What To Do Immediately Following An Accident
So I get asked, occasionally, if I've been involved in an accident, what should I do? Well the first thing I would do is contact the police and get the law enforcement there to make a report of the accident, ask the police officer to prepare a report of the accident, the detail what happened. The second thing I would do is contact, or get the names of any witnesses, get their names and numbers, in case you need them at a later date. And the most important thing I would encourage you to do is call an ambulance, or get medical attention, if you're injured. What you don't wanna do is wait a week, two or three weeks, and try to self medicate or play tough guy because wind the clock forward two or three years, when you're fighting with the insurance company to get compensated for your claim, they're gonna argue that you couldn't have been injured if you didn't go to the doctor. So, you definitely wanna seek medical attention if you've been injured in an accident.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
At J. Thomas Law, we see many Texas motorcycle accidents that result in serious injuries and fatalities. Common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
Crashes involving motorcycles and other vehicles account for 56% of motorcycle accident deaths. 78% of the time, the automobile hits the motorcycle from the front. Head-on collisions between a motor vehicle and a motorcycle commonly result in fatal injuries for the motorcyclist.
Cars Changing Lanes
It’s very easy for motorcycles to get lost in blind spots of an auto driver’s view. When this occurs on multi-lane highways, as the car changes lanes, all too often motorcycles get hit on the side, causing very dangerous crashes. Always be aware of your surroundings and be sure you can see who is on both sides of you before changing lanes.
While riding with groups is fun, it’s also a leading cause of motorcycle accidents. If you choose to go out for group rides, be aware of the space the entire group is taking up on the road and position yourself to the outside of the pack.
Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle rides between two lanes of traffic. This puts riders at high risk of injury or death because of the close proximity to moving cars, reduced lane space, and other drivers who don't see or anticipate the motorcyclist.
When a car makes a left-hand turn, it puts a motorcyclist in danger. Left-hand turn collisions account for 42% of all accidents involving a motorcycle and a car. The motorcyclist is usually hit by the car while passing, trying to get around the car, or going straight through the intersection.
Collisions with Fixed Objects
Motorcycles colliding with fixed objects account for 25% of motorcyclist deaths. Because a motorcyclist is not protected by an enclosed structure, he or she is usually thrown from the bike into the fixed object or onto a hard surface street, often at high speeds.
Speed and Alcohol
Approximately 50% of motorcycle accidents are caused by excessive speed or drunk driving. Crashes that involve excessive speeds or drunk driving commonly result in severe injuries or death for the motorcyclist, because the rider usually loses complete control of the bike.
Cornering Too Fast
By far, one of the most common causes for motorcyclists is entering a corner with excess speed. It’s extremely important for riders to understand the physics behind the motorcycle, and how excess speed when cornering will cause a great difference in how the motorcycle reacts.
Road hazards like potholes, wet or slick pavement, uneven pavement, road debris, or dead animals pose greater dangers to motorcyclists than motor vehicle drivers. An unexpected road hazard can throw a rider off the motorcycle and onto the pavement suddenly without warning.
Loose Gravel While Cornering
These accidents occur when road sediment and grit accumulate, or when construction crews fail to clean up after working on the roads. When you take a corner or accelerate speed, be sure to look ahead for signs of loose gravel.
Front Brake Lock-ups
Of all the accidents, a front brake lock-up is among the scariest for bikers as it gives them the least amount of control and response options. To avoid front brake lock-ups learn how to apply what is known as a feathered braking technique.
There are an endless amount of things that can create a slippery and hazardous road. Everything from rain, sleet, ice and oil spills can cause slick areas. Be aware of the surface and do not use excessive speed or aggressive steering when in a slick spot.
The Car Coming Toward You Turns Left
This accident occurs when a car in oncoming traffic is waiting to turn left, thinks you’re driving slower than you really are and turns to go through your lane. Head-on collisions can send you over the bars and onto the road, causing severe injuries. Avoid this by anticipating the driver’s mistake and assuming they’re going to pull out in front of you.
Liability in Motorcycle Accidents
Liability in most motorcycle accidents is governed by the law of "negligence." A person is considered negligent when he/she acts in a careless or thoughtless manner that causes injury to another person. A driver must use care to avoid causing injuries to other motorists, passengers, or pedestrians. If a driver does not use reasonable care and injures another person/persons as a result, he/she can be found liable for the injuries.
Texas is an at-fault state where the law of negligence governs all motorcycle accidents. This means that the person who is found “at fault” for the motorcycle accident will be held accountable for injuries and property damages caused by the accident. To prove a negligence claim, the plaintiff (the person making the claim) must prove several factors:
The defendant (the person being sued) acted in a negligent manner that caused the accident
The defendant's actions caused injuries to the plaintiff
The plaintiff suffered injuries and/or losses. If the plaintiff can't prove injuries or damages, he/she can't recover anything on the claim, even if the defendant was negligent.
In Texas, motorcycle owners are required, by law, to have insurance. The minimum limits are as follows:
- Bodily Injury Liability - $30,000 (1 Person)
- Bodily Injury Liability - $60,000 (All Persons, 1 Accident)
- Property Damage Liability - $25,000
If you're involved in a Texas motorcycle accident that was not your fault, you can seek financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and property damages. Unfortunately, insurance companies just want to settle the claim for as little as possible and are usually not on your side. You need a personal injury attorney who knows the laws and can work with insurance companies on your behalf. At J. Thomas Law, we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. We have extensive experience representing personal injury victims and fighting big insurance companies in court.
The State of Texas has a two-year Statute of Limitations on personal injury cases. You must file a lawsuit within two years of your accident or the court may refuse to hear your case. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, it's important to move forward with an attorney right away, while evidence in the case is still fresh.
For help with your case, contact J. Thomas Law to get an experienced Texas trial lawyer. We offer you a no-obligation case review to discuss the details of your case. If you choose to move forward, we can help you file your lawsuit quickly so you can receive compensation for your injuries in a timely manner. Motorcycle accidents often result in serious injuries and extensive medical costs, so don't wait. Give us a call today!