A beautiful day in Lafayette, Louisiana is the perfect setting for a motorcycle ride. The dream scenario of sunshine and open road, however, can turn into a nightmare with a motorcycle accident.
Bikers and their passengers often suffer serious injuries in a crash. To make matters worse, insurance companies tend to paint bikers as the faulty party, making it difficult for accident victims to receive the compensation they need for their injuries.
The Bart Bernard Personal Injury Law Firm understands that most motorcycle riders are safe and law-abiding. We don’t want insurance companies to take advantage of you. We’ll fight aggressively on your behalf every step of the way, from the first days after an accident until a satisfactory settlement or verdict is secured. Call an experienced accident lawyer in Baton Rouge or Lafayette or contact me online to schedule a free case review.
Statewide accident data from Louisiana State University reveals that in a typical year, there are approximately 2,000 motorcycle crashes in Louisiana—or 0.74% of all Louisiana vehicle crashes. Considering their low overall prevalence, however, motorcycle accidents in Louisiana account for a disproportionate amount of injury (1.84% of total) and fatal (7.47% of total ) crashes.
Yes. Although Louisiana has a helmet law, this doesn’t mean that you are barred from recovering damages caused by the careless actions of another. If, however, your failure to wear a helmet contributed to your injuries (e.g. you suffered a head injury in the crash), your compensation may be reduced by an amount equal to your negligence under the state’s “comparative negligence” law. For example, if your total compensation is $100,000 but you are 40% to blame for the accident, your compensation is reduced by $40,000 to $60,000. Comparative negligence may also apply if you were speeding, disobeyed a traffic signal, or otherwise did something that partially led to the accident.
It’s hard to imagine how a driver could knowingly cause a crash and then just drive away – but it does happen. If it happened to you, your losses should be covered by the uninsured/underinsured motorist provision of your own motorcycle insurance policy, provided you have this coverage. If you do not, the hit-and-run perpetrator may eventually be found by police and made to owe up to their actions. Law enforcement may pursue criminal charges against the driver, but you’ll need to bring a civil lawsuit against the driver in order to recover compensation. A lawyer can help you sue the driver for negligence. A lawyer can also help if your UM/UIM claim is denied.
No Pay, No Play makes it mandatory for all motor vehicle drivers, including motorcyclists, to carry liability insurance that meets the state’s minimum insurance requirements. If you do not have insurance and you are involved in an accident, you may not recover the initial $10,000 worth of property damage or bodily injury damages from another driver, even if the other driver is negligent. In other words, your failure to carry insurance incurs a $10,000 deductible should you suffer losses in an accident. Exceptions to this rule include accidents with an intoxicated driver or a hit-and-run driver.
Your attorney will fight to get you the compensation you deserve, but there are some things you can do to protect your interests. Motorcyclists are commonly, and unfairly, portrayed as being reckless even when they ride safely. Follow the steps below to help your attorney build a strong case on your behalf:
You should be compensated for any custom work you had done to the motorcycle. You will, however, likely need to provide proof of the aftermarket parts’ value to the insurance company. If you have custom parts and equipment (CPE) coverage on your bike, you might consider filing a claim for the damaged motorcycle through your own insurance company, which will then seek reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance (assuming that another driver caused the accident).
There are a few different options for passengers who are injured in a motorcycle accident. First, your own insurance company may cover you. Filing a claim with your insurer would prevent you from filing a claim against the driver you were a passenger to, who is most likely somebody close to you. But you may also file a claim with that driver’s insurance. Many people are hesitant to do so, but remember that it is their insurance company that foots the bill; it’s the entire reason they have insurance in the first place. Another option is to file a claim against the driver of another vehicle who was to blame for the accident. Finally, it is possible to file a claim against each driver involved in the accident, as long as each one bears some blame for it. You might want to do this if a single driver’s insurance is insufficient to fully compensate you. If you’re unsure of what to do, a lawyer can help you understand your options.
While the actual amount of your claim is difficult to determine, the types of damages you’re eligible to receive in a personal injury lawsuit include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, disability, and possibly extra damages known as punitive damages.
Yes you are, although the type of lawsuit you’d file would be a wrongful death claim rather than a personal injury claim. A successful wrongful death claim would compensate you for funeral expenses, medical bills, your spouse’s expected income and retirement benefits, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages (extra damages meant to punish the defendant) may also be awarded. If there is no surviving spouse or children, other family members (parents, brothers and sisters, and grandparents) may also file a wrongful death claim.
Texting while driving is not only illegal in Louisiana, it is also strong proof of another driver’s negligence. It is relatively easy to prove, through phone records, that a driver was texting at the time of an accident.
Motorcycle accident injuries range from broken bones and soft tissue injuries to permanently disabling head, neck and spinal cord injuries. And as the statistics make clear, the harm suffered in a motorcycle crash is sometime fatal.
Don’t let insurance companies take advantage of you. Get strong legal representation that won’t stop fighting until your case is resolved. To receive your free case review, contact Bart Bernard Personal Injury Law Firm today.