Motorcycle accidents happen frequently in Texas. They can be the fault of the motorcycle rider but most of the time it is the other driver at fault. Because the motorcycle is hard to see, many accidents happen simply because the driver of the other vehicle did not see the motorcycle. Houston is a very dangerous place to ride a motorcycle.
The most common types of motorcycle crashes involve the following situations:
- Lane-change accidents.
- Failing to yield the right-of-way.
- Turning in front of the motorcycle.
Most of these accidents are caused by the driver of the other vehicle simply not seeing the motorcycle in time to avoid an accident. The situation is made worse at night. Safety experts recommend the motorcyclist use additional lighting on the motorcycle and wear brightly colored clothing when riding. But even with these precautions, motorcycles are still hard to see at night.
The settlement amount depends on three factors: (1) Liability; (2) Damages, and (3) Available insurance.
Texas is a “proportionate responsibility” state, meaning that liability for an accident is measured by fault. The more fault attributed to a person or company, the higher their responsibility for the damages. If the liability is crystal clear and undisputed, that factor can be disregarded in the analysis of a settlement amount.
Motorcycle accidents tend to result in more serious personal injuries because the biker does not have the added protection of a vehicle. The amount of damages depends on the exact injuries sustained in the accident. The best evidence of the value of those injuries comes from the medical records and the testimony of the rider’s treating physicians.
Future medical limitations and expenses are also factored into settlement discussions. In other words, if you require future medical care because of the accident, that future care should also be considered in a settlement.
The more serious the injury and the extent of necessary treatment, the higher the damages. Likewise, if a person is permanently incapacitated the damages can be astronomical. Damages for human losses should be substantially higher than the cost of the medical care itself.
Damages in the most severe motorcycle crashes can be limited by the available insurance coverage. In Texas, the minimum coverage is $30,000 and many drivers in Texas do not even carry insurance. Even the most severe catastrophic injury damages or a wrongful death claim can be limited when there just is not insurance coverage to pay the damages.
If there is more than one victim of a motorcycle crash how the settlement money is divided will impact the bottom-line number in some instances.
The best way to get an idea of the value of a personal injury case from a motorcycle crash is to speak with a leading motorcycle accident lawyer.
Steps to Take in Stating a Motorcycle Injury Claim
We recommend the following steps to begin a motorcycle personal injury claim:
Avoid giving any recorded statements to the adjuster for the at-fault driver. Insurance adjusters are well-trained in asking questions designed to give them a defense to your claims. This is a situation of “what you say will be used against you.” Always speak with a leading motorcycle accident attorney before considering communications with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Most reputable attorneys will offer free consultations and we recommend you take advantage of that service.
Keep a Record
Keeping a record of your medical treatment is helpful and unnecessary to keep track of your medical expenses and in order in your medical records necessary to evaluate the case.
If there are witnesses or other evidence, take immediate steps to preserve that evidence. Write down the names and contact information of any witness, as well as for any medical provider or emergency personnel. Obtain photographs and documentation from the investigating officers when possible.
Talk with the Best Lawyer
Contact the best motorcycle accident lawyer in the county of the occurrence and do so sooner rather than later. The general rule is that the more serious the injury, the more you need the best personal injury attorney.
How Long Does a Personal Injury Claim Take?
Personal injury from a motorcycle accident can take from six months to a few years depending on how far the case gets and whether litigation is necessary to obtain a fair settlement. The more serious the injury, the more time your claim will take if there is substantial insurance coverage by the at-fault driver or if you have uninsured and underinsured coverage on the motorcycle.
If I Was Partly at Fault, Can I Get Money?
Perhaps. Texas is a “proportionate responsibility” state which means you can collect damages if you are less than 51% at fault for the crash. If a judge or a jury determines that you were more than 50% at fault, in Texas you will be barred from collecting damages.
In very serious or severe injury cases, you can expect the attorney for the at-fault driver to come up with reasons why you might be partly at fault. A skilled motorcycle accident attorney should be able to rebut those accusations if they are not valid.
If I Was Not Wearing a Helmet, Will it Impact My Case?
If you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, it may or may not have an impact on the damages you may collect. For example, if you sustain a very serious injury to your leg that required surgical intervention, the fact that you did not have a helmet on should not have an impact on those damages.
If, however, you suffered a traumatic brain injury that could have been reduced or potentially eliminated with the use of a helmet, not having a helmet on at the time of the crash will be a major issue in the case. Here are some motorcycle safety tips!
How Much is a Fair Settlement?
The best way to analyze what a fair settlement would be is to speak to a qualified attorney with a track record of holding insurance companies accountable for serious injury damages. Each factor listed above, liability, damages, and ability to pay, must be considered in determining a reasonable amount for your case.
For instance, let’s assume that John was riding his motorcycle and another driver turned in front of him causing the crash. Nothing John could have done would have prevented the accident from happening. In this case, liability would be clear and the other driver probably received a ticket.
A fair settlement for a crash depends on how badly John is hurt and how much insurance coverage is available to pay those damages. John may be very seriously injured but if the available insurance coverage is limited, in this case, a fair settlement may be the policy limits of all the available insurance coverage.
Alternatively, John might have been lucky and received minor injuries which required a trip to the emergency room and very little follow up if any. In this case, a reasonable settlement would include an analysis of the medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages, and how long it took John to get back to normal.
How to Find the Best Lawyer for My Motorcycle Crash?
The best way to find a motorcycle accident lawyer for your case is to do your research on the lawyer’s ability, training, and experience with serious personal injury motorcycle crashes. The more experienced, the better.
Also, understand who exactly is going to handle your case before you sign a contract with a law firm. You do not want an inexperienced associate handling your case and learning on the job. Having a partner in a law firm oversees the case is not the same thing as having the partner handle the case, and the settlement value will likely reflect that fact.
Contact a Leading Motorcycle Accident Lawyer About Your Rights
The motorcycle accident lawyers at the Baumgartner Law Firm have been handling serious personal injury and wrongful death motorcycle crash cases for over three decades. We have obtained numerous multimillion-dollar settlements and may be able to help you. Call us for a free no-obligation consultation about your motorcycle injury case.