In Houston, we know and love our motorcycles. There’s nothing quite like hitting the open road on a motorcycle – enjoying the wind and the wonderful scenery. Unfortunately, most bikers also know that it’s not a matter of if you’ll be involved in an accident, but when.
Motorcycle accidents are more devastating than car accidents because you’re not as well protected. Motorcycle injuries range from long-term recoveries to permanent disability. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 459 deaths and an additional 1900 incapacitating injuries on motorcycles in 2015.
Because motorcycles are often associated with “rebellious” behavior, insurance companies often seek to place the blame on a motorcyclist after an accident. But just as often, it’s the other motorist who is to blame. If you’re a biker, and you’ve been injured in an accident, what are your legal options?
The Houston motorcycle accident lawyers at Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP have seen firsthand the serious injuries after motorcycle crashes and how they can permanently change lives. Some of the most common injuries include:
Our Houston motorcycle accident lawyers will work tirelessly to help you seek maximum compensation to help take care of the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If possible, we recommend taking the following steps after a motorcycle accident:
Unless your injuries dictate otherwise, we recommend staying on the scene of an accident until the police arrive and they document the accident in an official report. Get the other driver’s name, license plate information, and pertinent insurance information. Also get the names and numbers of any eyewitnesses. If your injuries keep you from staying on the accident scene, don’t worry: the police officers will still file a report, and may even visit you in the hospital for your version of events.
If possible, take pictures of the accident scene. If not, be sure to take notes about your accidents and injuries: jot down anything you can remember, including what you were doing and where you were going. Describe your accident with all your senses: what you saw, how it felt, and what you heard.
If an insurance company presents you with documents, don’t sign them unless they’ve been reviewed by a Houston motorcycle accident attorney. The only document you should sign is the police report, prepared by the officer on the scene.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, the best thing you can do is hire a Houston motorcycle attorney. The state of Texas requires that motorists carry bodily injury insurance in amounts totaling at least $30,000 per injured person and $60,000 per accident. They must also carry at least $25,000 in property damage insurance.
Bikers may receive compensatory damages for their injuries if the following apply:
A motorcyclist’s settlement is intended to compensate for medical bills and ongoing rehabilitation expenses, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
The state of Texas has rules about shared fault in motorcycle accidents. To collect damages, a victim must show that they were 50% at fault or less. If a jury decides you share fault in an accident, your reward will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, suppose that you incurred $100,000 in damages, but were 20% at fault for an accident (if you suffered a head injury, but weren’t wearing a helmet). Your maximum settlement would be $80,000 under Texas shared fault laws.
Insurance companies are notoriously resistant to paying valid motorcycle injury and wrongful death claims. They are often quick to make the case that a motorcyclist is a risk-taker by virtue of the fact that he rides a bike—nothing more—and they may deny your claim as a matter of routine. This assumption is entirely without validity. In reality, three out of every four motorcycle accidents are the fault of another driver who doesn’t look carefully at his or her surroundings, violates the cyclist’s right of way, and causes a crash. Careless left turns are notorious for causing accidents with oncoming motorcycles. Changing lanes without checking the blind spot can result in a crash when a car cuts off a motorcycle.
If you’ve suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, there is a good chance you’ll have to file a lawsuit to collect the compensation that you’re entitled to, because insurance companies don’t pay these claims easily.
We are happy to meet with you at no cost to review your case and answer any questions you may have. Time limits apply, so don’t wait to call. You are never billed for any expenses or legal fees until your settlement check arrives, and it we don’t win money for you, you’ll owe us nothing. Call today for a free consultation.