Injured in a Texas Motorcycle Accident?
We’re here to defend your rights. We not only protect you, but we also support you.
We know people get injured in all kinds of motor vehicles, but motorcyclists are some of the most vulnerable ones on the road.
Attorney Stewart Guss is an avid motorcyclist himself and is extremely proud of the M designation on his Texas driver’s license. He has spent hours upon hours riding throughout various parts of our great state, so he understands the unique risks motorcyclists expose themselves to each time they ride.
Even the safest riders, however, are at greater risk of an accident than people in cars or trucks. In fact, according to data recently published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are five times more likely to suffer accident injuries than the occupants of cars or trucks.
When there’s no barrier between your body and the other vehicle, injuries can be devastating… or deadly. If you or a loved one has already been involved in a dangerous crash and left them with injuries and damages learn what a Texas personal injury attorney can do for you!
Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle wreck injuries vary in severity depending on the unique circumstances of the crash. One thing to keep in mind, though: You should not try to move accident victims from the scene. This can aggravate their injuries.
Because motorcyclists are not totally surrounded like the passengers of a car, even minor accidents can cause extremely serious injuries. For example, a relatively low-speed collision between a motorcycle and another vehicle can toss the motorcyclist through the air like a ragdoll, leaving them with fractures, dislocations, lacerations, and more.
Some common injuries victims of motorcycle crashes deal with include:
Traumatic brain injuries – In any accident in which a motorcyclist’s head hits something – like the ground, another vehicle, or any other object – a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result. A helmet can be a lifesaver. The World Health Organization found that wearing a helmet reduces your risk of death by almost 40% and reduces the risk of head injury by almost 70%. The lining and padding of a helmet protect your head during a motorcycle crash by absorbing much of the force of an impact, reducing your chances of a TBI. Don’t take chances – even mild TBIs can leave victims with serious symptoms that last for weeks or months, while more severe TBIs may leave victims with physical or cognitive disabilities for the rest of their lives.
Spinal cord injuries – Spinal cord injuries are among the most dangerous and potentially life-altering traumas a person can sustain. An injury to the spinal cord can partially damage the communication of signals passing between the brain and other parts of the body. This results in tingling, pain, numbness, weakness, loss of range of motion, and other serious issues. In worst-case scenarios, an injury that completely cuts off communication between the brain and the rest of the body typically will completely paralyze victims below the injury site.
Serious soft tissue injuries – Motorcycle accidents commonly result in serious soft tissue injuries, such as lacerations, contusions, sprains, and strains. These injuries involve any damage to the soft tissues of the body, including skin, tendons, ligaments, synovial membranes, and muscles. In serious cases, soft tissue injuries require emergency surgeries and can result in long-term complications such as scarring, chronic pain, disfigurement, and loss of range of motion.
In many instances, the true extent of an injury takes time to emerge. This is due to the rush of adrenaline your body releases in a crash.
Don’t trust your gut if you feel “fine” after a motorcycle accident.
It could cost you your life.
For instance, injuries to organs can cause internal bleeding but may not show symptoms until they become life-threatening and it’s too late.
Anyone involved in a motorcycle accident should seek medical attention and undergo a thorough evaluation by a medical professional as soon as possible. In addition to identifying and treating any injuries, this will create records. These medical records serve as evidence describing the extent and nature of your injuries and can help establish damages during settlement negotiations or in court.
Potential Liable Parties in a Motorcycle Accident Case
After a motorcycle accident, you’re dealing with a ton of stress. From property damage and lost income to medical bills and emotional suffering, it’s a world of hurt.
Fortunately, Texas law means you are entitled to compensation for losses caused by the negligence of others in an accident.
You could potentially hold multiple parties liable for the losses incurred in a motorcycle accident. A Texas motorcycle accident attorney will be able to identify them after reviewing the facts of your case in detail.
Many motorcycle accident victims can hold another motorist liable for their injuries. Common examples of driver negligence that can lead to serious motorcycle accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Aggressive driving
- Failure to yield
- Failure to signal lane changes
Drivers aren’t the only ones who can cause serious motorcycle accidents. For example, a government agency responsible for road maintenance in your jurisdiction can ignore dangerous road defects—including potholes, inadequate drainage, overgrown vegetation, missing or faded lane markings, and missing or inadequate signage—that may cause fatal motorcycle accidents.
Other accidents result from problems with the motorcycles themselves or their parts and equipment. When motorcycle or motorcycle equipment manufacturers and retailers sell defective products, you may hold them liable for any injuries the defective products cause you. As a result, anyone hurt in a motorcycle accident that a defective bike or product may have caused should thoroughly review their case with an attorney. This is particularly true in single-vehicle accidents with no clear explanation.
Settling a Claim After a Motorcycle Accident
If the negligence of another person caused your accident, the first step to recovering compensation is filing a claim with the at-fault person’s insurance company. (If the person who injured you was on the clock at the time of the accident, you may also hold their employer liable for your injuries.)
Typically, accident victims will resolve personal injury claims through a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Even if a case does not go to trial, however, you still need an attorney to represent you throughout the settlement process. Motorcycle accident lawyers are skilled negotiators who can increase your settlement offer exponentially.
Insurance companies will try to take advantage of unrepresented victims by using sneaky tactics to get them to accept lowball offers and simply “move on” with their lives. An attorney, however, will negotiate with the insurance company for you and examine all evidence before accepting a settlement offer.
Trust the experts – you don’t know how much you’re owed, but it’s their job too!
In some cases, the other party does not accept liability for an accident at all or is unwilling to offer a reasonable settlement. You and your lawyer should be prepared to take your case to trial in order to recover compensation. When the other party contests liability, you must present evidence that proves the other party’s negligence caused your accident. (In a case where the other party concedes liability, the trial will focus on the extent of your damages.)
Protecting Your Rights After a Serious Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accident victims will have a lot on their mind in the aftermath of a crash, but they can still take steps to protect their rights and maximize chances of recovering compensation.
Even if the blame seems clear as day, you will still need to compile evidence to prove this to the insurance company. In fact, victims must not only take affirmative steps to recover compensation—they should not do anything that could ultimately reduce their settlements either.
In order to maximize your chances of recovering compensation for your losses after a motorcycle accident, you need to:
Gather information about your accident. To protect your legal rights after an accident, collect information about how and why your accident might have occurred. Collect the contact info of all people involved and any witnesses. Write down the vehicle license plate numbers. Make note of the weather conditions at the time of the accident and take photographs of vehicles, injuries, and any roadway hazards that you believe may have contributed to the crash.
Keep detailed notes about how your injuries damage your life. Establishing damages is the most important issue in a motorcycle accident case. Keeping detailed notes about how your injuries impact your life can help your attorney maximize the settlement or award you receive. Try to rate your pain level from 1 to 10 each day and keep a record. It’s important to assess any feelings of depression or anxiety, and note social events or family functions you have to miss or anything else you’re unable to do, like exercising or sleeping soundly.
Be aware of what you post on social media. It’s an invasive tactic, but some insurance companies involved in accident litigation can use what you post on social media as evidence against you. For example, posts of you engaging in exercise or simply having fun with your friends could serve as evidence that you were not as hurt in an accident as you claim to be. One wrong post can mean a lower settlement for you and your family. For this reason, refrain from social media use at all while your personal injury case is pending.
Team up with a Texas motorcycle accident attorney. The single most effective thing you can do to protect your rights after an accident is to retain a lawyer to represent you. There’s a common misconception lawyers are expensive and can make things complicated, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A personal injury lawyer for your motorcycle accident will guide you through the process and will likely work on a contingency basis, meaning you pay them absolutely nothing upfront. Instead, they collect a percentage of your winnings from the case when it is over. If you don’t win, they don’t get paid! That’s why they are incentivized to work as hard as possible for you. Remember, any delay in obtaining legal representation could result in the loss or destruction of evidence important to your case. Call a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible after your crash.
Texas Motorcycle Accident FAQ
Even with the most cautious and skilled riders gripping the handlebars, motorcycles are still a dangerous mode of transportation. Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to injury in the event of a crash, no matter how much safety gear they wear.
Motorcycle accidents in Texas result in more than 400 injuries and fatalities every year, according to statistics provided by the state’s Department of Transportation.
Along with these injuries and deaths, motorcycle accidents can raise many questions, including:
- Who is at fault?
- How can I afford my medical bills?
- Given the bad stereotypes about motorcyclists, is it even possible for me to have a successful outcome in a motorcycle accident lawsuit?
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you may pursue compensation for your injuries. Our experienced Texas motorcycle accident attorneys can help you understand your legal options.
Read on for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we receive from our clients about Texas motorcycle accidents.
What causes motorcycle accidents?
When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, a lot of reasons come into play, including:
- Distracted driving: Distracted drivers are a major contributor to the accident rates of all types of vehicles. Distractions result in the deaths of more than 2,800 people in the U.S. each year. Distractions come in three varieties: manual, which is anything that causes the driver to take their hands from the wheel; visual, which involves anything that causes the driver to take their eyes from the road; and cognitive, which is anything that draws the driver’s mind away from the task of driving safely. While a responsible motorcyclist may have their eyes on the road, you cannot guarantee the same for a nearby drier.
- Drunk driving accidents: “Don’t drink and ride” might not have the same alliterative ring to it, but it’s message is just as important. Drunk driving results in one death every hour in the U.S. and comes with a whopping societal price tag of around $44 billion a year. Alcohol causes deficits in many of the skills needed for safe driving—or safe motorcycle riding—including the ability to track a moving target, the ability to focus, effective steering and braking, and the ability to stay in the appropriate lane.
- Speeding: Speeding is also a major cause of injuries and death. If a driver or rider is going too fast, it is harder to maneuver their vehicles and they have less time to perceive and respond to roadway hazards. They also require more distance to come to a safe stop. Speeding also increases the force with which two objects collide, resulting in more devastating injuries.
- Failure to yield: Many times, a driver involved in an accident with a motorcycle will make the statement “I didn’t even see them.” Motorists are often so busy looking for other cars, they fail to see the slimmer, smaller frame of a motorcycle, even if it has reflectors. This is a major source of intersection accidents involving motorcycles, especially when drivers are making left-hand turns.
- Dooring: Dooring occurs when a motorist parks their car on the side of the roadway and opens their door right into the path of a motorcycle, causing the rider to either collide with the door or get into an accident with another vehicle while swerving to avoid the door. While this may seem like a minor reason for an accident, any type of accident involving a motorcycle is serious and dangerous for all involved.
What makes motorcycle accidents so dangerous?
Motorcycles lack the protective features found in other types of vehicles, like a steel frame, seat belts, or airbags. This means there’s a greater chance of becoming injured in an accident while riding a motorcycle than while traveling in a car. Additionally, motorcycles travel on two wheels instead of four, which reduces the stability of the vehicle when performing emergency driving maneuvers.
Is the motorcyclist always to blame if there is an accident?
Absolutely not. Road safety is a two-way street! As mentioned above, many driver behaviors can result in an accident with a motorcycle. While some rider behaviors may contribute, your motorcycle accident attorney will study the facts of your case carefully to determine all sources of liability.
Other potential sources of liability in motorcycle accidents include:
- The maker of defective auto parts
- The company that the driver of the vehicle works for, if the accident involves a commercial vehicle or a delivery driver
- A governmental agency tasked with repairing and maintaining roadways, if the condition of the road factored into the accident
- Drivers of other cars who may not have been directly involved in the accident, but whose actions contributed to it (For example, if you are stopped at a light and a vehicle two cars behind you rear-ends the car in front of it, causing that car to rear-end your motorcycle, the driver who caused the initial accident could also be liable for your damages.)
How do you prove fault in a motorcycle accident?
Fault in personal injury lawsuits is proved by satisfying these three elements:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. The duty of care depends on the party’s role in the accident. For example, the duty of care that a driver owes to a motorcyclist is to operate their vehicle safely and obey all traffic laws.
- The at-fault party breached their duty of care. This refers to the actions or violations that the at-fault party took just before the accident occurred, such as engaging in distracted driving or opening their door in the motorcyclist’s path.
- That breach caused an accident that led to your injuries, expenses, and life impacts.
Can I recover damages from my accident if I wasn’t wearing a helmet?
Yes. Texas only requires riders to wear helmets if they are younger than 21 or have not completed a motorcycle safety course. If you were in an accident that someone else caused, you deserve compensation, whether or not you were wearing a helmet. A helmet may factor greatly into the severity of your injuries, but it doesn’t change the other party’s liability.
A car turned left in front of my motorcycle. Who is at fault?
Left turns are one of the more common causes of motorcycle accidents. These accidents are generally caused by a driver who either failed to accurately judge the gap in traffic or failed to see the oncoming motorcycle. Because of this, left-turn accidents are almost always the fault of the driver. However, there are some exceptions, such as if the motorcyclist was speeding or ran a red light. To be certain, call our Texas motorcycle accident lawyers for a free case evaluation. If we take your case, we can investigate your crash in-depth.
If I have health insurance and paid sick leave that can cover my damages, can I still file a lawsuit?
Yes. It doesn’t matter if you have health insurance and paid sick leave, or even if you are independently wealthy and can afford to pay for your damages on your own! These issues don’t change the fact that you were injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault. You can still file a lawsuit and hold the at-fault party liable for the damage that they caused.
Will the bad stereotypes of motorcyclists prevent me from recovering damages?
Theoretically, no. However, you’ll want an experienced Texas motorcycle accident attorney to represent you so they can present your case in the best light possible and overcome any stereotypes that might otherwise come into play.
I was lane splitting when the accident happened. Does that make the accident my fault?
Not necessarily, although police may have ticketed you. Lane splitting is illegal in Texas. Lane splitting means riding between two traffic lanes where vehicles are stopped or moving slowly. Liability depends on many other facts of the case, however. For example, was the accident caused by a distracted driver who rear-ended you while you happened to be lane splitting? If so, then the distracted driver bears at least some of the fault.
The at-fault party’s insurance company quickly offered me a settlement. Should I take it?
Not without talking to our Texas motorcycle accident attorneys first. Insurance companies will often offer quick settlements in accidents where their insured was definitely at fault. They want to avoid the likelihood of a higher payout if the case goes to court. The problem with these quick settlement offers is that they seldom take into consideration the full picture of the victim’s damages.
Don’t take that fast cash. You may not even know the extent of your injuries yet, and a quick settlement does not take into account your future medical expenses and suffering.
In the immediate aftermath of a motorcycle accident, it’s difficult to predict everything the victim will have to cope with. Unfortunately, victims who accept a quick settlement usually do not receive enough money to cover all of their damages, and they can never go back and ask for more money.
A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you see the big picture, quantify your expenses, and fight for a fair settlement amount in your personal injury case.
What can I do to prevent a motorcycle accident?
Motorcyclists can do their part to decrease the risks they face from motorcycle accidents. Check out the following suggestions:
- ATGATT: All The Gear, All The Time! While wearing protective riding gear won’t prevent an accident from occurring, it can dramatically reduce the severity of the injuries you suffer in an accident. All that leather isn’t just a fashion statement!
- Wear brightly colored clothing or ride a brightly colored motorcycle. Place additional lights and reflectors on it. Do anything you can to make yourself more visible to other motorists.
- Avoid riding in the center of the lane where there is a buildup of oil and debris that can reduce your traction and cause you to slide if you have to brake suddenly.
- Never ride after you have been drinking alcohol. This one’s a no-brainer.
- Obey speed limits. They’re there for a reason.
- Ride defensively. Realize that other motorists likely aren’t looking out for you and if they bump into you even a little, you are likely to suffer serious injuries.
Other motorists also have a responsibility to avoid causing grave injuries to motorcyclists by:
- Looking twice at intersections, when entering the highway, or when changing lanes. Look specifically for motorcycles, not just other cars and trucks.
- Not drinking and driving. Always have a designated driver plan, whether that’s a friend, taxi, or rideshare app.
- Avoiding distractions. Taking a glance at a text for just a moment can cost a cyclist their life. It’s not worth it.
- Obey speed limits. Be able to safely come to a stop in the event of a sudden hazard.
- Never tailgate a motorcyclist. Respect those you share the road with.
- When passing a motorcycle, signal and merge into the adjacent lane just as you would when passing any other type of vehicle. Never attempt to pass in the same lane where the motorcycle is riding.
Do I need an attorney to file a lawsuit in a motorcycle accident case?
Absolutely! Motorcycle accidents are complex. The insurance company representing the at-fault driver will likely pull out all the daredevil motorcycle stereotypes in an attempt to place the blame on you.
There are also time restrictions, jurisdiction requirements, and a whole lot of other issues lawyers are prepared for. Beyond that, your motorcycle accident attorney can also help you by:
- Conducting a thorough investigation of the facts of your case to determine liability and gather evidence that proves it.
- Establishing the value of your case based on the injuries you incurred, the expenses you face, and the impacts that the injuries have had on your life.
- Providing knowledgeable advice and thoughtful guidance through the process, helping you understand your legal options and make decisions about settling.
- Engaging in skilled negotiations to obtain the highest settlement amount possible in your case.
- Representing you in all pre-trial conferences and hearings, as well as during litigation.
- Assisting you in collecting your settlement or award.
- Continuing to represent you if the defendant in your case files an appeal.
If you were injured in an accident, you don’t have to go through this alone. Let our Texas motorcycle accident attorneys help. Contact us now for a free case evaluation.
Speak With a Texas Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Call our office today to get connected with a Texas motorcycle accident attorney, and take the first steps on the road to recovery.
As a motorcycle enthusiast himself, attorney Stewart Guss understands the risks that motorcyclists face every time they ride, and he is all the more committed to holding careless drivers responsible for their actions.
Stewart understands how to obtain maximum compensation from insurance companies, and he is not afraid to take a motorcycle accident case to trial when necessary.
You should choose Stewart Guss and his team because:
- Client-first service is the cornerstone upon which Stewart Guss builds his firm. You’ll be treated with the respect and compassion you deserve, and every member of our team is committed to your successful recovery.
- With decades of combined experience, Stewart Guss and his team will work hard to recover as much as possible on your motorcycle accident claim. Your goal is our goal, too!
- Motorcycle cases can be complex, but our experienced Texas legal team has an in-depth knowledge of catastrophic injury claims and insurance industry tricks.
- We offer free consultations! There are never any upfront costs for partnering with us.
Stewart Guss and his team of experienced Texas motorcycle accident attorneys are committed to helping injured motorcyclists in the Lone Star State recover compensation.
If you’ve been hurt by a careless motorist, justice is within reach.
To schedule your free consultation with an attorney, call us today at 800-898-4877 or send us an email through our online contact form.
One accident can change your life, but so can one victory with us. Reach out now.
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