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Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

People opt to ride motorbikes for a wide range of reasons, including affordability, ease of storage, fuel-efficiency and, most of all, because they like the feeling of freedom that comes from riding without any barriers between them and the open air.

However, this mode of transportation also comes with inherent dangers, such as the risk of life and limb.

Each Houston motorcycle accident lawyer in our office knows this all too well, as we are often called upon to support injury victims and the surviving family members of deceased motorcyclists in navigating the legal system and holding responsible parties financially liable for the harm they caused.

Our team wants to help you do the same. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss the unique aspects of what happened to you. That conversation carries no obligation to have us represent you; we just want to inform you of your legal rights and help ensure that you get the justice you deserve.

Texas Motorcycle Collision Statistics

Data from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) shows motorcycle accidents in our state are becoming more deadly. In 2022 alone, 562 motorcyclists lost their lives in wrecks, which marks an 8% increase over the previous year.

Crashes that didn’t result in deaths often resulted in victims being injured. TxDOT statistics show 2,422 motorcyclists or their passengers suffered what the state agency refers to as suspected serious injuries that same year.

At least 3,148 accident victims suffered what’s characterized as minor injuries, as well.

Where Motorbike Crashes Most Commonly Occur

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that at least 70% of all collisions between automobiles and motorcycles occur at intersections. Some of the most common types of crashes that occur here include left-turn and rear-end crashes.

Other areas where riders are involved in wrecks include:

  • On interstates: These can occur on and off ramps, around construction zones, on shoulders, and in active traffic lanes.
  • On highly congested surface streets: Downtown areas and highways are particularly busy during rush hour, lunchtime, and when special events are happening. As motorists’ stress mounts or they become distracted or bored, they tend to make mistakes like failing to notice motorcyclists.
  • On narrow roads: Certain downtown districts and older communities tend to have narrower streets. These roadways often have head-in or parallel parking spaces on either side. These are checkered by breaks in curbs for parking lot exits. These all leave motorbike riders vulnerable to being struck by motorists pulling out of their spot or a parking lot. Dooring accidents can affect motorcyclists just as much as bike riders.
  • In suburban and rural areas: Roads outside of Houston city limits or in agricultural areas tend not to see as many motorbikes. In addition, in rural areas, roads are more likely to be winding and lack shoulders, and speed limits may be higher and traffic signals fewer in some of these areas. Motorists may expect to see fewer motorcyclists here than in other areas, meaning they have less experience in sharing the road with them, putting them at risk of becoming involved in a crash.

The fact is, that while statistics show motorcycle wrecks at intersections are most common, they can happen pretty much anywhere.

Why Motorcycle Crashes Occur

There’s no single factor that results in motorcyclists becoming involved in accidents, but instead multiple reasons. Some of the most common include:

  • Reckless driving: This catch-all category includes speeding, failing to yield right of way, illegal turns, tailgating, delayed braking, improper lane changes, drunk, drowsy, or distracted driving, road rage, and drag racing.
  • Motorcyclist inexperience or being out-of-experience: Newer motorbike riders may be ill-prepared to operate motorcycles or specific types of ones. In addition, veterans who have not ridden in a long time may have gotten out of practice in operating their bikes safely, making them vulnerable to becoming involved in a crash.
  • Driver unawareness around sharing the road with motorcyclists: Driving tests tend to focus on making sure drivers know traffic-related laws and how to best share the road with other cars and not other vehicles, like motorbikes. This means that there are many drivers on the road that are unclear as to their responsibilities to keep motorcyclists safe.

Catastrophic Injuries That Motorcyclists Suffer in Wrecks

Texas has a helmet law in place, requiring motorcyclists to wear these protectionary devices if they’re under the age of 21, provided they’ve completed a TxDOT-approved motorcycle operator training class and maintain medical insurance that will cover any injuries they may sustain.

However, the 2022 TxDOT statistics cited earlier show that in that year, at least 3,225 motorcycle operators or their passengers, who were injured or died in motorcycle collisions, weren’t wearing helmets at the time.

Research shows that riders significantly reduce their risk of head and neck injuries, and traumatic brain injuries, all of which can be fatal when they don’t wear helmets.

Head, neck, and traumatic brain injuries aside, motorcyclists run the risk of suffering any of the following potentially serious injuries in a crash:

  • Road rash and burns, both of which can cause nerve damage and disfigurement
  • Dislocated joints and broken bones, including collar bones, arms, hips, legs, and ankles
  • Spinal cord injuries, resulting in paralysis
  • Blunt-force trauma injuries that can cause damage to the internal organs

Depending on the extent of these injuries, it’s possible that victims who survive these wrecks may require life-saving surgery and rely on around-the-clock medical care for the rest of their lives, both of which can be very costly.

Understanding How Liability Works When Collisions Occur in Texas

Texas is an at-fault insurance state, meaning that you can typically file a claim with the insurer of the party who caused your injuries, or a family member’s death, to recover compensation for your losses.

However, there’s also a modified comparative negligence standard in place here. Meaning that you, as a motorcyclist, would be unable to secure any compensation for your accident-related damages if you were determined to be more than 50% responsible for causing it.

Compensation That Injured Motorcyclists Can Recover

Texas law allows those who are hurt due to the negligence of others to file claims with the responsible party’s insurance company demanding compensation for their damages.

These damages may include:

  • Current and future medical bills
  • Lost wages

Additionally, non-economic damages, including losses like the following, may be recoverable by filing a claim or lawsuit per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Sec. 41.001:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional pain or anguish
  • Loss of consortium (life partner)
  • Disfigurement
  • Physical impairment
  • Loss of companionship and society
  • Inconvenience
  • Loss in quality of life
  • Injury to reputation

There’s no cap on economic or non-economic damages.

Motorcycle accident victims may additionally request that a jury award punitive damages if they can clearly and convincingly demonstrate that the harm that they suffered stemmed from:

  • Gross negligence
  • Malice
  • Fraud

Additional damages may be recoverable in fatal motorcycle collision cases through the filing of a wrongful death and Texas Survival Statute claim, including funeral and burial costs and loss of counsel and benefits.

Proving Negligence in Collision Cases in Texas

The same elements of negligence that apply in other motor vehicle accident cases also apply to motorcycle ones. Provided you can establish these elements, it’s likely that your attorney will deem you to have a valid claim for compensation. Those elements are:

  • The other person owed you a duty of care
  • That prospective defendant acted in a way that breached the duty of care you were owed
  • You suffered harm because they violated that duty of care obligation
  • You have accumulated damages (losses) because you were hurt

In civil cases like these, it’s necessary for the victims to prove their case. While on the surface, it may appear that they have a valid claim, they may not. And, even in cases in which they do, different factors, like any admissions they may have made at the crash scene or to insurance adjusters, may affect liability determinations and any monetary awards they may qualify for.

This is why those hurt while riding their motorcycle will typically have a lawyer analyze their claim and advise them on how to handle it from there.

At Barrera Law Group LLC, we want to help you get the justice you deserve by filing a civil lawsuit against those responsible for hurting you or depriving you of a close family member.

Contact our law firm today, and we’ll connect you with one of our Houston motorcycle accident lawyers to discuss the rights that Texas law affords you, or your loved one, as well as the possible compensation for your losses.

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Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case, and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.