Over 80 motorcyclists lose their lives every year in Louisiana. This represents 11% of all traffic fatalities throughout the state, according to the National Highway Safety Administration. Many more get injured on crowded and dangerous roads like those in Baton Rouge. When this happens, they need the help of a Baton Rouge motorcycle accident lawyer to recover their losses and get back on their feet after the accident.
The most dangerous intersections in town, as far as motorcyclists are concerned, seem to be Siegen Lane & Perkins Road, Hooper Road & College Drive, Perkins & Bluebonnet Boulevard, and Perkins & Essen Lane. However, motorcyclists riding on I-12, Nicholson Drive, Staring Lane, O’Neal Lane, or Burbank Drive should be careful as well.
Motorcyclists who incur injuries and property damage in an accident they did not cause are entitled to compensation for their losses. The procedures they have to follow in order to obtain compensation are quite complicated, and time is not on their side. Their best option is to work with experienced Baton Rouge accident lawyers like A.L.L. Law Firm.
Do I Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
When presented with a new case, A.L.L. Law Firm analyzes all details. We identify the party at fault for the accident, estimate our client’s losses, and identify the best strategy to use in order to obtain the compensation our clients deserve.
One of the first steps to building a solid case is identifying the party at fault. In order to succeed, the motorcycle crash attorney will focus on identifying the cause of the accident.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Baton Rouge, LA
Drivers changing lanes or direction recklessly
Many drivers in Louisiana are not used to having motorcyclists ride alongside. When they change lanes or direction, they only pay attention to incoming cars, not motorcycles. They often neglect to check blind spots or signal before changing direction. Sudden lane and direction changes can be difficult to prove, but a dedicated Baton Rouge motorcycle crash lawyer will always find a way.
Open car doors
Drivers stop cars on the Baton Rouge roadways all of the time. Sometimes, they open the door suddenly in the path of oncoming motorcyclists. This causes the driver to lose control of their vehicle, fall, and incur serious injuries. This is especially true when riding at high speeds.
Everyone in Baton Rouge seems to live against the clock. People are always in a hurry. Because of this, they do not hesitate to press the accelerator in order to reach their destination faster. Unfortunately, the faster they drive, the less time they have to prevent accidents. This also means more serious consequences when they collide with other cars or motorcycles.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Getting behind the wheel after a drink or two, while on drugs, or smoking weed may not seem like a big deal. However, these substances take their toll on drivers’ attention span and reaction speed. This often leads to serious accidents. The presence of drugs or alcohol in a driver’s blood will significantly ease a motorcycle wreck lawyer’s work.
Since motorcycles occupy less space on the road, many drivers are under the impression that they have the right to overtake them by driving between lanes. Louisiana laws prohibit lane splitting, and any Louisiana motorcycle accident attorney knows that.
Failing to maintain a safe distance
Many drivers expect motorcyclists to ride fast and they fail to maintain a safe distance. When the motorcyclist is forced to slow down or stop, they end up hitting them. There are also situations where a car’ s brake lights don’t work properly. When they hit the brakes it can be impossible for the motorcyclist following them to stop in due time.
Young and inexperienced drivers often misjudge speed and distance. They then panic and lose control of the vehicle when faced with various road dangers. As a result, they end up making unsafe moves and getting into the path of other motorists. Or, they completely lose control of their vehicle and cause a serious accident.
Dangerous road conditions
Rainwater, oil leaks, debris, potholes, poor visibility, and inadequate road markings or signage can quickly lead to accidents. Additionally, a drivers’ failure to adjust speed to these conditions amplifies the effect poor conditions have. Sometimes, the company maintaining a road fails to do their job and a motorcyclist incurs injuries as a result of their negligence. Their motorcycle crash attorney may decide to sue the respective company or file a compensation claim with their insurer.
Motorcycles malfunction too. Sometimes it is because of manufacturing defects, other times because they do not receive adequate maintenance. There are also situations when the motorcyclist takes their vehicle to a repair shop and pays for repair or maintenance work that the mechanics fail to perform correctly. When that happens, experienced Baton Rouge motorcycle accident lawyers may be able to sue the manufacturer or the repair shop and make them compensate all the losses their client incurred.
It is important to note that, under Louisiana laws, all the parties involved in an accident can share liability for it. The law sees the overall liability for an accident as 100%. It then distributes fault percentages to the parties involved, according to the details of the case. The liability percentage attributed to one party determines the percentage of the total damages that the party will be liable for.
For example, someone 25% at fault for an accident that resulted in total losses of $10,000 will be liable for $2,500 of those losses. If they incurred losses exceeding $2,500 themselves, they will only recover the difference. This means the primary objective of every party involved in the accident will be to attribute as much of the fault as possible to the other party or parties.
When it comes to motorcyclists, drivers often try to blame them. Claiming that they ride at high speeds, perform dangerous maneuvers in traffic, and overtake other vehicles without maintaining a safe distance are all common defenses against injured motorcyclists. This means that any motorcyclist injured in an accident will have three objectives they will see to prove:
- The fault of the other party
- Their own innocence
- The losses they incurred
This is easier said than done. In order to determine whether their client shared liability for the accident, a motorcycle wreck attorney will often begin by reviewing the traffic laws their client may have violated. Here is a brief overview of the most critical motorcycle laws in force in Louisiana.
Main Motorcycle Laws in Louisiana
Helmets Are Mandatory
Although many motorcyclists hate this rule, failure to comply with it could make them responsible for any head injuries they incur in a motorcycle accident in Baton Rouge or anywhere else in Lousiana. Research shows that motorcycle helmets help 67% of their wearers avoid brain injuries. Motorcyclists who do not wear helmets also risk getting a ticket.
Protective Eye Gear Is Mandatory
The role of eye gear is to protect the motorcyclists’ eyes against wind, pebbles, and road debris. Louisiana Revised Statutes Section 32:190.1 stipulates that motorcyclists have to wear protective eyewear. It also stipulates that the gear they wear at night should not be tinted.
No Kids Younger Than Five
Louisiana Revised Statutes Section 32:191 (E) prohibits motorcyclists from transporting children under five years of age on their vehicle. Motorcyclists who violate this stipulation and get into an accident could be liable for any injuries the child they were transporting incurs. This can happen even if they were not at fault and despite their Louisiana motorcycle accident attorney’s best efforts.
No Multitasking or Distractions Allowed
Louisiana Revised Statutes Section 32:191 (C) stipulates that motorcyclists should have both hands free to operate the motorcycle. Those who take one hand off the handles to grab a water bottle or use a mobile phone and get into an accident could share liability for it and should consult a Baton Rouge motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Under the Louisiana Revised Statutes Section, 32:191 (A) motorcyclists and their passengers are required to ride astride permanent regular seats, with one leg on each side of the vehicle. This is to avoid loss of balance and ensure optimum maneuverability.
No Lane Splitting
Although motorcycles occupy less space than cars, Louisiana Revised Statutes Section 32:191.1 prohibits driving between lanes or passing cars in the same lane they are in. Motorcyclists should use the left lane to overtake cars or wait until they can do it safely on a single-lane road. Riding the lane and driving between car rows is prohibited as well. If motorcyclists get into an accident while violating this rule, there is little their motorcycle crash attorneys can do to avoid their liability.
No More Than Two Motorcycles Riding Abreast
Louisiana Revised Statutes Section 32:191.1.D stipulates that only two motorcyclists be allowed to ride abreast on the same lane. Those who violate this section and get into accidents will most likely share liability for it. As a result, they should consult Louisiana motorcycle accident lawyers as soon as possible.
Only Use Modulating Headlights during the Day
Although modulating headlights are a great way to save power, they are only safe to use during the day. The law prohibits their use during nighttime. Those who get into an accident at night, while using modulating headlights, could share liability if the other party claims the lights were not visible from a distance.
Handlebars up to Shoulder Level
Under Louisiana Revised Statutes Section 32:191.3, motorcyclists are not allowed to ride vehicles whose handlebars height exceeds their shoulder level. Specialists consider higher handlebars difficult to maneuver, and failure to comply with their recommendations could make the rider partly liable for any accident.
How does A.L.L. Law Firm Help You?
Although violations of any of the above laws at the time of the accident could be used against the motorcyclist to prove their partial liability for the accident, this does not mean victims cannot recover any damages.
It does mean that they should discuss their case with a Baton Rouge motorcycle accident lawyer. A lawyer will find out exactly where they stand and what options they have. Under Louisiana laws, even someone 90% at fault for an accident can recover damages if the damages they incurred represent more than 90% of the total damages their accident caused.
Moreover, an experienced motorcycle collision attorney may be able to prove that the accident would have occurred and would have had the same consequences even in the absence of their client’s negligence.
Also, contrary to what some motorcyclists believe, while the insurance status of the parties involved in an accident influences the compensation the parties can obtain, it does not exclude one’s ability to obtain some compensation. It will affect the procedures needed to obtain this compensation though. This is where a motorcycle wreck attorney can be especially beneficial to victims.
Insurance Coverage Scenarios
1. Uninsured Motorcyclists and the Right to Compensation
Under Louisiana laws, motorcyclists who are uninsured and incur injuries or property damages in an accident can only recover damages exceeding the minimum liability insurance coverage they should have had, respectively:
- $15,000/person for injuries
- $30,000/event for injuries
- $25,000/event for property damage
Thus, uninsured motorcyclists who incurred damages lower than these amounts will not be able to recover any money. Those who incur higher damages should be able to recover the difference between the minimum liability insurance and the total damages they incurred.
No matter their situation, uninsured motorists should not give up the idea of seeking compensation. Victims should always request a 100% risk-free claim evaluation from a Baton Rouge motorcycle accident lawyer, for two main reasons:
- Compensations for motorcycle crashes cover more than medical treatments and property damages. Because of this, they may exceed the values mentioned above. Other types of damages accident victims can recover include: lost wages and/or earning capacity, physical and psychological therapy, pain and suffering (physical and emotional), disability-related expenses (wheelchair or medical devices, cost of home care and home modifications to accommodate the disability), accident attorney fees, and more.
- There are exceptions to the rule, and an experienced Baton Rouge motorcycle crash lawyer may prove their applicability to the particular case they handle. For example, uninsured motorists may claim compensation for their losses if they can prove that the driver who caused their accident was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, fled the scene, or was committing a felony.
2. Uninsured/Underinsured Drivers and Hit-and-Run Baton Rouge Motorcycle Accidents
Many motorcyclists in Baton Rouge mistakenly believe that if the driver at fault for their accident is uninsured or underinsured, or fled the scene of the accident, they will not be able to obtain any compensation. While this may be true in some cases, it is not the rule. Victims should always discuss their case with a motorcycle wreck attorney.
Some insurers in Louisiana include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in their clients’ policies if the latter do not request otherwise. Thus, the motorcyclist could be insured and not even know it.
If the party at fault for their accident is uninsured, their own insurance policy steps in, and they can obtain compensation from their own insurer. That is why the first step a motorcyclist injured in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist should take is to review their own coverage with a Baton Rouge motorcycle accident lawyer.
If the party at fault is underinsured, the victim can still obtain compensation within the limits of the available coverage, and maybe claim the difference from their own insurer. An experienced motorcycle crash lawyer will not hesitate to investigate the financial situation of the party at fault. If feasible, your lawyer may sue them for damages in civil court.
We Can Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve!
Knowledgeable and dedicated Baton Rouge motorcycle crash attorneys at A.L.L. Law Firm even have solutions for hit-and-run cases. Sometimes, they conduct their own investigation and manage to identify the driver who fled the scene. Other times, they manage to obtain compensation from their client’s insurer.
The bottom line is those motorcycle accident victims should not give up hope without consulting a Baton Rouge motorcycle accident lawyer. In fact, they should consult one as soon as possible after their accident. They risk losing their right to compensation if they wait for too long.
Contact a Baton Rouge Motorcycle Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible
According to Louisiana Civil Code Title XXIV, art. 3492, delictual actions are prescribed within one year from the date
when the damage or injury was sustained. This means that, after one year from their accident, the victims can no longer hold the party at fault responsible. Therefore, they may no longer obtain compensation for their injuries or property damage.
The only exceptions to the rule are cases involving minors or those involving permanent disabilities under the Louisiana Products Liability Act. It is important to note that preparing and filing a compensation claim or a civil lawsuit takes time as well. The quicker a Baton Rouge motorcycle accident lawyer begins to work on a case the more they can do for their client.
Hire A.L.L. Law Firm as Your Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Now!
If you were the victim of a motorcycle wreck, you surely want to know whether or not you can obtain compensation for your losses. You probably have questions about what value that compensation can reach, and what it takes to obtain it. A.L.L. Law Firm can and will answer all your questions. We offer victims a private, 100% risk-free case evaluation with one of our skilled lawyers.
If you decide to trust us with your case, we will take over all the procedures and paperwork. We will not rest until we obtain the compensation you deserve. Recovering from a motorcycle injury is a long, painful, and often expensive experience. Let us do everything we can to make the recovery easier. The best part is that you only pay for our services from the compensation we obtain for you, when we obtain it. You have nothing to lose.
No Upfront Fees. No Out of Pocket Costs.
With A.L.L. Law Firm on your side, you will have a reputable and knowledgeable Baton Rouge motorcycle accident attorney defending your interests and fighting for your rights. Contact Us today and schedule your FREE case evaluation!