What To Do After A Motorcycle Accident In Houston
Houston motorcycle accident lawyers explain what steps to take
Motorcycling in Houston can be a great way to get around the city. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents often occur, leaving bikers with serious, painful injuries that can turn their lives upside down.
So why do motorcycle accidents happen? How common are they in Houston? And what should someone do if they’re injured in a motorcycle crash in Houston? What legal options are available to them?
Finding accurate information after another driver crashes into your motorcycle can be difficult. That’s why our experienced Houston motorcycle accident attorneys at Smith & Hassler, Attorneys at Law created this page. We’re here to help you when you need help the most.
How common are motorcycle accidents in Houston?
The number of motorcycle accidents continues to increase nearly every year, especially in Texas. In 2021, a total of 5,932 motorcyclists died nationwide in motorcycle crashes, the most in a single year since 1975, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Motorcycle crashes account for 14 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities – even though motorcycles make up just 3 percent of vehicles and account for less than 1 percent of vehicle miles travelled.
In Texas, this problem is particularly severe. Texas set a record for the number of motorcycle fatalities in 2022, when the death toll reached 562 motorcycle deaths in Texas and 2,422 serious injuries, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Between 2017 and 2021, there were 61 motorcycle fatalities on average each year in Harris County, according to NHTSA motorcycle accident data.
Why do Houston motorcycle accidents happen?
Motorcycle accidents happen for many reasons in Houston. But in general, many collisions occur because of mistakes made by other drivers. Examples include:
- Aggressive drivers who don’t share the road with motorcyclists, especially on highways or when changing lanes.
- Distracted drivers, including texting drivers, who don’t pay attention, especially at intersections or when turning left, which is one of the most common causes of motorcycle collisions. In fact, 1 in 3 motorcycle accidents occur at intersections, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
- Speeding drivers who follow motorcyclists too closely and don’t have time to slow down and avoid hitting a motorcycle, especially when it comes to rear-end collisions.
- Drunk drivers who lose control of their vehicle and crash into a motorcyclist. This is especially a problem in Texas, which has more drunk driving accidents than nearly every state nationwide.
What are common motorcycle accident injuries?
Motorcyclists sustain a wide range of injuries in collisions caused by other drivers in Houston, including:
- Head injuries, including skull fractures, concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
- Neck injuries, including neck fractures and sprained neck muscles.
- Back injuries, including spinal cord injuries.
- Road rash, which is caused by the motorcyclist’s skin being scraped against the road after being thrown from the bike.
- Broken bones, including bone fractures in the hands, arms, legs and feet.
- Internal injuries, including organ damage or internal injuries.
What should I do if I’m injured in a motorcycle accident in Houston?
If you are hit by another driver while operating a motorcycle in Houston, take action right away to protect your health and your legal rights:
- Call the police and tell them you have been involved in a motorcycle crash with another driver.
- Ask the police dispatcher to send someone to your accident. Depending on where your collision occurred, a police officer from Houston Police Department or a state trooper from the Texas Highway Patrol will likely respond to your collision.
- Ask the dispatcher to send an ambulance if you or anyone else appears injured. Never take chances with your health. Always have an EMT or another medical professional examine you right away.
- If someone saw your collision, get their name and phone number before they leave. If you are not healthy enough to do this yourself, ask someone or the investigating police officer to do this for you. Eyewitness testimony can be an important piece of evidence in support of your injury claim or lawsuit.
- If you are healthy enough and it’s safe to do so, take pictures of your motorcycle accident. The more photos you have, the stronger your case.
- Share information with the other driver. This includes your names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers and insurance information.
- Once you have shared information with the other driver, don’t discuss your motorcycle crash with them or anyone else at the scene of your collision. Anything you say could later be used to deny your claim.
A few hours or days after your motorcycle crash, take these additional steps:
- Get medical attention. This is very important since many motorcycle accident injuries take days to develop.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions. If they tell you to stay home and rest, do what they say. If you don’t, you might not fully recover and your injury claim might be denied.
- If the at-fault driver’s insurance company contacts you, don’t answer their questions. Again, you don’t have to talk to them and anything you say can be used to deny your injury claim.
- Call a Houston motorcycle accident lawyer right away. They can answer your questions, explain your options and get right to work on your case.
Who’s at fault in a motorcycle accident?
In most cases, the driver who hit you is at fault for causing your motorcycle accident. But don’t expect them to admit wrongdoing. In many cases, many drivers blame motorcyclists for causing collisions. And worst of all, their insurance companies often take their side.
This is especially common in motorcycle accidents since there’s a myth that motorcyclists are risk-takers who put everyone in danger on the road. Our Houston attorneys know the truth. We know that most motorcyclists follow the rules of the road. It’s the other driver that’s to blame and who should be held responsible for their actions.
Who’s responsible for paying for my motorcycle accident?
Texas has an at-fault car insurance system. This is important because under this system, the at-fault party is responsible for paying for all injury-related expenses. So if you were hurt in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver, you should not have to pay for your injury-related expenses.
So who’s ultimately responsible for paying for your accident-related expenses? Often, it’s not the driver who caused your collision. It’s the at-fault driver’s insurance company that pays you. However, in some cases, there may be additional at-fault parties you can seek compensation from, including:
- The bar, liquor store or restaurant that sold the driver alcohol if they were already intoxicated and then caused your collision. These legal cases are known as “dram shop” claims.
- Trucking company the truck driver works for if your motorcycle was hit by a commercial truck driver.
Should I accept a settlement offer for my motorcycle crash?
Many times, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will make a settlement offer soon after a collision. You might be tempted to accept such an offer. However, it’s important to understand that if you do accept a settlement offer, that’s it. Your motorcycle injury claim is settled. So if you do need more money in the future for other expenses related to your motorcycle accident, you will likely have to pay for them yourself. That’s why it’s important to carefully consider any settlement offer you receive after your motorcycle crash.
How much money is my motorcycle accident worth?
Every motorcycle accident is different. Some are worth a few thousand dollars. Others are worth significantly more. What’s important is you should receive financial compensation for all your motorcycle accident expenses, even if they come up years after your collision. Such expenses can include:
- Emergency medical care.
- Surgical procedures.
- Follow-up medical treatments.
- Physical therapy.
- Pain medications for chronic pain.
- Money to repair your motorcycle or buy you a new one.
- Replacement income if you need time off from work due to your motorcycle accident injuries.
- Lost future income if you cannot return to work due to a permanent disability sustained in your motorcycle crash.
- Pain and suffering in certain circumstances.
Can I file a motorcycle accident lawsuit in Texas?
Yes. If you decide to not accept a settlement offer (perhaps it’s too low) or if your injury claim is denied (which often happens with motorcycle accidents), you have the right to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit against the at-fault party.
In most cases, you will file your lawsuit in the Texas county where your motorcycle crash took place. So if your collision occurred in Houston, you would typically file your lawsuit in Harris County. However, only an attorney can tell you which jurisdiction makes the most sense to file your lawsuit.
You also must file your lawsuit on time. The deadline to file a lawsuit in Texas is two (2) years from the date of your motorcycle accident. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. If you miss it, you will likely forfeit your right to take legal action against the at-fault party.
But long before then, you should talk to an attorney to learn more about your legal options.
Why should I hire a Houston motorcycle accident lawyer?
Motorcycle accidents are notorious for turning into complicated legal cases. The other driver will almost surely blame you for causing the collision. Their insurance company will take their side. That’s because insurance companies only care about one thing – making money. So if it means paying you less, they will do everything they can to reduce or deny your injury claim or lawsuit.
Such scare tactics don’t intimidate us. Our Houston motorcycle accident attorneys at Smith & Hassler, Attorneys at Law know the games insurance companies often play and how to outsmart them. That’s why we have such a strong track record of success. When you have our legal team on your side, you can demand the money you rightfully deserve, whether it’s at the negotiating table or in the courtroom.
Put your trust in a Houston law firm that puts your best interests first. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation with a Houston motorcycle accident attorney who knows how to win. Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. That means you only have to pay us if we secure a financial settlement or verdict for your motorcycle accident.
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