Bicycling is a popular past-time and mode of transportation for many people New Orleans residents. Unfortunately, while sharing the roads with motor vehicles, careless drivers can subject bicyclists to danger. In a car accident involving a bike, it's most often the biker that experiences the full effect of the collision.
Recently, just outside of the New Orleans area, a man was killed while riding his bicycle. A car approached the bicyclist from behind and struck the bike with the right side of its front-end. The cyclist, who was not wearing a helmet, was knocked off his bike and landed in a traffic lane. The local coroner's office pronounced him dead at the scene. The driver of the vehicle fled, but was later arrested; he faces criminal charges in connection with the incident.
Although drivers who injure or kill bicyclists may be charged with a crime, and those who lose a loved one in a car accident can bring a wrongful death claim, victims who survive after being injured in a car accident while riding a bike can also seek compensation. They can bring a civil personal injury action against the negligent or reckless driver responsible for their injuries.
In an auto accident case, Louisiana courts review various factors to determine whether someone was negligent. These may include whether the driver disobeyed any traffic laws, traveled above or below the posted speed limit or ignored traffic or weather conditions. Courts can also find a driver liable for recklessness, which occurs when a motorist drives unsafely and disregards the probability that this behavior could cause an accident.
For riders who survive an auto-bicycle accident, compensation from a reckless or negligent driver may be recoverable through a personal injury lawsuit. They can seek damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, rehabilitations costs, property damage and other harm resulting from the accident. A monetary award will not heal injuries, but it can help curb the financial burden that unfortunately goes hand-in-hand with an auto accident.
Source: The Times-Picayune, "Madisonville man arrested in fatal Lacombe bicycle hit and run," Aug. 28, 2012