Driving a motorcycle is both a convenient means of transportation and a lifestyle for many people. They enjoy a sense of freedom as they ride their motorbike on Louisiana roads and highways. Unfortunately, many motorcycle rides end in tragedy when the motorbike rider is hit by a negligent driver. The motorcycle accident lawyers at Wright & Gray personal injury law firm encourage all motorbike accident victims to get in touch with us as soon as possible after the unfortunate event. Our New Orleans motorcycle accident lawyers will analyze your case and give you the legal information you need to proceed with filing a motorcycle accident claim or lawsuit.
We know that there are many other priorities you have after a motor vehicle accident. You are in the hospital, in pain. You don’t know the extent of your injuries or whether you will fully recover from catastrophic injuries, such as brain injuries or spinal cord injuries. However, you are also accumulating a lot of medical expenses, while your wages stop coming in. Louisiana law states that if you were injured in an accident by someone else’s fault, you have the right to seek financial compensation from the responsible party.
A Few Statistics About Motorcycle Accidents
According to statistical data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,104 motorcycle riders lose their lives in various types of motorcycle accidents across the US. For the state of Louisiana, we have more recent data.
Thus, the Center for Analytics & Research in Transportation Safety has determined that in 2021:
- 86 motorbike riders died in crashes
- 1,543 motorcyclists were injured in motor vehicle accidents
- 82.2% of all motorcycle drivers involved in accidents were wearing a helmet
The report also offers a comparison for the last 5 years, which indicates a constant decrease both in the number of fatal crashes and in the number of injured motorcyclists.
Despite the good news, the data clearly shows that many people are still killed or suffer injuries in motorcycle accidents. This is why the experienced New Orleans motorcycle accident lawyers at our law firm are ready to hear your case and explain your legal options to you.
What Are the Most Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents our New Orleans Motorcycle Accident Lawyers See
All types of motor vehicle accidents are caused either by driver error or by other circumstances, such as defective motorcycles, dangerous road conditions, or inclement weather.
Focusing on driver error, these are the most common causes of motorbike accidents that our New Orleans motorcycle accident lawyers typically see:
1. Distracted Driving
In recent years, texting and driving has become the most common type of driver distraction. A driver who is not 100% focused on the task of driving, is not in full control of their vehicle. Thus, at any moment they may cause a rear-end collision or even plow into traffic in the opposite lane.
The consequences of such motor vehicle accidents are even more dramatic when truck drivers are involved. Their large and fully loaded vehicles can cause severe injuries or death to many other road users at the same time, including motorcycle riders.
2. Driving under Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
Drinking and driving should never happen, not only because Louisiana motorcycle laws and traffic laws say so, but because it is an issue of common sense. A drunk driver is impaired and cannot control their vehicle properly. Unfortunately, on many occasions, the negligent party in a motorbike accident handled by our motorcycle accident lawyers turned out to be a DUI driver.
Depending on the circumstances of the crash, the liable party may be charged with gross negligence for their drunk driving, making the motorcycle injury victim eligible to receive punitive damages.
Diving above the speed limit is unsafe even for an experienced driver. However, when young and inexperienced drivers are behind the wheel, they may lose control over their vehicles, especially in inclement weather and hazardous road conditions (potholes, wet or icy roads, obstacles and other road hazards).
4. Drowsy Driving
Falling asleep or even dozing behind the wheel for a few seconds can cause traffic fatalities. Unfortunately, our legal professionals know that many truck drivers suffer from driver fatigue. They have very tight delivery deadlines and are afraid to miss them because it may cost them their job. For this reason, they skip mandatory breaks and may be continuously behind the wheel for more than 18 hours.
A fatigued driver is just as likely to commit a human error in driving as a drunk driver, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in a research study. Thus, a person who has been driving for 24 hours is just as impaired as a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.10% – which is above the legal limit in most US states.
5. Reckless Driving
A reckless driver is an aggressive driver. They are constantly changing lanes, tailgating other road users, and failing to yield. In many cases, reckless drivers are also DUI drivers and may be deemed to have acted with gross negligence in causing your devastating accident.
What Are the Effects of the Comparative Fault Principle on Your Case?
In many instances, a motorcycle operator who is injured in an accident with another vehicle is told by the other party’s insurance company that they have no case. The reason for this – they were partly at fault for the accident. This is quite possible because not all traffic accidents are 100% one person’s fault. Maybe you were in the driver’s blind spots and failed to make yourself visible. Maybe you braked too suddenly, resulting in a rear-end collision. Or maybe you were not wearing protective gear.
Nonetheless, these aspects do not invalidate your right to file a claim after motorcycle crashes and obtain the maximum compensation you deserve. The state of Louisiana applies the comparative fault principle in personal injury cases (which include all types of auto accidents).
This legal concept states that all the parties’ proportions of fault shall be calculated in any type of accident. Each party shall be able to recover economic losses and non-economic damages, reduced by their respective proportion of fault. For example, someone whose motorcycle accident settlement is valued at $100,000 and is found to be 40% at fault shall actually receive $60,000.
How to File a Motorcycle Claim Successfully
Although Louisiana motorcycle laws and personal injury laws are on your side, you must know how to act right after your motorcycle crash in order to maximize your chances of getting fair compensation. Here are the most important things you must do:
1. Notify the Police
Law enforcement officers must always be notified in case of a traffic accident involving bodily injuries and property damage. The police officers will investigate the scene and prepare an accident report detailing their findings. This report will be a useful piece of evidence in proving your case.
2. Seek Medical Attention Immediately
A motorcycle accident can result in very serious injuries, such as:
- broken bones
- soft tissue injury
- head injuries
- traumatic brain injuries
Even if you only suffered road rash – the most common motorcycle accident injury – you should still go to the hospital and get examined. The medical records will also help you prove your case. But, most importantly, you need to be treated as soon as possible to avoid making your condition worse.
3. Collect Evidence at the Accident Scene
While you are waiting for the police and ambulance, do the following:
- take photos and video of your injuries and your crashed bike
- take the other driver’s details: driving license, number plate, insurance policy
- identify eyewitnesses and get their contact data
All of these will be very useful for your motorcycle accident lawyers for winning your case.
4. Do Not Negotiate Your Settlement on Your Own
Insurance adjusters representing the at-fault party will try to get you to drop the case or accept a lowball settlement amount. If you sign any agreement in this respect, you no longer have the right to take any further legal action.
Even if you do not get to an agreement, many of the statements you make during the discussion with the insurance adjuster will be duly noted and used against you during settlement negotiations or in a motorcycle accident lawsuit. Motorcycle accident lawyers can handle these conversations for you.
5. Reach Out to Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
The team of motorcycle accident lawyers at Wright & Gray has extensive experience both in negotiating motorcycle claims and in court. We have years of combined experience navigating Louisiana motorcycle laws and we rely on our strong belief that all victims deserve justice.
Our Louisiana motorcycle accident lawyers will fight on your behalf in an attempt to win the maximum compensation you deserve for your economic losses, pain and suffering, and other non-economic damages. Schedule a free case review with us now: 888-912-4944!