Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim
Motorcycles offer riders the ease of getting from place to place without the burden of a clunky vehicle. Bikers get to experience the feel of the wind in their hair and the sun on their back. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are not protected from the impact of a serious accident, and even a small accident could have dire results for the rider.
If you or someone you love was involved in a recent motorcycle accident, reach out to our team at Jones & Hill. For over 35 years, our firm has been representing injured accident victims throughout the state of Louisiana, including motorcyclists who suffered because of someone else’s careless or reckless actions. We have successfully represented catastrophically injured bikers, as well as the families of those wrongfully killed in motorcycle accidents in Lake Charles, Alexandria, Oakdale and Oberlin, and all of the surrounding areas, and we are ready to fight for you.
Call 1-888-481-1333 or contact us online to request a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our Louisiana motorcycle accident attorneys today.
Louisiana Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Louisiana law requires motorcyclists to wear helmets while operating or riding a motorcycle. However, studies show that nearly 90% of all motorcyclists injured in accidents were wearing helmets.
In 2020, there were 81 motorcycle accident-related fatalities and 1,193 injuries resulting from motorcycle crashes in Louisiana. While the overall rates of motorcycle accident-related deaths and injuries have been trending down, the numbers tell a frightening story: bikers face a significant risk every time they share the road with other drivers.
This becomes even more apparent when comparing the total number of motorcycle crash-related fatalities to the overall number of motor vehicle accident deaths in the state that same year. With 807 traffic-related fatalities in Louisiana in 2020, motorcycle accident-related deaths comprised over 10% of all motor vehicle accident deaths in the state during the most recent calendar year.
Louisiana has tried to make efforts to curb the number of injured motorcyclists throughout the state. However, it takes more than the efforts of law enforcement and public policy to fully ensure that drivers are aware of motorcyclists on the roads. Many drivers switch lanes without carefully checking their blind spots, whereas other drivers speed up behind a motorcyclist only to put on their brakes too late. Changing the mindset of drivers will take some time, but in the interim, motorcyclists do have a course of action after accidents.
Who Is Responsible for Your Injuries & Damages?
When another motorist or some other party acts recklessly, negligently, or carelessly, they can typically be held liable for your resulting injuries and damages. Because Louisiana follows a fault-based system when it comes to motor vehicle accident claims, you will need to prove that the other party (known as the “defendant”) was at least partly responsible for the crash.
You could have grounds for a case if the accident was caused by someone else:
- Driving while distracted
- Driving while impaired/drunk
- Tailgating/following too closely
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Making dangerous driving maneuvers
- Driving while fatigued
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Merging or passing unsafely or unlawfully
- Violating traffic rules
- Running a red light or stop sign
Additionally, you could be eligible for financial compensation if the accident resulted from poor road maintenance, defective construction, or vehicle defects, such as defective brakes, missing engine components, or even faulty safety equipment, including motorcycle helmets.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Louisiana is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that motorcyclists and victims of an accident have the ability to bring a claim for damages against the negligent party even if they were partially at fault for the accident. Because the state follows a rule of pure comparative negligence, you do not need to prove that the other party was more at fault than you or that your liability falls below a certain threshold. However, your total recovery will be reduced by any liability you share.
This means that, if the facts indicate that you, the motorcyclist, were 10% at fault for the accident, a total damage claim of $50,000 will be reduced by $5,000. In other words, if your total damages amounted to $50,000 but the court found you 10% at fault, you could only recover up to $45,000.
Recoverable Damages in Motorcycle Accident Cases
Victims of a motorcycle accident often require extensive medical care and rehabilitation efforts. They may be unable to work for an extended period of time and may suffer significant pain and suffering due to their injuries and related financial hardships.
A typical claim for damages will include both actual and special damages, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lost wages
- Future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
The economic damages are often simple to project out, whereas the general/special damages will often require computation by attorneys who are skilled in this area. Your future will often be hindered by the accident, and it is important to make your claim indicative of all the pain you have gone through as a result of the accident.
Special Considerations for Motorcycle Accident Claims
Motorcycle accident cases are similar yet distinct from standard car accident claims. Although car accidents can result in devastating injuries, motorcycle wrecks are far more likely to lead to catastrophic, life-altering injuries. Additionally, motorcyclists are often up against a common belief that they are the ones who drive dangerously. At Jones & Hill, we understand that simply because motorcycles pose certain risks, this does not mean that bikers are inherently risky drivers. In fact, we know the opposite to be true—most motorcyclists are highly skilled, defense drivers.
Unfortunately, many people—including jurors and judges—believe in the common misconception that motorcycle accidents are most often caused by the motorcyclists themselves. Insurance companies often try to use this to their advantage, offering low settlements in the hope that the injured motorcyclist will take the offer rather than risk going to trial and losing.
At Jones & Hill, we know how insurance companies operate, and we know how to fight back. While insurance adjusters have one job—to limit payouts—our Louisiana motorcycle accident lawyers are 100% dedicated to maximizing our clients’ recoveries. We know how to present your case to the jury in a clear, straightforward manner, illustrating both the extent of your damages and the liability of the defendant.