As more cities and towns encourage residents to get active and protect the environment, more people find themselves ditching their cars for other alternative means of transportation. For some, this includes substituting four wheels for two and using a bicycle or using their own two feet to get from place to place. Unfortunately, although these alternative means of transportation may be great for the planet and our waistlines, they can be more hazardous than just jumping in your car.
With that being said, if you or a loved one have recently been involved in a bicycle or pedestrian accident, you may ask yourself whether a driver’s auto insurance will pay for your injuries if the driver is hit while riding a bike or walking down the street. In many cases, the answer is yes but can vary depending on a few circumstances.
According to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission (LHSC), the State of Louisiana experienced numerous pedestrian and bicycle accidents:
Furthermore, according to Louisiana State University’s (LSU) Center for Analytics & Research in Transportation Safety, pedestrian accident injuries have decreased 22.34% since 2016, but fatalities have increased by 29.69% since 2016, which means fatalities are on the rise.
Like most states, the State of Louisiana provides pedestrians, in many cases, the right-of-way when crossing at a crosswalk or unmarked intersection. However, pedestrians cannot, and should not, count on a driver to properly yield for them. Therefore, in most cases where a pedestrian commences walking across a crosswalk or unmarked intersection, they must always be given the right-of-way. If a driver does not properly stop and injures the pedestrian, the driver is at fault.
In other cases where the pedestrian is unlawfully crossing a street, creating a potentially dangerous situation for themselves or others, a court may find them at fault. Louisiana is a comparative fault state, which means a court can divvy up liability based on the percentage of fault of two or more parties. For example, a pedestrian unlawfully walks across a street outside of a typical crosswalk. While walking across the street, the pedestrian was struck by an automobile driver. A court rules that the pedestrian is awarded $100,000 in damages but is 40% at fault for the accident. In this case, the pedestrian would only get $60,000 in funds because they were partially at fault for the accident.
In either case, the driver’s auto insurance company will have to pay for the cost of the accident. If you were a pedestrian involved in an accident, you should first seek medical attention. Then you should collect the contact and insurance information of the driver that hit you. Once you have this information, you can begin collecting compensation for your accident or prepare to file a pedestrian accident lawsuit against the driver and their insurance provider.
Filing an auto insurance claim for a bicycle accident is not that different from filing an auto insurance claim after an automobile accident. If you were operating a bicycle and were struck by an automobile, you should first seek medical attention for any injuries related to the collision. You should also collect the driver’s insurance information operating that motor vehicle that struck you. It is always good to take pictures of your injuries and any damage to your bicycle as evidence to show costs incurred because of the collision. Further, call the police to make out a report documenting the crash. The more evidence you gather of the accident, the stronger your case will be when submitting an insurance claim with the driver’s insurance or proving your case during subsequent legal proceedings.
In the State of Louisiana, bicyclists are awarded additional protection when operating a bicycle on public roads. The Colin Goodier Protection Act places additional safety obligations on drivers when passing bicyclists on the road, including providing cyclists at least three feet when passing them on the street, among other safety precautions.
If you are a cyclist involved in a hit-and-run, where the driver cannot be identified because they unlawfully fled the scene of the accident, you may still put a claim in with your auto insurance company. Some insurance policies have uninsured/underinsured policies, which can compensate injured policyholders involved in a hit-and-run accident while operating their bicycles. However, it is not a legal requirement for insurance companies to include this policy, and some bicyclists may not have auto insurance at all. Nonetheless, our experienced bicycle accident attorneys can help you deal with insurance companies if you were involved in a Louisiana bicycle accident.
Unlike car accidents, pedestrian and bicycle accidents have virtually no protection from traffic. Thus, these accidents often result in some of the worst injuries and even death. Injuries can include:
Pedestrian and bicycle accidents can be the worst types of accidents folks experience. Unfortunately, without the protection of a vehicle, pedestrians and bicyclists are at the mercy of negligent drivers. Our experienced pedestrian and bicycle accident attorneys at the Charbonnet Law Firm, LLC are uniquely aware and know-how to provide our clients top-quality representation when dealing with an unfortunate accident. In addition, our attorneys can help you investigate your claims, talk to insurance companies, and help secure compensation for you and your loved ones. Contact our office today at 504) 294-3910 or through our website to schedule a free case consultation.