Houston Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Two-thirds of all motorcycle accidents in Texas are caused by automobile drivers who violate cyclists’ right of way. Even when a motorcyclist is exercising reasonable care, a car or truck will change lanes, or pull out in front, with the driver failing to check for a clear road. This often causes a catastrophic crash, leaving the rider and passenger with debilitating injuries from long-term trauma. This type of negligence results in mounting financial obligations, medical bills, and lost wages because of the life-altering and long-term injuries. Brian White is an experienced Houston motorcycle accident trial attorney who will fight hard to maximize your recovery in a cycle accident personal injury lawsuit.
What Type of Compensation Can I Claim After a Motorcycle Accident?
If another party caused your motorcycle accident due to negligence, a defective product, or an intentional tort, you can claim compensation for all of the losses resulting from the accident. Generally, the damages available in a personal injury lawsuit fall into two categories: economic damages for direct financial harm resulting from a defendant’s behavior, and non-economic damages that seek to repay intangible losses and damages like pain and suffering.
Motorcycle accidents have a tendency to cause severe injuries and extensive property damage. Some of the types of compensation a plaintiff in a motorcycle accident lawsuit may claim:
- Medical expenses, both immediate and future. A motorcycle accident can cause broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal damage, and a host of other possible injuries. A plaintiff in a motorcycle accident lawsuit can claim compensation for his or her hospital bills, rehabilitation costs, and any other costs associated with long-term medical care resulting from the defendant’s behavior.
- Property damage. A motorcycle accident will likely result in serious damage to the motorcycle as well as the rider’s personal belongings like a smartphone, expensive watch, or other personal effects. The plaintiff in a motorcycle accident case can claim compensation for the cost of replacing or repairing these damaged pieces of personal property.
- Lost income. If the plaintiff in a motorcycle accident lawsuit must miss work due to his or her injuries, or the resulting permanent damage after an accident prevents the plaintiff from ever working again, the plaintiff can claim compensation for the wages lost during recovery or lost future earning potential.
- Pain and suffering. Texas law allows plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits to collect compensation for the physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional suffering that a defendant causes. Texas law does not cap non-economic damages for plaintiffs except in medical malpractice lawsuits or lawsuits against the government.
- Punitive damages. If a defendant’s behavior indicated a total lack of concern for the safety of others, involved any criminal activity, or otherwise exceeds the scope of typical negligence, the jury may award punitive damages to the plaintiff to discourage similar behavior in the future. Texas law caps punitive damages at either $200,000 or twice the amount of the plaintiff’s economic damages plus the plaintiff’s non-economic damages. It’s important to note that this cap does not apply if the defendant committed a felony in the course of causing the plaintiff’s injuries.
A Houston motorcycle accident has the potential to cause devastating injuries and long-term economic difficulty without proper representation. Injured riders and passengers should work quickly after a motorcycle accident for the best chances of securing compensation for these losses. The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is two years in Texas, starting on the date the accident occurred.
If you were recently in an accident and want to learn more about these claims, speak to a qualified truck wreck lawyer in Houston.
Who is Liable in a Motorcycle Wreck?
There are many potential liable parties for a motorcycle accident. If another driver causes a motorcycle accident due to inattention, speeding, or any other type of negligence, that driver will likely absorb liability for the resulting damages. It’s also possible for several drivers to share fault for an accident, or a defective product may play a role in a motorcycle accident as well.
After sustaining injuries in a serious motorcycle accident, you may wonder who is to blame and what options you have for recovery. It’s crucial to contact a reliable Houston personal injury attorney as soon as possible after any motorcycle accident. Your motorcycle collision attorney in Houston can help you determine who is responsible for your damages and your chances of succeeding with a lawsuit. Possible defendants in a Texas motorcycle accident lawsuit could include:
- A negligent driver
- Any party in the chain of distribution of a defective vehicle part
- A government entity responsible for the upkeep of the road where the accident occurred
- A common carrier employee such as a bus driver, who causes an accident
Texas also follows a comparative negligence law, meaning a plaintiff may absorb some of the liability for the accident if he or she was in any way negligent. The jury will assess the facts and assign a fault percentage to each party in the lawsuit. As long as the plaintiff’s fault does not exceed the defendant’s, the plaintiff can still recover damages. However, the plaintiff will lose a percentage of the cash award equal to his or her fault percentage.
Texas Motorcycle Laws
Each state has specific laws concerning motorcycles, who may ride them, and appropriate behavior while doing so. In Texas, all riders under the age of 21 must wear Department of Transportation-approved helmets. After reaching age 21, a rider may opt to not wear a helmet if he or she completes a Motorcycle Operator Training Course approved by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that motorcycle helmets can reduce the risk of a fatal head injury by up to 37% in a motorcycle crash, so it’s wise for all riders and their passengers to wear appropriate helmets at all times.
Texas laws do not have clear rules for lane splitting, so motorcyclists should understand the risks of this practice and understand that a police officer has the right to issue a citation for lane splitting. This practice entails riding the white line between two lanes of traffic. Since motorcycles are slimmer and more maneuverable than larger vehicles, lane splitting can allow a motorcyclist to navigate past slower-moving traffic, potentially avoiding a rear-end collision or another injury from nearby motorists who do not notice the bike.
All Texas motorcyclists must also meet the state’s minimum requirements for auto insurance coverage. The state requires 30/60/25 coverage, which includes $30,000 for each injured person in an accident, $60,000 for a single accident, and up to $25,000 in property damage coverage. Motorcycle owners can also purchase additional coverage, but this will lead to higher monthly premiums.
To learn more about these laws, speak to a Houston motorcycle accident lawyer today.
In 2013 there were 495 motorcycle riders and passengers in Texas according to the Texas Department of Transportation. 53% of those riders that were killed were not wearing helmets. Approximately 80 percent of all motorcycle injuries result in serious injury or death. These collisions could involve riding a Harley, a super bike, a chopper, or a sports bike and are usually the result from the negligence of truck and car drivers. The most common injuries resulting from a motorcycle accident include:
These injuries can require multiple surgeries, skin grafts, rehabilitative services and long-term medical care. If this has happened to you or someone you know, a competent attorney can advise you on motorcycle accident law and discuss all of your options to recover full compensation for your injuries.
Most Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents and How to Avoid Them
Motorcycle accidents are typically more serious than crashes only involving passenger vehicles and result in fatalities more often. Motorcyclists and their passengers face exposure to more dangers in an accident, including bodily collisions with other vehicles, objects, and the pavement. If a motorcyclist’s injuries aren’t fatal, they can still result in permanent disabilities. Learning the most common types of motorcycle accidents and how to avoid them can save your life.
One of the most common types of motorcycle crashes is when a vehicle makes a left turn in front of a motorcycle. When pulling out or into an intersection, a motorist may misjudge a motorcycle’s speed or fail to see the bike at all, turning out directly in front of a motorcycle and causing a crash. Sideswipe accidents can be fatal for motorcyclists, who are often flung from their bikes and into the roadway. A motorcycle slamming into the side of a vehicle can also be deadly.
Avoiding this kind of accident requires defensive driving techniques and involves a motorcyclist seeing the inattentive driver coming. Look for signs that a car is about to turn in front of you, such as a gap between you and the car in front of you, tires creeping forward, or the driver looking the other direction while pulling out. Cover your brakes and prepare to come to an abrupt stop or maneuver away from the vehicle.
Driver inattention and distraction causes many motorcycle accidents in Houston. In stop-and-go traffic on the interstate and on neighborhood roads in rural communities, drivers must pay attention to the driving task at all times. When a driver looks away from the road to send a text, check emails, or scroll through social media, it can result in a deadly rear-end collision with a motorcycle.
Stay in the area between two vehicles or politely pull in front of the car stopped in front of you to prevent a rear-end collision. Check your brake lights regularly and make them “flash” by tapping your brakes rapidly when you come to a stop. Pay attention to what’s coming up behind you and be prepared to move if you notice someone about to hit your motorcycle.
One of the dangers of operating a motorcycle is that they are less visible than passenger vehicles. While this is not an excuse for negligent drivers’ inattention to the road, it’s a fact that does increase the number of motorcycle accidents. “Check twice, save a life,” and “Share the road” campaigns help spread awareness for this problem, but drivers still fail to check mirrors twice before merging into other lanes.
Avoid traveling in a driver’s blind spots for any amount of time and take evasive action when you see the driver activate the car’s turn signal. Flash your lights at the driver or honk if your motorcycle has a horn.
Colliding with Objects
While other drivers on the roadway pose a significant threat to motorcyclists, fatal motorcycle collisions involve fixed objects more often than other vehicles. In 2014, 25% of fatal motorcycle crashes involved colliding with a fixed object, compared to only 19% for passenger cars. A motorcyclist may collide with an object such as a traffic barrier or a highway light due to speeding, intoxication, inattention, or reckless driving.
Avoid colliding with objects by practicing safe driving, obeying speed limits and never drinking and driving. Don’t take corners too fast and always pay attention to your surroundings. If you see an object in the roadway, slow down and carefully navigate around it. Always drive as safely as possible and expect the unexpected.
Know Your Rights and Options
The aftermath of a serious injury sets off a devastating series of life-changing events. In order to protect your rights to the quality medical care you need for a full recovery and to fair and just compensation it’s important to have a full investigation of your crash by a competent motorcycle accident attorney. The insurance company adjuster will not look out for your interests. Their interests always come first. Brian White is an award-winning personal injury attorney who specializes in taking aggressive and decisive action to establish liability for your injury and to fight for the full compensation you deserve. Under Texas State law you could be able to collect compensation for treatment of your injury, lost wages, future lost wages, pain and suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, disability, disfigurement, and more.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Houston
Driving under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous in any vehicle, but motorcyclists face even more risk when riding under the influence. Alcohol can make it harder to notice moving objects in time to react, slow decision making, and can interrupt the manual coordination required to operate a motorcycle.
Some of the other common causes of motorcycle accidents in Houston include speeding, driver or rider inattention, driving too fast for conditions, and moving violations. Motorcycles are harder to notice than larger vehicles, so some traffic patterns near intersections and highway on- and off-ramps are particularly dangerous for riders. According to the CDC, motorcycle accidents in Texas account for about $665 million in medical expenses and lost productivity each year.
It’s also important for all motorcycle owners to remember that poor maintenance or defective products can cause motorcycle accidents. For example, if a mechanic performs subpar work on a motorcycle and assures the owner the bike is safe to ride, the mechanic could absorb liability for a later accident if an investigation discovers that the mechanic’s poor work caused the accident. When a defective product causes injuries and other damages, the injured party can pursue a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
Call for a free consultation today. We never charge a fee until we win your case. Don’t compromise your rights to recover the compensation you need and deserve by waiting to act. We will listen to your concerns and answer your questions.