Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to serious injuries than drivers or passengers in cars. Riders often suffer severe injuries, some of which prove fatal. Motorcycle crash victims and their families are often overwhelmed by many emotional, physical and financial challenges.
If you were injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, our experienced Lafayette motorcycle accident lawyers are here to help. We have been helping injured victims in Louisiana for more than twenty years and have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. The initial consultation is free of charge and there are no upfront fees if we take your case. What this means is there is no risk in contacting our firm to see how we may be able to assist you.
Partners Rusty Galloway and John Jefcoat have been members of the Louisiana Bar Association since 1996 and are also members of the American Bar Association, Louisiana Bar Association and the American Association for Justice. They have each handled more than 1,000 injury cases.
Call for a free legal consultation: (337) 984-8020.
Do I Have a Valid Case for Seeking Compensation?
Our attorneys must review all the relevant facts about your situation to answer this question accurately. For this reason, we offer a free consultation to discuss your unique circumstances. Some of the issues we may cover in this meeting include:
- Crash details, such as how it happened and what may have caused it
- Type and severity of injuries you sustained
- Expected date of recovery, as diagnosed by your doctor
- Evidence from the accident scene, such as photos of vehicle damages, your injuries and the crash location
- Insurance coverage that may be available
- Medical costs and other damages you have been billed for
- Whether you have been out of work or had to work fewer hours
In addition to gathering this information, the qualified attorney you meet with also needs to consider whether negligence played a role in causing the crash. Negligence has four parts:
- The driver owed a duty of care – Drivers have a duty to act reasonably to help prevent harm to others, such as by following traffic laws.
- That duty was breached – The driver failed in his or her duty, such as by running a red light.
- There was a causal link to your injuries – The breach of the duty of care must have directly led to the crash that caused your injuries.
- You sustained damages – Tangible damages must have resulted, such as lost wages and medical costs.
What is the Benefit of Having an Attorney Handle My Case?
A qualified attorney has extensive knowledge of the law and the legal process, as he or she has been through it many times. This is just one of the reasons why injured victims who hire a lawyer often recover more compensation when compared to those who do not.
While you focus on your health and your family, our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys in Lafayette are prepared to work hard to maximize your recovery by:
- Thoroughly investigating the accident
- Gathering strong evidence to support your claim
- Interviewing eyewitnesses
- Examining your medical records
- Discussing your injuries with medical experts to determine your prognosis
- Negotiating with the insurance providers for a fair settlement
The attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat have been advocating for injury victims for more than 25 years and have a record of success recovering compensation.
How Much is a Motorcycle Accident Claim Worth?
Each crash is different and so are the injuries suffered by victims. Some injuries may be more severe than others and take longer to heal. This is just one of many factors that may impact the value of a motorcycle crash victim’s claim for compensation.
That said, the types of compensation an injured victim may be eligible to recover often includes:
- Medical costs – all past, present and expected future costs for treatment
- Lost wages – the income you lost if you were unable to work while recovering.
- Pain and suffering
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Lost future earning capacity
- Medical devices you may need to help you recover or to help you because of limited mobility
- Emotional anguish
- Funeral and burial costs if your loved one died in the crash
- Wrongful death damages
The value of each claim must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. That is why it is important to work with an experienced attorney who knows how to determine all damages suffered and their potential value.
Have questions? We are ready to help. Call: (337) 984-8020.
Are There Filing Deadlines That Apply?
In Louisiana, the filing deadline – or statute of limitations – that applies to most civil lawsuits, including personal injury claims, is one year from the date of the accident.
If the injury is delayed, such as for a traumatic brain injury (TBI), it would be one year from the date of the discovery or diagnosis of your injury. However, it is often difficult to apply this exception, which is why crash victims should meet with a lawyer right away to determine if they may have a case. Your lawyer needs time to review the situation and build a strong case.
There are other exceptions that may apply to some claims, pushing the deadline back or moving it up, giving you less time to file a claim. If you miss this filing deadline, you will likely be barred by the courts from pursuing a case.
Our attorneys are ready to help you understand more about your potential legal options, including the filing deadline if you intend to pursue a claim.
What Motorcycle Laws Apply in Lafayette?
Motorcycles are considered motor vehicles in Louisiana. As such, riders have the same responsibilities as drivers and must follow all the same traffic laws.
There are also state laws that apply specifically to motorcycles:
- Riders and passengers must always wear motorcycle helmets, unlike some other states where helmets are only required if you are under a certain age
- Motorcycles must have one mirror fitted on the left side of the vehicle
- The height of the handlebars cannot exceed the height of the rider’s shoulders
- Eye protection must be worn if the motorcycle lacks a windscreen
- Motorcycles cannot carry passengers under the age of five
- Lane splitting is illegal
- Motorcycles cannot carry passengers unless they have passenger seats and footrests
I Was Not Wearing My Helmet – Could That Hurt My Case?
It could, but you should still consider meeting with a lawyer if the crash resulted from another’s negligence. While not wearing a helmet might hurt the value of your claim, it may not prevent you from recovering compensation.
Louisiana requires all motorcyclists to wear a helmet that meets or exceeds the safety standards defined by state authorities. Even though not wearing a helmet is against the law, failing to wear a helmet did not cause another driver’s negligence. Not wearing a helmet may have made you more susceptible to injury, but most riders do not escape a crash without an injury.
The insurance company may use Louisiana’s comparative fault system against you. Under this law, if you are injured partly because of your own negligence, you can be assessed a percentage of fault. That percentage of fault will be deducted from any compensation you are awarded.
The licensed Lafayette motorcycle accident lawyers at Galloway Jefcoat are committed to securing maximum compensation for your damages. We do not want you to be assigned an unreasonable amount of fault.
Legal Options for a Claim if the Driver Was Underinsured
Louisiana is an at-fault state, so you would typically pursue a claim through the liable party’s insurance company. If the at-fault party has no insurance or is underinsured, you may be eligible to seek compensation through your own uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage.
Technically this coverage is not required, as you may reject it in writing. However, insurance companies are required to offer it, meaning many motorists have it. If you declined coverage and the driver has assets, such as a home, you may still be able to recover some damages by suing the driver directly. However, if that at-fault party has no assets, it may be difficult to obtain compensation for your damages.
Can Injured Passengers File Injury Claims?
Passengers have the same rights for filing a claim as the drivers. If you are injured while riding as a motorcycle passenger, you may be eligible to pursue an injury claim against the at-fault party for the damages.
That said, you should be diligent in getting a copy of the police report and obtaining the other information you would get if you were the driver (names, contact details, vehicle and insurance information).
Contact the Lafayette-based motorcycle accident lawyers at our firm to learn more about your potential legal options.
Can I Seek Compensation for a No-Contact Accident?
Victims injured in no-contact crashes can seek compensation but securing compensation for these crashes can be especially complicated. Victims may greatly benefit from the help of an experienced attorney.
Some no-contact collisions do not involve other vehicles. For example, one of your wheels could lose traction over a wet or slippery surface and you could wipeout. You could also crash while going over a rough road that was not properly maintained. In these types of situations, you may have a claim against the government entity responsible for maintaining the road. Your lawyer would need to prove government negligence made the road unsafe and this directly caused your crash and injuries.
Another type of no-contact collision occurs when the victim swerves to avoid a crash with a reckless driver. The driver may be at fault, even though the rider did not crash into the driver’s vehicle. Often the victim hits another object or vehicle.
If the at-fault driver stays at the scene, you may pursue a claim through that driver’s insurance. In cases where the at fault party – called a phantom driver – flees the scene, victims may be eligible to seek compensation through the uninsured (UM) portion of their own insurance policy.
Regardless of why the phantom driver may have fled, Louisiana state law requires the plaintiff to use an “independent and disinterested witness” to prove the crash and subsequent injuries were caused by an unknown driver.
Call (337) 984-8020 to set up your free case review.
How Do Motorcycle Crashes Happen?
Motorcycle accidents often happen because a driver is not paying attention or is otherwise engaged in negligent or reckless driving behavior. Some of the most common examples of negligence that may lead to motorcycle crashes include:
- Failing to check blind spots
- Tailgating or following other vehicles too closely
- Speeding excessively
- Driving distracted
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Being impaired by fatigue
- Ignoring traffic safety laws
Common Injuries Caused by Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycles inherently offer little protection to their riders, so motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable to suffering serious injuries in a motorcycle accident. Common types of injuries a motorcyclist may sustain in a crash include:
- Road rash
- Severe lacerations or burns
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Fractured or amputated limbs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Contact Our Firm for Your No-Cost Case Review Today
If you or a loved one sustained life-altering or fatal injuries in a motorcycle accident, we encourage you to contact our law offices for help as soon as possible. Our motorcycle accident lawyers in Lafayette have more than two decades of legal experience in Louisiana and we are ready to fight to protect your best interests.
We operate on contingency, which means that there is nothing for you to pay to retain our services or while we work on your case. We do not get paid unless we obtain compensation for you through a settlement or jury verdict.
Call for your free case review today. Our law offices accept calls 24/7. Our Lafayette office is conveniently located at 1925 Dulles Dr, less than six miles from the Lafayette Consolidated Government.
Experienced Lawyers. Millions Recovered. (337) 984-8020.