Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Bicycle accidents are frequent in Louisiana. No less than 923 bicycles were involved in crashes in 2017, and 22 bicyclists lost their lives. Many of these accidents occurred in Baton Rouge. Bicyclists are among the most vulnerable traffic participants and the ones who incur the most serious injuries in case of accidents. When the unfortunate happens, it is in their best interest to request the help of an experienced Baton Rouge bicycle accident lawyer.
Under Louisiana laws, bicyclists who are injured or incur property damage have the right to seek compensation for their losses. However, their mission will not be easy. According to the comparative fault rule, all the parties involved in a bicycle accident in Baton Rouge can share fault for it and be liable for a corresponding amount of damages.
Since bicyclists are the ones who incur the most serious injuries and damages in accidents, it goes without saying that everyone will try to blame them, in order to avoid liability. The best strategy for the bicyclist is to show that they know Louisiana bike laws by heart, they obey them at all times, and the other party was at fault for the accident. This is easier to accomplish with the help of a bike accident attorney.
Louisiana Bike Laws and When to Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
A bicyclist may be held liable for the accident they were involved in if the other party can prove that they violated any of the bike laws in force throughout the state or in Baton Rouge. Those who know they violated the law or are not sure if they did should discuss their case with a bike accident attorney.
The latter will help them understand the laws in force, evaluate their fault, and propose strategies to avoid liability and secure the compensation they deserve. Here are the most important bike laws in force in Louisiana and Baton Rouge:
RS 32:197 – Bicyclists should ride as close to the right side of the roadway as possible, paying special attention when they pass vehicles stationed or proceeding in the same direction. The exceptions to this rule are when bicyclists overtake or pass bicycles or vehicles moving in the same direction, they prepare for left turns, or they have to avoid moving objects, vehicles, animals, pedestrians, or other road hazards. When preparing for left turns on roadways with two or more traffic lanes following the same direction, bicyclists should ride as close to the left curb or shoulder as possible. On roadways, bicyclists should not ride more than two abreast. They can do so on roadways designated for exclusive bicycle use.
RS 32:203 – Motor vehicles should not ride in bicycle lanes except within 200 feet from an intersection at which they take a turn, when entering or leaving the roadway, and when entering or leaving a parking space near the bike lane. When operating their vehicles in bike lanes, drivers have to yield the right-of-way to the bicyclists using that lane. Those operating motorized bicycles have the right to use bike lanes as long as they drive at reasonable speed, pay attention to visibility and traffic condition, and do not put bicyclists at risk. Motor vehicles may use bike laws in emergency situations, in order to protect themselves and others from harm.
RS 32:76.1 (Colin Goodier Protection Act) – Motor vehicles operators overtaking or passing bicycles that proceed in the same direction should exercise reasonable care and keep a safety distance of minimum three feet until they have safely overtaken the respective bicycle. In no-passing zones, motor vehicle operators will pass bicycles traveling in the same direction only when they can do it safely. Those violating this section are subject to fines of up to $250. An experienced bike accident lawyer will always check to see if the driver at fault for their client’s accident received any fines for violating this section.
RS 32:106 – Bicyclists have to signal their intentions in traffic using their hands and arms from the left side of their vehicle, as follows: extending their arm horizontally with their hand open and orientating the back of their hand towards the rear for left turns and when pulling from side of the highway or curb; extending their hand and arm upward at a 45-degrees angle from their shoulder or elbow with their hand open and orientating the back of their hand towards the rear for right turns; extending their hand and arm downward at a 45-degrees angle from their shoulder or elbow with their hand open and orientating the back of their hand towards the rear for stopping or slowing down. Bicyclists do not have to signal their intentions continuously if they need their arm or hand to control the bike. Those who failed to signal their intentions in traffic and got into an accident, as a result, should give their bike accident lawyer all the details.
RS 32:199 – Bicycle operators younger than 12 years of age have to wear a bike helmet. Also, passengers weighing less than 45 pounds or shorter than 40 inches should be secured to an adequate restraining seat. Any violations of this section may qualify as a contributory fault and make the bicyclist who violated them partly liable for the accident. It is important to discuss the details with a bicycle accident lawyer.
RS 32:329.1- When operated at night time, bikes should be equipped with the following: front white light lamp visible from minimum 500 feet, rear lamp emitting steady or flashing red light visible from minimum 500 feet, rear red reflectors facing outward mounted on each side and visible from distances between 100 feet and 600 feet when directly exposed to motor vehicles’ headlights. It is not allowed to install red lamps and reflectors on the front side of bikes, and white lamps and reflectors on the rear side. Bicyclists in violation of this section who get into an accident will most likely share fault for it. However, an experienced Baton Rouge bike accident attorney may be able to help them prove that the accident did not occur due to their negligence or that the other party was more at fault than they were.
RS 32:283 – All persons opening the door of motor vehicles on highways should take precaution to make sure their action does not impede traffic or endanger other persons or vehicles. It also prohibits leaving motor vehicle doors open while on highways for more time than necessary for someone to get in or out of the vehicle. Thus, if a bicyclist incurred injuries or had their bike damaged after running into a vehicle door someone left open while on the highway, a bike accident lawyer should be able to prove that the other party’s negligence caused the accident and obtain fair compensation for their client.
RS 32:201 – It is illegal to taunt, harass or intentionally throw objects at a bicyclist. Those who do that and whose actions cause the bicyclist to fall, injure themselves, and damage their bike can be held liable for their actions. However, since violations of this section are rather difficult to prove, it is best to leave such cases in the hands of an experienced bike accident lawyer.
Baton Rouge City Code 11:229 – When parking their bicycles on the roadway, operators should lean them against the curb. When parking on sidewalks, they should use dedicated racks or lean the bike against a building so as to avoid obstructing traffic. Those who park their bicycle on the roadway in violation of this section and find it damaged by a vehicle will have a hard time obtaining compensation for the damage to their bike. However, they should still request a free case evaluation from a bike accident lawyer.
Baton Rouge City Code 11:230 – Within the business district, riding bicycles upon the sidewalks is prohibited. Those riding their bikes on the sidewalk outside the business district should yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and announce their intention of overtaking or passing pedestrians through audible signals.
Baton Rouge City Code 11:222 – All bicyclists should obey traffic control signals, signs, and rules applicable to vehicles unless a police officer directs them otherwise. When dismounting from their bicycles, operators have to obey pedestrian traffic rules.
RS 32:193 – Regulations referring to bikes apply for all bicycle operated upon highways or paths designated for bicycles.
RS 32:194 – All persons riding their bicycle upon Louisiana highways have all the rights and duties applicable to vehicle drivers.
Bicyclists who violated one or several of the above laws may not be able to recover all the losses they incurred as a result of their bike accident. However, they should not give up the idea of seeking compensation without discussing their case with a bicycle accident lawyer. Depending on the circumstances, the bike accident attorney may be able to prove that the other party was more at fault and still obtain some compensation.
Bart Bernard offers FREE case evaluations, so those who are not sure whether they have the right to seek compensation for their bike accidents have nothing to lose by discussing their case details with him. On the contrary, they will receive the advice of an experienced and dedicated Baton Rouge bike accident attorney and guidance on how to proceed with their case.
Bart Bernard has a history of obtaining consistent compensations for his clients involved in bike accidents. The claims he prepares cover both economic and non-economic damages, and take into account not only the losses the client already incurred but also potential future losses. Here is a brief overview of the types of damages a bike accident compensation claim can cover.
Types of Damages a Baton Rouge Bike Accident Lawyer May Recover for Their Clients
- Bike repair or replacement costs – If the damage to the bike is minor, it may be possible to bring it back to a functional state with repair works. If the damage is significant, the bike may need replacement. When that happens, the bike owner or their bicycle accident lawyer will have to prove the value of the bike.
- Other property damages – Bicyclists often carry backpacks with valuable goods, like a laptop or some other gadgets, jewelry, watches, smartphones, and more. When their possessions are damaged or lost in an accident, they have the right to receive compensation for them. Unfortunately, actually obtaining the compensation is not easy and will most likely take the skills and knowledge of a Baton Rouge bike accident attorney. The claimant will have to prove that they had those objects on them and that the objects were damaged in the accident, due to the actions of the other party.
- Treatment and rehabilitation costs – Bike accidents often result in serious injuries that take a lot of time and money to treat. When that happens, the victim has the right to recover the cost of their treatment and rehabilitation from the party at fault or their insurer. In order to succeed, they will have to show that the injuries and complications they incurred were the direct results of the accident and that the other party caused them. Evidence of the costs incurred will be necessary as well. In such situations, many victims prefer to focus on their recovery and hire a bike accident attorney to handle their compensation claim.
- Pain and suffering – Sometimes, the injuries a bicyclist incurs in an accident are severe and very painful, preventing the latter from living a healthy life and engaging in activities they used to love, and exposing them to physical and mental distress. When that happens, an experienced bike accident lawyer may be able to obtain compensation for their client’s pain and suffering as well. This will not be easy and will most likely take relevant medical reports, expert witnesses, and citing case precedents.
- Lost wages – When a bicyclist injured in an accident is unable to return to work for a specific time period and loses money; as a result, they have the right to compensation for the wages they lost. In order to obtain it, they or their bike accident attorney will have to prove the value of those losses, by providing income statements, using medical reports, and perhaps even testimonies from employers or work colleagues.
- Loss of earning capacity – When a bike accident leaves its victim disabled and unable to work or earn the same wage, their compensation claim can cover future lost income as well. However, it will take an experienced bicycle accident lawyer to estimate those losses, prove them, and convince the insurance company or the court to grant the claimed compensation.
- Loss of companionship – If the injuries someone incurred in a bike accident affect their life to such an extent that their companion decides to live them and file for divorce, the compensation claim should cover the loss of companionship as well. Such injuries are usually difficult to prove and compensate, and they require the skills and knowledge of a Baton Rouge bike accident lawyer.
- Disability adjustments and home care costs – These losses usually come up when the victim of a bike accident is left disabled and needs home care and disability accommodation adjustments. For example, someone paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the accident will need a wheelchair, physical therapy, and will have to install ramps and support bars in the home. An experienced bike accident lawyer may be able to recover such costs as well.
The best way to assess what types of damages a compensation claim can cover and to estimate their value is to work with a bicycle accident lawyer. It is important to contact one as soon as possible because the deadline for filing civil actions referring to property damage and personal injury in Louisiana is of only one year from the date of the accident.
While one year may seem a lot of time, even the best bike accident lawyer needs time to gather and organize evidence, prepare compensation claims, and follow legal formalities. Those who do not act in time will most likely lose their right to compensation.
Get in Touch with a Baton Rouge, LA, Bicycle Accident Lawyer Now!
If you were injured in a bike accident in Baton Rouge, LA, you might be entitled to compensation for your losses. Your best chance to actually obtain that compensation is to work with an experienced bike accident lawyer. The latter will evaluate your case and tell you exactly where you stand and what options you have. If you decide to an experienced bicycle accident lawyer, that lawyer will:
- Help you gather the necessary evidence to substantiate the compensation claim
- Prepare and file the claim on your behalf
- Negotiate a convenient settlement with the insurance company or file a civil lawsuit against the party at fault
- Defend your interests in court and obtain the compensation you deserve
If you decide to hire Bart Bernard as your bicycle accident lawyer, you will benefit from all the above and more. The preliminary consultation will be free, and you will only pay for his services after he wins your case and gets you the compensation you deserve. To find out more about what the experienced bicycle accident lawyer Bart Bernard can do for your Baton Rouge bike accident case, contact us today to schedule a Free Consultation.