With the high ratio of cars to motorcycles on the roads today, crashes between the two are almost inevitable. While there are many accident causes, being hit from behind by a car while you’re on a motorcycle can take you by surprise and cause serious injuries and property damage. Knowing what to do next can make all the difference in how you heal and gaining the compensation you deserve.
This type of rear-end collision occurs when a motorcycle slows or comes to a stop and the car’s driver fails to react in a way to avoid the accident. Such crashes are often the result of speeding, tailgating, distractions such as texting, or aggressive driving on the part of the car’s driver. While many believe that fault is simple to prove in these types of crashes, the stigma that comes with riding a motorcycle can come into play and be detrimental to your case.
If you or a cherished loved one is on a motorcycle and hit from behind by a car, here are the things you need to know.
What Should I Do After Being Hit from Behind?
The steps you take following a hit from behind depends upon the impact itself and the resulting injuries. Here is what you should do after being hit.
- Seek medical attention: Your first concern following being hit from behind is to seek medical attention. Depending on the many circumstances surrounding the accident, you may only experience cuts and bruises or you may suffer severe injuries. Regardless of how you feel after the accident, be sure to request a medical examination. Follow all medical recommendations to ensure that you heal and to create documentation of your injuries and treatments.
- Call for Emergency Assistance: If you’re able, call the police. Most likely, witnesses will call for you, but if not, do so yourself. You’ll need their filed report for your records.
- Compile Information on the Scene: If your injuries are minor, compile information at the scene of the accident, including driver contact information for all vehicles involved. Get car insurance company name and policy number, driver’s license number, and license plate number. Also obtain witness contact information.
- Take Several Photos of the Accident Scene: If you have access to a camera, or camera phone, snap photos of the scene, vehicle positions, damages to your motorcycle and other vehicles, the surroundings, and visible injuries.
If your injury prevents you from collecting information at the scene immediately following the accident, you can follow up on it when you are able or with the help of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer.
Will Insurance Cover All My Injuries?
While filing an insurance claim for your injuries and property damage may feel like a relief, don’t expect it to all go your way. The stigma surrounding motorcyclists remains, not just with other drivers on the roadways but also with insurance companies.
What you can expect in most cases is for the insurance company to offer you a settlement, which is usually much lower than the full amount available. Don’t be in a rush to accept what they offer if you believe you deserve more.
In addition, it’s important to note that Texas follows what is known as modified comparative negligence when it comes to assigning responsibility in an accident. Essentially this means that even if you are found to be partially responsible for the accident, you still receive compensation but at a reduced percentage – unless you are found to be more than 50% at fault when the incident involves two parties. This reduced amount will be based on the percentage you are found to be at fault in the accident.
While you may not think that you contributed in any way to the accident, the other party may try to prove you acted in a reckless manner and are partially responsible. Being prepared for this will be essential to your claim and the amount of compensation you ultimately receive.
What Are Common Injuries?
Rear-end collisions may be common, but when they happen between a car and a motorcycle, less protection on your part can lead to serious injuries. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, more than 1,800 motorcyclists suffered serious injuries and over 400 were killed in 2019 alone.
The most severe injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident include:
- head trauma and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- spinal cord injuries
- internal injuries
- loss of limbs
- broken bones
- severe burns.
What Damages Are Available When Hit from Behind by a Car?
Following a motorcycle accident where you are hit from behind by a car, you may obtain compensation for the following:
- medical expenses, both past and future
- physical pain and suffering
- mental anguish
- lost wages and benefits
- diminished future earning capacity
- property damages.
You may also be entitled to other economic or non-economic damages, depending on your circumstances and diagnoses.
Why Hire a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
While fault in a rear-end collision may seem obvious, avoid assuming that you are in the clear and will get all that you deserve. The insurance companies will be looking for reasons to deny paying you a higher settlement. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can fight for your rights and negotiate and obtain the highest amount of compensation for your particular claim.
Many motorists are quick to point a finger at motorcyclists for causing an accident, so you need to stay diligent in your claim. Your attorney will:
- investigate and compile documentation to build your case
- interview witnesses
- work with experts to further your claim, including an accident reconstructionist
- calculate the amount of compensation you deserve
- file all documentation and meet deadlines
- negotiate with insurance companies.
A Texas attorney can also file a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit if a loved one dies due to a hit from behind while on a motorcycle. In Texas, you typically have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit, so seeking legal help as soon as possible is imperative. (*Always speak directly to an attorney for the exact deadlines that apply to your specific claim(s).)
Remaining passive when it comes to your claim can yield less than you deserve. Instead, focus on your healing while counting on your legal team to handle the rest.
Seek Help from an Experienced Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
When it comes to being involved in a motorcycle crash, you need an attorney on your side that understands the unique issues surrounding this type of accident. Contact the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant today at (713) 973-8888 for a free evaluation of your case.