow. In summary, jaywalking is illegal when:

  1. There is an opportunity to safely cross at the nearest two intersections via a crosswalk and/or pedestrian signals.
  2. It is impossible for the oncoming vehicle to stop or yield.
  3. One is within our city’s business districts.

It is important for pedestrians to keep local ordinances in mind when walking around our city. Crossing mid-block in the Central Business District without using crosswalks or traffic signals may not seem dangerous. However, these safety measures are in place for a reason. We’ll get into why jaywalking is illegal in the next section.

Why is jaywalking illegal?

There are a few reasons why jaywalking is considered illegal. Many people consider safety as the top priority, but there are other lesser-known priorities as well.


Traffic laws are in place to protect the lives of those using the road, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists. Crossing the road in unsafe locations can increase the risk of accidents and collisions, leading to injury and/or death. By making jaywalking illegal, we can better ensure our streets continue to be walkable and safe.

Flow of Traffic

In large, bustling cities, the flow of traffic can easily be disrupted. Traffic laws are in place to ensure an efficient movement of traffic. If pedestrians were allowed to unexpectedly cross the road, the flow of traffic could be easily disrupted by congestion and potential accidents.


Traffic laws and signals establish a sense of predictability for everyone on the road. By following these designated pathways, we can better anticipate the movement of others. Unpredictable roadways could lead to confusion and danger for everyone involved.

What makes jaywalking dangerous in New Orleans?

To consider the danger of jaywalking, we must first consider the inherent risks of being a pedestrian. In New Orleans, traffic accidents as a whole are on the rise. City officials recently revealed that there was a 32% increase in traffic fatalities between 2020 and 2021.

This is alarming for those who want to walk around our beautiful city. From 2020 to 2021, pedestrian fatalities increased from 11 to 21, doubling year-over-year. In 2022, 71 deaths from traffic accidents occurred. Half of these were pedestrians.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. saw over 7,000 pedestrian fatalities from motor vehicle accidents in 2020. That year, pedestrians made up one out of every six traffic accident deaths.

There are several factors that increase the risk of pedestrian injury and death. The CDC has identified the following risk factors:

  1. Alcohol impairment by the driver and/or pedestrian
  2. Increased vehicle speed by the driver
  3. Urban environments
  4. Roadways afar from the nearest intersection
  5. Nighttime

As enchanting as our rich nightlife is in New Orleans, you can see how it poses major risks for motorists and pedestrians alike. For pedestrians in particular, the risk of injury or death increases when disobeying traffic laws and jaywalking into oncoming traffic.

With the growth in reckless driving and the number of larger vehicles on the road, pedestrians and drivers alike must practice caution. Accidents between pedestrians and motor vehicles can cause injuries and fatalities – and make our streets less safe. When walking around our cultured city, pedestrians must consider the risks of jaywalking.

Do pedestrians have the right-of-way in Louisiana?

You may be wondering, “If jaywalking is illegal, when do pedestrians have the right-of-way in New Orleans?” A pedestrian will have the right-of-way when:

  1. Traffic signals suggest it is safe to walk.
  2. Crossing via a marked or unmarked crosswalk.

The pedestrian must yield the right-of-way to vehicles when:

  1. Crossing a street outside of a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
  2. Traffic signals suggest it is not safe to walk.

However, there are stipulations that motorists must keep in mind. While it is illegal for a pedestrian to jaywalk or fail to yield to a vehicle, drivers of motor vehicles are still expected to practice caution. We’ll get into the reasons why in the next sections.

What should I do if I was a pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle?

Granted that you’ve sought medical attention, recorded all relevant information from the accident, and reported the incident to authorities and your insurance company, seeking legal counsel should be your next priority.

It is important to find an attorney that specializes in personal injury and understands the traffic regulations in New Orleans. Your legal team will be able to review the facts of the case, including where, when, and how the accident occurred. This includes determining whether you as a pedestrian crossed the roadway lawfully.

At Huber Thomas Law, we specialize in recovering damages for injured parties. We understand that you may be navigating stressors, including sustained injuries, expensive medical bills, and an overall loss in quality of life. We aim to take the burden of seeking compensation off of your shoulders.

When you want to take legal action, we'll listen to your story and find the best way to handle your case. Below are the three scenarios we can help you navigate.

If You Crossed the Roadway Lawfully

Legal counsel is your best opportunity to fairly determine liability in the case. If you obeyed traffic signals and crossed the road legally, your team can decide if the driver is responsible. The driver may have acted in a negligent manner with activities including:

  • Failing to stop completely at a stop sign or red light
  • Failing to yield to the pedestrian's right-of-way
  • Becoming distracted by their radio, cell phone, or other device
  • Driving while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs
  • Navigating the roadways aggressively

If the driver demonstrates evidence of such negligence, authorities may determine them to be at fault. This is the most favorable case for a pedestrian, as it may be less of a challenge to prove pedestrian liability.

If You Crossed the Roadway Unlawfully

The case may become more challenging if you crossed the roadway illegally. The counsel of the motor vehicle may argue that you were jaywalking and at fault for the accident. If the facts of the case measure up to this argument, it will be hard to recover compensation for your injury.

If Both Parties Are Responsible

Sometimes a pedestrian accident can be the result of negligence from both parties.  Louisiana has a comparative fault rule.

In a case, the people involved may receive a share of blame. This share of blame determines the amount of money they can receive as compensation. If you as a pedestrian crossed unlawfully, there is a chance that your amount of compensation may decrease depending on your determined fault in the accident.


What should I do if I hit a pedestrian as a driver?

Drivers and pedestrians alike have a responsibility to practice caution. However, as a driver, be aware that Louisiana law is particularly kind to pedestrians. It is a challenge to prove that a driver did not have a reasonable ability to avoid an accident.

After an accident, you must gather all relevant information, report the incident to authorities and your insurance company, and seek medical attention if you experienced an injury. Once you’ve done so, you must contact an attorney who specializes in personal injury law.

If you find yourself wondering who was at fault, reach out to our team at Huber Thomas Law. We’ll listen to your story, review all relevant evidence, and determine the best possible course to take for your case. We have experience in determining the most favorable outcomes for our clients.

When you work with Huber Thomas Law, you have a team in your corner. We’ll start with an initial consultation to determine which of the following three scenarios match the facts of your case.

If You Practiced Caution

Let’s say you were practicing caution and a pedestrian suddenly walked in front of your car. It will be tricky for your legal team to prove you made every accommodation to avoid a collision. The best-case scenario is if a judge or jury agrees that the pedestrian was jaywalking.

If You Did Not Practice Caution

If the pedestrian was crossing lawfully, their legal team may argue the incident occurred due to distraction or negligence. In this example, it will be difficult to obtain a favorable result or compensation for your case. There may be evidence that you participated in the following acts of negligence:

  • Driving while intoxicated or impaired
  • Failing to yield to the pedestrian's right-of-way
  • Neglecting to completely stop at a stop sign or red light
  • Being distracted by your cell phone, radio, or other device
  • Speeding or driving with reckless or aggressive behavior

If Both Parties Are at Fault

There are many instances where comparative fault may be determined. The case could assign a percentage of fault to both the pedestrian and driver, reducing each party's compensation proportionally.


Your Advocate After a Pedestrian Accident

An accident involving a vehicle and a pedestrian can be traumatic for both parties. City ordinances and traffic laws can make these cases even more of a challenge for everyone involved. If you’ve found yourself in the aftermath of a pedestrian accident, we can help. Schedule a free consultation with us today.

Now that summer is in full swing, more and more Louisiana residents are taking time to enjoy their favorite boating activities. At Huber Thomas Law, we want our clients to have a great time – but we want to keep them safe, too.

The bad news is that boating accidents are on the rise. Recreational boating accidents rose 18% from 2019 to 2020, from 105 to 124. In 2020, 24 people lost their lives in boating accidents. These statistics are similar to trends across the country, with a 26.3% overall increase in boating accidents from 2019 to 2020.

The good news is that most of these accidents could be prevented if proper boating safety tips are followed. According to the Coast Guard, five factors contribute to most boating accidents:

  1. Operator inattention
  2. Operator inexperience
  3. Improper lookout
  4. Excessive speed
  5. Machinery failure

Read on to learn the best boating safety tips to follow. Of course, nothing can prevent 100% of accidents. If you suffer an injury in a boat accident, contact Huber Thomas Law at (504) 274-2500 for a free legal consultation.

Wear a Life Jacket

Three out of four people who die in a boating accident drown. About 86% of those who drowned in boating accidents were not wearing life vests. It is essential to wear a life jacket at all times to protect you if you enter the water unexpectedly.

Federal law requires that every boat has at least one U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person aboard the boat. Louisiana boating laws require that children under the age of 17 wear a life jacket if they are on a vessel less than 26 feet.

People of all ages on a motorboat less than 16 feet long with a hand tiller outboard motor must wear a life jacket while the boat is moving. Everyone aboard a pirogue, kayak, personal watercraft, or kayak.

Wear the Right Life Jacket

Remember that the job of a life jacket is more than just keeping you afloat. The best models are designed to turn a person's face up if they are unconscious, and some are even designed to protect against hypothermia.

Before choosing a life jacket, try it on by fastening the vest. Then hold your arms straight above your head and ask someone to pull the top of the arm opening. The vest should fit snugly. Buy a life jacket that fits the specific type of on-water activity you will be doing. For example, if you'll be fishing, find a life jacket with pockets and straps to carry supplies.

Have a Boat Safety Kit on Board

Be ready for everything because you can never be too sure when an emergency will arise. No matter the size of your boat, you should always have your boat safety kit with you, and this kit should have the following items.

  • A Flashlight

    If you run out of gasoline or your boat stalls, a flashlight and additional batteries will help you see around your boat in the dark. It can also make you visible to other boats if you are in distress at night.

  • Duct tape

    If something is leaking on your boat, duct tape can work wonders as a temporary fix.

  • A Bucket

    In the event water enters your boat, a bucket can be instrumental in quickly getting it out.

  • First Aid Kit

    In the event of an accident or medical emergency, having a first aid kit that is fully stocked and knowing how to utilize it is essential. It should include:

    • A first aid guide.
    • Over-the-counter pain medication
    • Eyewash
    • Burn cream
    • Cotton pads or swabs
    • Bandages
    • Antiseptic cream or spray
    • Absorbent pads
    • Rolled gauze
    • Foil blanket
    • Tweezers
    • Alcohol wipes
    • Disposable gloves
  • Ropes

    Ropes are essential for rescuing someone who has fallen overboard, docking your boat, and fastening loose objects in bad weather.

  • Trash Bags

    Garbage bags can be used as ponchos in the rain to protect objects on board.

  • Fire Extinguisher

    Just because you're on the water doesn't mean that you can't have a fire inside your boat. Your fire extinguisher should be accessible to all passengers, and they should all know where to use it.

Follow Proper Docking and Anchoring Procedures

Make sure that you adhere to suitable anchoring techniques. It's not enough to have the proper anchor. You might need to drop two anchors in the shape of a V at the front of the boat to prevent it from drifting in the wind. It could be necessary to place your anchor in deeper water, perhaps 20 to 30 feet deep, to help prevent the tide from raising it.

Docking might be difficult depending on the wind, the current, and your type of boat. Make sure your bumpers are out as you go closer to the dock or shore to protect your ship, slow down, and make sure the docking lines are fastened. Bring the boat about two feet from the dock if the wind is blowing in that direction; the breeze will then gently pull it in. Then you can use lines to secure it. Approach the dock at a 20-to-30-degree angle to account for the wind if it is blowing away from the beach. Then tighten the bow line.

Remember that these boating safety tips only cover the basics. If you are not experienced in proper docking and anchoring procedures, consider the next suggestion. In addition to the above, here are also some additional tips to keep you accident free this summer.

The Best Boating Safety Tip: Take a Boat Safety Course

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, operator error is at blame for 70% of boating accidents. Make sure you are familiar with the guidelines and your obligations before you leave the port. There are many online courses accessible, some of which are free.

A free online boating safety education designed expressly for each state is available from The Boat U.S. Foundation. A further selection of online and in-person courses for boating safety is provided by the U.S. Coast Guard.

What Should You Do if You Are Involved in a Boating Accident?

No matter how closely you follow boating safety tips, you cannot prevent 100% of boating accidents. Boating mishaps are terrifying, and it might be challenging to know what to do or how to react in the heat of the moment. It's critical to keep in mind what to do in the aftermath of a boating disaster to protect your legal rights, prevent more injuries, and maybe save lives.

  • Ensure the Safety of Everyone on Board

    Finding out if anyone requires medical assistance should come first in a boating accident if you are on board and the boat is still floating. If you can, help anyone who has fallen overboard get back aboard the boat. If the boat is breaking apart or sinking, you should climb onto any accessible rafts or floating debris and call for assistance. You should put on your life jacket to stay afloat until help arrives.

  • Inform the U.S. Coast Guard of the incident

    If the boat is still moving, pull it away from approaching vessels. As soon as possible, get in touch with the U.S. Coast Guard to report the mishap, its location, and whether any medical aid is necessary. Certain boating incidents must be reported in accordance with federal law, such as when a person is killed or when the damage to the vessel costs $2,000 or more.

    When a boating accident occurs, stay at the scene. Just as in a car accident, you have a responsibility to report the incident and help with the investigation, especially if anyone is hurt.

  • Gather Information

    You should acquire specific information at the accident scene. This includes:

    • Name and contact information of any passengers on your boat or any other boats involved in the collision, and from any eyewitnesses who may have observed the accident from land or other boats
    • Other boats' registration numbers
    • Insurance information, including names, addresses, and policy numbers, for all other vessels involved in the accident
    • Pictures of the boat damage, the accident site, and any other details you want to document or keep track of, if it's safe to do so


  • Contact a Louisiana Boating Accident

    Louisiana law allows you to file a claim for damages sustained during your accident if you were injured due to someone else's negligence. This could include medical costs, property damage, pain and suffering, and more.


We recommend contacting Huber Thomas Law immediately to find out your legal options.

Summer is a wonderful time of year. The weather is warm, school is out, and it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy time with family. Unfortunately, preventable summer accidents are an issue across the U.S. According to the National Safety Council, fatal accidents spike in July and August. From car crashes to drowning, summertime accidents can be dangerous and even deadly. Our team at Huber Thomas & Marcelle compiled these important summer safety tips to keep you and your family safe, no matter where you’re headed this summer.

Avoid summertime accidents in the car

Resources from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration consistently illustrate high fatalities during the summer months. In light of social distancing concerns, it’s possible that even more families will be opting for a road trip over air travel this year.

Keep these tips in mind before you hit the road to keep you and your family safe.

1. Don’t drive during high traffic times

summer-accidentsIf you can, try to drive during times that are less busy. Mornings are generally quieter on the roads, except for Sunday, when people are returning home after the weekend.

When it comes to a long holiday weekend (such as the 4th of July), consider taking a few extra days off to avoid the rush. According to AAA, one of the worst days for travel in multiple metropolitan areas is July 3, typically from 12-4 PM as people leave for their holiday destinations. Nationwide, delays may increase by up to 9% leading to more people on the road, all of them in a hurry to get out of town. That unfortunately means more car accidents.

Other high period times are July 4 afternoon, as people head out to local events, and July 5 when they return home.

2. Focus on the road

There are so many distractions when it comes to driving. Whether you’re trying to look at directions on your phone, driving after a night of little sleep in a new hotel, or listening to your children fight in the backseat, losing focus can be deadly.

Commit to focusing your attention on the road while you’re driving. If possible, have someone navigate for you or use turn-by-turn voice guidance. As always, never text or talk on the phone while driving.

Drowsy driving is just as dangerous. If you're not in shape to drive after a sleepless night, reconsider your plans or ask another driver to take the steering wheel.

3. Be vigilant about drunk driving

Between sun exposure and all-day events, fatigue and dangerously high levels of intoxication can come on fast. Be vigilant about avoiding and preventing drunk driving.

Whether it's you, a family member, or a friend, discuss who will be the designated driver before you leave for an event. This person should avoid all forms of alcohol as they'll have to be vigilant about other drivers on the road.

If everyone in your party wants to drink, book a taxi or rideshare option. Rideshare companies often have more drivers on the road during busy times, ready and available to bring you home. Book one ahead of time to beat the rush after an event or leave at an off-time.

4. Maintain your vehicle

Getting stuck on the side of the road after a breakdown is incredibly dangerous, especially on busy highways. Take your car in for service before you leave on a trip. Oil changes, battery checks, and tire rotations will ensure your car is in good condition.

Take this tip a step further by preparing an emergency kit to keep in your trunk. You should always have a cell phone charger, first aid kit, flashlight, and jumper cables. Throw in a few water bottles and nonperishable food items as well.

5. Never leave pets or children in the car

On average, 39 children under the age of 15 die each year from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle. Louisiana ranks high on the list of states where this is most prevalent. In many cases, it comes down to confusion over a disrupted routine. Unfortunately, family members often assume that someone else brought the child into the house after a car ride.

Check your car to make sure that everyone is out of the vehicle before going into the house. If you see a child unattended in someone else’s vehicle, call 911 and remove the child immediately.

Be aware of motorcycle dangers

With relaxed schedules and warm days, summer is a great time to go out on a motorcycle ride. Unfortunately, there is always an uptick in motorcyclist deaths during this time of year. Due to a variety of factors, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than car passengers.

This is what you can do to protect yourself if you choose to spend the summertime on your bike.

6. Wear appropriate safety gear

Louisiana requires helmets for all motorcyclists and passengers. Look for a DOT sticker on the inside or outside of your helmet to ensure it meets these safety standards. These helmets provide appropriate shock-absorption and peripheral vision capabilities.

To protect yourself in the case of a motorcycle accident, you should also wear:

  • Clothing that fully covers your arms and legs, in a thick material
  • Boots or shoes that cover up to your ankles or higher
  • Gloves for a better grip and to protect your hands
  • Eye protection, such as a full helmet or goggles
  • Reflective materials for better visibility on the road

7. Do a safety check before each ride

Before you hop on your bike, do a quick safety check. Is the weather conducive to riding? If possible, you should always avoid slippery conditions.

From there, check your tire pressure, brakes, headlights, and turn signals. Make sure all cargo is properly secured and balanced for a smooth ride.

8. Recognize the most common causes of crashes

RideApart offers an excellent resource, along with videos, that explains how to avoid and respond to the most common causes of motorcycle crashes. This knowledge can help you avoid summer accidents on your motorcycle. The most common accidents occur when:

  • Another vehicle turns left in front of you
  • You hit an unsafe or slippery patch of road
  • Another vehicle changes lanes into you
  • Someone opens a car door into your oncoming bike
  • You were traveling too fast
  • Another driver stops suddenly, or rear-ends you
  • Anyone is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

This summer be aware of these risks and ready to respond if they occur.

9. Never drive under the influence

When it comes to intoxication, driving a motorcycle is no different than driving a car. Make it a rule to avoid driving if you've had even one drink.

Likewise, avoid driving after any use of prescription sedatives, pain medications, or other drugs. For example, while marijuana may be legal in some states, it can still lead to a change in your driving skills.

10. Practice active awareness during every ride

Riding a motorcycle is fun, but it's also more dangerous. It’s simply more difficult for other drivers in large vehicles to see you. With this in mind, practice being as actively aware as possible. This means:

  • Proceeding cautiously at intersections, where most accidents take place
  • Keeping your headlights on at all times to increase your visibility
  • Leaving plenty of braking distance between yourself and other vehicles
  • Using extra caution in heavy traffic or inclement weather
  • Watching ahead for any potholes, gravel, or puddles

Stay accident free while boating

summer accidentsBoating is a popular summer activity in Louisiana and other Gulf states. While it’s a great way to cool off and enjoy time on the water, boating can also be dangerous. In 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 4,291 boating incidents that resulted in 658 deaths and 2,629 injuries.

Here are our tips for staying accident free while boating.

11. Always watch the weather

Keep an eye on the forecast before you head out for a day of boating. Summer is also hurricane season, which can be a serious concern when you’re on the water. Even a little rain can be incredibly dangerous. Reschedule if there's any change in the forecast.

Once you’re out on the water, be consistently aware of your surroundings. Storm clouds or a sudden temperature drop can result in high winds and risky conditions. If you find yourself in this situation, get off the water as soon as possible.

12. Take a boating safety course

Many people assume that operating a boat is similar to driving a car. How hard can it be? This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The U.S. Coast Guard recommends enrolling in a boating safety course before you get behind the throttle. These courses are offered for all types of recreational boaters. The most popular basic courses generally have six to 13 lessons that cover everything from boat handling to reading the weather.

Beyond these courses, boating laws can vary from state to state. Familiarize yourself with specific regulations based on where you’re traveling.

13. Wear a life jacket

While life jacket regulations vary from state to state, all boaters should opt to wear one, even good swimmers! It’s easy to become disoriented after falling off a boat, especially if you’ve been injured. A life jacket will help you avoid drowning in the case of a serious accident.

When it comes to children, life jackets should be mandatory at all times. Always use life jackets that are U.S. Coast Guard approved and fit correctly.

14. Avoid alcohol

Like driving a car, operating a boat while under the influence is illegal. You could face jail time, fines, and even have your driver’s license suspended.

In worst case scenarios, drinking while operating a boat can lead to accidents that result in serious or even fatal injuries. Alcohol use continues to be the leading known contributing factor in recreational boating deaths in the United States. Even one drink puts everyone at risk as the nature of boating magnifies the side effects of drinking.

If you’re in control of the boat, it’s best to simply stay hydrated with water. Be mindful of how much your passengers are drinking to ensure everyone stays safe while on board.

15. Be cautious while participating in water sports

Boating and water sports go hand in hand! From water skiing to tubing, summer sports are fun for the whole family. Take these necessary steps to ensure a safe day:

  • Learn how to safely use a tow rope
  • Always have a spotter using hand signals and a flag to indicate when someone is in the water
  • Wait for the propeller to stop before getting in or out of the water

Get help after a summertime accident

Even while closely following these tips, summer accidents can still happen. If another party was involved, and you’re searching for a motorcycle or car accident lawyer, our team at Huber Thomas & Marcelle can help. We are also skilled in boating and other maritime legal matters.

Our team is dedicated to helping victims recover after an accident, no matter the circumstances. We represent clients in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and nationwide. We can walk you through your legal options if you've recently been in an accident.

Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

It’s that time of year. Lunches are packed and backpacks are stashed with supplies. The kids are going back to school, which means buses will rule the roads across New Orleans. Are you up to date on the most recent laws and guidelines surrounding Louisiana school bus safety for drivers, though? At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we care about the children in our community. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of important school bus safety tips designed to keep everyone safe. Here's what you need to know going into this school year, whether you're a parent or simply another driver on the roads.

Why is Louisiana school bus safety so important?

As the summer months fly by, it’s easy to get used to a fast morning commute. No more crowded streets or busy sidewalks.

When fall rolls around, though, everything changes. Students flock to bus stops, waiting for that big yellow bus. About 25 million students across the country ride the bus to and from school every day.

According to studies completed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this is the safest method of transportation for children. Students of all ages are 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a bus instead of traveling by car. This is because school buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road. They’re designed with the highest safety standards in mind. And, traffic laws exist specifically to keep them safe.

Want to do your part to maintain a safe commute for students? These are the school bus traffic laws that other drivers must follow.

1. Come to a full stop when children are loading or unloading

Every state in the U.S. has laws surrounding this topic. When a bus is loading or unloading children, you must come to a full and complete stop. Generally, the bus will display red flashing lights in addition to a stop-arm sign that extends out from the left side of the bus. This is your signal to stop immediately.

If you see yellow flashing lights on a school bus up ahead, this is an indication that the bus will be coming to a stop soon. In general, the driver will turn on this signal no less than 100 feet before stopping. When you see these lights, you should begin to slow down.

Violating these stop-arm laws can be dangerous and costly. For a violation that does not involve the injury of another person, you could face fines of up to $500 and may be subject to a driver’s license suspension. Violations involving serious injury or death can lead to increased fines and jail time in addition to suspension of your driver’s license.

2. Stop, even if you're on the other side of the road

This is where drivers tend to be confused about how to proceed. Do I still have to stop when I’m driving on the opposite side of the road? In short, the answer is yes.

You must make a full and complete stop if the red lights are flashing and the stop-arm sign is on display. The only exception is when the bus is on the opposite side of a clearly divided highway. When it comes to the definition of a clearly divided highway, the law varies by state. In Louisiana, the roadway must be separated by a concrete barrier, ditch, or grassy median.

It’s also important to note an exception regarding specified loading zones. If the bus is completely off the roadway and pedestrians are not allowed to cross, you do not have to stop.

3. Leave plenty of distance between your car and the bus

The area ten feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for students. With this in mind, Louisiana law dictates how much space you must leave between your car and a school bus.

Stop thirty feet away from a bus that is loading and unloading students or displaying red flashing lights along with a stop-arm sign.

This is the best way to ensure that you are out of the bus driver’s blind spots. It will also provide you with a better view of any children who may be attempting to cross.

4. Do your research and stay updated

Stay aware of the school bus schedule in your area. Take note of when you see children out and about near bus stops. Find out when buses arrive and depart in the areas along your commute.

In general, there are about three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon when you may see school buses traveling along school routes. Keep this in mind as you go about your daily routine.

5. Always be on the lookout

Before backing out of your driveway, pause to take a look around your street. Are children making their way to the bus stop? Are parents walking back from drop-offs with younger children?

The morning can be hectic for everybody. Children running to catch the bus can appear quickly and with little warning. It’s essential to pause and take a look at your surroundings before you proceed. Approach every stop sign with the same caution.

6. Slow down in neighborhoods and school zones

Kids will gather at local bus stops across your community, sometimes spilling into the streets. Their safety should be your number one priority.

Reduce your speed as much as possible in neighborhoods and school zones. Speed limits are often as low as 15 miles per hour in these areas, and for good reason.

The chances of getting into an accident are less likely if you’re going slow enough to see a potential hazard. Plus, accidents that take place while traveling at a low rate of speed are less likely to be severe or life-threatening.

7. Talk to your children about school bus safety

While pedestrians always have the right-of-way, some drivers simply don’t follow the law. Educating your children on school bus safety will help them remain vigilant when they’re getting to and from school.

Here are some important tips if you have children of your own:

  • Remain visible at all times. If they must cross in front of a bus, make eye contact with the driver and leave plenty of space. Never walk behind the bus.
  • Be on time. No one likes to miss the bus, but it’s more important to stay safe. Running late can cause students to move too quickly and with little regard for who or what is around them. Encourage your child to get out the door as early as possible for a safe walk to the bus stop.
  • Keep a safe distance. Stand several feet away from the curb at all times. Don’t engage in games or playing in or near the street. Wait for the bus to come to a stop before approaching to board.

Find support after a school bus related accident

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, our hope is to create safer communities, especially when it comes to matters that involve children. Unfortunately, accidents happen and drivers make mistakes.

If you or your child has been in a school bus related accident, we can help. Our goal is to treat every client with the same care we would expect for our own families. In addition to Louisiana, members of our team are licensed to practice in Mississippi, Texas, Washington D.C. and New York.

Contact us to find out how we can provide guidance and support when you need it the most.

This year's 4th of July celebrations promise to be record-breaking when it comes to travel. In 2019, AAA estimates that travel volume for this holiday will increase by 4.1% from last year. Over 41 million people are expected to jump on the roads and drive to their holiday destinations. While we all love hot dogs and BBQs, beers and fireworks, taking some precautions this July 4 can keep you and your family safe. Our team at Huber Thomas & Marcelle compiled our most important July 4 safety tips for those who are traveling in or around New Orleans this year.

1. Avoid high traffic times

Many other holiday travelers have the same idea as you: with a long holiday weekend, head out of town on Wednesday afternoon so you can start relaxing as soon as possible.

Reconsider this plan.

AAA reports that one of the worst days for travel in multiple metropolitan areas is the afternoon of Wednesday, July 3, typically from 12-4 PM. Nationwide, delays may increase by up to 9% leading to more people on the road, all of them in a hurry to get out of town. That means more car accidents.

Other high period times are July 4 afternoon, as many heads to local events, and Friday, July 5.

If you can, try to drive during times that are less busy. Mornings are generally quieter on the roads, except for Sunday, when people are returning home.

2. Be vigilant about drunk driving

The July 4 holiday is a celebration of our country's founding, but it's also a day that marks another grim occasion. It's the top beer-drinking holiday in the country, which means it historically has the most drunk-driving incidents, alcohol-impaired accidents, and drunk-driving fatalities.

From 2007 to 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded more than 61 traffic fatalities per day over the long weekend. Don't become a statistic. Be vigilant about avoiding and preventing drunk driving with the following tips.

3. Designate a committed sober driver for all activities

The entire Independence Day weekend may have more cars on the road, but it's the day of July 4 when you must be most vigilant about drunk drivers.

Whether it's you, a family member, or a friend, make sure you discuss who will be the designated driver before you leave for an event. This person should avoid all forms of alcohol, as they'll have to be vigilant about themselves and other drivers on the road.

4. Hire a taxi or rideshare if you plan to drink

One of our most important July 4 safety tips is that there's no safe level of drinking and driving on this holiday. Between sun exposure and long all-day events, fatigue and dangerously high levels of intoxication can come on fast.

If everyone in your party wants to drink, make it a safe holiday by booking a taxi or rideshare option. Companies like Uber and Lyft often have more drivers on the road during busy times, ready and available to bring you home. Book one ahead of time to beat the rush after an event or leave at an off-time.

Bonus: hiring a driver helps you avoid any parking issues at larger community events.

5. Avoid travel immediately after festivities end

Likewise, most community events end between 10-11 PM. This is when there will be the most cars on the road, potentially with the highest number of intoxicated drivers.  

If you can, don't take the risk.

Make a plan to leave the event early, spend it within walking distance of your own house, or find an open place nearby to wait until most people are off the roads. (This is easy to do if you're in the heart of the city for Go Fourth On The River!)

If you're at a family or friend's celebration, ask them if you can stay later to avoid peak travel times.

6. Take additional precautions when drinking

It can't be overstated. Drunk driving is a danger to you, your family, and other drivers. You may think you're okay to drive, but remember on the July 4 weekend, there are certain factors that can increase your risk.

For example, most people will attend outdoor events or hang out by the pool. During these early days of summer, ensure you're staying hydrated if drinking and getting plenty of time in the shade.

Long-term sun exposure can dehydrate you, leading you to higher levels of intoxication. If you're not sure if you can drive, don't. Hire a rideshare, a taxi, or ask a sober person to drive you home.

7. Think beyond the car

Many also neglect to think of other forms of driving over the holiday, especially boating.

July 4 is often the deadliest day for boating accidents, the American Boating Association reports. If you plan to enjoy your holiday on the water, treat it with the same vigilance as operating a car. Designate a sober driver, make sure your emergency equipment is functioning, and be aware of other boats.

If you decide to cycle to and from your festivities, be extra vigilant about drivers on the road. Wear bright, reflective clothing and ensure your lights are working properly.

8. Be aware of other July 4 safety tips

Car accidents, especially those involving intoxicated drivers, represent one of the largest dangers during your Independence Day weekend. These accidents can result in everything from minor property damage to serious injuries to death. Always stay cautious and use common sense when traveling.

However, there are other July 4 safety tips you should be aware of.

Be safe around fireworks

Fireworks are brilliant and beautiful, but they're also explosives.

In 2017, eight people died because of fireworks accidents. Almost 13,000 had injuries that were serious enough to send them to the emergency room.

Never allow young children near or around fireworks. Beyond that, always follow the fireworks safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Don't forget food safety

A long day spent lounging around the pool or on the lake is a great way to spend the holiday. However, if you have food out during these events make sure someone is responsible for keeping it safe. Foodborne illnesses can lead to hospitalizations or even death.

That means cold foods should stay cold and hot foods stay hot. Whether you're picnicking beside the Mississippi or in your own backyard, don't leave perishable foods outside for more than an hour if the temperature is above 90⁰F. Find full food safety tips from the USDA.

Protect your pets

It may be the nation's birthday, but July 4 is a dangerous day for Fido.

Because of the loud, scary noises, it's the day when most pets go missing during the year. They may jump a fence, break out of a gate, or snap their leash to get away from the sounds. Make sure their tags are current and your pets are microchipped.

Leave your pets locked inside at home or in a safe kennel or boarding facility. Don't bring them to overcrowded, unfamiliar parks, and don't leave them in parked cars. Find even more July 4 safety tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Find support after July 4

Even if you did everything right, sometimes accidents can still happen. If you were involved in a car, boat, or bicycle accident over the July 4 weekend, the attorneys at Huber Thomas & Marcelle can help. If you were injured or suffered property damage because of negligent fireworks use, we can also help.

We know that these types of accidents can have long-term effects, from physical to mental to financial damages. Our team is committed to helping you recover and get the support you need.

Don't hesitate to give us a call about your case. We can discuss your options after an accident.

Car insurance rates charged by Louisiana's largest auto insurers have been on a double-digit run, mirroring a national trend the industry says is fueled by more accidents and a spike in claims costs.

"We're seeing it play out all across the nation. It is universally attributed to a combination of distracted driving, cellphone use while driving, and more miles, cheap gas," Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said.

car insurance rates risingCar insurance rates were virtually flat over a five-year period, increasing about 1 percent annually, Donelon said — until about five years ago. Louisiana's auto insurance rates since then have been rising at a faster clip, with the largest jump, an 8 percent average, taking place in 2016.

It's too early to say how much rates will rise in 2017, Donelon said, but the trend could level off soon.
More recently, State Farm, Louisiana's largest insurer with more than 1.1 million policyholders, raised car insurance rates an average of 13.5 percent on Jan. 30. A year earlier, the company raised rates an average of 8 percent.

Progressive Security increased rates 4.1 percent in early 2016 and 9.4 percent late in the year. Allstate increased rates an average of 9.5 percent in 2016. Geico Casualty plans to increase car insurance rates by 16 percent this year. Louisiana Farm Bureau is raising rates by 14.2 percent, but the company's filing with the state Insurance Department says a 19.4 percent increase is justified.

Those companies write the bulk of the state's auto insurance, and their recent filings did not include the impact of the August flood that destroyed tens of thousands of cars. Future rate filings may.

"Auto insurers look at past catastrophic events to determine what their expected future comprehensive losses may be," Deputy Insurance Commissioner Ileana Ledet said. "So down the road we may see insurers raising the comprehensive portion of their rates a bit to anticipate a future catastrophic flood of the extreme magnitude we saw in August."

Insurance industry members and consumer advocates say a number of factors lie behind the recent rate increases.

The Great Recession that wiped out tens of thousands of jobs nationwide meant fewer people driving. As the economy recovered and gasoline prices fell, more drivers hit the road, mainly for work. They got into more wrecks — crashes that cost more to repair in part because of the expensive technology built into vehicles.

In 2015, the number of miles driven in the United States rose 3.5 percent, the biggest increase in more than 20 years. The number of accidents rose nearly 4 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. From 2011 to 2015, the latest year available, the number of accidents jumped nearly 18 percent.

In Louisiana, while the number of miles driven dipped slightly from 2014 to 2015, the number of accidents jumped more than 7 percent, according to a report from LSU's Highway Safety Research Group. From 2011 to 2015, the number of crashes rose by 12.4 percent.

Over that same period, Louisiana's auto insurers have seen claims costs increase from 67.4 percent of the $2.0 billion in premiums collected in 2011 to 76.7 percent of $2.3 billion collected in 2015, according to Insurance Department records. State Farm lost $84 million on its auto business in 2015.

Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, said lower gasoline prices, coupled with more optimism about the economy, led to more driving. The increase in driving explains most of the increase in losses.

Meanwhile, claims costs, which include medical care and auto repair costs, jumped 13 percent over the two years ending in March 2016, according to the Insurance Information Institute, an industry-funded group. That's 10 times the rate of inflation.

Increases in income have given consumers the means to buy newer cars, said Loretta Worters, a spokeswoman for the institute. While many of these cars have all types of safety features that might help prevent accidents, those cameras and sensors are also much more expensive to fix or replace when damaged.

"The problem is all these cars nowadays, they have so many bells and whistles on them. I've seen side view mirrors get knocked off and cost a thousand dollars," said Jerome Wiley, general manager of Gordon & Sandifer Auto Service Inc. in Baton Rouge.

Take into account: Cameras in each mirror to eliminate blind spots. Touchscreen displays with warning indicators for each angle. Front collision warning systems, basically a radar mounted at the front of the vehicle. Multi-airbag systems. Seatbelts that automatically tighten and lock in accidents. All of it costs money, Wiley said.

Even simpler repair components, like paint, cost more as manufacturers comply with federal regulations designed to limit potentially harmful emissions, he said.

Add in the impact of distracted driving, and it's not hard to see why car insurance rates are rising. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said distractions account each year for 18 percent of crashes with injuries, 15 percent of property damage-only accidents and about 10 percent of traffic fatalities.

Distracted driving accounts for about 20 percent of Louisiana's fatal crashes, although the NHTSA says state numbers "are not necessarily representative of actual occurrences, but maybe more indicative of reporting issues." Fatal crashes account for less than 0.5 percent of Louisiana's traffic accidents.

Distracted driving includes smartphone activities such as texting and talking, watching videos, reading, eating, drinking and adjusting the sound system.

Wiley said smartphone usage has overwhelmed the accident-prevention technology on new cars and trucks.

"I'd say over half of the wrecks we see people bringing in — they won't admit to it — is from distracted driving. And distracted is usually their phone," Wiley said.

State Farm spokesman Kip Diggs said distracted driving, whatever the cause, has always been worrisome.

"However, our concern has grown, as it has likely become a greater loss exposure. Increased phone usage, enhanced technology and various other distractions now accessible or available in vehicles are all contributing factors," Diggs said.

Like a lot of other motorists, Donelon said he has been forced to sit through red lights twice because the driver in front of him is too busy with a smartphone to notice the signal changed.

As if all that weren't enough, insurers also have seen the return on their investments — companies invest premiums while waiting to pay claims and expenses — drop along with interest rates. The return on insurers' portfolios was 4.5 percent in 2007, according to an October 2016 report from the Insurance Information Institute. It was 3.2 percent in 2015.

However, Donelon said there's reason to think the big increases may be over.

During a Jan. 29 conference call, Allstate President Matthew Winter told stock analysts and investors that "the spike is over" and rates have stabilized at a new norm. However, the new norm includes more accidents due to an improving economy and more cars on the road, and the greater use of smartphones and distracted driving.

Original story by Ted Griggs of the Advocate, posted on March 12, 2017.

If you’d like to discuss the details of your case with a personal injury lawyer, please contact us to set up a consultation.