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Keep yourself safe this Mardi Gras season

While other areas of the country are snowed in and contemplating six more weeks of wintry weather, we in south Louisiana are getting our ladders out of the attic and dusting off our lawn chairs in anticipation of the best free party of all - Mardi Gras.

Attending Mardi Gras parades and joining in the revelry that builds all the way up to its climax on Fat Tuesday are part of our culture of laissez les bon temps roulez. However, Mardi Gras parades and celebrations do pose unique dangers to the residents of and visitors to the Crescent City.

Alcohol will be flowing freely

It's a given that much of Mardi Gras partying features alcohol. One does not have to be in the maddening throngs on Bourbon Street to get caught up in the spirit of intoxication that permeates the Carnival season. From King Cake parties at friends' homes to the boat parades along local waterways, there's bound to be lots of booze. While there's nothing wrong with indulging, beware of overdoing it.

Even if you are celebrating responsibly, you still could be at risk due to the negligent actions of others who are intoxicated yet still elect to get behind the wheels of their vehicles. If you get into an accident caused by an allegedly drunken driver this Carnival season, below are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Police don't usually respond to minor accidents that occur at the height of Carnival season. Unless the accident is major and the drivers or passengers are badly hurt, it can be difficult to get a policeman to show up and take a report. Officers generally recommend that drivers exchange information and direct claims to the appropriate insurance companies.
  • Take photos of the final location of the cars before they are moved. If you get into an accident on or near Fat Tuesday, you will need to clear the street of the involved vehicles. To make sure that your insurance claim is not denied, snap a few pictures from different angles to show the positions of the vehicles. This can help to establish liability later.
  • Take photos of all damage. If you forget to do this and the driver later gets into another accident, you could get the blame for causing additional damage.
  • Take a shot of the other driver's insurance card, license plate and driver's license. Make a note of the number of occupants in the other driver's car and get their names as well. Try to get the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
  • Don't get into an altercation with the other driver. If the cause of the accident is in dispute, don't let any discussions escalate into angry confrontations. Remain calm and civil in your interactions with the other driver, especially if he or she appears to be impaired by alcohol or other drugs. Remember, your and your family's safety is paramount.

Enjoy the Mardi Gras 2017 season by acting responsibly at all times. If you wind up injured in an accident, you may need to seek legal guidance when filing a claim for damages against the at-fault driver's insurance company.

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