The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority operates several rail systems, including the historic green Saint Charles Avenue Streetcar nestled in the oaks, the downtown Canal Street and Riverfront streetcars, and the shiny new Rampart Streetcar. Each of these passenger rail trolleys are used by thousands of locals and tourists alike each year. These charming streetcars are an iconic part of New Orleans life and culture. Unfortunately, sometimes these colorful rail cars collide with motor vehicles and cyclists. A streetcar accident can cause moderate-to-severe injuries for the passengers of both the RTA streetcar and the vehicle. If you are driving on any major New Orleans street it is vital to remember that the streetcar always has the right-of-way at every intersection. However, this right-of-way does not necessarily mean that the RTA driver is not partially at fault. This is why it is important to call a traffic accident attorney as soon as possible if you get into a car crash.
What Causes Streetcar Collisions?
One cause for these streetcar crashes is drivers not knowing how to make a “New Orleans left”. Our beautiful city has many unique traits, but one of the less-fun rarities of New Orleans is that left turns are not allowed at most intersections. While the “New Orleans left” is a running joke among locals—new drivers, recent transplants, Uber drivers, Lyft drivers, and tourists are often unfamiliar with this rule. Fortunately, our Bloom Legal car accident lawyers also handle rideshare service accidents involving Uber and Lyft vehicles. An incorrect Nola left turn causes many collisions here, not just with streetcars, but anything and anyone else on the road. Sometimes the no-left-turn signs are not clearly visible to drivers, or other circumstances on the street may force them to make a left turn. As New Orleans traffic accident attorneys, we at Bloom Legal understand if you got injured while mistakenly making a bad left turn and will gladly represent you in court. Oftentimes, a streetcar accident happens when a driver is crossing an intersection and both drivers fail to notice each other, or one or both is driving too fast. New Orleans streetcars accelerate when they start up again after stopping at an intersection. If the motor vehicle driver sees a stopped streetcar but the streetcar driver does not see them, the motorist might think they have enough time to cross the neutral ground before the streetcar only to reach the rails right when the streetcar accelerates. Both longtime residents and visitors need to remember that streetcars speed up very quickly and stop very slowly. Always wait for the streetcar to cross first, even if it appears to be at a stop.
What To Do When Injured By A Streetcar
If you were a passenger or a driver in a streetcar crash, you might have sustained injuries. The New Orleans passenger rail does not have seatbelts, so it is easy to hit your head when the train lurches during a collision. In the event of such an accident, whether in the streetcar itself, or the vehicle at the intersection, you should immediately check yourself for injuries. If you are seriously hurt, then seek medical attention as soon as possible.The NO-RTA streetcar driver, unless severely injured, will get out and check on the driver of the other vehicle and get their insurance information. There are police traffic cameras at most major streetcar intersections, so the authorities should be quickly notified of any public transit collision to file a report. This step is essential in order to make an insurance claim.
Seek Legal Counsel
Once the accident report is filed and the damage to the vehicles and the passengers is photographed, then you will need to call a car accident lawyer. Seeking legal counsel is the best way to make the most out of your insurance, whether one or all parties are liable for the crash. If you or a loved one has been injured in a New Orleans streetcar accident, call Bloom Legal today to get the financial compensation you deserve.