Though accidents involving passenger vehicles comprise the greatest number of traffic accidents in Texas, motorcycle wrecks on freeways and streets also occur regularly. Because of a lack of protection between riders and the road, motorcyclists usually suffer serious injuries after accidents.
When they file a claim with an insurance company after being hit by a negligent driver, negative stereotypes can prevent motorcyclists from getting the compensation they deserve. Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law can help. Our Houston motorcycle accident lawyers know the hazards riders like you face every day, and we’re not afraid to stand up for your rights.
You don’t have to fight the insurance company alone after your bike accident. Talk to a member of our legal staff about your situation any time, seven days a week, at (800) 444-5000 or (713) 973-8888; or fill out our online form to set up your free consultation.
The Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Those who “ride” are vulnerable to a unique set of dangers on our roads. Even the most experienced are not immune to these dangers. Accidents can happen for a number of different reasons such as:
- Construction zones, road hazards, or debris
- Distracted drivers
- Vehicle drivers who fail to yield the right of way at intersections
- Drivers who change lanes without yielding.
- The simple fact that a motorcyclist can get lost in a “sea of cars” on a crowded freeway or street.
Injuries can be serious, even more so than in a vehicle that’s in an accident at the same speed as the motorcyclist. Common injuries include facial fractures, scrapes, and road rash; broken bones, disfigurement, serious internal injuries, and burns; limb amputations, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident through no fault of your own, our Houston motorcycle accident attorneys can assist in your quest for full and fair compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other wreck-related expenses.
COMMON INJURIES IN MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS
Injuries to motorcycle accident victims primarily involve fractures and burns. They can affect the face, any limb, internal organ or system. Injuries can be minor to disabling, such as spinal cord injuries, paralysis, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and limb amputations. One of the most common injuries suffered in motorcycle crashes is road rash, when unprotected skin comes in contact with road surfaces as the victim slides after “laying down” his or her bike. It’s very painful and can be permanently disfiguring.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A CRASH?
- Check for injuries to yourself and others. If anyone is injured, call 911.
- Get off the road. If possible, move all vehicles to a safe location. But snap a few pictures beforehand, if circumstances allow and you aren’t placing yourself or anyone else in danger.
- Exchange information with other involved drivers, including names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance information, and TDL numbers, license plate numbers, vehicle makes and models.
- Call the cops if anyone is injured or there is substantial property damage. Their accident report is vital in your efforts to recover damages if you were the one hit on your motorcycle.
- Talk to witnesses if you can, and record their comments. Get as much information as you can at the crash scene.
- Never admit fault! And be careful what you say. Statements at the accident scene can have negative consequences when you’re trying to get compensation from the negligent driver’s insurer.
WHAT IF THE INSURANCE COMPANY SAYS I CAUSED THE WRECK?
This happens all too often, especially to accident victims who ride motorcycles. Insurers like to press their advantage as often as they can. And “devil may care” bikers – even if you’re not one of them – make easy targets in denying damages because there’s a perception that bikers are careless and reckless.
But the reality is different. Nearly two-thirds of motorcycle crashes are caused by motorists, not motorcycle riders. And a seasoned motorcycle accident lawyer has ways of pressing your advantage in negotiations with the insurance company, or at trial if they fail to see reason.
SHOULD I ACCEPT THE INSURANCE COMPANY’S OFFER?
Do not accept ANY insurance company’s offer without talking to a lawyer!
Once you’ve taken their money, you’ve blown your only shot at compensation. You can’t ask for more once you realize that what you got cannot begin to cover all your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other monies which are rightly owed but that you left on the table by accepting that first “lowball” settlement offer.
A seasoned motorcycle attorney can quickly and accurately determine the fairness of an offer and tell you whether it will likely cover all your accident-related bills and other expenses. An experienced lawyer can aggressively negotiate with, AND shield you from, insurance companies and their lawyers who try to pressure you into accepting less money than they are actually prepared to pay you, but don’t want to.
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The Numbers Confirm Dangers that Bike Riders Face
- In 2015, 4,976 people died in motorcycle crashes in the U.S., up 8.3% from 4,594 in 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- 496 Texas motorcyclists (operators and passengers) were killed in 2016, and over 2,000 operators and passengers suffered serious injuries.
- In the 14 years from 1997 to 2011, motorcycle accident fatalities more than doubled, while total traffic accident fatalities dropped by 23%, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also says that motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to die in a crash than passenger car drivers.
- In 2015 – also according to the NHTSA – 40% of motorcyclists killed in traffic crashes were not wearing a helmet.
Not every crash can be prevented, but you can help reduce your chances of serious injury by wearing a helmet every time you ride – it may even save your life. The fourth statistic above bears out that fact.
Motorcycle Accidents in Texas
The Biases That a Texas Motorcycle Accident Victim Must Deal With
Many times a motorcycle rider who is injured in an accident is already at a huge disadvantage, because the insurance companies turn a negative public bias toward motorcyclists to their advantage. This prejudice is quickly leveraged the moment an injured biker files an insurance claim.
Most of it is not based in reality. According to a recent study by the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research, 60% of collisions between cars and motorcycles are caused by the driver of the car. That study reinforces the groundbreaking 1981 Hurt Report, which found that two-thirds of vehicle/motorcycle collisions were caused by the vehicle’s driver.
But that doesn’t stop insurance adjusters from discriminating against motorcyclists to automatically deny their claims. And since the burden is on you – the injured motorcyclist – to prove the vehicle driver’s negligence, it’s also on you to disprove an insurance company’s claim that you’re not a “devil-may-care biker,” and to persuade them that you deserve compensation for all damages caused by the negligent driver.
Make sure your legal rights to collect all of your legal damages are being protected after a motorcycle accident. At Terry Bryant, we’ll handle the investigation and paperwork for your claim so you can focus on getting better. Call us at (800) 444-5000 or fill out our contact form to arrange a free review of your case. If you become a client, we handle nearly everything — and you owe us nothing unless we are successful at securing compensation for your damages.
TEXAS HELMET LAWS
Texas current helmet law states that motorcycle operators age 21 and over don’t need to wear a helmet if they’ve completed a motorcycle safety course or can show proof of a minimum $10,000 insurance coverage.
But it is not unusual for a negligent defendant’s insurance company to deny benefits to injured bikers who don’t wear a helmet, claiming that if they didn’t take protective cautions, why should the insurance company pay damages to this reckless rider? Sometimes the ploy works. So even if you’re exempt from wearing a helmet, maybe you should wear one anyway, because they DO work, and it’s one less thing to worry about during the negotiation process.
One of my kids was involved in a traffic accident, and the attorneys at Terry Bryant took great care of us. Their knowledge and expertise resulted in a great outcome. Thank you! Robin G. Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law