What to Do if You are Hit by a Car While Riding Your Bicycle in Louisiana

January 19, 2021 Accident

What to Do if You are Hit by a Car While Riding Your Bicycle in Louisiana

If you are hit by a car while riding your bicycle here in Louisiana, you are likely entitled to make a claim and/or file a personal injury lawsuit. If it is proven that the driver of the vehicle was negligent in some manner and was at-fault, then the injured cyclist is entitled to compensation for all damages including medical bills, lost wages/income, damage to the bicycle and more. This is true even if the victim, the Louisiana cyclist, was partially at fault. In Louisiana, personal injury cases are decided under the doctrine of comparative fault. If more than one party is at fault, then a percentage of fault is assigned to each and each must pay that percentage of the judgment. If the victim is partially at fault, then the judgment is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the victim. So, even if the bicyclist is partially at fault, a claim can still be made and/or a lawsuit can be filed.

However, most often, the driver of the vehicle is entirely at fault in Louisiana automobile-bicycle accidents. Drivers in Louisiana have a general duty to be careful of others on the road including bicyclists. That duty of care involves being watchful and being extra careful with those that are more vulnerable on the roads. Since bicyclists lack the protection of being surrounded by the metal and safety features of a vehicle, cyclists are obviously more vulnerable. Moreover, injuries resulting from a Louisiana automobile-bicycle accident can be much more dangerous and deadly for the cyclist. For these reasons, drivers of vehicles must be more careful when bicycles are on the road.

Aside from the general duty of care owed by drivers, some laws specifically protect cyclists. For example, the Colin Goodier Protection Act enacted in 2008 requires any vehicle passing a bicycle to maintain “… a safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of not less than three feet.” See Louisiana Rev. Stat., Art. 32:76.1. If the driver of a vehicle violates this law and a cyclist is injured in a resulting accident, the driver is often deemed to be entirely at fault.

If you are injured in a Louisiana automobile-bicycle accident, here is a quick list of things that you should do:

  • Get medical assistance — even if you “feel fine,” it is still important to have a check up to make sure that there are no hidden or latent injuries
  • Exchange contact and insurance information with the driver — knowing the identity of the at-fault party is necessary for an insurance claim to be made and/or a lawsuit to be filed; verify the information by asking to see a driver’s license and insurance card
  • File a police report — this is another key step in making a claim and/or filing a lawsuit
  • File a hit-and-run police report if the driver refuses to exchange information or refuses to wait for the police to arrive
  • If you are able, take photos of the scene, the driver of the vehicle and the vehicle
  • Collect any other evidence at the scene (like broken parts and debris) and keep your bicycle for later examination
  • Get the names and contact information for any witnesses, particularly any that might have photos or video on their phone
  • Hire talented and proven Louisiana personal injury lawyers to handle your case

Finally, here are a couple of things you should NOT do:

  • Do not tell the driver of the vehicle that you “feel fine” — maybe that is true at the moment, but injuries can take time to manifest
  • Do not say anything like “Sorry, my fault” or say anything else that might suggest you were responsible — legally, causation can be complicated and, as noted above, an injured victim can still recover even if partially at fault
  • Do not talk to the driver’s insurance company before you consult with experienced Louisiana Personal injury lawyers

Our Attorneys can Help

 For more information, contact the Louisiana personal injury attorneys at Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC. If you or someone you love has been injured in a Louisiana accident, we know how to identify those who are at-fault and how to prove their negligence. We have a proven track record of success with many types of personal injury cases. Contact us by calling one of our offices: New Orleans at (504) 500-1108, Baton Rouge at (225) 612-0800, or Lafayette at (337) 409-0003. You can also request a free consultation by using our “Contact Us” page.