Accidents involving motorcycles can happen in the blink of an eye. Because of their size and maneuverability, motorcycles can be more difficult for drivers to see or anticipate on the road. Without the protection of an enclosed vehicle, riders are more vulnerable to serious injuries than automobile drivers. In 2017, there were 96 fatalities in Louisiana as a result of motorcycle crashes and 1,336 additional riders injured in motorcycle crashes.
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, you deserve to be compensated. The experienced personal injury attorneys at the Patrick Yancey Law Firm have handled many motorcycle accident injury cases and can help you recover money damages.
Louisiana Motorcycle Laws
To legally operate a motorcycle in Louisiana, the state requires that you add a motorcycle endorsement onto a basic license. Obtaining this endorsement requires you to pass a written knowledge exam and an on-cycle skills test. (If you move to Louisiana with a valid motorcycle license or endorsement, you may not have to take these tests.)
In addition to obtaining a license endorsement and following the ordinary rules of the road, motorcyclists must follow certain specific laws in Louisiana for their safety and the safety of other motorists. Safety helmets are mandatory, as is eye protection (unless your motorcycle has a windscreen). Lane splitting (riding between cars along the lane line) is not permitted, although riding two cycles abreast in a lane is permitted.
Motorcycle Accident Liability
Louisiana has a “fault-based system” that courts apply to automobile and motorcycle accident cases alike. This means that the finder of fact (a judge or jury) will decide who was legally at fault in the event of a collision and hold that driver (and/or his or her insurance company) accountable for damages. In order for you to recover compensation for your injuries or other damages, you must prove another party was liable, or “at fault,” for a collision. This could be another driver, or it could be an entity like a municipality that failed to keep the roadways in a safe condition for motorcyclists.
Even if you show that a driver or other party caused the accident that caused your injuries, your recovery could be reduced if the court determines you are partially responsible for the collision or for the extent of your damages. In Louisiana, we call this doctrine “comparative negligence.” If a court determines you were 20 percent at fault for a collision because you failed to appropriately yield the right of way, for example, it could reduce the amount of any damage award by 20 percent. Or, if it believes your failure to wear a helmet was a 40 percent cause of your damages, the court could reduce your award by 40 percent.
Damages in Motorcycle Accident Cases
Under Louisiana’s civil code system, damages are intended to compensate you for your injuries and “make you whole” following an automobile or motorcycle accident. One component of this compensation is called “special” damages, which includes things like reimbursement for medical bills, wage loss, and other related quantifiable expenses. The other category, “general” damages, is intended to compensate you for your pain and suffering, disability, and other broad losses. An experienced attorney can help you identify and properly quantify these damages as you pursue your injury claim.
Hire an Experienced Louisiana Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle collision, seek legal counsel immediately. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney will evaluate the facts of your case and advise you of the best course of action to help you recover the most compensation possible. This can include recovering costs for past and future medical care, wage loss, pain and suffering, and, in certain limited circumstances (like accidents involving a drunk driver), possibly punitive damages.
The Patrick Yancey Law Firm understands the issues involved in motorcycle collisions. Our approachable, understanding attorneys will work with you every step of the way and help you understand the legal process. We’ll help you resolve your claim efficiently so you can quickly recover the compensation you deserve with a minimum of stress, delay, and hassle. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.