If you are injured in a bicycle accident, the first step in recovering damages is determining who is at fault. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to seek damages from multiple parties.
Accidents Caused by a Negligent Driver
If the driver who caused your accident is cited with an offense such as texting while driving, speeding, running a red light, or driving under the influence, you'll have a fairly clear-cut case for negligence when you file a personal injury claim.
When an accident is caused by a negligent driver, the driver is the person who is financially responsible in the majority of cases. However, if the driver was driving a vehicle that belonged to a third-party, you may have a claim against the vehicle owner. For example, if a driver hits you while he is making deliveries for his employer, you would likely seek damages from the employer because companies are legally responsible for the actions of their workers. Another common example of a third-party claim in a vehicle accident involves negligent entrustment, where someone knowingly allows an unlicensed or unsafe driver to operate his vehicle.
Accidents Caused by Multiple Parties
When more than one party is responsible for the accident, you can file a claim against everyone involved to seek damages in accordance with their assigned percentage of fault. The same rule applies if you are partially at fault for the accident. You can still seek to recover damages, but your settlement is reduced by your assigned percentage of fault to reflect your own liability for your injuries.
Accidents Caused by Uninsured or Underinsured Drivers
Although liability insurance is required by law, there are still many drivers in Louisiana who do not carry the mandated coverage. Thousands more have only the legal minimum, which may not be adequate if you've been left with serious injuries. If you're involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, your own auto policy's Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage or Med-Pay coverage may be used to pay for some of your expenses.
Accidents Caused by Hazardous Road Conditions
If your bike accident was caused by potholes, cracked pavement, damaged signs, or other evidence of poorly maintained roads, the city or state agency responsible for maintaining the road may be liable for your injuries. In this type of case, it's vital that you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. There are special rules that must be followed when seeking damages from a government agency.
Accidents Caused by Defective Bicycle Equipment
Sometimes bike accidents can be the result of equipment on the bike that isn't working properly. For example, your front brake cables may fail and prevent you from stopping in time to prevent an accident. When this happens, you can file a claim against the manufacturer to seek compensation for your resulting accident expenses.
Types of Damages You Can Recover in a Bike Accident Settlement
In your personal injury claim, you can seek to be compensated for both economic and non-economic damages. These includes:
- Medical expenses immediately following the accident
- Future medical needs, if your injuries have left you with a permanent disability
- Lost wages from the time you were recovering
- Loss of future earning potential related to your bike accident injuries
- Pain and suffering, including both physical pain and emotional trauma
Expert testimony will be needed to support your claim for damages if your injuries have left you permanently disabled. Life care planning experts can help estimate the cost of your future medical needs, while economic loss experts can assign a value to the lost future earning potential caused by your disability.
Protecting Your Right to a Fair Settlement
Personal injury law is quite complex, and insurance companies are often in no hurry to provide a settlement. The best way to ensure that you receive the compensation you need to move forward with your life is to enlist the services of an experienced attorney. The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault can advocate for your needs throughout the process of resolving your claim. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.