Motorcycle Accidents in Texas: What happens if I’m injured by another driver?
The wide-open plains of Texas provide great scenery for motorcycle enthusiasts. Texas had 386,938 registered bikes in 2017 and 445,000 registered riders in 2014. This makes Texas roughly 4th in the nation for total number of bikers. Motorcycles are a favored way of traveling both in rural areas and in cities.
While biking is a lifestyle for many people and many can go their whole lives without a crash, riding a motorcycle is more dangers than driving a car. Because motorcycles do not have the same protection or stability as cars and are less visible to other vehicles, there is an increased risk of injury and death.
Legal Issues & Info:
Motorcyclists should take extra safety measures to prevent accidents. These basic preventative steps can save you from having minor or even more serious accidents. Additionally, drivers of cars and trucks can help by allowing more space for bikes and allowing bikes to go first at intersections.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
There are three main areas of motorcycle accidents; those that happen from breaking the laws, driver error, and bad road conditions.
Disobeying the Laws:
Because of these risks, it is important to take responsible precautions and safety measures to protect your own safety and that of other road users. These may include, but are not limited to, those required by law and relevant safety guidelines.
Common Motorcycle Injuries
Many of the injuries that can be sustained in accidents involving motorcycles can be serious or even fatal. Because of this it is important for not only bikers to take precautions but also for other road users such as cars and trucks to pay attention for motorcycles and give them space. Some of the more common injuries from motorcycles are:
To prevent these injuries, even drivers of cars and trucks can follow simple guidelines to keep bikers safe. Pay special attention at intersections and let motorcycles go first so you know if they are turning and do not hit them (33% of accidents with motorcycles happen in intersections). Look twice when changing lanes as bikes can be harder to notice with a quick glance. Stay back from motorcycles and give them space as bikes might downshift to slow down and no brake light will appear. Taking these steps, as well as following all legal requirements when driving around motorcyclists can help prevent injuries and death.
What to do if you’re Injured on a Motorcycle
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, the next few steps and actions you take could have a big impact on the legal case and chances of winning a suit or recovering in a claim. Follow these few steps and general guidance, and then seek legal representation for further assistance.
Before anything, make sure the area is safe for you and others. Call 911 immediately and ask for police dispatch and a record to be taken. If you can leave the vehicles where they are before the police arrive, then please do so. But if for safety you must move something that is okay but make a note of it. The safety of you and others comes first.
If you are an involved party, you must stay where the accident happened, if safe, till the police or medical personnel arrive. If you leave you might be thought of as a hit and run offender.
Get the information of the other driver (name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, and license plate number) including the driver’s insurance carrier and policy number.
Gather the information of any eyewitnesses including their contact information.
If they are willing, you could record their brief account of the accident describing what they saw. But only do so if they are willing. You want to keep the witness on your side in the event that the case ends up in court.
Take pictures of the scene and any relevant objects or road conditions. Including the people involved (with their consent) and street signs and lights.
Only talk about the contact information and material necessary to get such information. Do not apologize or talk about the accident. Especially avoid discussing injuries and how the accident happened to anyone other than medical professionals. Never accept or admit responsibility to anyone.
Get checked out by a medical professional even if you feel fine. When you have just been in an accident you may be unaware of some injuries you sustained. The doctors can make sure these are not serious and they provide documentation of the injuries you got which can help support the future case of injury claims.
Keep a file with all the relevant medical bills, property damage, and other hard documentation. Additionally, keep a day-to-day journal that may show mental pain and suffering.
If you want to pursue a case against the other party, you’ll want to retain a lawyer to help you win the case and recover damages. Demonstrating which party is at fault in these cases can be challenging which makes having an attorney more beneficial.
The filing deadline requires the complaint to be filed within 2 years if against a person (or 6 months against the government) so you will want to move quick on hiring a lawyer and compiling the evidence. Although 2 years is a long time, a claim needs to be filed ASAP, after an accident. Do not wait before at least speaking with an attorney. At Chandler | Ross, we offer a no-obligation, free consultation to discuss your claim and rights after an accident.
Fault & Damages
The decision of who is responsible for the accident and liable for repaying the damages is something that your insurance companies and personal injury attorneys attempt to determine. This requires the two sides to find out who caused the accident by careless action or negligence. In motorcycle related crashes, there is a strong stigma or bias against bikers which makes it hard for motorcyclists to receive an award as many people and juries automatically blame the biker for the accident.
However, many times the negligent party is a car or truck driver who hit motorcyclists. This makes the need for a lawyer even more important when you are a motorcyclist and believe yourself to not be at fault. Additionally, there can be other people such as the manufacture and government who may be at fault by selling a defective part or not maintain the road conditions.
Or even both you and the other driver can be at some level of fault. In this case you are still eligible for a percentage, relevant to their amount of fault, of the damages compensation (so long as you are less than 50% at fault).
This process of deterring who is at fault is a complex and lengthy process between multiple parties which makes the hiring of a lawyer all the more advisable. While you are able to do this process on your own, having a lawyer fighting for you in this negotiation usually has the best results.
After it is proven who the party to blame is, then the amount of damages to be repaid to the harmed person is considered. These are the costs that go with the injury or harm a person caused. There are two types of damages for personal injury in Texas:
While the amount of special damages is limited to the monetary loss, there is no limit on the amount of general damages awarded. This is a critical step in the legal process and usually has better results when a lawyer is involved.
Motorcycles are an important part of many people’s lives, and while they can pose serious dangers, following reasonable safety precautions can prevent many accidents. And whenever the unthinkable happens, it is important to take the right steps to make sure all your legal avenues are explored.
With offices in Denton, Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, Chandler | Ross, PLLC and our Car Accident Attorneys are well positioned to provide the most effective, experienced and highly-skilled representation possible with a convenient location near you. Our experienced Denton/Dallas/Fort Worth Motorcycle Accident Attorneys can quickly respond to an accident, gather necessary information and preserve evidence in order to maximize your chances of recovery. Don’t wait, and don’t compromise – contact us today to see how we can help you. In most cases, you pay nothing unless we are able to settle your case or win a verdict. Our consultation is free. Contact us now at (940)-800-2500 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your free car accident case evaluation and consultation.