Legal Help for Motorcyclists Injured in Houston
Bikers injured because of other motorists’ negligent actions can take legal action to recoup medical costs, lost wages, and other damages related to the accident. Drivers must carry bodily injury liability insurance in Texas in amounts of at least $30,000 per injured person and $60,000 per accident.
They also must carry property damage liability insurance of at least $25,000 per accident. Often prudent Houston, TX drivers carry much more insurance coverage than the legal minimum.
Usually, it takes a personal injury lawsuit to learn the policy limits of the other driver.
If you have UM/UIM coverage on your motorcycle insurance policy, talk with an attorney. You may stack that coverage on-top of the other driver’s policy limits to get compensated for your injury.
Why get a Lawyer for a Motorcycle Injury?
Dealing with an insurance adjuster on a personal injury claim is never easy. Hiring the right legal counsel to handle your case can not only maximize the money in your pocket but also can take the stress out of the equation. Letting you focus on recovery. The more severe the injury, the more you need the help of one of the best injury attorneys near you.
What Can I Expect from the Adjuster on a Motorcycle Injury Claim?
If you represent yourself after an injury accident with a motorcycle, you can expect some of the following from the insurance company adjuster:
- Blame shifting- attempts to assert you are at fault. This technique by the adjuster is a method of convincing you they should pay a percentage your damages only, like pain and suffering and medical costs.
- Disallowing some of your medical expenses as “excessive” or “unrelated.”
- Low-balling- is a technique used often to reset your expectations on the value.
- Insisting a recorded statement is needed to move forward with a claim.
How to Prove Fault by the Other Driver
Many people think that just because the police officer ticketed the other driver, that fault has been established. Logically, one would assume that responsibility is determined by issuing a traffic citation; however, legally, that is not the case. The officer’s opinion on fault may or may not be admissible as evidence in a lawsuit for damages. If the ticket is dismissed or if the defendant pleads “no contest” with the ticket, that they were ticketed will likely not be heard by a jury in Texas.
To establish entitlement to legal damages, claimants must prove:
- A duty of care between the parties (all motorists owe others on the road a duty of care to prevent harm to others);
- The defendant breached that duty of care (i.e., acted negligently);
- The defendant’s negligent actions led to the accident; and
- The motorcyclist suffered substantial injuries and damages.
Even when the adjuster says they “accept responsibility,” it does not mean the insurance company will make you a fair offer. Or that they will not later attempt to blame you or discount your damages.
The best way to deal with the adjuster is by preparation. Here are a few things top-rated injury attorneys do on severe injury cases:
- Locate witnesses and discover what they saw
- Gather all medical bills and records and study them
- Speak with treating physicians when necessary
- Retain experts to explain liability and damages for the court
- Deal with health insurance subrogation or hospital liens.
Legal Damages from Motorcycle Wrecks
Riders can get damages, which include economic damages like lost wages and medical expenses. And also, non-economic or human damages like pain and suffering, disfigurement, or loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages are more challenging to get in Texas. Generally, in Texas, plaintiffs have to prove extraordinary or willful negligence to be awarded punitive damages. An example of a case where punitive damages may be granted would be if the at-fault driver was drunk during the wreck. But in Texas, punitive damages may not be covered by insurance. Talk with a punitive damage attorney about that.
If you have uninsured motorist insurance, this coverage can help if the motorist did not have liability coverage. Underinsured coverage helps when the negligent driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover all damages. Calling a motorcycle accident lawyer is a significant first step to protecting your rights.
How Does Comparative Negligence Affect Motorcycle Accident Cases in Texas?
If you are found to be less than 51% at fault for causing an accident in Texas, you can still collect damages.
Texas is a modified comparative fault state. To recover damages, claimants need to show they were 50 percent or less at fault for the accident. Losses are reduced by the claimant’s responsibility. For example, if a party was 20 percent at fault and suffered $100,000 in damages, then his or her award is only $80,000 ($100,000 minus 20 percent fault).
The comparative fault might particularly apply if the rider wasn’t wearing a helmet. Helmet use likely won’t come into play if the rider suffered a broken leg in the motorcycle accident because it had nothing to do with the injury.
With a head injury, insurance companies may argue that not wearing a helmet contributed to the severity of the injury; therefore, the injured biker is partially at fault.
Texas does not require riders older than 21 to wear a helmet if they complete a training course or have adequate medical insurance. Not wearing a helmet may be a factor in some motorcycle accident cases.
Riders should discuss how their helmet use could affect their particular case with a lawyer. Generally, if the injury would not have been prevented or lessened by the helmet, the non-use of a helmet should not be relevant in a motorcycle injury case.
Leading Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
The main factor in crashes with a rider is the failure of the other driver to see the motorcycle before impact. The issue is so prevalent that Texas has a program designed to educate the public about looking for bikes. The initiative is called “share the road- look twice for motorcycles.”
Other main kinds of motorcycle accidents are:
- A car turns left in front of you
- A vehicle changes lane hitting you
- You are hit from the rear
Alcohol is a factor in many single-vehicle motorcycle wrecks and is speeding.
What Steps Should I Take After a Motorcycle Crash?
After a motorcycle wreck, your priority should be getting the medical attention you need. When injured, it is difficult to obtain the information at the scene. Usually, the police officers investigating the crash will talk to the other driver and get their insurance coverage and visit the motorcycle rider in the hospital, if necessary. Contacting a motorcycle accident lawyer should also be done early.
Essential details to obtain at the scene:
- Insurance information for the at-fault driver
- Photos of the scene and injuries
- The identity and contact information from witnesses
One of the most important things to do for yourself is to get treatment for your injuries. Don’t try to tough it out only to discover later the true extent of your injuries. Delay in obtaining medical care can hurt your body and your case. Likewise, following up with a doctor, as recommended in the emergency room, is a must. If you do not have health insurance, you may still receive medical treatment without paying for the care up-front. Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss options.
Contact with the Adjuster
We recommend you do not give a recorded telephone interview with the adverse insurance company after an accident. If you provide a telephone interview, always talk to a motorcycle injury attorney first. Many of the best motorcycle injury lawyers offer free consultations- take advantage of it. Call us at (281) 587-1111!
Choosing a Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Do your homework before you sign any contracts with an attorney. Spend a little time looking at the past motorcycle accident cases of the lawyer. Read about former clients, and look at the rating of the attorney at lawyers.com or martindale.com, which grades are peer-reviewed and not part of a “pay for prestige” program.
Referrals from friends and family can be a start but feel comfortable with the attorney you choose before you hire them. Interview several attorneys.
Contacting a reputable personal injury lawyer with experience in motorcycle accidents is a good first step.
By doing so, a motorcycle accident attorney in Houston can conduct an initial investigation and document the accident and help you deal with treatment for your injuries.
THERE IS NEVER A CHARGE FOR AN INJURY CONSULTATION- Call Us at (281) 587-1111!