Katy Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Fighting for the rights of injured victims
Recently, two motorcycle riders were killed in an accident near Katy while on their way to the funeral of another motorcyclist. The accident occurred on a Saturday morning on Highway 90 near Sam Houston Parkway. The two individuals on the motorcycle were on their way to meet friends at a park before the funeral when a tow truck pulled out of a gas station and attempted to make it across lanes of oncoming traffic. The motorcycle rider tried to stop before hitting the tow truck. He died at the scene. His female passenger was transported to the hospital where she later died of her injuries as well.
Unfortunately, this is a scene that happens all too often in Katy and throughout Texas. Those who plan to enjoy the beautiful weather and the open road with their motorcycles find themselves at risk for serious injury or even death. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your damages. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney at Stewart J.Guss, Attorney at Law, may help. 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.
The Dangers Faced by Motorcycle Riders
Motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in a traffic accident and five times more likely to be injured than the occupants of cars. How come? Here are a few of the reasons:
- Less stability: With just two wheels, motorcycles are less stable for traveling than passenger cars, turning issues such as road damage, loose gravel, or debris into the road into potentially deadly situations. Also risky for motorcycle riders is the presence of rain, which can bring out the oils trapped in the roadway and make the surface of the road extremely slippery to ride on.
- Lack of protective features: Part of what shields the occupants of cars from many of the dangers involved in an accident are protective features such as a steel frame, airbags, and seat belts. Motorcycles lack all of those features, increasing the risk of serious or fatal injuries.
- Lack of training: It is not uncommon for a new motorcyclist to want to ride the fastest bike around, such as the supersport or sport models. However, bigger and faster isn’t always better. Particularly when you don’t have real-world riding experience to match the power of a racing bike that has been fashioned for highway use. Further, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that nearly a third of all motorcyclists killed across the nation in 2017 weren’t properly licensed. Getting a motorcycle license requires at least enough training to pass the test. While a rider can certainly use the ideas and education of additional courses, at the very minimum, they should have the training required for licensing.
- Less visibility: Motorists often provide adequate surveillance when it comes to seeing oncoming cars. However, they may not be expecting—or looking for—two-wheeled traffic. Motorcyclists who wear bright clothing that is more visible to other motorists are 37 percent less likely to be involved in an accident than those who do not.
- A different skill set: Motorcycle riding requires a completely different skill set than driving a car, meaning that even if you’re an excellent driver, you may not be an excellent motorcyclist. Many accidents occur due to the motorcyclist failing to transition from one skill set to another.
How Bad Drivers Cause Motorcycle Accidents
Many motorcycle accidents are caused by the following driving behaviors:
- Alcohol impairment: Alcohol impairment can dramatically increase the risk that a driver will collide with a motorcycle. Alcohol impairment reduces many of the skills needed for safe riding.
- Speeding: A negligent car or truck driver can cause a motorcyclist unbelievable damage when violating the speed limit results in a collision. Speeding not only reduces the time that someone has to see and react to hazards on the roadway but also makes the bike harder to control. With less stability than that of a passenger vehicle, the motorcyclist can suffer terribly.
- Unsafe lane changes: If the driver fails to look in his or her mirror and over the shoulder, there is an increased risk of having an accident with a motorcyclist who may be riding in the car’s blind spot.
- Left turns: Left turns are among the most dangerous tasks for motorcyclists, as they are less visible to other motorists who may be checking for car traffic, but not for motorcycles.
- Tailgating: Drivers who tailgate motorcyclists are putting them in grave danger if the motorcyclist should happen to stop suddenly and cause the car to rear-end it.
- Alcohol impairment: Alcohol impairment is a concern both for the motorcyclist and the motorist. A high blood alcohol content may make the motorist even less likely to see the motorcyclist and can also pose the risk of accidents related to weaving in and out of lanes, speeding, or failing to stop at a red light.
- Dooring: This term refers to a type of accident in which the occupant of a car parked on the roadside opens the car door into the path of a motorcyclist. This causes the motorcyclist to either hit the door and wreck his or her bike or else swerve to avoid the door and risk hitting another vehicle or losing control of the motorcycle.
The Injuries That Reckless Drivers Cause in Motorcycle Accidents
Injuries from motorcycle accidents are frequently serious and may result in permanent disability or even death. Some of the more common injuries a motorcyclist can sustain in a crash include:
- Traumatic brain injuries: Brain injuries are the most common cause of death for motorcyclists involved in accidents. This type of injury may or may not involve a fracture to the skull and is often caused by the brain being violently jolted or a sudden blow to the head. The consequences of a brain injury may be mild, such as a concussion, or they may produce profound deficits in the victim’s ability to function. While the risk of head injuries from an accident is high, many deaths and severe injuries can be avoided through the use of a U.S. Department of Transportation-approved motorcycle helmet.
- Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries can result in loss of sensation and function of the limbs, also called paralysis. How much loss depends on the severity of the injury as well as how far up on the spine the injury occurred. Function is generally lost below the site of the injury, meaning that a severe spinal cord injury involving the neck can result in quadriplegia, which is the loss of sensation and function of the chest, torso, pelvic region, shoulders, arms, and legs.
- Burn injuries: It is not uncommon for a motorcycle to catch on fire after a collision, putting the rider in danger of burn injuries. Burns may also be caused by gasoline and other chemicals spilled on the roadway during the accident.
- Broken bones: Broken bones are a frequent consequence of motorcycle accidents due to the likelihood that the rider will be ejected from the bike during the crash and risks striking a car, other objects, or even the roadway at high speed. The most common site for this type of injury is the lower extremities, and the most common bones to break in a motorcycle accident are the long, thin bones of the lower leg.
- Road rash: One of the most common injuries for a motorcyclist to receive in an accident, road rash is a term that refers to the scraping away of the outer layers of skin as the body skids across the road. While it is often regarded as a “minor injury,” complications from road rash can be quite serious and include extensive scarring or a potentially deadly infection. Road rash can often be prevented through the use of protective gear such as motorcycle pants made of leather or Kevlar, motorcycle jackets, riding boots, and heavy gloves.
- Biker’s arm: Biker’s arm is a term used to describe severe nerve damage caused when a heavy object—often the motorcycle itself—lands on top of the arm. The damage is often permanent and may include paralysis of the arm or hand.
- Limb amputation: The amputation may take place during the accident or it may be a medical procedure involved in attempting to repair the damage after the accident.
- Internal injuries: Internal injuries can be caused by the body striking an object or by the motorcyclist getting ran over by a car involved in the accident or traveling the roadway after the initial accident occurs. This type of injury may include a collapsed lung or injury to other internal organs due to broken ribs, torn blood vessels, or damage to organs such as the spleen, kidney, liver, or heart.
A study conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech and Wake Forest University revealed that injuries to motorcyclists who struck an object during the crash—such as a guardrail, tree, or concrete barrier—are typically more severe than those who hit the ground. For example, motorcyclists who hit a guardrail instead of the ground were 7 times more likely to die due to accident-related injuries. Those who struck a tree had nearly 15 times more likelihood of dying from the injuries they suffered than those who struck the ground.
Does Texas Have a Motorcycle Helmet Law?
It is estimated that the use of helmets saved 1,859 lives in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 802 more lives could have been saved if helmets were used by all riders. Helmets reduce the risk of death by 37 percent and the risk of serious head injuries by 69 percent. While helmets may make the ride less risky, are they required in Texas?
Texas, like many other states, requires some riders to wear helmets, but not others. All riders under the age of 21 are required to wear a helmet when operating a motorcycle. Helmets are not required for those 21 and older, provided they have either completed a safety course or have provided proof of a health insurance plan that provides health care or surgical services in the event of an accident. State law prohibits law enforcement officers from stopping un-helmeted motorcyclists for the sole purpose of determining whether they are over 21, have completed a safety course, or are covered by health insurance.
How Bad Is the Problem?
Really bad. According to the state Department of Transportation, in one recent year, 500 motorcyclists lost their lives on Texas roadways, and 53 percent of those motorcyclists were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash.
Nationally, during that same year, 5,286 people died in motorcycle accidents, a 5.1 percent increase in motorcycle fatalities from the year before. While motorcycles only make up about 3 percent of the country’s motor vehicle fleet, they are involved in 14 percent of all traffic crashes.
If You Were Injured in a Motorcycle Accident, Call Our Katy Motorcycle Crash Attorneys
You may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries either through the insurance coverage of an at-fault driver, or through a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party and/or his or her insurance company. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can answer your legal questions pertaining to liability and the value of your case based on the expenses you’ve faced and other factors such as lost wages due to missed work because of your injuries, potentially permanent disabilities, and the overall impact that your injuries have had on your life. Your motorcycle accident attorney can also assist you by negotiating with insurance companies for a fair settlement in your case, or representing you at trial if necessary.
The legal team of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, is nationally recognized for protecting the rights of injured victims for more than 20 years. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident in Katy, call our office right now to schedule 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.
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