Riding a motorcycle carries many inherent risks. That’s because motorcycles have no built-in safety equipment. When riders are involved in crashes, their helmets and riding gear are the only things that protect them.

Because of the dangers that motorcyclists face, it’s important for both riders and other drivers to be cautious, considerate, and safety-oriented on Louisiana’s roads. Unfortunately, dangerous driving habits are common throughout the state. That means motorcyclists face significant risks every time they ride.

What Types of Driver Negligence Contribute to Motorcycle Accidents?

Most motorcyclists are safety-conscious and take all necessary steps to protect themselves. But other negligent and careless drivers can cause serious crashes in a split second. A few common causes of negligence-related motorcycle crashes include:

  • Not Looking for Motorcycles: Whether they’re turning left, entering an intersection, or changing lanes, drivers must always look out for other vehicles, including motorcycles. Failing to yield when the motorcyclist has the right of way can have disastrous consequences.
  • Driving While Distracted: Too many drivers rely on their peripheral vision or cursory glances at the road due to being distracted. When they do that, they may miss seeing motorcyclists in their path or next to them.
  • Speeding: Motorcycles can accelerate and slow down much faster than vehicles. When motorcyclists stop, speeding drivers behind them may be unable to slow down in time.

Motorcyclists have equal rights to the road. Even so, other motorists often don’t afford them the consideration they deserve.

However, motorcyclists themselves are not always free from blame. Some motorcyclist actions that may result in an accident include:

  • Riding in between lanes or cars
  • Riding when fatigued
  • Riding while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs

These situations can lead to a collision that causes serious injuries or even fatalities.

When another motorist’s negligence alters your life entirely, the healing process can be difficult. You need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to increase the chances of succeeding in your personal injury case.

Learn the Statistics on Motorcycle Crashes in Louisiana

According to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, there were 1,537 crashes involving motorcycles on Louisiana’s roads in 2022, resulting in the deaths of 88 motorcycle riders.

Nationally, there were 5,932 motorcyclist fatalities in 2021, accounting for 14% of all traffic fatalities that year. That’s the largest number of motorcyclist fatalities since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration started collecting data in 1975. The fatality rate for motorcyclists was nearly 24 times the passenger car occupant fatality rate.

The Most Common Injuries Caused by Motorcycle Accidents

Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents can cause life-altering injuries to riders. Some of the common injuries that motorcyclists suffer include:

  • Road Rash: This occurs when an exposed part of the body, like the arms or hands, scrapes across rough surfaces such as asphalt or concrete, which often happens when a rider is thrown from a motorcycle in a high-speed crash.
  • Head and Brain Injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) caused by motorcycle accidents are rising. While a mild concussion may heal with time and may not cause serious problems, a traumatic brain injury can devastate. Motorcyclists who suffer such injuries risk never regaining full cognitive function.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: A motorcycle accident can result in spinal cord injuries. Such injuries can lead to paralysis and permanent nerve damage.
  • Loss of Limbs: Losing a limb can be an unfortunate consequence of a motorcycle accident. In some cases, a bone fracture or any other injury can be so severe that the only way to save the accident victim is to amputate the affected limb.
  • Other Injuries: Motorcyclists can also suffer cuts, burns, dislocations, neck and back injuries, muscle injury, internal organ bleeding and damage, and traumatic, psychological effects.

Louisiana Motorcycle Laws

Louisiana has a unique set of laws for motorcycles and motorcyclists. Most of these laws are found in Louisiana’s revised statute 32:191. Louisiana motorcycle laws include:

  • If their motorcycle doesn’t have a windshield, riders must wear eye protection gear.
  • Both rider and passenger must wear helmets.
  • Two motorcycles can’t ride side by side in the same lane.
  • All motorcycles must have a footrest.
  • Lane splitting is illegal in Louisiana.
  • Motorcycle handlebars must be below or level with the rider’s shoulders when seated.
  • A rider shall not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken.
  • Riders should not attach themselves or the motorcycle to any other vehicle.

There are several other laws that apply to motorcycles in Louisiana. Because of this, it’s essential that you have an experienced New Orleans motorcycle accident attorney on your side who knows and understands the legal system in Louisiana.

What to Do If You Have a Motorcycle Accident

If you or your loved one is injured in a motorcycle accident, take these important steps afterwards to protect your well-being and your right to compensation for the damages you’ve suffered.

  • Immediately dial 911 to call the police and tell them about the accident.
  • Ask the police to send an ambulance if you or anyone else has injuries.
  • Get medical treatment right away. Keep in mind that motorcycle injuries can be severe, and some injuries may not be apparent right away. Don’t self-diagnose.
  • If someone witnessed the accident, get their full names and phone numbers. Their testimony can strengthen your case.
  • If it’s safe to do so, take pictures of the accident. Ideally, you should take photos when the accident scene is still intact. The more pictures you take, the better.
  • Exchange contact information with the other party. This should include names, insurance information, and driver’s license numbers. Once you’ve done that, avoid discussing the details of the accident with the other party or anyone else.
  • Get the name and badge number of the investigating officer. That way, you can contact them later if needed.
  • Contact your insurance provider and inform them you were involved in an accident another person caused. Ensure that you are as brief as possible and do not admit fault.
  • If the other driver’s insurance company contacts you, don’t talk to them. This is because they can use your statements to deny your claim. If they insist on talking to you, tell them to contact your attorney.
  • Call an attorney as soon as possible.

The hours, days, and weeks following a motorcycle accident is a critical period for injured motorcyclists. If you are considering your legal options, contact Dudley DeBosier for a free consultation.

What Is the Right Time to Hire a New Orleans Motorcycle Accident Attorney?

Louisiana laws require that motorcycle accident victims file a personal injury claim within one year of suffering their injury. However, it’s important to act as quickly as possible after being injured in a motorcycle crash. An attorney will be able to help you maximize the compensation you receive from the at-fault party’s insurance company.

Don’t let the one-year deadline catch up with you. Reach out to Dudley DeBosier as soon as possible so we can start working on your case.

Hurt in a Crash? We’re Here to Help.

At Dudley DeBosier, our Louisiana motorcycle accident lawyers know that motorcyclists often suffer severe and debilitating injuries in crashes. If you or someone you love was hurt on a motorcycle, we’re here to help. Call today for a free consultation.

Originally published February 26, 2019.

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