Legal Tips for the Louisiana Motorcyclist
By David Band, Attorney at Law
It’s amazing to me how many of the readers of the Thunder Roads magazine go to such lengths to protect themselves physically with proper gear and safety features for their bike but fail to protect them selves legally for the inevitable accident which would very likely leave them with serious and life long injuries.
I personally have been riding for 40 years and never thought I would ever have a bad accident – relying on my extensive experience riding – but the inconceivable happened on February 4 and I’m glad I was an attorney and was prepared. But many people, including even the Associate Editor of that magazine don’t have a clue in case something terrible happens. We hear stories all the time of people even being injured and unconscious at the scene with no information on their person to help the police notify appropriate persons.
Here is an outline of what you need to ALWAYS have ready to go whenever you get on that bike.
1) In your tool pouch, have a copy of your drivers’ license, insurance information, lawyer’s information,. Family you would want notified, etc.
2) Before the accident: Be sure you have plenty of UM – Uninsured Motorist protection – on your regular motorcycle liability policy and even on top in the form of an “Umbrella Policy” in the event you are a home owner. Umbrella coverage – which stacks beyond the limits provided in your Auto UM coverage – which is usually not very much. In the event of a motorcycle accident, bones are broken and extremely serious injuries result which are compensable by insurance.
3) You are covered under insurance even though the other driver did not have insurance – as long as you had UNINSURED MOTORIST INSURANCE insurance, WHICH IS CHEAP – and just a supplement to your compulsory liability insurance.
FURTHER OBSERVATIONS and things to know:
1) Filing for a major personal injury case requires considerable resources, experience and tenacity on the part of your lawyer. When you select an attorney, DO NOT GET SUCKED IN BY THE BIG ADVERTISERS – who promise a quick buck. In the case of motorcycle injuries, the residual effects often do not manifest themselves for at least fix months – SO YOU DON’T WANT A QUICK SETTLEMENT – but rather you should wait with the key being that you’re seeing a doctor who is sympathetic to the egregious residual effects of serious leg or back injuries and knows how to diagnose and evaluate such injuries.
2) Do more riding on weekends and in the country and less in town riding. The riskiest riding is in downtown New Orleans where people are pulling out all over the place and doing stupid stuff. You just can’t guard against a motorist who runs a red light or pulls out from a stop sign.
3) Drive defensively so that if you are hit, you are darn sure it’s the other driver’s fault. You will get no recovery for Pain and Suffering if it’s your own fault, and Medical Payments coverage is quite expensive for motorists.
4) Know the new obscure laws recently passed to protect you – the motorcylist: You’re supposed to wear goggles. You’re supposed to always wear protective footwear that come above your ankles. I’m sure that sooner or later police will start enforcing these laws – especially if they are looking for a pretense to stop you. Fortunately, many of our police officers are motorcycle operators themselves and have great empathy for our situation.
5) Brake tags are required.
In the event you’d like other issues discussed at this column, please call David Band 504-822-2263 or e-mail him at AttyBand@aol.com.
(EDITORIAL COMMENT: ) Mr. Band has himself had back surgery and understands the pain of a herniated disc and sciatica, and would never settle out a serious back case prematurely. The life long consequences are just too great to get hustles through a quick settlement. None of this flash in the pan, now you see the big advertising budget, now you don’t. David Band is there for his clients as the pages on this site will show for visitors who take the time to browse).