Mardi Gras is one of the best times of year in Louisiana. People flock from all over the county to drink, eat, march in street bands, and have a good time. But, unfortunately, some folks like to have a little too much fun and cause significant damage. From car collisions to bike, pedestrian, and streetcar accidents, countless incidents occur throughout the week of Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras Accidents – By the Numbers
Although Mardi Gras is a time for Louisianians and tourists to celebrate, the holiday has maintained some of the highest rates of fatal accidents and non-fatal accidents where an injury occurred compared to other holidays.
According to data compiled by Louisiana State University, in 2019:
- Mardi Gras experienced the second-highest number of fatal and injury-causing accidents, amounting to 514 accidents between March 1 through March 5.
- 52 of the 514 reported crashes involved alcohol consumption.
- 885 total accidents occurred during the four days around Mardi Gras.
More recently, those numbers have decreased due to the COVID-19 Global Pandemic. Nonetheless, Mardi Gras has consistently remained one of the deadliest periods for traffic accidents and other related injuries during a given year in Louisiana.
Parades Can Cause Horrific Accidents
Mardi Gras encourages attendees to visit bars and restaurants and even engage in countless parades and street performances. Although this provides party-goers ample opportunities to enjoy the festivities, it has also caused some deadly injuries.
In 2017, a drunk driver with a blood alcohol level well over the legal limit injured 28 parade attendees by driving negligently through a crowd next to the Krewe of Endymion parade. This particular parade is one of Mardi Gras’ most popular and family-friendly. Multiple attendees sustained serious injuries, including several children and a police officer.
Furthermore, in 2020, at the same parade, a woman was killed while trying to hop onto a tandem float (two floats connected to the same tractor) but was killed in the process. There was no indication that alcohol or any other controlled substance caused the incident. This prompted authorities to cancel the rest of the parade and restrict the use of tandem floats for the rest of Mardi Gras.
What To Do if You Get into A Car Accident During Mardi Gras
Getting into a car accident can be one of the most traumatic experiences a person can face, especially during what is supposed to be a joyous time of year. If you have been in an accident, you should first seek medical attention for yourself, any passenger or companions, and the other driver or pedestrian involved in the accident.
Seeking Medical Attention
Even if you or the person(s) involved in the accident feel healthy, traumatic accidents like crashes can cause underlying issues that may not appear immediately. Medical problems like whiplash and concussions may not become apparent until hours or days after an accident. Thus, seeking medical attention after an accident is essential for proper treatment.
Furthermore, by obtaining medical treatment after an accident, those involved establish a treatment record for insurance companies. As you will come to find out, insurance companies are not your friend. They will find ways to not pay for costly medical expenses by arguing that another unrelated incident caused your injury.
Filing a Police Report
Once you have sought medical treatment, you should file a police report with a responding officer on the scene. It is best to explain the accident by saying as little as possible and provide the officer and the other driver with your name, contact information, and proof of insurance. Make sure to ask the officer for a copy of the report or obtain contact information from the officer and ascertain the procedure to acquire the report for your insurance company.
Dealing with Your Insurance Company
Although we also recommend contacting your insurance company to report the accident, it is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible—depending on the circumstances of your accident. For example, minor property damage like a dented bumper or fender likely does not require the assistance of legal counsel. However, if anything more severe like significant property to your car or other property, personal injury, or alcohol or drug use was involved, then you should contact an experienced Mardi Gras accident attorney.
When you contact your insurance company, you put them on notice of your accident and commence the process to file a claim to repair your vehicle and pay for medical expenses. However, as mentioned above, insurance companies, even your own, do not always have your best interests in mind. Therefore, it is best to contact an attorney to advocate on your behalf. Without an attorney, any misstatement of the facts of your case can have potential consequences during future legal proceedings.
Determining Fault After an Accident
Under no circumstances should you admit fault while discussing the accident with law enforcement, the other driver, witnesses, or passengers. Louisiana is an at-fault, which means the party found at fault for the accident is liable for the damage. However, Louisiana is also a comparative fault state. If a court or jury finds that the actions of multiple parties contributed to the overall accident, then the fact finder will attribute fault on a percentage basis. For example, if Driver A hits Driver B and a court determines Driver B was 30% at-fault for the accident and Driver A was 70% fault, then any compensation awarded to Driver B will be reduced based on their liability.
Finally, it is vital to know the risks of driving without proper car insurance. Louisiana is known as a “no pay no play” state. Under Louisiana law, an uninsured motorist cannot collect the first $15,000 in medical expenses or the first $25,000 in property damage from the other motorist’s insurance company. However, certain exceptions apply, including when the insured motorist was driving while intoxicated or was an out-of-state driver.
Other Traffic-Related Accidents: Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Streetcar Accidents
Because Mardi Gras attendees find themselves enjoying parades on foot and hopping from bar-to-bar throughout the week, pedestrians are at the highest risk of injury throughout the week.
Bicycle and pedestrian accidents can cause some of the worst injuries because bicyclists and pedestrians do not have the safety features of an automobile to keep them safe. Certain insurance company policies offer coverage to motorists if they are involved in a bicycle or pedestrian accident. Still, those policies usually cost more than standard coverage, so having an attorney advocate and your behalf is best.
Further, we recommend contacting an attorney if you are involved in a streetcar accident. Streetcars are owned and operated by the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, which has the resources and years of experience addressing various personal injuries. An experienced Mardi Gras accident attorney will know how to handle such a case.
Injuries Resulting from Traffic Accident Injuries
Injuries resulting from traffic accidents like a car, bicycle, pedestrian, and streetcar accidents may vary depending on the circumstances of each accident. Common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal injury
- Shoulder and back injury
- Internal organ damage and/or failure
- Bruising and lacerations
- Broken or dislocated bones
Call Us for a Free Consultation
Mardi Gras is an amazing holiday–one that should make the City of New Orleans proud of its rich heritage and fun-loving outlook. However, it can also be a source of some of the worst accidents in any given year. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident during Mardi Gras, call one of our Mardi Gras accident attorneys at the office of Allan Berger & Associates at 504-618-1596 for a free consultation today.