Motorcycle accidents are more likely than other types of accidents to be traumatic for two reasons: The rider does not have the protection afforded by a car or pickup, and cars and trucks weigh much more than a motorcycle. The extra risk does not stop riders in Austin from taking advantage of the great weather to ride every chance they can get. Whether going out to enjoy the city’s nightlife or heading out of the city to enjoy a ride on country roads, riders have to deal with others on the road who might not watch for motorcycles.
Often, negligent drivers claim they did not see a motorcyclist they collided with. While this is a common scenario, it certainly does not comfort those who suffer severe or catastrophic injuries or lose a loved one in a motorcycle accident.
Filing a claim against a negligent driver does not erase your injuries or bring a loved one back, but it does relieve the financial stress of not having the income you are used to. Contact an Austin motorcycle accident lawyer at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers today for your free case evaluation, and let us tell you about how we can protect your rights and seek the compensation you deserve.
We are a national law firm based in Houston with multiple offices around the country. We also work with affiliate law firms in most states that share our focus and dedication to excellence. No matter where you are located, we may be able to help you, so call or contact us now. We are open, for free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-898-4877, or you may contact us now by clicking here to submit your case for review.
How an Austin Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help You
Motorcycle wrecks often cause catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries that change the lives of the rider and their family. Such injuries often prevent the rider from going back to work. Those who suffer severe or catastrophic injuries need help receiving the compensation they deserve.
If you choose to work with us and we accept your case, our attorneys can help by:
- Working with experts to estimate your future medical expenses and loss of earning capacity.
- Helping you find the best medical care to help you recover as fully as possible.
- Locating all of the defendants who may be responsible for your injuries so that we can include them in settlement negotiations or litigation.
- Investigating the accident to locate all evidence in an attempt to prove that the other driver was negligent.
- Ensuring that you receive a fair settlement or representing you in court.
After an accident, we recommend retaining an Austin motorcycle accident lawyer to help you with settlement negotiations. Every claim an insurance company pays means less profit for the insurance company. Thus, the company’s representatives will often try to find any reason to deny your claim or offer you the least amount possible to get you to settle. But insurance companies know that when you retain an accident attorney, they will pay a fair and reasonable amount or find themselves in court.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Most accidents are preventable, especially those where a driver states that they did not see the motorcyclist.
Other causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, prescription drugs, and other illicit substances.
- Driving while distracted, including texting, talking on the phone, fiddling with the radio or climate control, or talking to a passenger in the vehicle.
- Reckless driving, including frequently changing lanes or merging too closely in front of another driver.
- Aggressive driving, including tailgating, pushing another driver into another lane, passing at high speeds and cutting other drivers off, and aggressively changing lanes to get ahead of a traffic jam.
- Motorcycle manufacturer defects.
- Defective replacement parts for motorcycles.
- Poorly maintained roads, such as those with large cracks, potholes, debris in the road, sand or rock piles on the edges of the road, and missing guardrails.
- Speeding, including excessive speeding, such as fleeing from law enforcement.
- Blind spots. Drivers are responsible for checking their blind spots, and other drivers are also responsible for ensuring they do not hang in a driver’s blind spot, pass on the right, or otherwise put themselves into a large blind spot where the driver cannot easily see them.
- Failure to yield.
- Ignoring traffic control signals and road markings.
While most of these actions by other drivers are negligent, the court could consider some grossly negligent, such as driving under the influence, excessive speeding, or driving while distracted, depending on the distraction. Texas allows accident victims to recover punitive damages if the victims can show that the defendant’s actions or inactions were grossly negligent or intentional.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle accident injuries are often severe or catastrophic because of the limited protection motorcycle riders have. Even those wearing helmets, boots, gloves, and leathers can suffer severe injuries.
The legal team at Stewart J. Guss Injury Accident Lawyers handles cases involving all types of motorcycle accident injuries, including:
- Bruises, bumps, cuts, and scratches.
- Strains and sprains.
- Pulled and torn muscles and ligaments and other soft tissue injuries.
- Simple and compound fractures.
- Crushed bones.
- Road rash.
- Thermal and chemical burns.
- Face and eye injuries.
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Dislocated joints.
- Internal injuries.
- Back and spinal cord injuries.
You might also be able to recover compensation for secondary injuries caused by the primary injuries suffered in the accident. For example, infections in open wounds, whether the wounds were sustained in the accident or are surgical wounds from repairing accident injuries. Infections can happen to anyone, but they frequently plague people with a compromised immune system, whether from a preexisting condition or because they must take medications or receive treatments that reduce their immune response.
Additionally, accident injuries can exacerbate a preexisting condition. The at-fault driver is responsible for the added expenses of treating and caring for these injuries and additional pain and suffering, as you would not have suffered the extra pain and expense if not for the defendant’s negligence.
Losing a Loved One in an Austin Motorcycle Accident
Fatal motorcycle accidents leave you not only missing your loved one but wondering how you will continue paying the bills. While money will not bring your loved one back, it can make your life easier. An Austin motorcycle accident lawyer can help you recover the compensation you deserve after losing a loved one.
The at-fault driver is responsible for paying any medical expenses your loved one incurred, pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, and other damages. Your motorcycle accident attorney can investigate the accident and deal with the insurance companies to ensure that you recover the compensation you deserve.
You do not have to deal with the insurance company on your own, which can prove difficult, especially since they will almost always try to find a reason to deny your claim. If they cannot find a reason to deny your claim, they will usually offer you the least amount possible to cut into the company’s profits as little as possible.
If an insurance company ever tells you that they know their insured was at fault, do not become this means that they will pay you a fair and reasonable settlement. That is one of the tricks an insurance company sometimes uses to get you to accept a low settlement amount.
You have enough to deal with after the death of a loved one. Let the experienced motorcycle accident team at Stewart J. Guss Injury Accident Lawyers work to recover the compensation you deserve
Who Is Responsible for a Motorcycle Accident?
Often, the other driver is responsible for a motorcycle accident. However, in some cases, other parties could share liability for your injuries and other damages.
Others who might share in the responsibility include:
- A vehicle manufacturer, if the vehicle had a defect that led to the accident.
- A parts manufacturer, if a part failed, which led to the accident.
- A vehicle repair technician, if faulty vehicle maintenance led to the accident.
- Another driver who caused a primary accident, which led to a secondary accident involving you.
- Poorly maintained roads, such as roads with potholes, poor drainage, missing traffic control signals, missing lane markings, and overgrown vegetation.
If a commercial driver caused the accident, you might also recover damages from:
- The trucking company.
- The owner of the truck, if the driver leased the truck.
- A dispatcher who does not work for the company.
- Inspectors who do not work for the company.
- The company that loaded the truck.
- Truck mechanics.
- Truck manufacturers.
- Trailer manufacturers.
- Parts manufacturers.
During the investigation, your attorneys will identify who may be liable for your injuries and other damages so that you can recover the compensation you deserve.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
In many cases, you won’t be able to do anything except wait for emergency responders without causing yourself additional injuries. However, if you can move around safely, you should start documenting the accident scene to protect your rights. While the police will also document the scene, you might be able to record additional information.
After an Austin motorcycle accident, to the extent to which you can do so safely:
- Call first responders and check on others involved in the accident.
- Take photos of the accident scene. Be sure to take photos from all angles, including damage to the road and nearby property, including lawns, mailboxes, utility poles, and fences.
- Obtain contact, insurance, and registration information from all other drivers involved in the accident. If you can take photos of each driver’s license, insurance card, and registration, that is even better. Be sure to take pictures of or write the license plate numbers down of every vehicle involved in the wreck.
- Obtain contact information from witnesses. You can also ask witnesses what they saw.
- Allow emergency medical technicians to check you over. In fact, accept a ride to the hospital in an ambulance so medical professionals can check you over more thoroughly. Keep in mind that some injuries manifest hours or even days later. Medical professionals could find those injuries with various imaging tests.
- Give the police your version of what happened. If the police ask you to sign the accident report, be sure that the police wrote down the facts as you relayed them.
- Contact an Austin motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.
In addition to the actions you should take:
- Do not discuss the accident with anyone except the police.
- Never admit guilt, even if you think you might have caused or partially caused the accident.
- Do not give the insurance company even your own any information other than your name, contact information, the date and location of the accident, and your Austin motorcycle accident lawyer’s contact information.
- Do not post about the accident on social media. Do not post any activities on social media. Insurance companies look at the social media accounts of accident victims to see if they admit fault or if they are taking part in activities. For example, if an insurance company sees you feeding your horses after an accident, they might conclude that your injuries are not as severe as you claimed.
Working With Insurance Companies
Many people think they can save money by negotiating a settlement themselves. However, insurance companies will gladly take advantage of that situation. They know that you do not know all of the laws that protect you. They also know that they can smooth-talk most people into accepting an offer that might not even cover your medical expenses.
An insurance company might tell you that it knows the person they covered was at fault. They’ll then tell you that all they can offer is a certain amount. Some people fall for this ruse. They figure if the insurance company admits fault that it will offer a fair and reasonable settlement. It’s quite the opposite. The insurance company is hoping you’ll think that so it can get off the hook by paying very little in comparison to what you deserve.
Insurance companies also get you to talk about the accident. They then twist what you say and use it against you to deny your claim or offer you a pittance by assigning some of the blame to you.
If you call an insurance company after a motorcycle accident, only give it your name, contact information, date and location of the accident, and your Austin motorcycle accident lawyer’s contact information. The insurance company might pressure you into discussing the accident. Politely tell it that your attorney will provide that information and end the call.
Texas Statute of Limitations
Texas statutes give you up to two years to file a wrongful death claim or an accident injury claim. However, some insurance companies might require you to file a claim in as little as 14 to 30 days. You can contact an insurance company to let it know that your Austin motorcycle accident lawyer will call with the details of the claim, but you are calling to open the claim.
Do not give the insurance company any information about the accident other than the date and location. You have no obligation to tell it anything since you plan to retain an attorney.
Steps to Recovering Damages
After your initial free case evaluation, our Austin motorcycle accident team will start investigating your case, just as if you were going to trial. The more information we have, the more aggressive we can be in our settlement negotiations and the better chance you have of recovering the compensation you deserve. The information gathered from the accident scene and any journaling you do will also help document the accident.
Once we have enough information about what caused the accident and whether you might incur future medical expenses and loss of earning capacity, we will send a demand letter to the insurance company to start settlement negotiations.
In most cases, the insurance company will respond with a lower amount or a claim denial. We can continue settlement negotiations as long as it is prudent.
If the insurance company refuses a fair and reasonable settlement, we can seamlessly move to litigation since our early investigation uncovered most of the evidence we need to prove your case.
A trial could take several months or even over a year. Once we file the complaint on your behalf, the defendant has a certain number of days to file responsive pleadings. If the defendant files an answer and counter-complaint, the discovery process begins. During the discovery process, both parties exchange evidence via several processes, including depositions of the defendant and witnesses, interrogatories, requests for production, and subpoenas.
Once the discovery process is over, the court will schedule a pretrial hearing. At the hearing, the court outlines rules for both attorneys, including providing witness lists, ensuring both parties have discovery, and setting a trial date.
Recovering Damages After a Motorcycle Accident
Whether you settle or litigate, you can recover certain damages. However, if you want to recover punitive damages, you must litigate your case. While it does take extra steps to recover punitive damages, it is worth the extra time when the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious. Most people can recover compensatory damages, including economic damages and non-economic damages. Few can recover punitive damages.
#1. Economic Damages
Special damages, often called economic damages, have a monetary value. The court orders the defendant to pay economic damages in an attempt to make you financially whole again. Economic damages include:
#2. Medical Expenses
You can recover everything you spend on medical expenses for injuries related to the accident.
If your doctors expect your injuries to cause a long-term or permanent disability, you can also recover compensation to pay for future medical expenses, including:
- Doctors’ appointments.
- Follow-up appointments.
- Hand controls for your vehicle.
- The cost for a contractor for widening doorways in your home, and add a wheelchair ramp, grab bars, and other items to make your home more accessible.
- Occupational therapy.
- Psychological therapy.
- Cognitive therapy.
- Physical therapy.
After a motorcycle accident, you will most likely be out of work unless your injuries are minor. Because the defendant caused injuries that made it impossible to work, he or she pays for the wages you lost. Additionally, if your injuries become long-term or permanent disabilities, you can recover your future loss of earning capacity. Even if you can work part-time or at another job that does not pay as much as your previous job, you could recover the difference in compensation until your normal retirement age.
#4. Personal Property
In addition to paying your medical expenses, the defendant is also liable for additional damages, including replacing or repairing any property that suffered damage or destruction in the accident. If the insurance company totals your bike, the defendant must replace the bike. They must also replace bike accessories and anything of value you had on your person or in the bike’s saddlebags.
#5. Expenses Related to the Death of a Loved One
If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, a liable defendant may need to pay for funeral, burial, and/or cremation expenses. They should also pay for certain other expenses you otherwise would not have had, including probate attorneys’ fees and the cost of filing a probate case.
#6. Non-Economic Damages
General damages, often referred to as non-economic damages, do not have a monetary value. While money cannot bring back a loved one or instantly heal your injuries, the court orders non-economic damages in an attempt to make you whole again.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
- Inconvenience, if you have to pay someone to do your normal chores, including but not limited to lawn maintenance, home repair and maintenance, house cleaning, and grocery shopping.
- Loss of quality of life if you have to take prescriptions or use ambulatory aids for the rest of your life.
- Loss of consortium if you can no longer have a physical relationship with your spouse.
- Loss of companionship if you can no longer enjoy time with your family or take part in family activities and events.
- Loss of use of a body part, such as a foot or an arm.
- Loss of use of a bodily function, such as your bladder or eyesight.
- Excessive scarring and/or disfigurement.
- Amputation of a limb or digit.
#7. Punitive Damages
The court only orders punitive damages if it agrees that the defendant’s actions or inactions were grossly negligent or intentional. Instead of making you whole again, the money you receive from winning punitive damages is a punishment for the defendant. The court hopes that by paying this “fine,” the defendant will not repeat the actions or inactions that caused your injuries. Even if the state holds the defendant criminally responsible, the civil court could still order the defendant to pay punitive damages.
Steps for Receiving a Check After You Settle or Win a Trial Award
Before you can receive a check, several steps take place. If you won a settlement, the attorneys would draft the settlement agreement. It could go back and forth between the attorneys one or more times until both are satisfied that it represents what you and the insurance company agreed to.
You then have a chance to review the settlement agreement. Once you agree that it is what you agreed to, you sign the agreement. Your attorney then forwards the agreement to the insurance company, which processes the agreement and cuts a check. The insurance company mails the check to your attorney, who then deposits it into an escrow account.
Once the check clears, your attorney:
- Pays any outstanding medical expenses you have.
- Reimburses insurance companies that pay medical expenses on your behalf. Your insurance companies get reimbursed because they should not pay for something you didn’t do. When determining a fair and reasonable amount, your attorney considers these costs so you have enough money to pay other damages.
- Deducts his fees and costs for representing you. When figuring a fair and reasonable amount, your attorney also figures these expenses into the settlement.
Finally, after paying your outstanding expenses, the attorney will cut you a check for the balance. Once you receive the check, you can immediately deposit it into your bank. Depending on the amount, it could take up to 14 days for the bank to clear the check.
FAQs About Austin Motorcycle Accidents
Do I have to go to court to recover compensation for an Austin motorcycle accident?
No. Most people prefer to settle their cases because litigation takes longer. However, if the insurance company refuses to pay a fair and reasonable amount for your damages, we recommend that you go to court, so you receive the compensation you deserve.
How do I pay for medical expenses until I receive my settlement?
While waiting for your settlement or trial award, you will have medical expenses. You are most likely not working. You can file a claim with your health insurance for medical expenses. You can also use your auto insurance to pay some medical expenses. Some auto insurance policies also pay for lost wages until you receive a settlement.
You can also ask medical providers to defer billing or give them a letter of credit. Our Austin motorcycle accident team will help you manage medical expenses, so you do not have to worry about them while you are waiting for a settlement or trial award.
Do I have to go to the office to start my case?
No. We can conduct the free case evaluation by phone. In many cases, we might not see you until it’s time to pick up your check unless you wish to meet your motorcycle accident team or conduct the case evaluation via video call.
What do I do if the insurance company offers me a settlement before I retain an Austin motorcycle accident lawyer?
Do not accept any offer from any insurance company before you allow an attorney to review it and your case, especially early in the process. It most likely will not be enough to cover all of the damages you should recover.
You are under no obligation to call the insurance company or give them an answer. If it offers you a settlement over the phone, just let it know that you will get back to it after speaking with your attorney. If you receive the settlement in the mail, forward it to your attorney for review. Your attorney will contact the insurance company on your behalf.
Contact an Austin Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for a Free Case Evaluation
The legal team of Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, is nationally recognized for protecting the rights of injured victims for more than 20 years. If a motorcycle accident in Austin injured you, call our office right now for a free consultation! Because we take all of our motorcycle injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a dime unless we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or contact us now by clicking here.
Let us help you get your life back.
See what past clients have to say:
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“As a relatively new resident of Houston, I did not know of an attorney to contact for a personal injury suit. I randomly went through the yellow pages contacting two attorneys that had rejected my case prior to me contacting Stewart Guss. Stewart took my case on and settled for far more than I had anticipated. The silver lining of this is that I will now have enough money to go back to school for retraining, so I will be able to reenter the workforce in a new capacity. The paralegal, Angela, was kind and supportive throughout the process. If I did not understand the legal jargon, I did not hesitate to ask, and was never once made to feel that I was incompetent. Thank you Stewart and Angela for giving me a new lease on live.”
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.