Lee M. Schwalben, M.D., J.D., LLC
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Motorcyclist suffers catastrophic injuries in accident

Every driver in Louisiana is responsible for paying attention to the road and following the traffic laws. When a motorist fails to do either, he or she may breach a duty of care to those around him or her. Depending on the circumstances, when a duty of reasonable care is breached, passengers in the same vehicle and others on the roadway could suffer mild to catastrophic injuries.

On a recent Saturday, the 21-year-old driver of a pickup truck allegedly breached this duty by failing to yield the right-of-way to a motorcycle. The motorcycle was heading west on Highway 90 when, for a yet unknown reason, the pickup truck slammed into it. The motorcycle rider initially survived the crash, and emergency responders took him to a hospital for treatment. Regrettably, medical personnel were unable to save the man's life.

Louisiana police did not report whether the driver of the pickup suffered any injuries in the crash. It was reported, however, that she has so far been cited for failing to yield to the motorcyclist. Authorities are still conducting the investigation into the crash, and it is possible that more charges could be forthcoming.

Regardless of whether any criminal charges are filed against the driver, the family of the motorcyclist retains the right to file a wrongful death claim in connection with the catastrophic injuries he suffered that ultimately took his life. The burden of proof in civil actions is not as stringent as it is in criminal cases. A successfully litigated claim could lead to an award of monetary damages, which could help the family recover any financial losses incurred as a result of the death of their loved one.

Source: katc.com, "Motorcyclist killed in morning crash", Allison Bourne-Vanneck, May 31, 2014