Who is Liable in a Motorcycle Crash?
Even if you walk away relatively unharmed in your motorcycle accident, your bank account might still take a beating. If the accident was not your fault, you and your wallet don’t have to suffer. Someone else may be held liable for your accident-related losses.
An experienced Houston motorcycle accident lawyer can help you get informed about your rights and your options, as well as evaluate your case and your claim. In this stressful situation, they’re someone you want on your side. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
In most cases, you can hold another party liable for your injuries and losses if that party’s negligence caused your accident. Many different parties may face negligence in motorcycle crashes, including:
- Distracted drivers
- Impaired drivers
- Aggressive drivers
- Drivers who fail to yield
- Drivers who make improper lane changes
- Companies that sell defective motorcycles or motorcycle parts
- Transportation departments that allow dangerous or defective roads
Fact: Distracted driving is a leading cause of motorcycle accidents in Texas. Motorcycles are already more difficult to see on the roads due to their smaller size, and because drivers are primarily on the lookout for cars, trucks, or other larger vehicles sharing their space. It is all too easy to miss a motorcyclist in a rearview mirror or blind spot and try to turn or change lanes right in front of them. Still, the law requires drivers to adequately watch for all types of vehicles on the roads, including smaller vehicles like motorcycles and bicycles.
Once you identify one or more negligent parties who have caused your accident, you have options for obtaining the compensation you deserve. In many cases, the first step is to file a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company. While insurance claims may seem fairly straightforward, the process can be intimidating and complicated, especially if you’ve never filed a claim before.
Insurers will try to limit any payouts by challenging liability or even arguing about the extent of your injuries and losses. They will try to make you doubt yourself, but a skilled motorcycle accident attorney can protect your rights during this precarious process.
Insurance companies are notorious for reviewing a claim and offering only a fraction of what you deserve. This doesn’t mean you deserve less—it only means that insurance companies can be greedy. They make lowball offers in hopes that you don’t know any better and will simply accept the offer.
With your settlement, you also waive your right to take any additional legal action regarding your accident… which means you can’t ask for more once you realize how insufficient the settlement really was. For this reason, you should ALWAYS have our skilled legal team review settlement offers before you sign or accept ANYTHING.
It’s our mission to ensure you don’t walk away with less than you need and deserve.
If an insurance claim will not cover your losses, Stewart Guss’s motorcycle accident legal team can file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. Our office will then handle all aspects of your case. We will try to reach a favorable settlement agreement, or even represent you at trial if needed. Contact our law firm as soon as possible for a free consultation at 800-898-4877, or contact us online to send us a question or get more information. We are here to help, and you pay NOTHING unless and until we’ve won your case.
How to Protect Your Rights After a Motorcycle Accident
It would make motorcycle accident victims’ lives a lot easier, but even in cases where the other driver is clearly at fault, compensation is not automatically placed in your hand. Obtaining compensation usually requires assertive, affirmative steps on the part of the victim and their legal team, and victims can accidentally do things that hurt their chances of recovering compensation.
After an accident, follow these tips to maximize your chances of recovery:
- Collect and preserve information about your crash. After an accident, take the time to document as much information about your accident as possible. If you are not injured enough to require emergency medical attention, try to gather evidence at the scene of the accident. Take pictures of the aftermath of the crash from multiple angles, highlighting the damage to your motorcycle as well as any road or vehicle defects that you believe may have contributed to your accident. Collect contact information from anyone who may have witnessed the wreck.
- Keep documentation about how your injuries hurt you. Journaling isn’t just for middle-schoolers. Putting your pain and suffering into words via a daily log can be immensely helpful proof. Documenting the aftermath of a crash is just as important as collecting evidence at the scene. Keep detailed notes about your pain levels, problems sleeping, activities you must skip, and how your injuries damage you emotionally or psychologically.
- Stay off social media. In the age of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and their inevitable successors, a motorcycle accident may seem like a life-altering event you simply must share or vent about. One word: don’t. The other party or parties can use anything you post as evidence that you were partially (or totally) at fault for your accident, or that you are not as injured as you claim. We know it’s tough but refrain from using social media at all while your case is pending.
- Do not accept an insurance company’s settlement offer before speaking to a motorcycle accident lawyer. Insurance companies offer settlements to many motorcycle accident victims shortly after their accidents, trying to swoop in before they have an opportunity to retain legal counsel. Be warned: these first offers are usually far less than the compensation you truly deserve. Also, most motorcycle accident victims do not have experience determining the value of personal injury cases. While losses like property damage and medical expenses are relatively easy to determine, this is not the case when it comes to noneconomic losses like pain and suffering and loss of quality of life. For this reason, always have a law firm review the facts of your case before accepting a settlement offer. You don’t want to prematurely release the at-fault party from any future liability for the accident.
A Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer FAQs
Have you suffered injuries in a Houston motorcycle accident? Are you unsure of what happens next? We understand. As seasoned Houston motorcycle accident injury lawyers, we also know how to fight aggressively to get you the money you deserve.
A motorcycle accident is no small hiccup. Injuries of any kind can ruin your life, and they’re especially tragic when they’re not your fault. To help you get back on your feet after a motorcycle accident, you need a lawyer who takes your pain seriously, who can work tirelessly to get you paid by those whose actions or decisions put you in harm’s way, and who has the know-how to answer your most pressing questions, like:
What is my motorcycle accident case worth?
This is the most frequent question we get from clients injured in a Houston motorcycle accident. While we’d love to tell you a number, the real answer is: it depends. Every case and every injury is different. But here’s some good news: Depending on what happened in your bike wreck and who was at fault, you could have the right to obtain substantial compensation. This includes money for damages like:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Past, present, and future medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Home renovation expenses
Motorcycle accidents can inflict costs from a few thousand bucks to millions of dollars. While we cannot guarantee you will recover that kind of money for your accident, your ability to get paid depends on the facts of your accident and on the assets of the person or business with legal liability to you. The best way to get an estimate of what you might recover for your injuries is to work with an experienced Houston motorcycle accident injury attorney.
How do I hold the other driver at fault?
You don’t do it by throwing punches! Not literal punches, at least. Let a lawyer do the fighting for you instead. It’s their job to protect and enforce your legal rights and see that you get paid for your injuries. Anyone whose dangerous decisions and reckless actions led to your wreck could be held legally liable. Also, keep in mind that the other driver is just one of many people who might have legal liability to you for the injuries you suffered in a bike wreck.
A whole range of potential culprits who might have liability for hurting you. Experienced Houston motorcycle crash lawyers know where to look. Culprits may include:
- The other driver. Definitely at the top of the list of people to investigate – particularly if the accident involved the driver making a foolish move like turning across your lane of traffic, or crowding you out of your lane without seeing you in a blind spot.
- A business. If your wreck involved a collision with a commercial car or truck, then the driver’s employer might have liability to you. That kind of liability can sometimes be a silver lining in a Houston motorcycle crash case, because businesses often carry more insurance than individual drivers do.
- A parts manufacturer. Did you know? If a mechanical failure of your bike or the other vehicle led to your wreck, then the maker of the part that failed could face liability for selling a product that was defective and dangerous.
- Local government. As a biker, you probably know all-too-well how dangerous a sudden change in the road surface can be… Not to mention the risks of riding on a road littered with cracks and potholes. Local governments should, at the very least, warn you about those dangers. They put you in harm’s way when they refuse to fix these public issues. This can make them liable for your injuries.
Every crash is different, of course, and the list above doesn’t begin to cover all the parties who might owe you money for your injuries. Ask an experienced Houston motorcycle accident lawyer about who might have liability to you.
Fast Resolutions ≠ Best Resolutions
Won’t taking the settlement offer from the other driver’s insurance company end this faster? Maybe, but that could be bad for you.
You might think, a settlement can’t be bad! I get money in my pocket right now!
Be careful. That’s exactly what the insurance company wants you to think.
By giving you a quick settlement for a low amount of money, they hope to make you go away forever. If you jump at the first offer you receive, signing that settlement might waive your right to bring forth any future claim for your motorcycle accident. By the time you realize your settlement funds don’t even begin to cover your medical bills and other needs, it’s too late.
Don’t let this happen to you! Instead, work with an experienced, skilled Houston motorcycle accident lawyer who knows how to accurately estimate your financial needs – past, present, and future. You likely have rights to compensation for all of your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and the pain and suffering you and your family have endured.
To avoid the insurance company taking advantage of you, hire an aggressive advocate who can protect your rights. Place your focus where it should be: on recovering from your injuries. Let a lawyer with sharp negotiating skills deal with the insurance company on your behalf. With the right motorcycle accident lawyer in Houston on your side, you’ve got the best possible shot at recovering the damages you deserve.
What if someone tries to blame me for the accident?
Here’s an open secret that all personal attorneys know: someone will almost definitely try to blame you for the accident that injured you. At some point along the way, an insurance adjuster or a defense lawyer will point the finger at you. That’s just what they do: blame the victim so their customer/client gets off the hook for owing monetary damages.
Don’t sweat it. Instead, consult with our experienced Houston motorcycle crash lawyer right away. Attorneys for motorcycle accident victims have seen the whole “blame the victim” tactic used in court over and over again. We know how to handle it, how to combat it, and how to prove that you deserve substantial money damages—not blame—from legally-liable parties.
However, it doesn’t hurt to watch what you say about your bike wreck. You’ll want to minimize the chances of an insurance company or defense attorney finding any fuel to blame you for your own injuries. Sometimes motorcycle accident victims make offhand comments about the crash that someone could misinterpret as them taking the blame – things like “I should have seen him coming” or “If only I’d slowed down a second earlier….”
Keep those thoughts to yourself. Remember it’s a two-way street, so to speak: the other driver should have seen you coming. Don’t blame yourself if the other driver failed to drive safely. Let your lawyer stand up for you instead.
What if I wasn’t wearing a helmet?
It’s common sense: Motorcycle helmets save lives. We encourage every biker to wear one, because we care about your health and we’ve seen the tragic, deadly consequences of wrecks involving unprotected riders.
However, in Texas, state law does not require most motorcyclists to wear helmets if they complete a safety course or have extra insurance. This means not wearing a helmet has no impact on your right to recover compensation for a crash that someone else caused.
Be warned, though, that if you get into a wreck without a helmet and suffer a traumatic brain injury, insurance companies and defense lawyers will most definitely argue that you made your own injuries worse by not wearing a helmet. Sometimes that argument works with a judge and jury in reducing an injured rider’s damages, and sometimes it doesn’t.
How long do I have to file a claim?
In Texas, injured bikers and their lawyers only have two years from the date of a motorcycle accident to bring a claim against the at-fault party.
Two years might sound like plenty of time, but they go by in a flash, especially when you’re facing a long, expensive road to recovery. Time passes quickly when your attention is focused on the stress and strain of dealing with:
- Extended hospital stays
- Multiple surgeries and doctor visits
- Long rehabilitation
- Financial woes
- Missed work
- Strained personal relationships
- Diminished quality of life
Plus, preparing a legal claim for damages is a time-consuming endeavour for your lawyer. It involves collecting evidence, following up, and keeping track of paperwork for the duration of your treatment… and the vital evidence you need in order to prove your claim starts disappearing the moment a clean-up crew arrives at the accident scene. The best time to collect evidence, get witness statements, and start chasing down the parties legally at-fault is now, not later. Don’t delay. Get experienced Houston legal help today.
What can I do to help?
First and foremost, feel better. Seek medical care right away after an accident (even if you don’t think you “feel” injured), and follow all of your doctor’s recommendations. Don’t try to “tough it out” through an injury. Not only will that make your health worse, it will also harm your ability to recover the compensation you deserve from the parties at fault for the accident. Go see a doctor, plain and simple.
Next, save any records that relate to your wreck and injuries, even ones that only seem tangentially related. Do not throw away medical records and bills, insurance statements, receipts for prescriptions or medical equipment, pay stubs from the job you have to miss because of getting hurt, or invoices for anyone you had to hire to help out with your daily activities.
All of these could end up proving extremely valuable to your lawyer when it comes time to get you paid.
Finally, be extra cautious when dealing with insurance companies. You might need to give notice to your own insurers about the accident, which is fine so long as you take care to stick to the facts and not say things that someone could misinterpret or twist. However, if someone else’s insurance company reaches out to you, be careful! The only reason for that kind of outreach is to try to get you to say or agree to something that will harm your claim for damages. Do not fall for their tricks.
You Want an Experienced, Aggressive Law Firm
Many lawyers rely on their decades of law experience to try to attract clients. However, the type of experience someone has is more important than the length of their experience. This is especially true in cases involving severe motorcycle accidents. Even if a lawyer handles thousands of small car accident claims, handling a case involving disabling and catastrophic injuries from a motorcycle wreck is a completely different ballgame. You specifically want a law firm that takes on cases for clients with severe and life-altering injuries.
In addition to experience, you want a law firm that is not afraid to fight for you. Insurance companies can be bullies, especially to unrepresented claimants or attorneys unfamiliar with the process.
Rest assured the legal team at the office of Stewart J. Guss knows the ins and outs of the insurance process, as well as each insurance company’s approach. We know how to play hardball with insurance companies – and win. Because we have a reputation as a strong and aggressive law firm that won’t back down, insurance companies know that they can’t pull the wool over your eyes. This results in faster favorable outcomes for our clients.
If you ever suffer injuries while riding a motorcycle, don’t wait. Hire an effective and experienced law firm to protect your rights. Stewart Guss and his team have the experience, skill, and dedication to maximize your recovery in the unfortunate event of a motorcycle accident. We will always be there for you in your time of need. Your victory is our victory, and that philosophy shines through in every case we handle.
Contact Our Houston Motorcycle Accident Law Firm Now
After a traumatic motorcycle accident, call the legal team at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, to discuss what comes next.
Do not sign anything until you speak with us because you risk losing some or all of the compensation to which you are entitled. You need advice. You need allies. You need advocates.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, speak to our Houston motorcycle injury legal team as soon as you can. We are nationally-recognized for protecting the rights of injured motorcycle accident victims for more than 20 years.
Confidential case evaluations with live legal experts are available now, 100% free. Because we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a cent unless we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or contact us now by CLICKING HERE.
One accident can change your life, but so can one victory with us. Don’t take chances – let us help you!
Don’t Take Chances—Let Us Help You!
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