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Road debris-related accidents are very common on roads across the country. From country roads to highways to city streets, debris can create unpredictable and dangerous situations for motorists in our state. Every year, debris causes an estimated 50,000 crashes.

These accidents can cause a range of outcomes, from minor inconveniences to severe injuries or even fatalities. ABC News reported that road debris causes 440 deaths per year. With these facts in mind, Louisiana drivers need to recognize the impact road debris has on their safety.

Huber Thomas car accident liability and what to do if you've been involved in a car accident with debris

If you're in a debris accident, it's important to understand the legal implications. Huber Thomas Law has helped Louisiana victims of debris-related accidents navigate the legal processes. Our first step? Equipping you with what you need to know.

Types and Causes of Road Debris

Driving around Louisiana streets, you’ve probably seen various types of debris on the roads. Tree limbs after major storms, trash and litter in high-traffic areas, and rogue construction materials are all common sights to see.

Causes and types of debris can vary. Knowing each of them allows your legal team to determine the best course of action in seeking compensation.

Types of Road Debris

Road debris refers to any foreign objects or materials that have unintentionally found their way onto roadways. These objects pose hazards to vehicles, drivers, and passengers. These can include items such as:

  • Rocks
  • Tree branches
  • Tire shreds
  • Construction materials
  • Trash and litter

Debris can also include other objects that can obstruct traffic flow and lead to accidents.

Factors Contributing to Road Debris

Negligence of Individuals or Companies

Road debris incidents are frequently linked to negligence on the part of individuals or companies. This can involve:

  • Improperly secured loads: Cargo, equipment, or materials that are not adequately secured on vehicles, leading to spillage on the road.
  • Littering: Individuals discarding trash or objects from their vehicles negligently.
  • Failure to maintain vehicles: Inadequate maintenance of vehicles can result in parts or debris falling off.
  • Construction site oversight: Construction companies failing to adequately manage their worksites, allowing materials to spill onto roadways.

Poor Road Maintenance

Inadequate road maintenance is another common contributor of road debris. This may involve:

  • Crumbling road surfaces: Deteriorating asphalt or concrete that generates loose stones or potholes.
  • Lack of regular cleaning: Failure by local authorities to clean and clear debris from roadways.
  • Overgrown vegetation: Trees and shrubs that overhang roads can shed branches and foliage, particularly in adverse weather conditions.

Responsibility in Maintaining Safe Roads

Everyone plays a part in ensuring the safety of themselves and others on the road. Understanding these legal responsibilities is essential for all parties involved in road debris accidents.

Knowing these responsibilities helps determine liability if an accident occurs. It also highlights the importance of proactive measures in preventing road debris-related accidents.

General Road Users

All road users must practice reasonable caution to prevent accidents. In accidents caused by road debris, it's important to avoid making or adding to dangerous situations.

Government Agencies

Government agencies, such as state and local departments of transportation, have a critical role in maintaining safe roads. Their responsibilities include:

  • Regular road maintenance: Ensuring that roads are free from hazards like potholes, loose gravel, and overgrown vegetation.
  • Prompt debris removal: Clearing road debris and litter to prevent accidents.
  • Monitoring construction sites: Overseeing construction projects to ensure materials and debris do not pose a risk to road users.
  • Signage and warnings: Providing appropriate signage to warn drivers of potential hazards.

When government agencies fail to fulfill these responsibilities, they can potentially be held liable for accidents resulting from their negligence.

Drivers

Drivers have a legal obligation to operate their vehicles safely and with due regard for the road conditions. This includes:

  • Maintaining proper following distance: Ensure there is enough space between vehicles to react and maneuver safely if you encounter road debris.
  • Staying within speed limits: Adhering to posted speed limits to have adequate time to respond to unexpected road hazards.
  • Avoiding distractions: Staying focused on driving and not engaging in activities that divert attention from the road.

If a driver fails to exercise these responsibilities and causes an accident due to road debris, they may be held liable for their negligent actions.

Establishing Liability in a Road Debris Accident

How is negligence proven in a road debris related accident?

Evidence at the Scene of Accident

The first step is collecting and reviewing all evidence at the accident scene. This documentation can help prove negligence. Evidence includes:

  • Photographs and videos of scene, road conditions, and position of debris
  • Police reports and accident records that may detail the cause of accident
  • Vehicle damage assessments to determine the cause of collision
  • Road debris samples

Eyewitness Testimony and Expert Opinion

Eyewitness testimony can be invaluable in confirming the circumstances of the accident. Expert opinions can also provide a professional assessment of the events leading to the accident.

Who may be responsible for the debris-related accident?

Negligent Drivers

Sometimes, the driver may be partly or fully blamed for the accident if they couldn't avoid road debris or react properly. Proving their negligence often involves:

  • Demonstrating a lack of reasonable care: Establishing that the driver did not exercise due caution when encountering road debris.
  • Establishing causation: Showing that the driver's actions or inactions directly contributed to the accident.

Government Agencies or Contractors

If poor road maintenance or inadequate construction site oversight is identified as a factor in the accident, government agencies or contractors may be liable. To establish their liability, we may consider:

  • Demonstrating negligence: Proving that the government agency or contractor failed in their responsibilities, such as maintaining safe roads or controlling construction site debris.
  • Complying with legal requirements: Ensuring that they adhere to laws and regulations related to road maintenance and construction safety.

Companies Transporting Materials

Companies involved in transporting materials can also be held accountable if their actions contributed to the presence of road debris. To establish their liability, we may need to:

  • Examine load securing practices: Determine whether the company properly secured materials on their vehicles to prevent spillage.
  • Review safety protocols: Assess whether the company followed safety regulations and guidelines for transporting materials.

How is liability determined in a debris-related accident?

Liability in a debris-related accident depends on how the accident occurred. Below we’ll review the typical scenarios.

Liability of the Driver Who Hit the Debris

When a driver hits road debris, their liability may depend on factors such as:

  • The driver's ability to avoid the debris safely.
  • Whether they were driving at a safe speed and maintaining an appropriate following distance.
  • Their responsiveness to the sudden appearance of debris.

Liability When Road Debris Causes a Chain Reaction

In cases where road debris triggers a chain reaction of accidents involving multiple vehicles, liability can be complex. Determining liability often involves:

  • Analyzing each driver's actions leading up to the accident.
  • Identifying which drivers could have reasonably avoided the initial debris collision.
  • Considering whether the drivers behind the initial collision were following at a safe distance.

Liability When Debris Falls from a Vehicle or Construction Site

When debris falls from a vehicle or a construction site, liability may rest on the responsible parties, including:

  • The driver of the vehicle responsible for the debris.
  • The construction company or site manager overseeing safety protocols and debris containment.

Compensation Available for Victims of Debris-Related Accidents

Like other types of vehicle accidents, compensation is available for victims. Compensation can cover a range of needs, depending on the physical injury or property damage that occurred. Below are the options available if you’ve been involved in a debris-related accident.

Medical Expenses

Victims of road debris accidents often incur medical expenses, including:

  • Emergency medical treatment
  • Hospitalization and surgery
  • Rehabilitation and therapy
  • Medications and ongoing medical care

Property Damage

Road debris accidents can cause significant property damage, including:

  • Vehicle repair or replacement
  • Repairing or replacing personal belongings inside the vehicle
  • Damage to other property such as homes or businesses in the vicinity

Lost Income and Future Earnings

Injuries can cause victims to lose income and may also impact their ability to earn money in the future. Compensation may include:

  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Compensation for time away from work for medical appointments

Pain and Suffering

Road debris accidents can cause pain and suffering, and people may seek compensation for the following damages:

  • Physical pain
  • Emotional distress
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Psychological trauma

Legal Challenges in Debris Accidents

As with any legal case, there are extenuating circumstances that may affect the level of liability and compensation. Below are circumstances you should be aware of regarding your debris-related accident.

Statute of Limitations

Victims must be aware of the statute of limitations, which sets a time limit for filing a legal claim. Failing to meet this deadline may result in the loss of the right to seek compensation.

Comparative Negligence

In some cases, multiple parties may share liability for an accident. Understanding comparative negligence laws is crucial as it determines the distribution of responsibility and compensation.

What to Do After a Road Debris Accident

Taking the following steps after a road debris accident will help protect your rights and interests. Adhering to these steps may also increase the likelihood of a successful legal outcome.

Report Accident to Authorities

If you've been involved in a road debris accident, it's crucial to report the incident to the appropriate authorities, such as the police or highway patrol. This action creates a formal record of the accident, which insurance claims and legal matters may require.

Seek Medical Attention

After a road debris accident, the well-being of all involved parties is paramount. Even if you feel fine immediately after the incident, it's advisable to seek medical attention. Injuries may not show symptoms immediately, so a medical check-up can find and treat any hidden injuries quickly.

Collect Evidence and Documentation

Gathering evidence and documentation is vital for building a strong case if you decide to pursue legal action. This may include:

  • Photographs and videos of the accident scene, debris, and vehicle damage
  • Eyewitness contact information and statements
  • Police reports and accident records
  • Medical records and bills related to injuries
  • Repair estimates or invoices for vehicle damage
  • Any correspondence with insurance companies

Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney

Consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney like Huber Thomas Law is an essential step in seeking compensation and navigating the legal process. An experienced attorney can:

  • Assess the strength of your case and potential liability
  • Provide legal guidance and expertise throughout the claims process
  • Help negotiate with insurance companies or represent you in legal proceedings
  • Ensure that you receive fair and just compensation for your injuries and losses

Seek Guidance from Huber Thomas Law

In the wake of a road debris accident, the guidance and expertise of a personal injury attorney are invaluable. Our team at Huber Thomas Law helps victims of complex cases seek the compensation they deserve.

We will assess liability, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in legal proceedings. Get started on your journey to justice by contacting Huber Thomas Law today.

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.  

Helmets

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. 

Seats

  • 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. 

Passengers

  • 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. 

Cargo

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

Children

  • 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.  

Footrests

  • A motorcycle must be equipped with footrests for passengers. 

Handlebars

  • 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.

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.

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 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.

Rideshare services, like Uber and Lyft, have provided a convenient form of travel for millions of people around the country. In the U.S., Uber alone accounts for 14 million trips taken every day. Rideshare services have made trips to and from airports, restaurants, bars, and concerts faster and safer for travelers in New Orleans – saving time on parking and reducing the risk of drunk driving.

Much like other forms of travel, rideshare services carry potential risks. University of Chicago researchers found that ridesharing services in a city were associated "with an increase of approximately 3% in the number of motor vehicle fatalities and fatal accidents."

Whether you are a passenger, driver, or third party involved in a rideshare accident, it’s important to understand your rights.

What to Know About Rideshare Accidents

In a rideshare service, a passenger is transported in the driver’s personal vehicle in exchange for payment. Think of all of the potential risks of driving your own personal vehicle. You could collide with another car, bicycle, or pedestrian. These accidents also have the potential of occurring when a service like Uber or Lyft is involved.

However, there are additional legal stipulations due to the involvement of the rideshare company, Uber or Lyft, in providing this service. At Huber Thomas Law, we are experienced in handling rideshare accident claims, and we want to empower you with the knowledge below.

Common Causes of Rideshare Accidents

Knowing that accidents can occur in your own vehicle, you can quickly understand that these risks also apply to rideshare services. Below are a few of the common causes of rideshare accidents.

Distracted Driving

An accident can occur between a rideshare driver and another driver as a result of distracted driving. Distractions like phone calls, texting, navigation adjustments, or rideshare app interactions can keep a driver from maintaining focus on the road.

Recklessness

Reckless behavior like aggressive driving and disobeying traffic laws can cause harm on the road. An accident may occur as a result of a rideshare driver or another driver exhibiting aggressive or illegal behavior.

Fatigue

Some Uber and Lyft drivers, and other drivers on the road, may work long days and into the night hours. An accident has the potential of occurring if fatigue has impaired driving abilities.

Improper or Inadequate Maintenance

Rideshare drivers must keep their vehicles maintained and up to date in order to keep themselves and their passengers safe. If brakes, taillights, tires, or other vehicle components become worn, they have the potential to cause an accident.

Unsafe Weather

Adverse conditions, such as rain or fog, can cause risks on the road. If a driver is unequipped to handle such weather, they may be at fault for any accidents that occur when driving during these conditions.

Inexperience

Uber and Lyft require that all drivers maintain the minimal requirements to operate an automobile. However, a rideshare driver or another driver on the road may lack experience or qualifications which can lead to an accident.

Many factors are usually at play when a rideshare accident occurs. An experienced legal team like Huber Thomas Law can evaluate the facts of the case and determine whether negligence was at play.

Potential Harm Resulting from Rideshare Accidents

Rideshare accidents can lead to physical, emotional, and financial harm. Below are a few of the impacts of a rideshare accident.

Physical Injury

A physical injury from a car accident may be minor, including cuts and bruises, to major, such as broken bones, head injuries, or internal injuries.

Emotional Distress

An accident is a very traumatic experience. Those who have been involved in major vehicle accidents often experience emotional impacts afterward, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.

Property Damage

Accidents can occur that not only cause damage to one or more vehicles but also to surrounding structures, such as fences or poles. These may require replacements or repairs.

Lost Wages

If an injury occurs that keeps an individual from working, lost wages are considered damages resulting from an accident. These lost wages can cause financial strain and impact a person’s livelihood.

Medical Expenses

The cost of ER visits, hospitalization, surgeries, and other medical treatments can add up. Medical expenses can be considered in a rideshare accident claim, as they impact the financial health of an individual involved.

After an accident, your safety should be your number one priority. Not only is it important to seek qualified medical evaluations, but also legal evaluations. A dedicated team like Huber Thomas Law can assess the damages that occurred as a result of the accident and determine the right compensation for you.

What to Do After a Rideshare Accident

two motorists contacting authorities after car accident As more people use rideshare services, accidents are more likely to occur. The legal field is quickly acclimating to this new area of law, and Huber Thomas Law has been at the forefront of representation in these cases. We bring our specialization in personal injury to these unique cases, helping our clients recover emotionally, physically, and financially.

Whether you are a passenger, driver, or third party involved in the accident, it’s important to know the proper steps to take.

Seek Medical Attention

Safety is the number one priority after an accident. Call for medical assistance if you or anyone involved has been injured as a result of an accident. Even if you do not feel injured at the moment, medical evaluation is essential. Some injuries may have delayed symptoms.

Call Law Enforcement

It’s necessary to contact the police and file a report that details the incident. This will be a vital document when submitting a claim for damages. Be sure to provide detailed information about the incident, including parties involved, location, and injuries sustained.

Report the Incident to the Rideshare Company

Rideshare companies have a process for reporting incidents. You will need to report the accident within your rideshare app, following their guidelines for doing so. The only information you need to provide is the date, time, and location of the accident, as well as any injuries or property damage incurred.

Gather Photos and Videos

Be sure to take photos and videos of the accident scene. Documenting the scene is important for both insurance and legal claims.

Exchange Information

Make sure to gather all parties involved in the incident's names, contacts, insurance, and license plate information. In a rideshare accident, be sure to document who is who between the driver, passenger, and third-party involved – and identify the name of the rideshare company.

Get Witness Information

If there are any observers of the accident, obtain the name and contact information of these witnesses. Their stories may be valuable in legal testimony determining liability in a rideshare accident.

Do Not Admit Fault

Whatever you do, do not admit to any fault in the rideshare accident. This may be interpreted as an admission of guilt. If you believe you are at fault, withholding this sentiment is still important. An accident is complex, and it’s important to not make any assumptions.

Report the Accident to Your Insurance

Be sure to call your insurance company to report the accident, even if you were a passenger. Provide information and details about the accident and follow the directions your insurance company provides. Do not talk to the rideshare company’s insurance or representatives without legal counsel. 

Find Legal Counsel

Your next step is to get a legal team in your corner. Huber Thomas Law will help you understand your rights and navigate the complexities of the incident and resulting claims.

Keep All Documents

As you navigate reporting the incident and recovering from injury, keep all documentation safe and secure. Documents like medical records, police reports, insurance correspondence, and other information may be used as evidence in legal proceedings.

Follow All Medical Treatment and Expenses

Be sure to keep up with your prescribed medical treatments and document all medical expenses related to the accident. These records will be useful in establishing damages and pursuing compensation.

How an Attorney Can Help After a Rideshare Accident

When dealing with insurance claims, medical bills, and lost wages after a rideshare accident, it’s important to find legal support. Rideshare accidents can be devastating, whether you were the passenger, rideshare driver, or even someone else on the road.

Our experienced team at Huber Thomas Law can walk you through the process of getting the compensation you deserve. We have helped bring numerous cases to trial, securing millions for our clients. We’ll help you navigate the complexities of rideshare accidents, deal with insurance companies, determine liability, and understand legal procedures.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I’m a passenger in a rideshare accident?

If you were the passenger in a rideshare accident, follow the steps outlined above and summarized below.

  1. Seek medical attention.
  2. Contact local authorities to file a police report.
  3. Call your own insurance company, even though you were the passenger.
  4. Report the incident to the rideshare company; however, do not talk to the rideshare company’s insurance or representatives without legal counsel. 
  5. Document the scene and gather contact information of all parties involved, including witnesses.
  6. Keep all medical, insurance, and police records.
  7. Seek legal counsel.

What should I do if the rideshare driver is at fault?

If you believe the rideshare driver was at fault, follow the steps outlined above. It’s important that you fully document the scene, including photos of the rideshare signage within their vehicle.

Remain calm and do not assume fault. Bring all evidence and a description of the incident to a legal representative. An attorney will be able to review the facts of the case and determine the responsible party's liability.

How can I determine liability in a rideshare accident?

Determining liability in a rideshare accident is a complex issue. It requires reviewing all evidence, including photos and videos taken at the scene and police reports. To determine liability, you must also understand local laws and regulations, as well as rideshare company policies.

A legal representative with experience in rideshare accidents can take this stressful analysis off your shoulders. At Huber Thomas Law, we fully understand the complexities of navigating rideshare accident cases. We’ll review all of the facts of the case and help you determine liability.

What damages can I recover in a rideshare claim?

The full amount of damages that one can receive in a rideshare claim depends on local laws and regulations, the extent of the harm, and facts regarding the incident. A few of the damages that one could seek compensation for include:

  1. Medical bills
  2. Property damage
  3. Lost wages
  4. Emotional distress
  5. Disability
  6. Loss of consortium
  7. Punitive damages

By working with Huber Thomas Law, we’ll take into consideration all of the harm done and ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.

How long do I have to file a rideshare accident claim?

For the state of Louisiana, the statute of limitations for all vehicle claims is one year from the date of the accident. Do not hesitate if you have been injured in any way following a rideshare accident.

Seek Legal Support from Huber Thomas

lawyer shaking hands with clientA rideshare accident is a stressful experience. We seek to resolve your case and help you recover through clear communication, informed guidance, and personal attention. Choose Huber Thomas Law to represent your best interests in a rideshare accident case.

From festivals to football games, it seems there are always opportunities to enjoy alcohol in Louisiana. Unfortunately, there are people who take the risk of getting behind the wheel after drinking. The results of drunk driving accidents can be devastating, often resulting in serious injuries and even death.

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, our attorneys always aim to remind people the cost of drinking and driving is too high. However, even with the best intentions, we can’t control everyone else on the road. If you notice a driver has little control over their vehicle or delayed reactions, they may be under the influence.

Accidents with drunk drivers require a timely response. Here’s what you should know if you ever find yourself in this serious type of incident.

How Common Are Accidents with Drunk Drivers?

drunk driving accidentsAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 28 people die in drunk driving accidents every day. That amounts to one person every 52 minutes. While this is on a national level, the numbers aren’t much better in the state of Louisiana. In fact, authorities recorded 216 alcohol-impaired fatalities and close to 6,000 DUI arrests in 2018.

How do drunk drivers cause these accidents? Every situation is unique, but we know that drinking alcohol can cause blurred vision, delayed reactions, and poor coordination. Some common types of drunk driving accidents include:

  • Wrong-way accidents where drunk drivers can’t accurately comprehend which side of the road to drive on
  • Head-on collisions resulting from drowsy drunk drivers who veer into oncoming traffic
  • Rear-end accidents because drunk drivers can’t accurately determine distances

All of these drunk driving accidents can have deadly consequences. Likewise, it’s not uncommon for pedestrians to fall victim to drunk drivers who don’t see them crossing the road.

When someone makes the decision to drive impaired, they aren’t just putting their own life at risk. Everyone on the road can fall victim to their actions. When do most drunk driving accidents happen? According to Department of Transportation research, 31% of fatal drunk driving accidents take place over the weekend. Further, drunk drivers are most likely to be on the road between midnight and 3:00 a.m.

What to Do If You've Been in An Accident with A Drunk Driver

A car accident is always frightening, regardless of the details, but accidents with drunk drivers are even more challenging. Try to stay calm and follow these steps to secure your physical and financial safety.

Take note of important identifying information

If you suspect the driver in an accident is drunk, it’s important to jot down identifying information.

It’s not uncommon for drunk drivers to flee the scene of a crash. This is why it’s critical you take note of the make, model, and color of the vehicle, as well as the license plate number.

If you can see what the driver looks like, even better. These details will help you if the driver does leave the scene before police arrive.

Call the police

Next, find a safe place to park while you call for help. Make your way to the shoulder of the road or an adjacent parking lot to ensure you’re out of traffic. If the accident has occurred at night, remember to turn on your hazard lights for increased visibility.

Call 911 and ask for an officer to come to the scene. If you or someone has been injured, tell the operator that you also need emergency medical assistance. If you suspect the driver is drunk, share this information with the 911 operator on the line.

Gather any details and evidence

Again, if the driver appears to be under the influence, it may be difficult to communicate in a constructive way. If they are cooperative, ask to take a photo of their driver’s license and insurance card. You can also exchange contact information.

Take photos or a video of the crash from different angles. Include close-up images of damage, as well as a video of the entire scene to provide context. Don’t forget to take photos of skid marks, debris, and other details.

If there are witnesses in the area, gather their contact information and try to record a statement about what they say. This testimony may be important later in the event of a lawsuit.

Seek medical help

Even if you feel completely fine, it’s important to see a doctor for a thorough check-up. Some injuries and medical issues may seem non-existent or minimal at first due to shock, only to worsen later. X-rays and other tests can confirm whether you need medical treatment.

If you are suffering from injuries, be sure to keep detailed records of your medical appointments. Bills can add up quickly and you’ll need a paper trail to get compensation from insurance companies.

Call your insurance company

Let your insurance company know that you’ve been in an accident without providing too many details. Your attorney can provide the necessary information later. Likewise, do not agree to speak with the other party’s insurance company yet.

Hire drunk driving accident attorneys

The aftermath of a car accident is stressful, especially if the other party was intoxicated. In addition to facing a lawsuit from you, they are probably handling DUI charges (and possibly injuries).

By hiring an attorney, you’re actively protecting yourself, especially if you’re in one of the following situations:

  • You or a passenger in your vehicle was injured
  • The other party was injured or killed
  • There is costly property damage

As experts in the field, lawyers can secure the compensation you need to cover property damage and medical bills. The process is less daunting when you have someone in your corner fighting for what you deserve.

From crawfish boils to Mardi Gras parties, there is so much fun to be had in Louisiana. If you’re feeling tipsy after, call a friend, rideshare, or a taxi to pick you up. The risk of drunk driving is too high, as the consequences could be deadly or life-altering.

Beyond the seriousness of an accident, drunk driving is a misdemeanor charge in Louisiana, commonly referred to as a DWI. Penalties for a first offense may include:

  • 10 days to 6 months of jail time
  • $300 to $1,000 in fines
  • Judge-ordered ignition interlock devices (IIDs)
  • License suspension

In short, driving while drunk is simply not worth it.

Huber Thomas & Marcelle: Your Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys

Most accidents with drunk drivers have devastating results. Perhaps a loved one was killed or you sustained life-altering injuries. Whatever situation you’re in, the drunk driving accident attorneys at Huber Thomas & Marcelle can help. This is not a time when you should have to deal with insurance companies or documents full of legal and medical jargon alone. You need a team you can trust to walk you through the process of getting the compensation you deserve.

Our Approach

An in-depth investigation is the key to securing a victory in the courtroom. Along with police reports and expert witnesses, our team will complete a collision reconstruction. This helps everyone see the extent of an accident and the resulting injuries.

Further, we always schedule interviews with other parties, including doctors, police officers, and witnesses. This important documentation is essential to proving the extent of an accident that has caused serious harm.

Courtroom Success

drunk driving accidentsMost cases involving car accidents will settle outside of court. This is simply due to the expensive and time-consuming nature of a lawsuit. However, the seriousness of drunk driving accidents can often lead to a more prolonged process. Our drunk driving accident attorneys prepare for every case as if it is going before a judge or jury to ensure excellent preparation.

Our previous case victories demonstrate our intensive approach to pursuing fair settlements for our clients. The team at Huber Thomas & Marcelle has litigated hundreds of cases arising from automobile accidents, resulting in millions of dollars for our clients.

Here’s a look at some of our courtroom success stories:

  • $2.3 million for a woman who was injured when an airport shuttle van moved while she was boarding
  • $1.6 million as a result of a jury verdict for a client who underwent back surgery after a car accident in Jefferson Parish

Because of our advanced experience, we are always ready to take a case to trial and fight for our clients. If you or someone you care about is coping with injuries after a drunk driving accident, we can help. To discuss the details of your case, schedule a complimentary consultation today.

An open road with the wind streaming past you on a motorcycle can be one of life's great joys. However, as every motorcyclist knows, there are very real risks to this activity. Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May is a great time to spread awareness about ways motorcyclists can stay safe on roads across Louisiana and the U.S.

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we're dedicated to making sure your time on the open road is as safe and enjoyable as possible. That's why we compiled this list of tips on motorcycle safety, for both motorcyclists and others on the road. Please share it with others to help make our roads safer for all.

Why is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month so important?

With relaxed schedules, long vacations, and beautiful days, summer is a great time to go out on a ride. Unfortunately, this means there's also an increase in motorcyclist deaths during this time of year.

Over 60% of all motorcyclist deaths in 2018 took place between May through September, with fatalities peaking in June. Due to a variety of factors, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than car passengers.

There is some good news: public awareness efforts are working.

In 2018, there was an almost 5% decrease in motorcyclist fatalities. This followed a dip in 2017 as well. For each of those nearly 5,000 riders, though, every single death was one too many. This is what you can do to help protect yourself and others on the road.

1. Follow Louisiana motorcycle laws

If you've ridden across different states, you know that motorcycle laws vary widely across the U.S. For example, most states have helmet laws in place but only cover underage riders. 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. In 2017, helmets saved an estimated 1,872 lives.

Other Louisiana motorcycle laws stipulate that you must:

  • Complete a road rules and skills test to receive a motorcycle endorsement
  • Wear appropriate eye protection while driving, such as goggles or safety glasses, unless you have a proper windshield or full helmet
  • 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 offers an excellent resource, along with videos, that explains how to avoid and respond to the most common causes of motorcycle crashes. We recommend reading and watching these videos in full, whether you're a new or experienced driver.

3. Never drive under the influence

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

At night, up to 46% of all motorcyclist fatalities occur 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're on a newer bike, get used to it off the road and, again, practice in safer conditions until you build confidence.

Age also plays a role in motorcycle accidents. Those 50 years and older made up 36% of all motorcycle fatalities in 2017, up from 14% in 1997. 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. The Louisiana State Police offer a variety of motorcycle training programs, ranging from basic rider courses to more 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

The Washington Motorcycle Safety Program released a video that shows how to be more aware of motorcyclists on the road. It gives good examples of what to look for and motorcycle movement patterns.

Get help 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 & Marcelle, 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.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a trucking accident, we know how drastically they can change your life. These massive vehicles, also known as big rigs, semi-trucks, or 18-wheelers, can cause devastating crashes. In the most serious cases, they are fatal. In others, they can lead to lifelong issues, such as spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries. After any trucking accident, you need support. Fair compensation can help you cover your medical costs and ongoing care after a trucking accident. At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we can help you navigate the complex trucking industry laws and regulations so you can find the support you need. Here’s what you need to know about spinal cord injuries and trucking accidents.

How often do truck accidents occur?

A semi-truck is the largest type of vehicle you’ll find on the road. Some are carrying mail packages, while others may be transporting produce to your local grocery store. Some trucks are even transporting hazardous materials.

With a full tank and cargo load, this type of truck can weigh up to 30 times more than a regular car. While that alone is a cause for concern for surrounding drivers, there are several other issues.

For example, these are some of the major risks that can lead to truck accidents:

  • Driver fatigue due to long stretches of work, especially at night
  • Large blind spots around the sides and rear of a large truck
  • Lack of ability to brake at high speeds, especially while traveling on wet roads or steep hills
  • Longer acceleration distances, which are especially risky while attempting to merge into traffic
  • Hazardous material cargo, including corrosive agents, explosive materials, or nuclear waste

While the trucking industry is federally regulated, there are still many issues to sort through. Truck accidents occur much too often, and in the worst cases, they have fatal outcomes. More than 4,100 people died in large truck crashes in 2018. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 67% of them were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles.

Unfortunately, statistics show that the problem is only getting worse. In fact, trucking accidents are on the rise. The number of people who died in large truck crashes was 31% higher in 2018 than it was in 2009, the lowest it had been since the collection of fatal crash data began in 1975.

What types of injuries occur after truck accidents?

If a trucking accident isn’t fatal, it is still likely to be catastrophic in terms of injuries and property damage. There are several different types of injuries that may occur after truck accidents, including, but not limited to:

  • Whiplash: If you are hit from behind, your head may be thrown violently back and forth causing whiplash and a range of other neck injuries
  • Back injuries: When your back is struck or twisted around in a trucking accident, the results can lead to chronic pain and debilitation
  • Broken bones: The impact of a big rig can break bones all over the body, including your ribs, arms, and legs
  • Head injuries: When you hit your head against a dashboard or are struck by debris, serious head injuries can occur, including brain injuries
  • Internal trauma: Blunt trauma from the powerful blow of a truck can cause internal bleeding and damage to organs
  • Lacerations: Most trucking accidents involve flying debris that can pierce the skin and lead to deep cuts as well as scrapes

Beyond this list, the most serious and prevalent injuries after trucking accidents are spinal cord injuries. This type of injury can change the course of your entire life. The spinal cord is significant because it helps your body function by sending and receiving messages from the brain. Let's look at the impact of this type of injury more closely.

What are spinal cord injuries?

We walk around every day completing basic tasks. From getting a plate out of the cupboard to reaching for your wallet, these everyday occurrences are seemingly mindless. Most of us don’t give too much thought to the fact that the spinal cord makes all of this possible.

In basic terms, your spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs down the center of your back. It transmits sensory information from your body to your brain, which means it is an integral part of your life. It enables you to move your limbs, control your bladder, and so much more.

The bony vertebrae of your spinal column protect this cord of nerves from damage. However, severe trauma can fracture, compress, or even sever the spinal cord. When communication between the brain and spinal cord fails, paralysis occurs. This is why spinal cord injuries are so dangerous.

spinal injury diagram

Types of spinal cord injuries

As with any injury, there are varying levels of severity of spinal cord injuries. This will largely depend on the location of the impact. In general, the higher up the injury takes place, the more severe the outcome.

For example, an injury to the neck, first and second vertebrae, or mid-cervical vertebra could affect your ability to breathe. An injury that occurs lower than this in the lumbar vertebrae may affect nerve and muscle control to the bladder, bowel, legs, and sexual organs.

Spinal cord injuries are classified into three different categories or types:

  • Quadriplegia: Refers to loss of movement and sensation in all four limbs, but may also affect a person’s respiratory system
  • Paraplegia: Loss of sensation and movement in both legs
  • Triplegia: Involves motor and sensory loss in both legs and one arm

Doctors must also determine whether a spinal cord injury is complete or incomplete. A complete injury refers to a total lack of movement or feeling below the level of the injury. An incomplete injury means there is still some degree of feeling or movement below the level of the injury.

Recovery and aftercare

The moments immediately following spinal cord injuries are critical. Remain still and avoid moving your spinal column. In a serious case like this, it is best to wait for emergency care to arrive. This will increase your odds of a better recovery.

From there, you will most likely be transported by ambulance to the nearest hospital. Doctors there will work to stabilize you with oxygen, blood transfusions, and a brace to keep your neck and back still. The following hours are critical and will have a serious impact on your recovery.

While every spinal cord injury is different, there are several methods of treatment your medical team may recommend. This could include all, or a combination, of the following:

  • Surgery to repair tears and damage to the spinal column
  • Physical therapy to improve your range of motion and strengthen the damaged area
  • Injections to reduce inflammation, provide pain relief, and repair damaged tissue
  • Occupational therapy and rehabilitation to allow you to return to work
  • The use of assistive devices and braces

Aftercare will look different for every person. In cases of severe spinal cord injuries, you may require a wheelchair, either temporarily or permanently. This will depend on the extent of your injury and any paralysis you’re experiencing.

Furthermore, you may require special in-home care in order to accomplish daily tasks. While this is a worst-case scenario, it is still the reality for many spinal cord injuries. A spinal cord injury during a trucking accident can truly alter the course of your life.

What should I do after a trucking accident?

Any accident is frightening, but a run-in with a truck of this size can leave you feeling completely shaken and overwhelmed. Your first priority should always be to call for help, especially if you or any of your passengers are hurt. It doesn’t matter if it seems to be minor, it’s always best to have emergency officials evaluate the situation. As noted, it's best to remain still if there's any evidence of spinal cord injuries. Ask nearby witnesses to complete the following tasks in this case.

If there aren’t any evident injuries, you’ll still need to call police. An officer will come out to the scene to write up a formal crash report. This document can be very helpful when dealing with the truck driver, the company they work for, and insurance representatives.

Once you’ve called the local police department in your area, follow these important next steps:

  • Get contact information for the driver involved: Don’t leave without getting information from the truck driver involved in the crash. This should include their name, phone number, license plate, and insurance information. Jot down any details about the company they work for and their employee ID number as well. If they're subcontracting for a larger shipping company (such as Amazon), get the names of both companies too.
  • Talk to witnesses: Did anyone see the crash happen? Perhaps someone was in a nearby parking lot or restaurant. Maybe another driver saw the crash happen and pulled over to help. Exchange information with these witnesses. You'll likely need firsthand accounts later on to support your case.
  • Gather evidence: If you’re in a safe place, begin to gather evidence from the site of the accident. Take photos of the entire area, as well as any damage to your vehicle or skid marks on the road, sidewalks, and guardrails.

Whether you are returning home or being admitted to a hospital, you or someone you love should consider hiring a truck accident lawyer right away. This will help you determine the next steps. An experienced car accident lawyer will be open and honest about the best plan for your specific situation and can help protect your rights after a crash.

Get help after a trucking accident

Recovering from a spinal cord injury is a lifelong effort. If a truck driver is responsible for your injury, you have the right to fair compensation so you can heal. This financial support will usually be necessary to cover rehabilitation, lost wages, continued medical care, and any medical equipment your doctor deems necessary.

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we understand the trauma that occurs with spinal cord injuries. As your car accident attorney, we will work closely with expert medical witnesses to calculate a fair settlement based on the physical, work-related, and mental damages you are suffering from.

Our New Orleans car accident lawyers have brought hundreds of personal injury cases to trial. We pride ourselves on our excellent trial success record and client-centered focus. In many cases, you don't pay anything unless we win your case.

Give us a call today to discuss your situation.

Rideshare companies are becoming a way of life, especially for those who live in big cities. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 36% of adults say they have used a ride-hailing service such as Uber or Lyft. For people who travel often, it’s an easy and convenient option. Gone are the days of renting a car or hailing a taxi. Unfortunately, with every advancement in technology, there are always issues that arise. While any car accident can be traumatic, those involving rideshare companies are particularly complicated. Uber lawsuits and Lyft lawsuits are difficult to navigate because you’re dealing with the driver, as well as the ride-share company and multiple insurance companies with individual interests.

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we have the necessary experience to help you navigate the complexities of rideshare accidents and issues. We can walk with you through the process, fighting for you every step of the way. The following profiles of Uber lawsuits show just how complex and varied these cases can be.

$20 million settlement reached for Uber TCPA violation

In August of 2015, a woman named Maria Vergara filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Uber. The suit claimed that Uber sent her continuous, unwanted texts over the course of several weeks. According to Vergara, they were urging her to complete the app’s sign-up process. Other named parties included Jonathan Grindell, Jennifer Reilly, James Lathrop, Sandeep Pal, and Justin Bartolet.

So why was this an issue? The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, also known as “TCPA,” forbids companies from sending automated text messages to individuals without consent. In 2018, Uber settled the lawsuit for $20 million. If an individual received one or more text messages from Uber between December 31, 2010 and August 17, 2017, they were potentially eligible for a payment from this class-action Uber lawsuit.

The $20 million settlement had three separate settlement classes:

  • Class A: Everyone Uber texted about its Refer-a-Friend program
  • Class B: Potential drivers who partially completed the company’s application and continued to receive unwanted texts from Uber, even after they asked the company to stop
  • Class C: Everyone who did not provide their information to Uber, but received unwanted texts

As of August 2018, all checks were sent to eligible Settlement Class Members who filed a valid claim. However, in addition to paying $20 million in settlement money, Uber also agreed to make several changes.

First, the company discontinued its Refer-a-Friend automated text messages. They also made changes to the opt-out system to automatically unsubscribe recipients who reply with certain opt-out words. Furthermore, Uber improved their sign-up technology to reduce the likelihood of texting or calling wrong phone numbers in the future.

Updates to the case

Even with changes put into place, Uber continues to face ongoing allegations of TCPA violations. One of these suits came up just months after the $20 million settlement. In April 2018, a lawsuit filed in Florida challenged Uber’s alleged practice of sending template text messages to former drivers. According to the plaintiff, these text messages urge former drivers to come back to Uber and continue working.

Further, in late 2019, the District Court for the Southern District of California ordered another Uber TCPA case to arbitration. The plaintiff was a user of Uber’s ride-sharing service. However, the plaintiff began receiving unwanted calls regarding Uber’s other application, “Uber Eats.” This particular app enables users to order food from local restaurants and have it delivered to them. The problem was that the plaintiff did not own or operate a restaurant and had no interest in the calls. Furthermore, the plaintiff contacted Uber at least three times in an effort to stop the calls but was unsuccessful.

Were you affected?

The original TCPA Uber lawsuit is now closed and all Settlement Class Members who filed a claim have been paid. However, Huber Thomas & Marcelle can assist if you’ve been affected by similar matters.

No one wants to be on the receiving end of endless solicitation. Due to the costly nature of TCPA violations, most businesses use verification codes and advanced systems to ensure the accuracy of information on file. Unfortunately, others continue to ignore their responsibility to uphold the guidelines set forth in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

If you’re receiving continuous calls and/or text messages you didn’t sign up for, our team of lawyers can help. We work hard to obtain fair settlements for our clients.

Other rideshare and Uber lawsuits

Beyond issues of unwanted communication, there are additional lawsuits playing out against Uber and other rideshare companies. As the popularity of this mode of transportation grows, both passengers and drivers encounter issues that lead to litigation.

Here is a look at some of the other Uber lawsuits and rideshare lawsuits making their way through the court system.

Wage issues

Perhaps the Uber issue most frequently reported in the media deals with wages.

For example, in November 2019, drivers in New York City filed a lawsuit against Uber for millions in lost wages. The suit claims Uber deducted money from the paychecks of 96,000 drivers for both the state’s sales taxes and a surcharge meant to apply to rides between states. According to the drivers, their contract requires them to be paid the full fare minus Uber’s service fee. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that Uber required passengers to pay a higher fare than what was being reported to drivers. In turn, the company would pocket the difference.

Prior to this, New York City approved minimum wage protections for rideshare drivers. The new law requires Uber to pay them $17 an hour for their work. Other cities, including Seattle and Los Angeles, are also considering the implementation of minimum wage requirements for rideshare drivers.

Employment classification

Beyond the issue of fair wages is the challenges over employment classification. Uber, Lyft, and other similar rideshare apps classify their workers as independent contractors. If true, this means that they do not have to provide health insurance, overtime pay, and other benefits that are required for employees.

O’Connor v. Uber has made waves in the court system since 2013 about this issue. This initial case was nearly over in 2016 when Uber agreed to pay $100 million in a class action lawsuit. The catch? Uber would be able to continue classifying drivers as independent contractors. A federal judge argued the amount was insufficient, and since then, things have shifted. The Supreme Court issued a ruling that supports employers forcing workers to use arbitration, as opposed to class action lawsuits. From there, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reduced the size of the class that will participate in the settlement.

In California, Uber recently joined forces with Lyft and other food delivery apps to fight legislation that forces them to classify drivers as employees. Assembly Bill 5 states that a worker is considered an employee unless they are free from the employer’s control, their work is outside the usual course of the company’s business, and they work as part of an independent job or business. As a result, Uber is rolling out changes to the app to prove that drivers truly are in control. They can view all of the details about a ride in order to decide if it is worth the time and rate. However, discussions will still continue about this contentious issue.

Sexual assault allegations

Both Lyft and Uber have also been at the center of lawsuits involving sexual assault. In Washington, DC, a woman is suing Uber for $10 million after being sexually assaulted by her driver. According to court documents, she confided in a social worker who contacted the police. After collecting DNA evidence that linked the driver to the assault, he pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse and is currently in jail.

Last year, 20 people filed a similar lawsuit against Lyft. They each claim they were raped or sexually assaulted by their drivers. The plaintiffs and their lawyers sued not only to seek damages, but also to demand that Lyft install cameras in all of their cars. In a statement, Lyft said they've launched more than 15 new safety features to combat these types of situations. However, lawyers say eight of the cases took place after these changes were put into place.

Uber accidents

Finally, with easier access to a ride, you would think the prevalence of car accidents would go down. After all, rideshare services present an affordable and convenient way to avoid distracted and impaired driving. However, some statistics show that rideshare programs lead to more miles on the road, which could mean more Uber accidents.

University of Chicago researchers found that new rideshare services in a city were associated with an increase of approximately 3% in the number of motor vehicle fatalities and fatal accidents (involving both passengers and pedestrians). As it turns out, the convenience may actually result in higher risk.

While any car accident is frightening, and potentially life-changing, rideshare accidents can be tough to navigate. Uber does carry insurance, but it still generally places the blame on drivers. That means your driver is typically responsible for any accident that occurs, not the rideshare company.

In March of 2018, a Philadelphia woman was injured after her Uber driver ran a red light. She suffered a fracture to her spine, along with a concussion and traumatic brain injury. Uber argues that by approving their “terms and conditions” when you sign up, you agree to resolve legal disputes only through binding arbitration. In short, this forces you to waive your rights to sue. However, a Philadelphia judge ruled that Uber can’t prove someone has actually read through the terms and conditions. Today, the woman continues to fight for a jury trial.

Unfortunately, data surrounding the prevalence of rideshare accidents is difficult to come by. While Uber does release safety reports, they typically leave out accidents that are non-fatal. According to representatives from the company, these numbers are simply too difficult to track.

Get help after a Lyft or Uber accident

Put simply, issues with these rideshare companies are complicated, contentious, and difficult to manage. If you’re dealing with the aftermath of a Lyft or Uber accident, we can help. At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we work to obtain the fairest settlement for our clients and have dedicated experience with rideshare issues.

Whether you have mounting medical bills or have lost the ability to work, we understand the effect a car accident can have on your life. This is the case if you're a passenger, rideshare driver, or someone else on the road when the accident occurred.

Regardless of your involvement in this type of crash, you need an attorney with experience in these types of cases. Rideshare companies are giants in the transportation industry. You should never face them alone. Our experienced team at Huber Thomas & Marcelle can walk you through the process of getting the compensation you deserve. We have helped bring numerous cases to trial, with millions awarded to our clients.

For any potential rideshare or Uber lawsuit, you need the best legal team on your side. Call Huber Thomas & Marcelle for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

 

Originally posted August 17, 2017.

It can happen while you’re sitting at a stoplight or slowing down for traffic. Suddenly, a car from behind slams into you. Even with the best intentions and a great driving record, you can become the victim in a rear-end accident. In serious cases, injuries from rear-end accidents can change the course of your life, forcing you to receive costly medical care.

Unfortunately, many drivers don’t take the dangers of the road seriously, and in turn, don’t pay attention as much as they should. Fortunately, the team at Huber Thomas & Marcelle can provide guidance on the best ways to recover after an accident, including rear-end collisions. Whether you’ve recently been in an accident or simply want to be prepared if the worst happens, here’s what you should know.

What is a rear-end accident?

While collisions can happen in a variety of ways, a rear-end accident is one of the most common. In 2019, there were more than 50,000 rear-end crashes in the state of Louisiana. Approximately 34% of them resulted in injuries, while another 35% caused property damage. Shockingly, 12% of these rear-end collisions were fatal, which speaks to the seriousness of this type of accident.

This type of crash involves a car hitting the one in front of it. This can be due to a variety of factors, including:

  • Driver inattention or distraction
  • Tailgating
  • Speeding
  • Weather conditions that lead to icy or slippery roads

In some cases, the initial force can lead to a domino effect. On highways, pile-ups are caused by the first accident that leads to several others cars colliding with the vehicle in front of them. This chain reaction can lead to high levels of injury and property damage.

What types of injuries are common after rear-end accidents?

When it comes to accidents on the road, the resulting injuries can be devastating. Victims often deal with long-lasting side effects and mounting medical bills. Some of the most common types of injuries after rear-end accidents include:

  • Whiplash: This occurs when your head is violently jolted in one direction and then the other, often leading to neck pain and headaches
  • Lower back injuries: Ruptures, tears, fractures, or dislocation of the ligaments and muscles in the lower back region can occur after a collision
  • Spinal cord injuries: In severe cases, an accident can lead to damage to the bony vertebrae of your spinal column—the structure that transmits sensory information from your body to your brain
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI): Brain damage can result from a violent blow, blast, or jolt to the head, with often long-lasting effects
  • Broken bones: Broken ribs to broken legs, arms, and even shoulders and pelvises are all possible during a collision

While these are some of the most common injuries after rear-end collisions, this list is just the beginning. Victims of car accidents can suffer from a range of different injuries and conditions after a crash. It’s important to seek emergency care immediately in order to improve your chances of making a full recovery.

It’s also worth noting that many injuries can appear over time. You may walk away feeling fine, but really be in shock. In the days or weeks to come, pain and soreness can crop up or you may finally feel the effects of whiplash or injuries. For this reason, we always recommend that you visit your doctor for a check-up after an accident, even if you feel okay. Seemingly invisible effects of a car accident can be dangerous if they're allowed to get worse over time.

Who is at fault after a rear-end accident in Louisiana?

In most rear-end collisions, the fault will come down on the trailing driver because he or she created the initial impact. Simply put, every driver is expected to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of them in order to avoid rear-end collisions.

Louisiana law (R.S. 32:81) clearly states:

“The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.”

While it is rare, there are instances when the driver who was hit may be partially to blame for a rear-end accident. Some examples that could lead to this scenario include:

  • Failing to repair a broken tail light or forgetting to turn on hazard lights after a mechanical failure or accident
  • Stopping for no reason in the middle of the road
  • Reversing without reason or without adequate notice
  • Driving erratically, such as going much faster than the speed limit, darting in and out of traffic, and cutting other drivers off

Every rear-end accident is different. A variety of factors can lead to the initial impact and any subsequent damage done to surrounding vehicles.

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, our skilled car accident lawyers can review the specifics of your crash and discuss your options. If you're injured or have extensive property damage, they can discuss potential remedies and legal solutions for getting the compensation you need to recover fully.

What should I do after a rear-end collision?

Any type of car accident can feel overwhelming in the moment, but it’s important to keep a clear head and complete a few tasks. Your first priority should always be to call for help, especially if you notice any injuries right away. It doesn’t matter if it seems to be minor, it’s best to have a doctor take a closer look.

If there aren’t any evident injuries, you’ll still need to call police. An officer will come out to the scene to write up a formal crash report. This document can be very helpful when dealing with the other party and insurance companies.

Once you’ve called your local police department, follow these three important next steps:

  1. Get contact information for the drivers involved: Don’t leave without getting information from the other drivers involved in the crash. This should include their name, phone number, license plate, and insurance information.
  2. Talk to witnesses: Did anyone see the crash happen? Perhaps someone was in a nearby parking lot or restaurant. Maybe another driver saw the crash happen and pulled over to help. Exchange information with these witnesses. You may need firsthand accounts later on to support your case.
  3. Gather evidence: If you’re in a safe place, begin to gather evidence from the site of the rear-end accident. Take photos of the entire area, as well as any property damage to cars or skid marks on the road.

We cover the other important steps you should take after a car accident in our earlier post.

Get help after a rear-end accident in Louisiana

Once you’ve returned home, you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer. This isn’t the time to go it alone. Too often people believe they can go through this experience without representation, only to miss out on the compensation they need to recover fully.

It’s also important to note that even if you were partially at fault during a crash, you may still be eligible for compensation, whether it’s for medical bills or vehicle damage. Don’t let insurance companies shift all of the blame onto you.

At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, you’ll have a skilled car accident attorney by your side to guide you through the complex legal process. Plus, you'll always benefit from multiple viewpoints and areas of expertise through our team's collaborative approach. Beyond car accidents, we also have experience helping our clients with accidents that involve pedestrians, motorcycles, semi-trucks, and more.

To learn about how we can help after an accident, we encourage you to browse our previous case victories. If you've been in a rear-end accident and want to ensure that you receive a fair settlement, contact us today for a free consultation.

Driving is a daily occurrence for most of us. It’s as common as eating and sleeping when it comes to our routine. Unfortunately, accidents can happen due to inclement weather, distracted driving, and other unforeseen instances, and many of us simply have no idea what to do after a car accident. 

In the state of Louisiana, a crash resulting in injuries happens every seven minutes, but any type of accident can be traumatic. Panic sets in, especially if you have passengers in the car with you. Even if everyone in your car is safe, what about the other people involved in the crash? How much will this cost you? Is your car a total loss? Your mind will likely be racing as you try to figure out what to do. 

At Huber, Thomas & Marcelle, we're dedicated to helping Louisiana residents make sense of the legal system and this post covers one of the most important aspects of that. In the moments after the crash occurs, these are the vital things you should know about what to do after a car accident to protect yourself and your rights.

What to do after a car accident

One of the most important things to keep in mind after a car accident is to stay calm. This will help you get through a series of steps to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. 

Keep in mind, though, that while we’re focusing on car accidents in this particular post, many of these tips are relevant for other types of accidents as well. You should follow similar steps for motorcycle accidents or any situation involving a bicycle and pedestrians. You will even find many of them applicable after a boating incident

Here are ten of the most important steps to take immediately after an accident. 

1. Stop and move to a safe area

Always remain on scene after an accident. Leaving the area can result in serious consequences, especially if you are at fault. 

That said, it’s important to get to a nearby safe area. People often get hurt or cause a chain reaction of accidents when they aren’t in a safe area away from the flow of traffic. 

If possible, pull into an adjacent parking lot or at least to the shoulder. Turn on your hazard lights so other cars can clearly see that you’ve pulled away from the road. If you have emergency flares, that’s even better, especially at night. 

2. Call for help

Once you’re in a safe area, it’s time to call for help. If you, your passengers, or people in the other vehicle are injured, call 911 and ask for emergency medical assistance. Traumatic brain or head injuries, in particular, should be dealt with immediately. 

If everyone is unharmed, you’ll still need to call police. Even when damage seems to be minor, you’ll want an official car accident report to give to your insurance company or attorney, if necessary. 

3. Exchange information

Regardless of how minimal the damage may seem, it’s essential to exchange information with the other people involved in the crash. You will need their name, contact information, license plate number, and insurance details. 

Although it isn’t a requirement for everyone to show their license, it’s a good idea to ask. This can simply confirm they are who they claim to be. 

4. Find witnesses

Unfortunately, accidents can quickly become controversial. In order to avoid the blame game, it’s important to find witnesses who saw the crash take place. 

Perhaps this is someone who pulled over to help or saw it happen from a nearby crosswalk or sidewalk. Be sure to gather contact information from these people. If they've arrived at the scene, connect them with police officers to give statements.

5. Take photos

In today’s world of advanced technology and smartphones, this step is easier than ever. Take detailed photos of the crash from several different angles, as well as close-up images of any damage. You may also find it beneficial to get a video of the entire scene in order to provide context and a total view of the area. Get evidence of any debris, skid marks, or other damage. 

This can help your insurance company calculate just how much damage has been done to your vehicle or any other vehicles involved. In the unfortunate event that your case does go to litigation, this type of evidence is critical.

6. Contact your insurance company

It’s important to get in touch with your insurance company. Give them a call and inform them that you have been in an accident, BUT don’t give them any details yet. Let them know you will be contacting them again soon once you have spoken to your attorney (see #10).

7. Get professional help

Once the dust has cleared and you've left the scene, it's time to get help. 

Take your vehicle into a reputable shop for an extensive look. Ask them to provide notes about the damage, along with a cost breakdown for repairs. 

Even if you feel fine, visit a doctor for a thorough check-up. You may not feel some injuries due to shock, while others like whiplash, can take a few days to appear. 

8. Keep records of all medical treatment

If you’re suffering from injuries after a car accident, medical bills can pile up quickly. From initial tests and X-rays to hospital stays and subsequent check-ups, keep an extensive paper trail for every medical appointment you have. 

Ask your doctor, the hospital, and even your health insurance company for records of everything. Create a file and keep it in a safe place. You may want to consider scanning these documents in order to keep them on your computer for easy access and emailing.

All of this will be very important if you do go through the personal injury claims process.

9. Proceed with caution 

In the days following an accident, be wary of unsolicited phone calls from the other party’s insurance company or attorney. Remain polite and professional, but explain that you’ll be in touch through your own representation. 

In some cases, they may try to offer you an early settlement. If you were hurt, this could prevent you from seeking much-needed compensation in the future. It’s important to be sure that you understand the full scope of your condition and any future complications before you accept and sign off on any settlement. 

Furthermore, even property damage estimates take time. What if it turns out your minor car repairs are in fact extensive? In most cases, an early settlement will only provide money for simple repairs. Don’t let the other party or their insurance company pressure you into anything.

10. Contact a New Orleans car accident lawyer

A skilled New Orleans car accident lawyer can navigate complex legal matters with your best interests in mind. The stress of a car accident can be intense, especially if you’re dealing with injuries or extensive vehicle damage that leaves you without reliable transportation. 

How do you know if you need a lawyer? There are three instances when it is critical to find professional representation:

  • You or a passenger in your vehicle were injured in the accident
  • Anyone in the accident was severely injured or killed
  • There's significant and costly property damage

You may also want to contact an attorney even if the damage was minor. A short consultation can give you a better idea of the best way to protect your rights and property after an accident. 

If you work with our team at Huber, Thomas & Marcelle, you can be confident that the best Louisiana car accident lawyers are on your side. Our case victories have resulted in millions of dollars for our deserving clients. If you've been in a car accident and want to ensure that you receive a fair settlement, contact us today for a free consultation. We will be here for you every step of the way.