Not only are bicyclists more likely to be killed in Louisiana than almost anywhere else, but they are also more likely to be seriously injured in an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), Louisiana is one of the deadliest states in the country for bicyclists.
At the Law Office of Andrew R. Schwing in New Orleans, we represent injured bicyclists and the surviving families of people killed in bicycle accidents. We are committed to helping you recover the compensation you are entitled to, so you can move on with your life.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident as a bicyclist, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and even lost wages from time off work.
What to Do After a Bike Crash?
The steps you take immediately following a bike crash are crucial to your physical healing and the success of your legal case against a negligent driver. If you are involved in an accident as a bicyclist, the very first thing you should do, if you are physically capable, is move out of the roadway. Depending on the location of the crash, you may move your bicycle to the side of the road as well, but only if you are able to do so safely.
Once you are in a safe place, call 911. If you have any injuries that may require medical attention, inform the dispatch operator that you require an ambulance. In the stress of the moment, you may be running on adrenaline and unsure of whether your injuries are serious enough to warrant such attention, but err on the side of caution and seek medical help.
It is important to report the accident to the police right away, so an officer can come to the scene and write a report. You can accomplish this by requesting the response of law enforcement in your initial 911 call. A police report will be crucial to filing an insurance claim and filing a lawsuit against a negligent driver to recover damages. It provides documentation of the details of the accident.
In addition to cooperating with the police officer in generating a report of the accident, you should also collect as much information about the accident yourself as you can, while you are still at the scene. Get the name and contact information of the other party involved in the accident, as well as their license plate number and the make and model of their vehicle. Take photos of the accident, including any traffic lights or signs in the area, the damage to your bike, damage to the other vehicle, and any visible injuries that you suffered.
After a bike crash, it is important to take good care of your health. Do not just ignore medical problems or try to treat them yourself. Visit a doctor to report your symptoms and pain and follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations. It is not uncommon to experience new pain or increased pain to different parts of your body in the days following a bike accident. Seek medical attention promptly and regularly, both to obtain the care you need and document your injuries, diagnosis, and treatment for use as evidence in your case against a negligent driver. As time passes, your injuries may worsen or evolve. Even if you did not feel a particular injury immediately after the accident, that does not mean a new pain or symptom is not medically related to your bike accident.
Finally, consider working with a personal injury attorney from the very beginning of your case. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency-fee basis, which means that you do not owe any legal fees upfront and if you do not win your case, you do not owe any legal fees.
Working with a personal injury lawyer is an enormous advantage in a bicycle accident case, especially because the motorist who is responsible for your injuries will likely be represented by their insurance company and the insurance company’s lawyers. To a large extent, personal injury law can be a bit of a game and lawyers for insurance companies know how to play the game well. If you choose to represent yourself, you will be at a significant disadvantage. Insurance companies are in no way concerned about paying you the money you deserve—they are solely interested in protecting their bottom line and paying you the least amount of money possible. In furtherance of that goal, they may try to intimidate you, lead you to believe that they will not settle the case, and express confident opinions as to the value or lack or value of your claim, even if their opinions are not based on reality.
By hiring a personal injury lawyer, you have an advocate on your side who knows the games that insurance companies play inside and out and will not be intimidated by them. In turn, the insurance companies will recognize that they are not dealing with a novice and your claim is likely to be settled for a higher amount than if you had tried to handle the case yourself.
How Much is My Claim Worth?
When you are injured as a bicyclist due to the negligence of another person, you may be entitled to recover compensation for the damages you suffered. As each bicyclist who is injured in an accident will experience different types and degrees of injuries, the amount of money you can expect to recover will depend heavily on the specific facts of your case.
When you hire a personal injury attorney to handle your case, the first thing your lawyer will do is ask you questions about the accident and review all of the documentation you have including the police report, your notes describing the accident, photos of the scene and damage, your medical records, and any other relevant information.
Using this information, your lawyer will determine how much they think your claim is worth. This value will represent the amount of money that it would take to make you whole, as if the accident never occurred. In other words, although money can never truly reverse your pain, stress, or inconvenience, the value of your claim will be based on assigning a monetary value to your injuries for any permanent or temporary disability and determining the total costs you incurred for medical bills, property damage, and lost wages due to time off from work.
Your lawyer will then draft a “demand” letter to send to the defendant—the negligent driver who is responsible for causing your injuries—or their lawyer, if they have one. In this letter, they will state that the driver is liable for your injuries and damages in a brief argument about how they negligently caused your injuries. Then, the letter will set out the amount of money you are demanding from the other party and, likely, a breakdown of those costs.
It is very common that a defendant, or an attorney or an insurance company representing the defendant, will deny your initial claim outright or make you an initial counteroffer that is far below the value of your claim. This is to be expected and an experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to best respond to these denials and counterarguments.
Some of the common defenses negligent drivers make include arguing that the accident was not their fault, you are not injured, your injuries are not as bad as you say they are, you had these injuries before the accident occurred, you suffered these injuries after the accident in question as a result of a subsequent event, or your compensation demand is not an accurate representation of your actual damages.
Sometimes, defending your claim may involve producing more evidence, deposing (questioning under oath, but outside of court) your doctors and other experts, mediating the case before a neutral mediator, or even taking the case to trial.
Get a Free
After a Bike Accident
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a bike accident in the New Orleans area, do not take on this fight alone. Consultations with a bike accident lawyer at our New Orleans law firm are free, confidential and at no obligation to you. If you choose our experienced and knowledgeable firm to represent you in your bike accident case, you only pay legal fees if you win. If you do not win your case after hiring us, you will owe zero legal fees. To get started, complete our contact form or call 504-613-0621. We serve bicyclists and their families in New Orleans and Houma and throughout Louisiana.
Call 504-613-0621 or send us an email to request a confidential
consultation to discuss your legal concerns.