A bicycle accident can be traumatic and painful, especially if you suffer injuries. You might be facing mounting medical bills, lost time at work, and a great deal of physical and emotional suffering. If your injuries were someone else’s fault, you deserve compensation for your losses.

Below, we share some key information you need to protect your well-being and legal rights, including: what to do after a bicycle accident, must-know bicycle laws in Louisiana, common types of bicycle accident injuries, how to prove negligence, and how to recover damages with the help of a skilled bicycle accident lawyer in New Orleans.

The New Orleans injury lawyers at Dudley DeBosier know these cases well, and our team can assist injured bicyclists through the legal process to secure the compensation they deserve. If you’re considering legal action, contact Dudley DeBosier today to schedule a free consultation.

Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident

A bicycle accident can be overwhelming, but knowing what steps to take immediately afterwards can set the stage for a successful claim. Here’s what you should do:

  • Ensure Safety: Move to a safe location away from traffic and check for injuries. If injured, seek immediate medical help by calling 911.
  • Report to Authorities: Report the incident to the police. This helps to create an official record of the accident which can be vital for your claim.
  • Document the Incident: Gather as much evidence as possible from the scene. This includes taking photographs of the accident scene, the damage to your bicycle, and any visible injuries.
  • Exchange Information: If you were struck by a motorist, make sure to get their contact information, driver’s license number, license plate, and insurance policy details. In addition, get the contact information of any witnesses.

In the days and weeks that follow, you should also consider taking the following steps:

  • Notify Your Insurer: Regardless of who’s at fault, you should inform your insurance company about the incident. They will guide you through the claims process and help you understand your coverage.
  • Follow Your Doctor’s Advice: Not only is this necessary for your well-being and recovery, but it also provides evidence that you’ve taken your medical care seriously, which is important if you seek compensation for your medical expenses.
  • Keep a Pain Journal: Another valuable way of documenting your injuries is to keep a pain journal where you list the level of pain you experience each day and take notes about the challenges you face in your recovery.
  • Refrain From Using Social Media: In the aftermath of a bicycle accident, it might be tempting to vent about your experiences on social media, but anything you say online can be used against you in your injury claim. Even posts about unrelated topics could be interpreted as a sign that you are not as injured as you claim to be. So, the safest approach is to stay off social media entirely.

Following these steps can protect your rights and help gather necessary evidence for your claim. Consult with a seasoned New Orleans bicycle accident attorney to navigate the legal process and boost your chances of securing fair compensation.

Common Bicycle Accident Injuries in New Orleans

Because bicycle riders are far less protected from injuries compared to other road users, they can also suffer more severe injuries when involved in accidents. Some of the most common injuries suffered in bicycle accidents include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries: Head and brain injuries are among the most severe injuries sustained in bicycle accidents, ranging from concussions to traumatic brain injuries. These injuries can require extensive medical care and rehabilitation.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Spinal cord injuries can also result from bicycle accidents and can lead to paralysis, loss of motor function, and lifelong medical expenses.
  • Fractures: Broken bones are common from bicycle accidents. These injuries can be painful and may require surgeries, physical therapy, and time off work.
  • Internal Organ Damage: Internal injuries can be just as deadly as the others on this list, if not more so. That’s because injuries to internal organs aren’t always immediately apparent and can quickly become catastrophic if not treated promptly.

In many cases, a bicycle accident victim suffers several injuries at once. It’s essential to see a doctor as soon as you can after a crash.

Understanding Louisiana Bicycle Laws

Louisiana has several laws pertaining to bicyclists and drivers who share the road with them. Here is a summary of what you need to know:

  • Safe Passing Laws: Motorists must leave a minimum of three feet distance when passing bicycles. Safe passing in no-passing zones is allowed only when it is safe to do so.
  • Helmet Laws: Riders under the age of 12 must wear a protective bicycle helmet. Failure to wear a helmet is not considered evidence of negligence.
  • Sidewalk Riding: No specific Louisiana statute authorizes or prohibits bicycling on sidewalks.
  • Dooring Law: Opening vehicle doors on highways must be done cautiously to not interfere with traffic or endanger others. Vehicle doors should not remain open longer than necessary.
  • Vulnerable Road User Laws: Harassing, taunting, or throwing objects at bicyclists is unlawful.
  • “Idaho Stop” and Vehicle Detection Errors: Bicyclists cannot disobey traffic control devices or traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists. In other words, bicyclists must come to a complete stop at stop signs or traffic lights.
  • Treatment as a Vehicle: Bicycles are considered vehicles, with bicyclists granted all rights and duties of vehicle drivers, except where not applicable.
  • Mandatory Use of Separated Facilities: There is no requirement for bicyclists to use lanes or paths other than normal vehicular traffic lanes.
  • Where to Ride: Bicyclists should ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge, except in specific situations like overtaking, preparing for left turns, avoiding unsafe conditions, or when the right turn is authorized.

Note that even if you were in violation of one or more of these laws, you might still be able to get compensation for your injuries. This is because of Louisiana’s comparative fault laws.

Establishing Negligence in a New Orleans Bicycle Accident Case

Proving negligence is a fundamental part of any injury claim. You must demonstrate that the other party’s careless or reckless actions led to your injuries by showing they a) had a duty to act safely on the road, b) breached this duty through actions like speeding or distracted driving, and c) caused your damages.

Evidence collection is key, including photos of the scene, witness statements, video footage, and medical records to underscore your injuries’ severity. Expert testimony and accident reconstruction can bolster your case by recreating the accident and detailing the negligence’s impact on your life, including injury severity and medical costs.

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in New Orleans, work with experienced attorneys who understand the complexities of personal injury law in Louisiana. At Dudley DeBosier, our team is dedicated to helping injured cyclists navigate the legal process and fight for the compensation they deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Seeking Damages After a Bicycle Accident

If you’re involved in a bicycle accident in New Orleans, you may be eligible to recover many types of damages. Damages are intended to compensate you for the losses and injuries you have suffered due to the accident.

In a bicycle accident case, there are three main types of recoverable damages:

  • Medical expenses and future medical costs
  • Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering damages

Medical expenses include all costs associated with your medical treatment, such as hospital bills, doctor’s fees, medications, surgeries, rehabilitation, and any necessary future medical care. Keep track of all your medical expenses to ensure you recover the full amount you deserve.

Lost wages and loss of earning capacity is another important category of damages. If your bicycle accident has caused you to miss work or has affected your ability to earn a living in the future, you may be entitled to compensation for these financial losses. Your attorney will help you calculate the amount of lost wages and potential future earning capacity based on factors such as your occupation, salary, and the extent of your injuries.

Pain and suffering damages are also recoverable in a bicycle accident case. These damages are meant to compensate you for the physical and emotional pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the accident. While it can be challenging to put a monetary value on pain and suffering, an experienced New Orleans bicycle accident lawyer will work to ensure you receive fair compensation for these damages.

Contact a Bicycle Accident Attorney in New Orleans

If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident in New Orleans, it’s important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. At Dudley DeBosier, we understand the complexities of bicycle accident cases and have a team of experienced attorneys ready to fight for your rights.

We believe in providing accessible legal services to those in need, so we operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay any upfront fees. We only get paid if we win your case. This allows you to focus on your recovery while we handle the legal aspects of your bicycle accident claim.Contact Dudley DeBosier today for a free consultation.