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If you or someone you know has been injured in a bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. A Lake Charles bicycle accident attorney at Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC can effectively uphold your rights and fight for the recovery you need.
Although thousands of Louisiana residents enjoy biking for recreation, exercise, or commuting, Louisiana happens to be one of the most dangerous places for cyclists in the United States. In 2018, the Wall Street Journal published research revealing that Louisiana had America’s second-highest number of bicycle accident fatalities that year, trailing only Florida.
Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that bicycle trips account for only about one percent of all trips in the U.S., cyclists accounted for nearly 3 percent of all traffic fatalities in Louisiana as recently as 2016. Since cyclists have far less protection on the road than drivers of cars or trucks, these tragic figures are sadly not surprising. When a motor vehicle collides with a bicycle, the resulting accident is far more likely to inflict serious or fatal injuries on the rider of the bike.
The advice and experience of a seasoned bicycle accident lawyer can guide you through the often-complicated claims process, so you can start healing and move on with your life. If you’re interested in hearing more about how a legal advocate can help you, call Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC today at 337-800-8800 for a free initial case review.
Do I Need A Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
When a bicycle accident occurs, cyclists can be left with serious injuries, personal property damage, and sometimes lasting consequences. The first priority of any cyclist injured in a collision with a motor vehicle should be to seek immediate medical attention. After stabilizing, many accident victims realize they are facing astronomical medical or repair bills and decide to seek legal representation to help them recover.
A skilled bike accident attorney understands the laws and means for recovery that apply to bicycle accidents in your state. Some of the many ways a bicycle accident lawyer can assist you include:
- Helping you understand the legal aspects of your case
- Offering professional advocacy and advice based on years of practice
- Reviewing your claim’s details to determine appropriate compensation values
- Collecting evidence to support your claim
- Hiring expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists
- Managing important documents and legal deadlines
- Communicating with insurance providers and other lawyers on your behalf
- In communicating on your behalf, helping you avoid self-incriminating statements
- Negotiating settlements to compensate for your injuries and other damages
- Representing you in court, if a settlement cannot be reached
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
No two bicycle accidents are the same, but the majority of them are caused by some common elements. Most of the bicycle accident cases handled by Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC are the result of one or more of the following:
- Distracted driving, such as driving while texting
- Failure to properly scan the road for cyclists
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving while drowsy or disoriented
- Reckless driving behavior like lane weaving
- Exceeding posted speed limits
- Ignoring traffic signs and signals
- Hazardous road conditions, such as rain or ice
- Tailgating, improper turns, and driving errors
- Vehicle defects, such as brake failure
Louisiana Laws That Apply to Cyclists
According to the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development, several state laws exist that pertain specifically to bicycles. Some of the most important laws for cyclists to know are:
- The right to be treated as the operator of a vehicle – According to the Louisiana statute that defines vehicles, bicycles are considered vehicles just like motorcycles, cars, and trucks. Cyclists have all of the same rights and responsibilities as drivers on the road, which means they are both entitled to the same respect as car drivers and also subject to the same traffic laws.
- The right to use any normal traffic paths or lanes – In Louisiana, bicyclists are not confined to bikes-only paths or areas. “Normal vehicular traffic” lanes are as open to bicycles as they are to any other vehicle operators in the state. Additionally, Louisiana law does not explicitly permit or forbid bicycles from riding on sidewalks.
- The right to “due care” from motor vehicle drivers – Though cyclists have the right to the same respect car drivers typically show one another, Louisiana motor vehicle operators have other duties of care unique to bicycle riders. Safe passing laws require drivers to maintain a safe distance of at least three feet when overtaking bicycles. Dooring laws declare that car doors must not be left open in a way that obstructs motor vehicle or bicycle traffic. The law also specifically protects cyclists from harassment, taunting, and malicious object-throwing on the road by explicitly defining these acts as unlawful.
- The requirement to ride as close to the right as possible – One of the legal responsibilities exclusive to bicyclists is the obligation to ride as close to the right-hand side of the roadway as is practical. Some exceptions to this requirement include times when a cyclist must swerve to avoid hazards, prepare for a left turn, or pass another vehicle traveling in the same direction.
- The requirement to equip children under age 12 with helmets – Louisiana does not impose a statewide mandate requiring adult bicyclists to wear helmets. However, the law does require any person under the age of 12 to wear a helmet while on a bicycle, either as a rider or a passenger.
If a car driver hits you while you’re riding your bike, they could be held liable for any resulting injuries, damages, and associated costs. The best way to determine the types and amounts of compensation to which you may be entitled is to consult an experienced bicycle accident attorney.
Why Hire Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC?
Strong bicycle accident cases rely heavily on strong evidence, which is why Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC is committed to using cutting-edge technologies and procedures to win for our clients in court. We use technology such as medical artwork, computer analysis, digital models, and forensic imagery to recreate accident scenes and bring details to life.
The lawyers of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC know the law and how it applies to Louisiana bicyclists. We use our extensive technological and legal experience to provide a level playing field and satisfying outcomes to those we represent. We only consider ourselves successful when you do.
Bicycle Accident FAQs
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, you likely have many questions about the kind of claim you can make. You may find answers among the responses to some of our most frequently asked questions below:
How much time do I have to file a bicycle accident lawsuit?
Each state in the U.S. has laws defining a statute of limitations, or time limit to bring certain types of cases before a court. Louisiana’s statutes of limitations are some of the shortest in America, at only one year for both personal injury and property damage. This means that if you were injured or sustained property damage in a bicycle accident, you have only a year from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit.
Many people attempt to resolve bike accident claims through settlements before dealing with the intricacies of a lawsuit. Because the settlement process can drag on for a long time without resolution, the window of time for victims to seriously consider and prepare for a trial may be very short. Hiring a dedicated bicycle accident lawyer early on gives you an advantage in cases like this since you will already have a professional representative who knows the details of your claim.
What if I was partially at fault for my bicycle accident?
A: Louisiana operates under something called a “comparative fault” doctrine, which means that a percentage of fault is applied to any people involved in an accident based on their amount of assigned negligence. The amount of compensation a person is eligible to receive can be reduced according to the percentage of fault they contributed to the accident.
As an example, say you failed to signal a turn, and a motor vehicle collided with you as a result. If a court determines that your case is valued at $10,000 but that you are also 20 percent at fault, the amount of compensation you actually receive would be $8,000, or 80 percent of the total case value.
What sort of compensation can I receive for a bicycle accident claim?
Bicycle accidents can leave cyclists with many immediate and long-term consequences. The monetary compensation offered in insurance settlements and trial verdicts is designed to repay victims for any costs they incur as a result of the accident. These costs include, but are not limited to, economic costs such as medical bills, related treatment expenses, and lost wages due to missed work. Those filing bicycle accident lawsuits can also seek non-economic damages, such as recompense for pain and suffering or losses in quality of life.
If you have more specific questions about your case, Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC is happy to provide you with answers during our free initial case review.
If you’re interested in legal advice for your bicycle accident claim, call Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC today at 337-800-8800 for a professional consultation. We offer initial case reviews and guidance for free to help you decide what’s best for you.