Car Accident Statistics for LafayetteAs the fourth largest city in the state of Louisiana, Lafayette sees its share of car accidents each year. In one recent year, the city saw nine fatal crashes and 2,162 accidents that caused injuries. Lafayette Parish as a whole saw eighteen fatal crashes and 2,905 injury-producing crashes for the year. Accident numbers are on a fast rise for 2018. Through April, we saw 612 injury crashes, causing 933 injuries. At this pace, Lafayette, unfortunately, should exceed its total number of injuries in 2017 quite easily. After a crash, victims often suffer from serious injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Whiplash and other neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions
- Soft-tissue injuries like sprains and strains
- Spinal cord injuries, such as paralysis
Examples of Driver NegligenceThe negligence of other drivers injure many of our clients. Careless, negligent drivers don’t intend to hurt you, but their lack of >caution makes them dangerous nonetheless. The legal team at Stewart J. Guss Personal Injury Lawyers have seen all kinds of negligence, including:
- Texting while driving. There’s a reason that 15 states and the District of Columbia have banned hand-held cell phones while behind the wheel of moving vehicle. Just try reading and driving at the same time. Actually, don’t—it’s impossible to do in a way that is safe for yourself and others while driving on the road. Instead of looking at the road, drivers are looking at a little screen, their attention stolen from other cars on the road or passengers crossing the street. Unfortunately, Louisiana has not yet banned this practice.
- Talking on a cell phone. The simple act of reaching for a phone and accepting a call takes your eyes off the road for critical seconds. During that time, someone could step into the road, or a motorcycle or bicycle could swerve into your lane. All it takes is a fraction of a second to press the keypads on a phone for you to end up in a wreck. And even if you do make or answer a call safely, an absorbing conversation can easily distract you, so hands-free cell phones are rarely the answer.
- Driving too fast. Louisiana posts speed limits on its roadsides for a reason—this is the maximum safe speed for driving in the area. When cars go too fast, drivers rob themselves of sufficient time to stop before plowing into pedestrians or other vehicles.
- Illegal passing. Drivers in a rush often pass illegally. Some pass around bends or dangerously on the right-hand side of the lane. Illegal passing often leads to head-on collisions or sideswipes as drivers try to scoot back into their lanes.
- Sleepiness. In today’s economic climate, people are working harder than ever to support their families. Unfortunately, pushing yourself too hard means that sometimes you fall asleep behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Someone who is too tired to drive is negligent.
- Inadequate upkeep. If an accident takes place because faulty brakes, or another part of their vehicle fails, a driver who doesn’t get their vehicle regularly serviced might face liability for any injuries that result.
Drunk Drivers in LouisianaAny driver who gets behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated is a threat to the safety of our friends and families. Under Louisiana law, drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more are legally intoxicated.
Drunk drivers cause unnecessary deaths and injuries in Louisiana each year. In 2017, eight people died in Lafayette Parish due to drunk drivers behind the wheel, who injured more than 300. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Louisiana’s drunk driving deaths and accidents exceed the national average:
- Nationally: 3.3 per 100,000 people
- Louisiana: 5.2 per 100,000 people
Louisiana’s numbers are almost 60 percent higher than the national average. Furthermore, about 2.5 percent of Louisiana adults report that they drove after drinking, much more than the national average of 1.9 percent. This is a tragic reality that Louisiana’s citizens and legislators must deal with.
Strategies that reduce drunk driving include sobriety checkpoints, where police set up roadblocks and randomly stop people to check whether they are intoxicated. Requiring installation of interlock devices, and suspending licenses after DUI convictions also helps. Unfortunately, Louisiana already does all of that, so bringing down the drunk driving rate will require more innovative means.
In addition to alcohol, other drug use can seriously impair drivers on Louisiana’s roads. Many drivers use the following before turning on the ignition:
Defensive Driving TacticsDefensive driving puts you in better control. By staying attentive and cautious, you can hopefully properly anticipate dangers and react to them in plenty of time so that you and your family get home safe and sound. Follow these tips:
- Don’t assume other drivers will follow the rules. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone yielded the right of way? Wouldn’t we all enjoy driving more if people put on their turn signals before stomping on the brakes and making their turns? Instead of assuming other drivers will follow the laws of the road, prepare mentally for them not to. If necessary, yield to another vehicle even if you have the right of way or slow down to let a driver pass.
- Give yourself plenty of time to react. Part of driving defensively is not driving aggressively—a no-brainer, but something people often forget in their busy lives. So many things can go wrong—road construction that slows down traffic, or emergency pit stops to make a phone call or go to the bathroom. Plan enough time for emergencies so that you aren’t in a rush.
- Leave a cushion between you and the vehicle ahead. Four seconds of time is safe. By giving yourself this cushion, you can stop your car in time if the driver in front of you suddenly slams on their brakes.
- Scan several seconds ahead so that you can see danger coming.
- Respect other divers. Avoid escalating any aggressive situation, like someone riding your fender or honking aggressively at you by driving safely and maintaining a calm demeanor. Avoid eye contact with drivers experiencing road rage./li>
Comparative NegligenceLouisiana law recognizes that sometimes accident victims make mistakes. For example, maybe you were talking on the phone while driving when someone T-boned you in an intersection. Or you might have become distracted when another vehicle rear-ends you. In some situations, both parties are at fault for the accident—you and the other driver. Don’t worry if your own negligence has contributed to the crash, however, because you can often still receive compensation for your injuries so long as someone else contributed to the collision. Imagine this: You are walking across a parking lot, wearing earphones and reading a text message. At the same time, a customer backs up a car without looking, striking you in the process. Both of you were negligent and BOTH of you are at fault for the accident. Nevertheless, because of Louisiana’s comparative fault rules, you can still bring a lawsuit for compensation. There is a catch. Although you can sue, the court will reduce the amount of compensation you can receive by your percentage of fault. In the example above, the distracted pedestrian and driver might each bear 50 percent responsibility for the collision. A pedestrian who suffered $30,000 in injuries will receive only half of that amount, or $15,000. A court that finds the pedestrian 25 percent responsible would be awarded $22,500 in compensation. Any compensation, however, can help you cover your losses. To help your lawyer understand how much compensation you can receive, make sure to identify every action that you took before the collision. A skilled, dedicated Lafayette car accident lawyer can minimize your negligence while highlighting the mistakes the other driver made.
Beating Insurers at Their Own GameInsurance companies pad their bottom line by denying perfectly valid claims and trying to shortchange you even when they do make payments. Protect your rights by not giving any statements to an insurance agent or signing any papers until you hire a personal injury lawyer to fight on you behalf. The car accident lawyers at Stewart J. Guss Personal Injury Lawyers have seen injured motorists hamstring their cases right out of the gate by saying something they shouldn’t. Trust us—insurers will use anything you say against you to deny your claim for fair compensation. Likewise, insurers often flash quick money at victims in hopes of obtaining their signature on a settlement agreement. This agreement always contains a release from future liability, meaning you cannot sue the driver again—even if your compensation runs out and the insurance company severely underpaid you for the injuries you suffered.
Speak with a Lafayette Car Accident Lawyer at Stewart J. Guss Personal Injury LawyersIf you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a car accident, you need a lawyer by your side who is aggressive to the insurance companies, and caring to your needs and rights. To check whether Louisiana law allows you to file a lawsuit in your situation, contact the team of lawyers and legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss Personal Injury Lawyers. The attorneys of Stewart J. Guss Personal Injury Lawyers are nationally recognized car accident lawyers who have protected the rights of injured victims for more than 20 years. If you were injured in a car accident, call our office right now for a free consultation! Because we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a DIME unless we win your case. We are available to you 24/7, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or send an email by CLICKING HERE.
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