Motorcycle crashes can cause serious accidents and serious medical bills. The Texas Motorcycle Accident Guide was created by Austin injury lawyer Daniel R. Smith to help injured residents earn maximum compensation.
When a motorcycle accident occurs, it can be a catastrophe. You may be severely injured, have a ton of medical bills, and not be able to return to work. Even when you’re on the mend, your vehicle may be beyond repair, leaving you without a way to get around. It’s hard to know that you’re in this predicament because of someone else’s negligence. All of this can cause you and your family a lot of stress and grief. Our Texas motorcycle accident attorney will work very hard to get you the best possible result. You deserve to get compensation for your injuries and damages.
Important First Steps
There are two very important things that need to happen moments after the scene. The most important of the two considerations is seeking medical attention. The injuries you experience may be severe and life-threatening and you do not want to hang around waiting at the scene if you are in danger.
While the other important consideration is collecting evidence, you should not prioritize that over your own health. If you are able to stay on the scene and take photos, talk to witnesses, and get insurance information from the other driver, you should do so, but not if you’re terribly injured. In that case, you should have a friend, family member, or attorney come onto the scene and do the evidence collection for you. We cannot stress how important it is to get to the doctor.
It is also very important to get to an attorney right away. They will be your guide throughout the whole process. As mentioned, they can collect evidence. They can start working on your case before you’ve even seen a doctor. They can also make sure that the evidence is used properly and effectively. You do not want to delay in hiring an attorney so that you have the best chance possible at the highest amount of compensation.
Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries
These accident can be so devastating for the motorcycle rider. The bike you’re on doesn’t give you the protection of a car or SUV. You are more exposed to the elements on a bike and that might mean you have more severe injuries. The most common types of motorcycle accident injuries are:
- Broken bones
- Road burn
- Spinal cord damage
- Brain injury
- Internal injury
We want to express just how sorry we are that this has happened to you. You might require surgery and life-long care, or you may someday make a full recovery. This is something that your attorney will take into consideration when they are negotiating with the insurance company for your just compensation.
Statute of Limitations
In Texas, from the date of the motorcycle accident, you have two years to bring your claim or settle it in civil court. This might initially seem like a long time, but in a legal aspect, it’s not. You have to go through treatment and either be done treating, or have a clear idea of what your medical future holds. You don’t want to wait until the day before your time limit runs out to call an attorney. At that point, there is probably no way to help you. If it always wise to call an attorney as soon as you are physically able to.
How Compensation Works
When you go after compensation, you are seeking money damages from the liable party’s insurance company. The way it works is that they will be awarding you compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and expenses you have had to pay out of your own pocket that is relating to the accident.
In Texas, we follow the rules of modified comparative negligence. What that means is if you are deemed to be 50% or more at fault for the accident, you will be barred from receiving compensation altogether. If you are deemed to be less than 50% at fault, then your award will be reduced to reflect the percent of fault you were. If you are not found to share any fault, you will receive your whole award. Let’s say you are awarded $100,000 for your damages, but you are found to be 10% at fault. You would then be collecting $90,000 in compensation. A strong, experienced attorney will dedicate their job to keeping your award from being barred or reduced.
Insurance Company Issues
The insurance company for the liable party has the opposite job that your attorney does. They don’t want to make sure you have full compensation; in fact the insurance company will do their best to reduce or eliminate your claim. When they come calling you for a recorded statement, you can tell them that all communication can go through your attorney.
Frequently Asked Questions | Texas Motorcycle Accident Guide
What Do I Do After the Accident?
Recently, I got a call from a gentleman who had been injured in a motorcycle accident, and he asked me what he should do. The first thing I told him is he needs to seek medical treatment immediately. In this case, I found that he was in the hospital, so I told him he needs to follow the doctor’s orders. Those things are very important so that he has the best chance at a recovery as possible, whether it be a full recovery or a partial recovery.
Next, I told him he needs to hire an attorney. It’s important to hire an attorney quickly so they can investigate what happened. Evidence gets lost and witnesses can forget. Even if the insurance company’s claiming they’re not disputing liability at this stage, they might dispute liability later. It’s important to gather all of that evidence.
Lastly, it’s important to hire the right attorney. The right attorney is someone who has experience in motorcycle accidents and is a trial attorney. Trial attorneys are treated differently by insurance companies because they don’t want to go to trial. Also, if you aren’t able to get your case resolved in settlement, that means you have an attorney who’s ready to go to trial.
How Do Choose the Right Attorney?
The first thing you have to do when finding the right attorney is be able to establish a level of comfort with that attorney. Attorney-client relationships are built on comfort and trust. In that first meeting, we’ll explain to you how the process works in your case specifically, because every case is different.
Next, you need to hire someone that is experienced in personal injury law and motorcycle wrecks specifically. Unfortunately, there’s a stigma against people who ride motorcycles. A lot of juries believe that if you’re in a wreck and you’re on a motorcycle, then it must be at least partially your fault. That’s not true. You need to hire an attorney who understands that issue and other issues that are specific to motorcycle wrecks.
Next, you need to hire someone who is a trial attorney. The reason you need to do that is because insurance companies on the other side know who the trial attorneys are, and that’s what will get you the best result as far as a fair settlement offer. If, for whatever reason, the insurance company isn’t willing to be fair and won’t give a fair settlement offer, we’re ready to go to trial. We’ll go to trial and we’ll get you the best result that we can.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Company?
The first mistake that people make is they give a recorded statement. Insurance adjusters are trained to ask questions that are intentionally misleading, and they want to pay as little as possible. You have no obligation to give that recorded statement.
The next mistake that people make is they take the first offer from the insurance company. The insurance company almost always lowballs people with their first offer, and they’re just trying it done quickly and cheaply.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid?
The first mistake that people make regarding motorcycle accident cases is they don’t seek medical treatment right away. Related to that mistake is they don’t follow the doctor’s orders. When you don’t seek medical treatment right away and you don’t follow the doctor’s orders, the worst part of it is you’re hurting yourself because you’re hurting your chances at recovery. Second to that, the insurance company is going to treat you differently because they’re going to say you would’ve gone to the doctor right away or they would have followed the doctor’s orders if you were actually hurt.
The next mistake that people make is they give a recorded statement. Don’t give a recorded statement to the insurance adjusters. Insurance companies and insurance adjusters are not in the business of providing people with fair and just compensation for their claims. They’re in the business of limiting their exposure and paying as little as possible.
The next mistake people make is they delay in hiring legal representation. When you delay in hiring legal representation, that means that your attorney has a harder time investigating what actually occurred. Witnesses will forget things or they’ll go missing. We need to make those phone calls and investigate as close to the accident as possible.
The last mistake people make is they hire the wrong attorney. People need to hire personal injury attorneys who have experience in motorcycle accidents. Beyond that, they need to hire a trial attorney who has experience going to trial. If they don’t, that’s generally what costs them the most. Insurance companies know which attorneys go to trial and they compensate people accordingly. In the worst-case scenario, that the insurance company never comes to the table with a fair offer before trial, you have an attorney who is ready to go to trial and represent you and get the best possible outcome.
How Much is My Case Worth?
Early on, there isn’t a clear way to know how much your case is worth. We don’t know how much your case is worth until we know the extent of your medical injuries, at the very least. Once we know that, we can give you a better idea. Until you’re done with your medical treatment, we can’t know. Generally as a good rule of thumb, the more serious your injuries, the more your case is worth.
There are a few different types of compensation that you can receive for your injuries in Texas. You can receive past and future lost wages, past and future pain and suffering, and past and future medical costs.
How Long Will My Case Take?
The other day, I got a call from an individual who had just been in a motorcycle accident, and he asked me how long it’s going to take for his claim to be resolved. Unfortunately, early on, there isn’t a crystal clear answer. The first thing that needs to happen is you need to complete your medical treatment, or get to a stage in your medical treatment where you are sure of what your diagnoses are and what treatment you need in the future. Only at that time can we submit a claim to the insurance company asking for fair and just compensation. If we submit a claim before you’re done treating or before we know the extent of your injuries, we can’t be asking for fair and just compensation, and it puts you in a position where you’ll be receiving a lot less than you should, and you might not have the money later to do medical treatments that you need.
After you’re done with your medical treatment, we submit a demand to the insurance company outlining what happened, the extent of your injuries, and ask for fair compensation. They normally have a few weeks to respond. After they respond, if it’s something that we can work with, we negotiate with them. If it’s not, then we file the lawsuit. Unfortunately, normally, we have to file a lawsuit.
When we file that lawsuit, we have to first serve the defendants. Normally, that’s not a problem, but occasionally people will try to avoid service, and pretend that it never happened, and try to run away. Once they’re served, they have 30 days to respond. In their response they are almost always represented by an attorney. Once there’s a response with an attorney on file, we contact that attorney and try to get a trial date as soon as possible. Then we have an end in sight. Hopefully, we can resolve your case fairly without going to trial, but we’re also ready to go to trial.
What If I Have a Preexisting Condition?
A person is legally responsible for the change in someone’s condition if they cause your motorcycle accident. For example, if you were in a motorcycle accident and you had back pain that was a two on a pain scale of one to ten before the accident, then after the accident it was a five or a six, the third-party would be responsible for that change. Preexisting conditions really need to be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
Will My Motorcycle Accident Case Go to Trial?
You may be wondering, “Will my case go to trial?” The answer to the question is unclear right away. Most cases don’t go to trial. However, as the client, you are always in charge of whether or not we take any settlement offer or not. My role as the attorney is to advise you on whether or not I think that settlement offer is fair or just, but, as my client, you are the boss. If you ever say that you want to take an offer, you get to do it.
In the case that the other side never makes an offer that the client agrees with, then we go to trial. If we go to trial, you will always be well-prepared. It’s an opportunity for you to tell your story to a jury of your peers and a judge.
Contact Our Office Today
If you need an experienced Austin motorcycle accident attorney to take on your case and see what needs to be done in order to get you the best possible result, please call our office today for a free consultation and get your case started.