Motorcycling is a popular hobby in our area. From Folsom to Laurel Valley to the 55-Mile Cajun Country Loop, and more, there are some great places to ride around Baton Rouge. But what happens when a beautiful ride turns into a bad accident, one that may include catastrophic injuries?
The answer is that a Baton Rouge motorcycle accidents lawyer from our office should be called in to make sure a motorcyclist’s rights are defended and they get what the need and deserve in financial settlement.
Beall & Thies has been together as a firm for over 20 years and our combined legal experience exceeds a century. We can take the lead in investigating, negotiating, and litigating your case while you focus on rehab and recovery.
Breach of Duty in a Louisiana Motorcycle Accident
An unfortunate reality that motorcyclists face is bias from juries. The number of fellow cyclists in a jury pool is likely to be small. Those that don’t ride their bike may have an unfair stereotype of a motorcycle rider being reckless.
They may just be a driver who gets nervous when a motorcycle pulls up alongside them, even if the biker isn’t doing anything wrong. It’s the job of our Baton Rouge motorcycle accidents attorney to make sure a jury knows that, by law, motorcyclists have rights, which means that the driver of a car has responsibilities to them.
The driver of an automobile must keep proper following distance behind a motorcycle, the same as they would a car. They must check their blind spots before changing lanes, and lane changes should be what a reasonable person would consider to be safe. Cars cannot swerve in front of motorcycles or perform sudden stops while driving ahead of them.
All of this in addition to the standard expectations that the driver of a car will not be speeding, driving while distracted, driving recklessly, or driving under the influence. When drivers fail to meet these responsibilities, they have breached their duty of care to the motorcyclist (and any other vehicles on the road). Breach of duty is the essential precondition of a lawsuit aimed at recovering financial damages.
Do You Have to Wear a Helmet in Louisiana?
The Louisiana law requires you to wear a motorcycle helmet at all times while riding a motorcycle. If you have a passenger riding with you, they are also required to wear a helmet. The helmet you wear must have a visor, interior padding, and a chin strap. There are no exceptions for a person's skill level or age. If you operate a motorcycle without wearing a helmet, you can receive a $50 fine.
Conditions of the Roadways
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) has its own responsibilities to the people of this state. That includes making sure roads are properly maintained.
Given the prominence that poor road conditions can have in causing motorcycle accidents, this department’s work may have to be investigated by our Baton Rouge motorcycle accidents lawyer. If guardrails are not put in place or have been poorly maintained, the state of Louisiana may have breached its duty of care.
Potholes, uneven pavement, and inadequate lighting are all shortcomings that can fall at the feet of the state. These shortcomings can rise to the level of legal liability if it can be shown that the DOTD was aware of a problem, had reasonable time to fix it and failed to do so. It must be further proven that this failure of the DOTD was the cause of the motorcycle accident and the injuries that came from it.
Who Decides Whether the DODT Has Met (or Failed to Meet) This Standard?
A jury. That means the skill and experience of an injured plaintiff’s lawyer in presenting the case might be the difference in winning or losing a settlement.
Furthermore, it’s at least possible that insurance companies would be less inclined to challenge experienced attorneys in court and prefer to reach a fair settlement in private negotiations. That’s what we aim for in each case here at Beall & Thies. And while past performance can never predict a future case, we’re proud to see that our track record is pretty good.
Pure Comparative Negligence
The nature of a motorcycle accident makes it more likely that the injuries suffered will be severe. Riders are almost certain to be thrown from their bikes at a very high speed. Injuries can happen anywhere from the brain to the spinal cord.
The need for a financial settlement becomes about more than paying short-term medical bills and compensating for some lost time at work. An injured plaintiff might be depending on the settlement to live for a substantial period of time, to do a lot of rehab work and to go through a lot of psychotherapy to deal with the drastic change in their life.
All of that makes Louisiana’s pure comparative negligence law regarding damages even more noteworthy. This means that a percentage of blame can be assigned to each party in the accident.
Even if the motorcycle rider is not primarily at fault, they might still be held accountable for a portion of the accident. Collection of damages is limited to the inverse proportion of one’s fault—e.g., if one is at 30 percent at fault, they can collect 70 percent of the damage award.
This is important in all personal injury cases, but catastrophic cases will, almost by definition, have large dollar amounts. Settlements can easily run into the millions. That means every percentage point of fault has to be fought for.
A settlement worth $5 million will see $50,000 change hands by the shift of a single point. The plaintiff’s lawyer must be alert to every detail that can move the percentages in their client’s favor.
Injured in a motorcycle accident? Our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at Beall & Thies, LLC are here to help. Call today or contact us online to schedule a consultation!
The attorneys at Beall & Thies have been fighting for injured clients for a long time—over 100 years of combined experience. We know how much little details can add up to big dollars in settlements. What’s more, we know how to investigate and find those details and we know how to leverage them in negotiations and in front of a jury.
"Never expected to be in a predicament where I would need to hire an attorney but, I wouldn’t recommend anyone but, B&T. They helped my father in his predicament and they’ve helped me in mine. Continuous support throughout the entire process"Den'a Wells
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Russell W. Beall
"Russell W. Beall is a founding partner in the Baton Rouge law firm of Beall & Thies LLC. His main emphasis of practice is on Civil Litigation including Torts, Products Liability, and Premises Liability. Russell is a frequent guest speaker at Louisiana State University Law School where he participates in the Appellate Advocacy Program and the Professionalism Orientation. He earned his B.A. degree at Louisiana State University (1998) and his J.D Louisiana State University Law School (2001). Russell is an active member of the Louisiana Association for Justice and is frequently invited to be a guest speaker at continuing legal education seminars."Read Full Bio
William W. Thies
"William W. Thies was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1974 moving with his family to Slidell, Louisiana at seven years of age. Mr. Thies graduated from Slidell High School in 1992. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in history and political science from Louisiana State University in 1996 and his Juris Doctorate from the Southern University Law Center in 2001. He was admitted to the Louisiana State Bar Association in May 2002. He is a member of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, American Bar Associations, and the Louisiana Association of Justice. He is admitted to practice in all state courts, the United States District Court for the Middle and Eastern Districts of Louisiana, as well as the United States Supreme Court."Read Full Bio
"Jacob H. Thomas is originally from the Piney Hills of North Louisiana, known for producing great litigators such as Huey P. Long as well as several other notable statesmen on the both the federal and state levels.Read Full Bio
Jake is a graduate of Jonesboro-Hodge High School and Northwestern State University where he was a member of the Theta Mu chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, the NSU Presidential Leadership Program, and the Inter-Fraternity Council serving as Vice President."
"Aaron Humphreys joined Beall & Thies, LLC as an associate attorney in the fall of 2016. He was admitted to the Louisiana State Bar Association in May of 2016. Aaron is also a member of the Baton Rouge Bar Association and the Louisiana Association of Justice."Read Full Bio
"George G. Caballero practices general civil law and focuses on plaintiff’s personal injury, wills, and successions. George joined Beall & Thies as of counsel in 2017 after starting Caballero Law Firm in 1993. Mr. Caballero has over thirty years of experience as an attorney and has served clients in various matters ranging from business and tort litigation, business, family law, and successions.Read Full Bio
Mr. Caballero is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. He is a graduate of Louisiana State University and Mississippi College School of Law. Upon graduation, he immediately went into the private practice of law, practicing in both Louisiana and Mississippi."
Jewel “Trae” E. Welch, III
"Trae is a lifelong resident of the Baker-Zachary area. Trae is the son of The Honorable Judge Duke Welch, currently presiding on the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals, and former East Baton Rouge Councilwoman, Roxson Welch. Trae is married to the former Lynn Caldwell of Tallulah, Louisiana. Together Trae and Lynn are raising their two children Quade and Vivian."Read Full Bio