In 2020, 412 individuals were killed in Texas in motorcycle accidents, averaging more than one individual every day. Over 1,800 individuals were severely injured. Motorcycle accidents may lead to more serious injuries since they don’t come with the regular safety features that vehicles have, like airbags, seatbelts, and enclosed spaces. They simply don’t offer much protection to riders.
Motorcycle crashes frequently involve catastrophic injuries. For individuals who sustain injuries, as well as for their families, life often isn’t the same again. A skilled Texas motorcycle accident lawyer will help you hold the responsible party liable for their actions.
Driving Behaviors That May Increase Your Chance of Being Held Liable
Certain driving behaviors may cause motorcycle riders to be found liable for an accident, including:
1. Lane Splitting
Driving between two lanes of traffic isn’t legal in Texas. Despite this, some riders will do this because it helps them reach their destination quicker. But, if you’re lane splitting (also referred to as white-lining or lane sharing), and you are in a collision, you’ll likely be found at fault for the accident, and you might not be able to receive compensation for any injuries you sustain.
2. Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
Like vehicle drivers, motorcyclists who get behind the wheel drugged or drunk lack the reaction time and judgment they’d typically have if they were sober. If they’re involved in a collision while under the influence, they are looking at some severe consequences. Depending on the situation and the type of injuries involved, a motorcyclist who drives while intoxicated and causes a collision may face criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits.
If you speed and are going much quicker than the rest of the traffic, you’re risking other drivers not being able to properly judge how fast you’ll come upon them. They may make turns or change lanes that could put your life in danger as well as any passengers you may have on the motorcycle. Since you are breaking traffic laws when you speed, you will likely be found at fault. This is also true if you’re driving aggressively or weaving in and out of traffic.
4. Driving Distracted
The top causes of motor vehicle accidents are texting and distracted driving. Motorcyclists are frequently injured or killed by drivers who are driving distracted. But in some cases, motorcyclists put themselves at risk because they engage in texting or distracted driving behaviors. Always keep your mind and eyes on the road to minimize your chances of a collision.
Inexperienced motorcycle riders may also potentially be held liable for accidents. To handle a motorcycle properly, it takes experience and skill. Without this knowledge, it increases the risks.
Riding a motorcycle without a license will definitely increase your likelihood of being found at fault in an accident. According to Texas law, all motorcyclists must be licensed and take a motorcycle safety course before receiving their license. If you ride a motorcycle without a license, you’re breaking the law, and if you’re involved in an accident, even if you believe you didn’t do anything unsafe, you may still be found liable for the crash.
How to Establish Liability in a Motorcycle Accident
Unfortunately, with all the biases against motorcyclists, you can be extremely safe and do everything right but still be found at fault for a crash that caused you harm. Reckless drivers know that if they blame part of the cause of the accident on the motorcyclist, they may get out of being held liable themselves.
Texas law states that drivers owe other individuals on the streets a “duty of care.” This means they must adhere to all the rules of the road and keep other individuals around them safe. A motorcyclist would be found negligent and at fault for your injuries if:
- They were driving recklessly, which violated this duty
- Their behavior causes you or someone you love injuries
- You have damages (i.e., pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, or more)
For you to have a successful case, you will need to prove all three of those elements. But, while this may seem fairly easy to do, this is where Texas law becomes complex.
Texas’s Modified Comparative Negligence Law
Accidents are frequently nuanced and hardly ever caused by one individual, defective part, or company. Often it’s multiple failures coinciding that cause a collision. Texas’s modified comparative negligence laws are put in place to ensure individuals receive compensation that is in proportion to their “level” of fault in an accident.
So, you could be up to 50% liable for a collision and still receive compensation. But, if you’re 51% or more liable for the collision, the insurance company doesn’t have to and probably won’t pay your damages.
How to Get Maximum Compensation for Your Damages
While it’s impossible to really estimate the value of your case, you can still protect your potential settlement value by:
1. Never Admit Fault for the Injuries You Sustain
Even if you’re partially at fault for the injuries that you sustained in a motorcycle accident, you shouldn’t ever admit fault until your Texas motorcycle accident attorney conducts a thorough investigation. Also, you should minimize contact you have with all involved parties, including:
- The at-fault party
- The insurance companies
- Any witnesses
Anything you say in a motorcycle accident case may be used against you. Therefore, it’s important that you limit your conversation to just your lawyer.
2. Follow All Instructions Your Doctor Gives You
While recovering from your motorcycle accident, you might receive treatment from a range of doctors and medical specialists. So, if they prescribe therapy, rest, medication, or another form of treatment, you should follow their instructions carefully. You could impact the validity of your claim by not doing so.
3. Do Not Wait to File Your Claim
Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Title 2 § 16.033, there’s a two-year statute of limitation in Texas on motorcycle cases. You shouldn’t wait until this two-year deadline before filing your claim. In fact, the longer you wait to file, the less value you may be able to recover.
4. Establish Liability and Fault for the Accident
For your case to be successful, you need to establish the at-fault party for the crash and show how the crash led to your injuries. You’ll need to collect evidence like:
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Video footage and photos
- Eyewitness accounts
Once you establish that the other party is liable and you provide clear evidence, you may then submit all documents to their insurance company and begin negotiating a settlement.
5. Document Everything
You’ll want to document all interactions you have with all involved parties. These interactions include:
- Police reports
- Medical bills, reports, and receipts
- Conversations with all parties
- The contact information of the at-fault party
- Symptoms related to your injuries
Always reject an unfair settlement. If you feel like the liable party’s insurance company is giving you a lowball settlement offer or won’t cover your damages, then don’t accept the offer and speak with your motorcycle accident lawyer.
Reach Out to Skilled Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Dale Rose Today
If another individual’s negligence caused you to sustain injuries while riding a motorcycle, Dale R. Rose, PLLC, will help. Dale Rose is a highly-trained motorcycle accident attorney in Texas and knows the severe consequences that motorcycle accidents present, including pain and suffering, life-changing injuries, and lost earning capacity. Having a reliable lawyer by your side in complex motorcycle accident cases is essential so you can focus your attention on recovering.
Call Dale Rose today at (972) 634-ROSE (7673) or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation and case review.