Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Metairie, Louisiana
Motorcycles are popular in Louisiana. They are easy to park, get good gas mileage, and give riders a sense of freedom. However, unlike cars and trucks, with their steel enclosures and safety devices, motorcycle riders are highly vulnerable to serious injury and even death when drivers of other vehicles are negligent.
If you have been injured while operating a motorcycle or if someone you love has been incapacitated or died from their injuries, the Law Office of Bruce C. Betzer can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. We have successfully represented clients from Metairie, Louisiana, as well as New Orleans, Chalmette, St. Tammany Parish, and Jefferson Parish, in personal injury and wrongful death claims stemming from motorcycle accidents.
What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
The first thing you should do if you are in a motorcycle accident in Louisiana is to get immediate medical help. Do it even if you do not think you are injured. Prompt diagnosis of potential injuries will be crucial to your recovery.
Start compiling information and documentation you will need to pursue a motorcycle accident claim against the negligent driver, beginning with the contact and insurance information of that driver and any other drivers involved. Write down the names and contact details of any witnesses to the crash and request a copy of law enforcement’s crash report. You will also want to maintain copies of your medical records and bills, evidence of lost wages at work, and any other expenses you incur due to your injuries.
Contact your insurance company to open a claim. If you have medical payment or personal injury protection (PIP) coverage included in your own motorcycle insurance policy, you can access those benefits quickly, regardless of who was at fault for the crash.
You will also need to put the at-fault driver’s insurance company on notice that you are filing a third-party liability claim against their insured. The adjuster should then open a file and assign a claim number.
To make the process infinitely less stressful, to make sure every step that needs to be taken is, and to benefit from the legal guidance of someone with years of experience in motorcycle personal injury and motorcycle wrongful death claims, contact an attorney. Your motorcycle accident attorney will take care of most of the work that needs to be done, provide you with the information you need to make decisions about your claim, and give you time to breathe and recover.
What Are Louisiana’s Motorcycle Laws?
Vehicles of all types are required to obey Louisiana’s rules of the road, such as speed limits, traffic signs and signals, and maintaining vigilance. However, there are certain laws designed specifically to increase the safety of motorcycle operators and their passengers.
For example, lane splitting is prohibited by law. Motorcycles are not permitted to drive two abreast in a single lane of traffic, nor can they pass other vehicles unless they are in a single passing lane.
Louisiana helmet laws require that all motorcycle operators and their passengers wear approved safety helmets any time the motorcycle is underway. They must also have protective eye gear unless the motorcycle is equipped with a large enough windshield to protect them. Tinted eye protection is prohibited after dark.
Operators and passengers must each have footrests, indicating that the motorcycle is built to carry a passenger. The operator must keep both hands on the handlebars at all times, and handlebar grips must be lower than shoulder height. Required motorcycle equipment includes a working headlight and taillight, as well as a left-side rearview mirror.
Compliance with these motorcycle laws will be important when fault for an accident is assigned.
How Is Fault Determined in Louisiana Motorcycle Accidents?
Who is at fault will be determined by who is negligent. Everyone on the roadway owes a duty of care to everyone they share it with. Breaching that duty is negligence.
If you file a personal injury or wrongful death claim, you and your personal injury attorney bear the responsibility of proving negligence. You must prove the at-fault driver owed a duty of care, the driver breached that duty, the breach caused the crash, and the crash caused your injuries or the death of a loved one.
Under Louisiana’s comparative negligence rule, more than one person can be assigned fault, and the insurance company of the driver you hold responsible will do everything it can to assign fault to you. That way, any compensation you are awarded will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
For example, you are operating a motorcycle at dusk and are struck from the rear by a speeding motor vehicle. Your taillight was not in working order as required by law, so you are assigned 20% fault and the auto driver is assigned 80% fault. If you are awarded $100,000 in damages, you will receive $80,000 after the award is reduced by your percentage of fault.
Can I File a Claim for a Loved One?
If a loved one’s injuries are serious enough to render them incapable of filing their own personal injury claim, you can petition the court to appoint a conservator to pursue the claim on their behalf and for their benefit.
If your loved one dies from crash-related injuries, there are certain people who are eligible to file a wrongful death action against the at-fault driver. The surviving spouse and children of the decedent may file. If there are no children or spouses, the parents of the decedent may file.
Whether you are pursuing a personal injury claim as a conservator or a wrongful death claim as a survivor, you will still need to prove the negligence of the at-fault party.
Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Serving
If a negligent driver’s actions or inaction caused a crash that injured you or injured or killed someone close to you, you need to hold them accountable for their breach of the duty of care they owed. There is no need to take on the fight with the insurance company on your own. Call the Law Office of Bruce C. Betzer in Metairie, Louisiana, to schedule a free case consultation.