Auto Accidents: Everything You Need to Know

Next time you’re on the road, watch out – auto accidents are more common than you may think. Here are just a few of the alarming stats about auto accidents:

  • On average, about 6 million auto accidents tally up in the US each year.
  • 40% of accidents result because of alcohol, but texting is also a culprit. Drivers who text are 23 times more likely to crash than people who leave their phones in the glove compartment while they’re at the wheel.
  • 6% of auto accidents result in fatalities, and 90 people die in the US every day because of an accident.

At first glance, those stats don’t look all that bad. “6%” and “90 people” seem like relatively lowball figures when you keep in mind that 100% of the US population is 325 million people.

But those numbers stack up, quickly. In 2016, there were 37,461 deaths from auto accidents alone. That’s a sizable chunk of the 161,374 people who died from the third-leading cause of death in the US in 2016, “Accidents (unintentional injuries).” (Heart disease, the leading cause of death, clocked 635,260 deaths that year.)

Zooming in on Louisiana (pop. 4.6 million): There were 704 fatal crashes in 2016, resulting in 757 deaths. On average, that’s 16.2 deaths per 100,000 people, which means the Pelican State is 10th on a list of states with the highest auto accident fatality rate. Curiously enough, the others tend to be spread out across the South and Southwest:

  1. Mississippi (23.1/100,000)
  2. Alabama (21.3)
  3. South Carolina (20.5)
  4. New Mexico (19.3)
  5. Wyoming (19.1)
  6. Kentucky (18.8)
  7. Arkansas (18.2)
  8. Montana (18.2)
  9. Oklahoma (17.4)
Louisiana Auto Accident

1. Louisiana Auto Accidents

So who’s getting into accidents in Louisiana? Here’s a breakdown:

  • Car Drivers: 35%
  • Pickups and SUVs: 29%
  • Large trucks: 1%
  • Motorcyclists: 12%
  • Pedestrians: 17%
  • Bicyclists: 3%

Slightly more than half (54%) of those accidents were categorized as “single-vehicle.” (The other 46% were, well, double-vehicle.) The same roughly-equal split occurs between people living in urban versus rural areas. But a few other factors are at play. First, alcohol. In 2016, the year that Louisiana reported 757 crash fatalities, it also reported that BACs (blood alcohol concentrations) were found in81%of its passengers who were involved in fatal auto accidents.

2. Who to Call?

That’s the statistical rundown of auto accidents in Louisiana. Now for the $64,000 question: What do you do if you get in an auto accident in Louisiana? Our advice is to call Seth Smiley at the Smiley Law Firm. He’s a personal injury attorney who gets it. When you come to us, one of the first questions that Seth or any of our other car accident attorneys will ask is, “What are the damages?”

The answer to that question will help us determine the bedrock figures on which the case can rest. We’re not trying to quantify your suffering. We just need to figure out if it’s worth your while to pursue your case.

Was your fender bumped and your elbow bruised? Or was your car totaled and your hospital expenses run up past $1,000,000? Getting a sense of the compensation you can expect will clarify whether you should seek litigation in the first place.

“Who was at fault?” is another question that our attorneys will ask you. If you were in an accident because you had been drinking and you ran a stop sign – which is what happened to Seth Smiley when he was five years old and someone hit the car he was in – you do have a personal injury case on your hands, just not a good one.

You can only seek reparations for mental, physical, and emotional duress if you sustained damages through no fault of your own.

new orleans la Auto Accidents

3. Then What?

So let’s say that you can claim you were in an accident through no fault of your own. At that point, we’ll review a number of factors upon which your case likely rests:

  • Who’s At Fault?

(See above. This is huge. Often times, it’s the crux of the case.)

  • What Income Was Lost?

Imagine that you’re making $50,000/year. Now, because of your auto accident injury, the doctors tell you can’t work for a year. The real-world negotiations on this point are complex, but the math generally breaks down like this: You’ve suffered a year of lost wages, which means you’re entitled to the $50,000 you would have earned had someone not crashed into you.

  • Medical Expenses

If you’re in an auto accident, we’re hoping that all that happens to you is that you get a bruise on your elbow. But the truth is that people get into horrific crashes. Cars roll off the highway. Motorcyclists slam into semis. And people suffer what is termed “hard injuries”: broken bones, spinal cord impact, or permanent nerve damage.

The medical treatment involved in stabilizing and rehabilitating people who undergo severe injuries can be extremely expensive. In some cases, even if you do have insurance, you may be billed tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you weren’t at fault for getting into that auto accident, we don’t think you should pay a dime of that bill. And we’ll fight for you.

  • Further Pain and Suffering

When you get into an auto accident, not only could you end up in the hospital, but the aftershock of the crash could reverberate through many other aspects of your life. Let’s say you’re rendered incapable of working for 3-6 months. Depending on where you live and work, you may lose your job or your mortgage or even get a divorce.

We don’t mean to sound like doomsday soothsayers, but we’ve seen it happen before. A divorce, foreclosing on your house, ending up on the losing side of a custody battle – in some ways, these can be more expensive bills than anything a hospital can hand you. And if you have to pay them, you may be entitled to further compensation.

4. Wrapping Up

If you get into an auto accident, two of the questions that you’ll have to face are A) “Was I at fault?” and B) “What are the damages?” But even if you have a good lawsuit and you’re entitled to payment, that payment may not be forthcoming anytime soon.

The type of injury, accident, and insurance company’s policies play huge roles in determining how and when the lawsuit gets settled. But, in general, the timeline of settling a lawsuit is generally 2-3 years.

For a lot of people, 2-3 years is a lot longer than they can afford to wait around for a verdict. We get it. The most important thing is that you get healthy first. That’s why our motto is “Doctor First, Lawyer Second.”

If you get in a crash, go straight to primary care, and only once you’re stabilized, reach out to us. We’ll be here waiting for you, making sure we can steer you back to your life before the crash.

Learn More From Smiley Law Firm’s Injury Blog

Here at Smiley Law Firm, we write about the topic of car accidents extensively. This may be the most popular topics for our clients and the public. As personal injury attorneys, we believe in educating our clients and the public with the most up to date information available. We have a number of blogs and articles covering the following topics. Please read them and leave comments if you find the information helpful.


  1. Seth Smiley

    on July 17, 2019

    Thank you for the comment, please tell your friends! 🙂

  2. Seth Smiley

    on July 17, 2019

    Thank you for the comment. I am sorry to hear about your sister. Please reach out to our firm as we may be able to help. If the accident was not in a jurisdiction where we are licensed then we can help her find a qualified attorney in the proper jurisdiction.

  3. Seth Smiley

    on July 17, 2019

    I’m sorry to hear about your brothers car accident with a drunk driver. We wish him the best and speedy recovery. Thank you for the comment.

  4. Seth Smiley

    on July 17, 2019

    Thank you for the comment.

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  6. Angela Waterford

    on July 15, 2019

    My brother was injured in a car accident because of a drunk driver. I think I should tell him to hire an auto accident attorney in order to address his concerns with the insurance company. Thanks for mentioning that they’ll be able to help him prove that he was harmed by the driver so that he can get compensation for his injuries.

  7. Thomas Jameson

    on July 15, 2019

    It’s good to know that roughly 40% of auto accidents are caused by alcohol. My sister was in a car accident last week where she was t-boned by a driver who might have been drunk. I’ll pass this information along to her so that she can look further into her options for hiring an attorney to help her get the money she deserves from her case.

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  9. Seth Smiley

    on July 12, 2019

    Thank you for the insight on wrongful death claims and comment.

  10. Guiding Your Family Through a Wrongful Death Claim - Types of Law

    on July 12, 2019

    a wrongful death case prior to making any legal decisions. Consult with attorneys who specialize in wrongful death lawsuits. Get a copy of the extended police report. Wait until you get the results of the

  11. Seth Smiley

    on July 12, 2019

    Thank you for the comment. Tell your sister to give us a call and we can point her in the right direction with regards to legal representation for her texting and driving accident.

  12. Seth Smiley

    on July 12, 2019

    Thank you. We appreciate your comments on our legal guide.

  13. Thomas Jameson

    on July 11, 2019

    It’s good to know that you should hire an attorney to help you press charges if you are injured by someone who is texting and driving. My sister was in an accident the other day, and the other driver was a teenage girl who was most likely texting. I’ll pass this information along to my sister so that she can look further into her legal options.

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  15. Seth Smiley

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    Great, thank you for the comment.

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    on July 8, 2019

    Thank you.

  18. Seth Smiley

    on July 8, 2019

    Yes, I would not play video games in the car. I could see how that would prevent car accidents. Thank you for the comment.

  19. Seth Smiley

    on July 8, 2019

    Thank you for the comment.

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  21. GuQinPu

    on July 7, 2019

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    on July 6, 2019

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  23. Seth Smiley

    on July 5, 2019

    Thanks, Braden. Yes, you should contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your options.

  24. Braden Bills

    on July 5, 2019

    I was in a car accident, and I’m not sure what to do about it. It makes sense that getting a professional lawyer to help with this would be important. They would be able to ensure that I get compensated for this, and can pay my medical bills.

  25. Seth Smiley

    on July 3, 2019

    Gillian, I could not agree with you more. Thank you for the comment.

  26. Gillian Babcock

    on July 3, 2019

    My sister was crossing the street when a speeding motorcycle passed by and she was hit and badly injured. It was explained here that a lot of experience grave injuries from vehicular accidents some of them even die. Moreover, it’s ideal to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to help her file claims.

  27. Seth Smiley

    on July 2, 2019

    Thank you for the comment. We have a number of other blogs on our site that are helpful. Click around or give us a call for more information on injury claims.

  28. Mellinger

    on July 2, 2019

    great issues altogether, you just won a emblem new reader. What could you recommend in regards to your submit that you just made some days in the past? Any certain?|

  29. Seth Smiley

    on July 2, 2019

    Angela, thank you for the comment. If you or your grandmother need help with the texting and driving accident and injury, please reach out to our firm.

  30. Angela Waterford

    on July 2, 2019

    There was a teenager who injured my grandmother due to texting while driving. I think I’ll hire a car accident lawyer because her life had been irreparably changed. Thanks for pointing out that I’ll be able to point out his negligence with the attorney’s help, so I’ll be sure to hire a good one.

  31. Seth Smiley

    on July 1, 2019

    Thank you for the comment, Jackson!

  32. Jackson Bush

    on July 1, 2019

    I like how you mentioned that an attorney can help establish negligence. My daughter recently got her license and I’m worried that she could get in an accident and automatically blame it on herself because that’s just her personality. I’ll be looking for a reliable attorney for any possible accidents in the future.

  33. Seth Smiley

    on June 28, 2019

    Thanks for the comment

  34. Angela Waterford

    on June 27, 2019

    I had been injured in a car accident last week. As far as I know, the driver who drove the other car was drinking alcohol. Thanks for mentioning that I should call an attorney for this, so I’ll be sure to do that.

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  37. Thomas Jameson

    on June 19, 2019

    It’s good to know that many car accidents are caused by texting and that you can easily make a legal case against it. My sister was injured in a car accident last week where the other driver was texting. I’ll pass this information along to her so that she can look further into her legal options.

  38. garrett superwand

    on June 19, 2019

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  39. Camille Devaux

    on June 12, 2019

    My sister is thinking about getting an auto accident injury service. She would love knowing that she should look for a service that will have a good policy. Finding an auto accident injury service that can offer a good way to get out of court unscathed and helped.

  40. Kate Welling

    on June 11, 2019

    I like how you said that a car accident attorney might be able to help us locate a local repair shop. This is great to know, especially since my husband just got in a car accident. It happened at a busy intersection! I’ll definitely look into finding a personal injury lawyer to help him out.

  41. Stefan Bradley

    on June 11, 2019

    It’s a shame that 40% of accidents are caused by irresponsible drinking, it really makes you worry about your family’s safety. My sister got into a car accident a few years ago and struggled to figure out exactly what to do after the accident. Knowing who to call and what to do next would have saved her a lot of time and prevented her from being too stressed after such a scary experience.

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  43. Sam Li

    on June 6, 2019

    I appreciate what you said about determining which party was at fault during a car crash. Working with a reliable injury attorney is vital if you have been hurt due to the fault of another. If I were to get hurt in an auto accident, I would find an attorney with a winning track record to work with.

  44. Shayla Cademis

    on May 31, 2019

    I didn’t know you could get compensation for things like losing a job, having difficulties with mortgage payments, or getting a divorce after an auto accident. My brother-in-law was in a car accident last week after another driver ran a red light at an intersection. He’s definitely had a few medical bills, but I’ll have to let him know he should be aware of other possible compensations. Hopefully we can help him find a good attorney in his area. Thanks for the info!

  45. Bob

    on May 30, 2019

    I love your personal injury lawyer tips. My father just got hit by a drunk driver. I’ll have to get him a lawyer so he can sue the guy to his last dime.

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    on May 30, 2019

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    on May 30, 2019

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