Why Are Motorcycle Accident Injuries More Severe Than Car Accident Injuries?
Motorcycle riders tend to suffer more severe injuries in motor vehicle accidents than car occupants for a few reasons. Motorcycles lack most of the safety features that protect car occupants in crashes, such as airbags and seatbelts. They also don’t have other collision-avoidance technologies like automatic emergency braking.
A motorcycle rider is not protected by the steel frame of an automobile either. Besides a helmet and riding leathers, they have little to protect them from injuries in an accident. Motorcycle riders risk getting thrown off their motorcycles in an accident, causing them to hit the ground violently.
Another reason motorcyclists tend to suffer more serious injuries in accidents is that these collisions often occur at higher speeds than most car accidents. Many motorcycle crashes happen because other motorists fail to notice a motorcyclist. This means drivers often collide with motorcyclists at high speeds without braking or swerving to avoid the collision. Drivers who make sudden maneuvers like changing lanes or braking may surprise a motorcyclist, leaving them no opportunity to avoid a crash.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Houston?
While motorcycle accidents occur for various reasons, many collisions are caused by negligent, reckless, or careless drivers. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle crashes in Houston include:
- Speeding or driving too fast for road, weather, or visibility conditions
- Tailgating or following too closely
- Passing a motorcycle without moving to the next lane
- Turning or changing lanes without signaling
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy or fatigued driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Reckless driving, such as excessive speeding or swerving through traffic
- Aggressive driving and road rage
- Driver inexperience
- Driving the wrong way down a one-way street
- Backing out of a driveway or parking space without checking mirrors
- Opening the door of a street-parked car in front of an oncoming motorcyclist
Other factors that contribute to motorcycle accidents in Houston include poor road conditions, bad weather, and poor visibility. Vehicle mechanical failures caused by defective parts or inadequate maintenance can also result in motorcycle collisions.
What Should I Do If I Was Involved in a Motorcycle Accident in Houston?
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident in Houston, you can take steps to protect your right to pursue compensation for your injuries and other losses. After you have received medical treatment, you should do the following:
- Follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations and recovery instructions, and keep all follow-up appointments.
- Remember to get copies of the medical records for your injury treatment and rehabilitation.
- Request a copy of the police accident report if law enforcement responded to the accident scene.
- Report the accident to your insurance company and confirm the coverage available under your policy.
- Keep copies of any bills, invoices, or receipts for expenses you incur due to the accident, such as motorcycle repairs or incidental costs.
- Gather your pay stubs or income statements if you miss time from work or earn less than usual due to your injuries.
You should also contact a Houston motorcycle accident attorney from Fleming Law as soon as possible after the crash. We can discuss your legal options for financial relief and the next steps to pursue compensation for your injuries.
Who Could Be Liable for My Houston Motorcycle Crash?
Typically, a driver who hits a motorcyclist will bear liability for the injuries and other damage resulting from the crash. But depending on the circumstances surrounding a motorcycle accident, other parties may also be liable. For example, the following parties could be responsible:
- The at-fault driver’s employer may be liable if the crash occurred while the driver was performing their job duties.
- A government entity could be responsible if road hazards or broken traffic signals caused the accident.
- The owner of the car the at-fault party was driving could be at fault if the owner negligently entrusted the vehicle to the driver.
- A vehicle or auto part manufacturer may bear liability for a motorcycle accident if a manufacturing defect or faulty part caused the collision.
- Other road users, such as pedestrians or bicyclists, can be held responsible if their actions resulted in the motorcycle crash.
Determining liability for a Houston motorcycle crash will likely require a thorough investigation into the collision and what caused it. A lawyer can handle this process for you and secure the evidence you need to build a strong claim.
What If I Was Partially At Fault for the Motorcycle Accident?
When evaluating liability in auto accidents, Texas courts apply the principle of comparative negligence (also known as “proportionate responsibility”). This means that injured victims who contributed to the cause of the accident could still be entitled to significant compensation, so long as they did not contribute more than 50 percent to the cause of the accident. However, their compensation will be reduced proportionately to their degree of fault.
For instance, suppose you are going 10 miles over the speed limit as you prepare to exit I-45 on your motorcycle. As you approach the exit ramp, a car cuts you off. You crash and suffer injuries worth $1,000,000.
In this scenario, if a jury finds that your speeding contributed 10 percent to the cause of the accident, your compensation will be reduced proportionately to $900,000. On the other hand, if it finds that you contributed more than 50 percent, you will be barred from receiving any compensation. One of our Houston motorcycle accident attorneys can help protect your right to the full compensation you’re owed.
Do Houston Motorcycle Laws Require Helmets?
Texas law requires motorcycle riders to wear helmets that meet the standards set by the Texas Department of Transportation. However, the motorcycle helmet law exempts riders 21 and older who have completed a motorcycle operator training and safety course. Motorcyclists with health insurance covering injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident are also exempt.
Can Not Wearing a Helmet Hurt My Motorcycle Accident Case?
In Texas, a motorcyclist not wearing a helmet in a crash is not automatically disqualified from pursuing compensation for their injuries – even if they were not exempt from riding without a helmet. However, failing to wear a motorcycle helmet could affect the compensation a motorcyclist can recover in a motorcycle accident case. For instance, an insurance company might argue that wearing a helmet would have prevented or reduced the severity of the head, facial, or brain injuries a rider suffered.
If you were in a motorcycle accident and were not wearing a helmet, you need dedicated legal representation to help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries and losses. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney will be familiar with the tactics that insurance companies use to deny or minimize liability and can aggressively advocate for you.
Is Lane-Splitting Legal in Houston?
Lane-splitting refers to riding a motorcycle on top of road lines or in between lanes of traffic. Advocates of lane splitting argue that the practice helps reduce traffic jams by allowing motorcycles to bypass slow or stopped traffic. This reduces the risk of a motorcyclist getting rear-ended in stop-and-go traffic.
Opponents of lane splitting argue that the practice puts motorcyclists at greater risk of accidents. Drivers may not expect motorcycles to travel between rows of vehicles in stopped or slow traffic.
Some states have laws clearly forbidding lane splitting, while others do not have a law directly addressing the practice. However, only California has legalized lane splitting. Texas law prohibits lane splitting, requiring motorists to drive within a single lane.
What Are the Motorcycle Insurance Requirements in Texas?
Texas treats motorcycles like cars for registration, titling, and insurance purposes. As a result, motorcycle operators must have an insurance policy that provides the minimum coverage required by state law. This includes liability insurance to cover their financial responsibility for an accident. Operators must have policy limits of at least:
- $30,000 per person of bodily injury liability coverage
- $60,000 per accident of bodily injury liability coverage
- $25,000 per accident of property damage liability coverage
Riders can purchase higher liability coverage limits and other optional coverages such as collision, comprehensive, uninsured motorist, and underinsured motorist coverage.
Are There Steps I Can Take to Prevent a Motorcycle Accident?
While motorcycle riders cannot control the actions of negligent drivers, they can take steps to decrease the likelihood of being involved in a collision. Essential safety tips for motorcyclists to follow include:
- Increase your visibility to other motorists by wearing bright-colored clothing and adding reflective tape to your clothing, helmet, and motorcycle. You should also use your headlight both night and day, regardless of lighting or visibility conditions.
- Practice defensive riding, which includes staying alert for road hazards like potholes or debris. Watch for drivers who may suddenly turn, shift lanes, or brake. Always assume that other motorists cannot see you.
- Exercise extra caution when approaching intersections. Prepare to stop or swerve if a driver suddenly turns in front of you or runs the red light or stop sign.
- Avoid riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Try not to ride at night or in bad weather conditions whenever possible.
- New and inexperienced riders should consider taking a motorcycle safety course. More experienced riders can brush up on their skills with refresher courses.
- After taking a season or two off from riding, consider reacquainting yourself with your motorcycle. Practice in an empty parking lot to relearn how your motorcycle turns, brakes, and accelerates.
- Perform all recommended maintenance on your motorcycle and regularly check the brakes, tires, headlights, and horn.
- Avoid riding a motorcycle with a performance that exceeds your skill level and experience. Always stick with a motorcycle you can safely control.
Even after following all these safety rules, you may still be harmed in a traumatic motorcycle accident because of someone else’s actions. If that happens, the team at Fleming Law is here to help you demand the compensation you need through a Texas motorcycle accident claim.
How Long Can It Take for My Case to Settle?
The duration of a motorcycle accident claim can vary depending on multiple factors. Some cases settle in a few months, while others take years. Unfortunately, no one can predict how long it may take to resolve your Houston motorcycle accident case. However, some of the factors that may affect the timeline of your claim include:
- The type and severity of injuries you sustained in the crash
- Whether your injuries result in prolonged or permanent disabilities
- The duration of your medical treatment and rehabilitation
- Whether you miss work while recovering from your injuries or develop a permanent disability that prevents you from returning to work
- The number of potentially liable parties in the case
- The number of people who suffered injuries in the accident
- Whether you share any responsibility for the accident or your injuries
- The availability of insurance coverage and the size of applicable policy limits
- The complexity of the evidence in the case, including whether you need accident reconstruction or engineering expert testimony
- The speed of the insurance company’s investigation and how quickly they respond to your communications
- Whether you need to file a lawsuit to push the at-fault driver or insurance company toward a settlement
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help After a Motorcycle Wreck?
Personal injury cases are complex, and the job of your attorney is to fight for your legal rights and avoid all pitfalls on the road toward compensation. Importantly, it is your attorney’s legal and professional duty to put your best interests first. At Fleming Law, we take that responsibility very seriously.
Our motorcycle accident law firm can help after a crash by:
- Make sure you know your full legal rights and options
- Identifying all possible sources of compensation for your injuries
- Conducting an independent investigation of the motorcycle accident
- Obtaining medical records, crash reports, and other key evidence to substantiate your claim
- Interviewing witnesses and experts for valuable testimony
- Managing case documents, filings, and deadlines
- Communicating with insurers and other relevant parties on your behalf
- Negotiating aggressively to maximize the value of your settlement
- Taking your case to court and representing you at trial if a fair settlement cannot be reached
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Injured in a motorcycle accident in Houston or anywhere in Texas? We can help.
While a car accident can be devastating and cause life-threatening or long-term injuries, the chances of being seriously injured or killed in a motorcycle accident are even greater. In just one recent year, there were about 7,500 motorcycle accidents in Texas. Of those, almost 2,000 motorcyclists were seriously injured, and nearly 500 were killed. If you’ve been in a motorcycle crash, a motorcycle injury lawyer in Houston can help.
Why the Right Motorcycle Crash Lawyer Matters
Injuries from a motorcycle accident can range from minor injuries like broken bones to catastrophic or disabling injuries, including loss of limbs to loss of life. Our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers are often contacted to help victims get the assistance they need to pay for medical bills, physical therapy, or loss of life or limb or to help them recuperate monies lost due to the loss of work. It is important that you consult with a qualified Houston motorcycle accident lawyer.
Resources For Motorcycle Accident Victims in Houston and Texas
- Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT): TxDOT offers information on motorcycle safety, including tips for riding safely and information on obtaining a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license. They also provide statistics and reports on motorcycle accidents in Texas. Website: TxDOT Motorcycle Safety
- Texas Motorcycle Safety Program (TMSP): TMSP provides motorcycle safety courses for riders of all skill levels. Taking one of these courses can help you become a safer and more confident rider. Website: TMSP
- Houston Motorcycle Safety Course Providers: There are several motorcycle safety course providers in Houston that offer training to riders. Some of the providers include Awesome Cycles and RIDEsmart. Websites: Awesome Cycles and RIDEsmart
- Texas Department of Insurance (TDI): TDI provides information on insurance requirements and your rights as a policyholder in Texas. Understanding your insurance coverage is essential after a motorcycle accident. Website: TDI Motorcycle Insurance
- Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS): If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident, DSHS can provide information on healthcare facilities and resources available for injury treatment and rehabilitation. Website: DSHS Motorcycle Injury Prevention
- Houston Area Support Groups: There are local support groups and organizations that offer assistance to accident victims and their families. These groups can provide emotional support and practical guidance. Contact local hospitals or search online for motorcycle accident support groups in Houston.
- Texas Motorcycle Rights Associations: These organizations can provide information on motorcycle rights, safety, and advocacy for bikers. While they may not provide direct support to accident victims, they can be a valuable resource for understanding your rights as a motorcyclist. Example: Texas Motorcycle Rights Association (TMRA)
Please keep in mind that while these resources can provide valuable information and support if you have sustained significant injuries or damages in a motorcycle accident, it is advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney to explore your legal options and ensure your rights are protected.
Contact a Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
Because of their near-complete exposure, motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable to severe injury and death when involved in an auto accident. The Houston personal injury lawyers at Fleming Law understand how devastating these accidents can be for motorcyclists and their loved ones. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident in Houston, do not hesitate to contact us to learn about your legal rights and options in a free, no-obligation consultation. Our Houston motorcycle accident lawyers are here to help.
Fleming Law assists motorcycle accident victims in the greater Houston Area including:
Acres Homes, Aldine, Bellaire, Briarforest, Central Business District, Central Northwest, Chinatown, Deer Park, Dickinson, East Aldine, East Downtown, East Houston, Energy Corridor, Fourth Ward, Friendswood, Galeana Park, Greater Fifth Ward, Greater Hobby Area, Greater OST/South Union, Humble, Hyde Park, Independence Heights, Jacinto City, Jersey Village, La Marque, League City, Magnolia, Magnolia Park, Mission Bend, Northside, Northwest Houston, Pasadena, Pearland, Pinehurst, Rice Military, Second Ward, Shady Acres, South Central Houston, South Main, South Park, Southeast Houston, Southwest Houston, Spring, Spring Branch East, Texas City, Tomball, The Memorial Villages, Westchase.