Whether you were at fault or not, if you were involved in a motorcycle accident, you will need experienced legal counsel. A motorcycle accident can be devastating. It can lead to weeks in the hospital and medical expenses that total thousands of dollars. You might be laid off from your job if you’ve sustained injuries. The other party might not have insurance. You might have high medical and hospital-related expenses.
Use this helpful Louisiana accident guide and Q&A to address how to find an experienced lawyer. Your lawyer can represent your best interests when you need the most help.
In this Louisiana Accident Guide for Motorcycles, you will find:
- Motorcycle Accident Causes and Louisiana Statistics
- The Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
- Motorcycle Riders: Safe Driving Tips
- What To Do If You’re In a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle Accident Causes and Louisiana Statistics
Do you need a car accident attorney or a personal injury attorney? Riding a motorcycle can make a driver vulnerable.
Cars and trucks may not yield to motorcycles and poor weather can lead to unsafe road conditions. Louisiana has seen a number of motorcycle accidents due to driver negligence and poor road conditions.
Louisiana Motorcycle Accidents – How Many Accidents Occurred?
- For 2017, 0.58 percent of every accident that took place in Louisiana involved a motorcycle. This is based on data from Louisiana Crash Data Reports.
- There were a total of 1,854 motorcycle accidents.
- Of those accidents, there were 96 fatalities or 8.67 percent fatalities that involved a motorcycle in Louisiana.
- Nearly 90 percent of motorcycle drivers wore helmets.
- Most drivers in motorcycle accidents in Louisiana were between the ages of 20-35.
Do you need a New Orleans motorcycle accident lawyer? Are you worried you can’t afford an attorney? Smiley Injury Law can help. Maybe you were in a recent accident. If another driver was negligent, you are entitled to compensation.
At Smiley Injury Law, if you are in a motorcycle accident, Louisiana lawyers can help. Our team can represent you and find who is at fault. Contact us now for free legal help.
What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?
Every year in Louisiana, there are close to 2,000 accidents that involve motorcycles. On average, each year there are 80 motorcycle fatalities.
Motorcycle Accident Causes:
A Blind Spot: Bikers can drive safely, but a blind spot can still cause an accident. A driver in another vehicle may not see the motorcycle and can make a sudden turn that leads to serious injuries. Drivers may also fail to signal to alert the biker.
A Car Door Opens Suddenly: If a motorcycle is passing and a vehicle’s car door opens, it can lead to an accident.
A Manufacturer’s Defect: If there was an error in a bike part, it might be a defect from the manufacturer. If it led to an accident, the driver may be able to sue for damages. The manufacturer may be liable.
A Sudden Lane Change: If a driver suddenly changes lanes without alerting a motorcyclist, this can lead to an accident. Some drivers can’t see a motorcycle in their blind spot.
A Sudden Stop: If the vehicle in front of a motorcyclist stops suddenly, the motorcyclist can run into the vehicle. If they’re traveling at high rates of speed, this can lead to serious injuries or be deadly.
Driving While Intoxicated: If the driver of a vehicle is drunk, this can lead to an accident. An accident can also occur if a motor vehicle driver is under the influence.
- The NHTSA stated nearly 30 percent of motorcycle fatalities had a blood alcohol concentration at or above .08 percent.
- Additionally, over 20 percent of drivers in fatal accidents were drunk.
- Nearly 50 percent of motorcycle accidents involved the use of alcohol.
Hazards on the Road: If there is an unsafe road, this may lead to an accident. In Louisiana, potholes, uneven pavements, and other hazards can contribute to accidents. These can cause bikers to swerve to avoid a pothole. Responsible government entities may be liable for damages.
Lack of Repairs or Faulty Repair Work: Motorcyclists sometimes do their own repair work or trust a friend. But, if the person hasn’t been formally trained, an error on their part could lead to an accident. In other circumstances, a driver may delay a repair because it’s expensive.
Left-Hand Turns: More than 40 percent of motorcycle accidents occur from left-hand turns. When vehicles are turning left, drivers may not see motorcyclists proceeding through intersections. This is where most accidents occur.
Negligence: A major cause of motorcycle accidents is vehicle negligence. A driver may be distracted by children or phones. They might be texting, or talking to others. Drivers that don’t follow traffic laws can cause accidents and may be liable for damages.
New Drivers: Over 50 percent of accidents involving motorcycles were due to driver inexperience, based on HURT reports.
- These drivers had less than 6-months experience on the road.
- The drivers had only a total of 3 years of total experience riding motorcycles.
- 66 percent of the accidents were preventable. Drivers may have been speeding, turning too wide, or braking too hard.
Speeding and Riding Between Cars: Some motorcycle accidents occur because of driver negligence. Traveling at high speeds can increase the risk of an accident. Riding in between lanes can increase an accident risk as other drivers might not see a motorcycle approaching. And riding in between lanes or “lane splits” are illegal in Louisiana.
- 33 percent of motorcyclists in fatal accidents were speeding.
- Nearly 60 percent of sport motorcycle drivers were speeding at the time of an accident. This is based on HURT report data.
- Only 27 percent of cruising bikes were speeding in accidents.
- And, only 22 percent of touring bikes were speeding in accidents.
The Time that Accidents Occur: Time of day can play a factor in motor vehicle accidents involving motorcycles.
- During the weekday 9 am is the safest time for motorcyclists. Between 3 to 6 pm is when most accidents take place.
- 24 percent of motorcycle riders are killed during rush hour.
- 34.2 percent of motorcycle riders are injured during rush hour. Because there are more cars, it can be harder for vehicles to see bikes.
- Aside from the time of day, excessive sunlight, and obstructed views are factors in accidents. This is based on HURT report data.
Where Do Most Motorcycle Accidents Take Place?
While you might think most motorcycle accidents occur on the highway, that’s not the case. A lot of accidents in Louisiana that involve a motorcycle occur on city streets and local roads. Accidents also occur on state roads.
For Louisiana, most motorcycle accidents occur in communities that are highly-populated.
- East Baton Rouge Parish
- Calcasieu Parish
- Jefferson Parish
- Lafayette Parish
- Orleans Parish
Getting Help When You Need It
Almost 90 percent of motorcycle riders don’t have adequate insurance coverage. Vehicles are responsible for almost 60 percent of accidents that involve motorcycles. This is based on data from Urban Transportation. That’s why if you’re in a motorcycle accident, you need to get help fast.
Smiley Injury Law
works throughout Louisiana. They can help you with your motorcycle accident claim. Don’t risk your future to just anyone you find online. Hire the best and most experienced legal counsel to represent you.
Now, let’s take a look at motorcycle accident injuries in Louisiana.
The Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Even if a motorcyclist is an excellent driver, an accident can occur suddenly. 82 people were involved in fatal motorcycle accidents in 2015. For motorcyclists thrown from their bikes, injuries can be traumatizing.
Common injuries from motorcycle accidents include:
- Bodily road rash, abrasions, and scrapes from being dragged on a road.
- Brain-related injuries and head trauma. Injuries can include concussions, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and fractures to the skull.
- Broken bones and fractures from being thrown from a motorcycle. Or, the driver may be slammed on the pavement, hit a road sign, curb, or another vehicle.
- Burns that can be second- or third-degree from the body touching hot engine equipment.
- Embedded material like dirt, gravel, sand, and glass in the legs, arms, hands, and shoulders.
- Emotional trauma and PTSD
- Internal injuries like ruptures to a spleen, injuries to a kidney, or a puncture to a lung. Broken ribs are also common when drivers are thrown from a bike.
- Loss of a limb or an appendage injury
- Loss of life
- Soft tissue damage including sprains and whiplash or pulled ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
- Spinal-related injuries can include cracked vertebrae or herniated disks. Full or partial paralysis can also result from being thrown from a motorcycle.
Was your accident a few months ago? Were you told you don’t have a case? New Orleans has a statute of limitations. In Louisiana, it’s one year. Don’t risk suing for damages and money that’s owed to you.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you have a right to file a claim. Call Smiley Injury Law today for a confidential and free consultation at (504) 434-7700.
Motorcycle Riders: Safe Driving Tips
How you handle your motorcycle can help you stay safe on the road. Because drivers can’t always see you, you have to slow down. Anticipate that they might make sudden turns, slam on the brakes, or open car doors.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident New Orleans, the expert legal team at Smiley Injury Law can help. Smiley Injury Law has experienced lawyers that specialize in personal injury. With offices in California, Texas, and Louisiana, they can navigate the insurance process for you. Let the legal professionals at Smiley Injury Law get you the maximum available compensation.
Here are a few ways to protect yourself on the road and highway:
Reduce Your Risks On the Road
Riding a motorcycle can be risky. Even expert drivers can end up in accidents due to vehicle driver negligence. A car or truck has more metal to protect it. That’s why if you’re on a bike, you need to take precautions to protect yourself.
For starters, take a motorcycle driver safety class. This can help ensure you stay safe on the road. Learn about balance and how to control your bike. Most riders take a beginner’s course to get their license, but they don’t learn advanced skill sets.
Tip: Remember, car and truck drivers may not be able to see you especially if there’s a lot of traffic.
Racing bike vs. touring bike
Next, consider how and why you want to ride. Bikers that ride super motorcycles are in more accidents because they may not be able to anticipate a potential accident in time. That means, slow down. Or, have a high-performance motorcycle for recreational purposes only.
Your reaction time isn’t fast enough to prevent an accident at high rates of speed. Reckless behavior can kill you, so stay safe and drive slower.
Recognize that a racing bike is for a racing track. Buy a touring or cruising bike for the roads and highways. When you get behind the wheel, remember, you have to go much slower to stay safe.
Watch for obstacles in your path
Lastly, remember that Louisiana roads may have potholes or the road surface can be slippery with wet leaves. By planning for the unforeseen and slowing down, you’ll be able to protect yourself from obstacles in your path.
Wear Your Helmet at All Times
Helmets can reduce the risk of getting a head injury by nearly 70 percent.
It also reduces the risk of death by 42 percent.
Your helmet should always be worn. It’s protective gear that can save your life. And, if you’re in an accident, it can increase your claim if you had your helmet on.
Every state falls under the universal helmet laws except for Iowa, Illinois, and New Hampshire. Every driver and their passengers must wear a helmet.
Here are a few important statistics:
- In states where all-helmet laws were not applied, 59 percent of deaths were due to drivers not wearing helmets. But, the total was only 8 percent in states with all-helmet laws. This is based on GAO findings.
- Motorcycle riders are 26x more likely to die in a traffic accident versus those that ride in cars.
- The leading cause of death in a motorcycle accident is from a head injury.
What Kind Of Protective Gear You Need
Protective gear for bikers can include a sturdy jean or leather jacket and leather pants or jeans. People think these looks are stylish. But, a jacket and long pants can protect you from abrasions if you are thrown from your bike.
Besides a long jacket and pants, wear boots and not open toe shoes like flip-flops or sandals. To protect your eyes, wear sunglasses or a pair of goggles.
Maintain Your Bike
One cause of accidents is the lack of upkeep and regular maintenance. Maintaining your bike is important. You need it to operate safely at all times. Check your turn signals and lights before each ride and make sure tires are inflated properly.
Obey Highway Safety Laws
Laws are established to protect drivers. To stay safe on the road, never drive intoxicated. And, always stay in your lane and don’t split lanes. This causes more accidents because drivers can’t see you.
What To Do If You’re In a Motorcycle Accident
If you’re in a motorcycle accident, immediately call 911. If you’re unable to all, another vehicle will call for you.
After an accident, most bikers are embarrassed or angry. They may have made a sloppy turn and just want to get back on the road. Or, they were side-swiped and are angry over damage to their bikes.
Never refuse to have medical attention. You may have suffered a head injury or concussion that might not show results for a few hours or days. Emotional trauma can sometimes show up days or weeks later. If medical professionals recommend taking you to the E.R., let them take you. The police will tow your bike.
If you don’t go to the E.R. with paramedics, go see your doctor or go to an urgent care facility. You need to document the injuries you sustained, preferably, the same day. Any delay in treatment can look bad when you file an insurance claim. The insurance company might say you were faking an injury if you waited weeks to seek treatment.
Get Evidence of the Accident
An accident with another vehicle can be sudden and leave you shocked. But, there are a few things you should do right after an accident if you’re physically able to. If you’re severely injured, the police will get the information from the accident.
Take images and video of the accident
If you are able to take pictures with your phone of the accident scene, do so. Also, take a video of the scene and the other vehicle. You’ll also want to take pictures of the injuries you sustained.
Tip: A great reason to get the other driver’s details right away is if they flee the scene. Be subtle, but get video first and include them and their vehicle right away.
Get the other driver’s details
Next, get the other driver’s information. You’ll need their insurance information, the driver’s name, address, and phone number, and their license plate number. They might not want to give your their license information as some people can get upset if they’re at fault. Wait for a police officer to arrive and they will obtain it. You can find it in the police report along with the driver’s VIN details.
Talk to the witnesses
After an accident, there will be witnesses that saw it occur. Depending on your injuries, if you’re able to talk to people, ask them what they saw. Ask for their name, address, and phone number for your attorney. If you left the scene in an ambulance, the police will get witness statements.
Contact Your Insurance Company
The next step is contacting your insurance company. Let them know you were in a motorcycle accident. Give them the other driver’s insurance information. You will be given a claim number for the accident.
A word of caution: A claims adjuster might try to rush you for a settlement. If this is after an accident, you might be frustrated, on medication, and you might not understand the terminology. Speak to an attorney.
Claims adjusters want to settle fast and may record your statement. But, you may have physical therapy and rehabilitation from your injuries. The claims adjuster can also try to use the information against you to settle the claim for less. Let the insurance company know that you’re only letting them know about the accident. Your attorney can handle the rest.
Understanding Your Insurance Claim
After your accident, you will file a claim with the insurance company. You might think that you’ll get paid right away and be reimbursed for damages to your bike. No, that doesn’t happen right away. You and your attorney have to build a case that the other driver was at fault.
The Next Steps
The other insurance company will try to say that you are at fault. The insurance companies need to prove liability or who is responsible for the accident.
They also want to explore who was negligent. That’s another word for who is liable or responsible for the accident. You’ll speak to your attorney about suing for damages. Damages are the money that you would get from the accident. This can include property damage.
Property damage includes your bike’s damage, damage to the clothing you wore in the accident, and a cracked helmet, for example.
Damages can also include lost wages from the time that you missed away from your job. You may have medical expenses and you might have to go for therapy. When all of these bills come in, your attorney will get the total amount and that’s part of what you will sue for. Even if you are partially at fault for the accident, an experienced lawyer can help you sue for damages.
Evidence For Your Case
There are pieces of evidence that can help your case. These can include:
- The police report and witness statements.
- Any photographs or videos from the accident. Surveillance from nearby businesses or other vehicles may have recorded the accident.
- Your clothing, your bike, and your helmet.
- All medical records and medical bills from your accident and any medications.
- Any x-rays, CTs, or MRIs that were taken.
- Total time away from your job.
- And, if you were laid off, or can’t go back to work due to your injuries, you may be able to sue for additional damages.
Set Up a Free Consultation – And Get the Largest Recovery Possible
At Smiley Injury Law, we know this can be a tough time for you. You may be out of work. You might have sustained significant damages. And, the other driver might not be insured.
Serious injuries or the death of a loved one can be traumatizing. But, you’re not in it alone. Our experienced legal team can protect your interests and get you the money you’re entitled to.
Smiley Injury Law is Here for You
Don’t wait. A free consultation can answer your questions now. Because a motorcycle accident in New Orleans can be life-changing, let Smiley Injury Law help you when you need it most.
Smiley Injury Law is an experienced, personal injury law firm. They work with clients all over Louisiana, California, and Texas. They are dedicated to obtaining justice for victims of motorcycle accidents. Let their motorcycle accident attorneys help you file your claim and seek the largest recovery possible for your case. Call (504) 434-7700. Contact Smiley Injury Law today!