Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Pearland Helping Injured Clients Protect Their Rights to Receive Damages Compensation
The Texas Department of Transportation reports that more than 2300 motorcyclists were seriously injured in an accident on the state’s roadways in 2021. As many as 519 motorcyclists ended up being killed in fatal crashes. That means one fatal motorcycle accident takes place every day in Texas. Surviving a motorcycle accident is a life-altering experience that may leave victims with physical and emotional scars for life. If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident, you should know what steps to take to hold the at-fault party responsible for your damages and when to seek legal help for your case.
What Are Some of the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Texas?
Motorcycles comprise less than 2% of all motor vehicles registered in Texas, yet they accounted for as many as 12% of all fatal traffic accidents in the state in 2021. That number is most likely expected to increase as more people are attracted to the state’s beautiful scenery and pleasant temperatures. These accidents occur due to a variety of reasons. Some of the most common reasons are errors made by the motorcycle rider or the driver of a larger vehicle.
Distracted drivers may not notice a motorcycle on the road, as motorcycles have a smaller and slimmer profile. A collision between a passenger vehicle and a motorcycle often spells catastrophic injuries or death to the motorcyclist – many of these collisions occur when a driver fails to check their blindspots for a motorcycle and makes an unsafe turn or improper lane change and hits the motorcycle, or fails to spot a motorcyclist slowing down or stopping ahead, resulting in a rear-end collision. Any type of collision between a heavier vehicle and a motorcycle can leave the motorcyclist seriously injured, as the motorbike offers no protective barrier against impact, and the rider is often thrown from the bike. Broken bones, lacerations, head and spine injuries, and serious road rash are just a few examples of injuries a motorcycle operator may sustain after a collision.
It is also important to mention that sometimes the motorcyclist’s behavior can also lead to a dangerous accident. Speeding, aggressive riding, and risky maneuvers such as lane splitting or weaving in and out of traffic as well as being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, are all risky behaviors that can (and often do) result in accidents.
Does Texas Have Motorcycle Laws?
Texas has several motorcycle laws, starting with the requirements to legally operate a motorcycle on public roadways. Every rider should have a valid class M license, which is obtained after passing a written test and a road test. Every motorcycle should be properly registered and display a valid license plate with the required registration stickers. Motorcyclists are required to carry insurance and should undergo a mandatory yearly inspection.
The use of a DOT-approved helmet is required for riders and passengers under the age of 21. Riders over 21 may choose not to wear a helmet as long as they carry medical insurance cover or have successfully completed a motorcycle operating training course approved by the Texas Department of Transportation. When it comes to operating the motorcycle on public roadways, motorcyclists are subject to similar traffic laws as all other vehicles. In addition, they are required to travel in a single lane of traffic (and not travel in-between lanes), making the practice of lane-splitting illegal.
What Happens if I Am Partially at Fault for My Accident?
In an accident where the motorcyclist and the driver of a larger vehicle share responsibility for what happened, modified comparative negligence rules would apply. In Texas, a victim of a motor vehicle accident can still seek damages compensation as long as they are not more than 51% at fault for the accident. The percentage of responsibility assigned to them affects how much they may be able to receive.
For example, if you sustained $10,000.00 worth of damages but contributed 20% to your accident, you would receive your final compensation amount minus 20%. So, instead of $10,000.00, you may receive $8,000.00. If you are 51% at fault or more, you may be barred from seeking compensation. If you are partially at fault for your accident, working with a seasoned motorcycle accident lawyer is key to minimizing your liability and maximizing the amount you may be eligible to receive.
Can I File a Claim for My Damaged Motorcycle?
It is rather common for a motorcycle to be severely damaged after an accident. Sometimes, the damages can be repaired, while other times, the motorcycle is not repairable and needs to be replaced. If the accident was caused by someone else, you may be eligible to file a claim with their insurance company for the cost of repairing or replacing your damaged motorcycle. This type of expense is considered a category of economic damages. Other economic damages may include hospital bills, lost wages, and loss of future earning ability.
In addition, you may also be able to claim another category of damages called non-economic damages. These include the more subjective losses a person may experience after a motorcycle accident, such as the pain and suffering caused by the injury and recovery process, the emotional scars, and the mental anguish that can ultimately impact the victim’s quality of life. It may be a good idea to talk to your attorney about what type of damages you may be eligible to recover for your case.
Should I Agree to Speak to the Insurance Adjuster?
If you have filed a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, you may quickly realize that the insurance company is eager to convince you to talk to an adjuster on the phone and maybe provide them with a recorded statement about the accident. They may sound friendly and compassionate, but it is important to be careful with what you say.
An insurance adjuster’s main job is to investigate the accident and find reasons to reduce the amount they have to pay you or find ways to deny your claim altogether. An insurance carrier is a for-profit business, and because of that, their priority is not necessarily the well-being of their claimants. Instead, they would rather protect their profits by closing out claims in the least amount of time and for the lowest cost possible. One of the many ways they accomplish this is by getting claimants to say something that could later be taken out of context and used as an admission of guilt in order to reduce the value of their claim.
Another common tactic you may experience is receiving an initial offer shortly after your claim is accepted. They may even tell you you have to accept their offer or try to persuade you in some other way. The truth is the first offer from an insurance company is almost always too low and inadequate to cover all the damages you sustained as a result of your motorcycle accident.
When you choose to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer for your case, you can rest assured your Pearland injury lawyer is all too familiar with these tactics and can take over all communications and negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf. That way, you will have better chances of maximizing your compensation. Simply by allowing your attorney to handle the claim process on your behalf, the insurance company will know you have a legal ally that can see right through their usual tactics and can take them to trial if necessary – an expense most insurance companies would rather avoid.
Why Is it a Good Idea to Work With a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
Getting compensation after a motorcycle accident caused by someone else can be an overwhelming process if you are trying to figure it all out yourself. At the very least, you may be faced with a pile of paperwork, endless forms, and many phone calls before your claim is even accepted. In other cases, your claim may be denied, or you may be dealing with someone who is not insured or underinsured, meaning you may need to initiate a civil lawsuit and take matters to court in order to get compensation. Navigating all of these decisions without a knowledgeable attorney on your side is nearly impossible for most people, especially as you recover from your injuries.
At the Kahn Law Firm, P.C., motorcycle accident victims in Pearland, Texas, and vicinities can get the legal help they need to successfully navigate their cases and hold the negligent party financially liable for their losses. The motorcycle accident lawyers at the Kahn Law Firm, P.C., have the knowledge and skills to handle cases of any complexity, no matter if you just need someone to negotiate with a bad-faith insurance company or are ready to take your case to trial. If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident, it is best not to try and figure it all out on your own. Let the Kahn Law Firm, P.C., take care of your case for you so you can focus on taking care of yourself. Reach out at 713-999-6549 to learn more.