Police have confirmed that a Louisiana bicyclist is dead following a hit-and-run accident with an automobile. Although his family and friends are likely devastated from the news, the law offers some comfort by providing the possibility of a wrongful death lawsuit to recover for their losses, including funeral expenses and pain and suffering.
The accident occurred in early November. It was not until recently, however, that Louisiana authorities finally identified the driver of the automobile that hit the 58-year-old bicyclist. The driver is also a Louisiana resident. He is a 51-year-old man who now faces several charges, including hit-and-run driving as well as negligent homicide.
In addition to facing criminal charges, the 51-year-old driver may also be subject to civil penalties. Under Louisiana law, the survivors of the bicyclist are able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit to recover their losses from the negligent driver in the fatal car accident.
If the survivors assert a claim for negligence, the arguments they present will be quite similar to those set forth following an accident involving two motor vehicles. They will need to demonstrate that the other driver was negligent. In bicycle accidents, there may be additional facts that support a finding of negligence. For example, witnesses can point out that the driver was recklessly weaving into the bicycle lane.
Bicyclists face additional worries when they share the roads with vehicles because they do not have all of the same protections offered by a car's exterior. Sadly, if a bicyclist is involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, it can end tragically. Fortunately the law offers some comfort by providing a bicyclist's survivors with the opportunity to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
Source: SFGate.com, "Arrest in accident that killed Hammond bicyclist," Nov. 30, 2012