Houston Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Across the bustling cities and Great Plains of Texas, motorcycle riders are well-acquainted with an exhilarating feeling of freedom as they zip down the open road.
But that freedom comes at a cost: increased risk of injury and death
There’s an unfair stigma against motorcycle riders, as they’re often believed to be headstrong daredevils. But the truth is that even the most conscientious riders can get tangled up in deadly motorcycle accidents.
Read on for the lowdown on preventative measures, causes of motorcycle accidents, and what to do if you ever find yourself in one.
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Motorcycle Safety Gear
This one’s obvious! In an accident, motorcycle riders are far more vulnerable than someone protected by the “shell” of a car. To make up for this, motorcyclists need to invest in proper riding gear.
It’s more than a fashion statement; it’s armor.
Some quilted leather can be all that’s standing between you and a fatal motorcycle accident.
Texas law requires riders under the age of 21 to wear a helmet, but riders over 21 are allowed to ride without a helmet if they are covered by certain insurance plans or have completed safety courses from the Department of Public Safety (DPS). The basic DPS course is also required in order to receive a Class M motorcycle driver’s license. (Just like cars, motorcycles have their own license, registration, insurance, and inspection requirements.)
We can tell you to wear a motorcycle helmet ‘til we’re blue in the face, but you’re gonna do what you’re gonna do. Some facts to keep in mind, though: Helmets are lifesavers when it comes to Texas motorcycle accidents.
Reports from the Texas Department of Transportation show 418 motorcyclists were killed on Texas roads in one recent year. That’s more than one fatality per day. 49% of those who lost their lives were not wearing helmets at the time of their accident.
The World Health Organization found that wearing a helmet reduces your risk of death by almost 40% and drops the risk of head injury by almost 70%. The interior lining of a helmet protects your head and brain during a motorcycle crash by absorbing most of the force of impact. A helmet also serves as a physical barrier to protect your head from scrapes, punctures, and other wounds.
Also, head-to-toe leather isn’t just popular among bikers because it looks cool – it offers protection against the asphalt if you take a tumble. Invest in an authentic leather jacket for your rides, and if leather pants aren’t your style, don’t worry: jeans made just for motorcycle riders are becoming increasingly popular.
Finally, sensible footwear is a must. You can also opt for other protective gear like gloves and goggles or sunglasses with shatterproof lenses (or choose a helmet with a built-in face shield.)
What Causes Motorcycle Crashes?
Motorcycle accidents happen for a variety of reasons. Even after collecting substantial evidence, lawyers may need to enlist the help of accident reconstruction experts to get to the bottom of things. Every case will be unique, but below are some of the most common causes of motorcycle crashes:
Bad road conditions. Inclement weather means wet roads and poor visibility for motorcycle riders. Potholes, construction zones, and other road hazards also abound. No matter how cautious you are when you ride your motorcycle, these unpredictable conditions can spell trouble.
Distraction. Did you know? Motorcycle riders are more likely than car drivers to crash into stationary objects. Distraction plays a big part here. Distracted driving is also a major cause of drivers crashing into motorcyclists! Many drivers aren’t expecting to see a motorcycle or give it the appropriate space on the road. It only takes a split second of them taking their eyes off the road or their hands off the wheel to cause an accident.
Lane splitting. Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle drives in between two lanes of cars in tight traffic. Maneuvering in those tight spaces is a challenge for even the best motorcycle riders. It’s a risk that’s not worth taking. The same goes for weaving in and out of lanes.
Most Common Motorcycle Injuries
Motorcycle injuries are often serious because bikers have so little to protect them from an impact with another vehicle, from obstacles, or even from the ground. Some of the most common injuries in a motorcycle crash are:
Road rash. Sometimes when you hit the road, the road hits back. Friction burns, more commonly known as road rash, happen when a rider slides across the ground in a motorcycle accident. These gnarly, painful injuries are prone to infection and can even cause nerve damage.
Broken or fractured bones. When motorcycle riders are struck by cars and thrown from their bikes, broken bones are incredibly common. Whether it’s an arm, a leg, a skull, or a spine, any fracture can be painful and costly.
Neck injuries and spine injuries. A ton of different injuries fall into this category. Among them are whiplash, fractured vertebrae, and herniated discs. From there, the consequences only get more serious: spinal cord damage could result in paralysis or chronic pain for the rest of your life.
Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The most common types of injuries from motorcycle accidents are head injuries, which include concussions, skull fractures, and even brain damage. They’re also the most fatal. All the more reason to wear a helmet!
Safety Tips for Motorcycle Riders
Life is a game of risk and reward. Chances are, the rewarding feelings of riding a motorcycle will continue to outweigh the risks in the minds of many. After you’ve suited up in the safety gear mentioned above, here’s how you can do your part to reduce the risk of serious injury or death while riding your motorcycle.
Don’t speed! Speeding claims the lives of many motorcyclists, whether they take a sharp turn too fast or fail to notice a vehicle in their path ahead. Always obey the speed limit. (Here’s a not-so-fun physics lesson for you: the faster you’re going, the longer takes to stop, and the harder you will hit something in a collision.
Leave the light on. Always make sure your headlights are turned on so other drivers will be aware of you! It’s mandatory for motorcycles to have one unobstructed rear reflector, but you can always add additional adhesive reflectors or reflective tape to your bike, too.
Ride defensively. Some basic tips: don’t tailgate, don’t assume that a driver can see you, stay out of drivers’ blind spots, use your turn signals, and watch out for turning vehicles. Stay especially alert at intersections, where drivers may not notice you or give you the right of way.
Don’t drink and ride. It doesn’t have the same alliterative ring to it as “don’t drink and drive,” but it’s just as important. Never ride your motorcycle after drinking alcohol. Your balance, judgment, vision, and reaction time are all impaired, endangering everyone on the road.
Stay insured. If you use a motorcycle as your primary mode of transportation, don’t skimp when it comes to insurance coverage. Texas’ minimum liability insurance for motorcycles probably won’t cover your medical expenses if you get into an accident. Consider purchasing additional coverage like personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured motorist policies. If your negligence caused the motorcycle crash, your liability policy won’t cover your injuries. However, PIP policies are not fault-based and should pay your claim regardless of fault.
What to Do After A Motorcycle Wreck
Call 911. Police and paramedics are needed in just about every motorcycle wreck. Police need to create a crash report to help you determine fault if you make an injury claim, and immediate medical attention is potentially life-saving.
Collect contact info and photographs. The aftermath of a motorcycle crash is anxiety-riddled, but hopefully, road rage is not a factor in your accident and tensions aren’t spiking. If it is safe to do so, collect contact info and insurance info from the person who hit you. Also collect the contact info of any witnesses and bystanders. Take photos of all damages, injuries, and road conditions if you are able to.
Seek medical attention. If you’re lucky enough to walk away from the scene of a motorcycle wreck, you should be walking right into an ambulance or doctor’s office for evaluation. As mentioned above, injuries from motorcycle accidents cannot be brushed off or taken lightly. Many severe injuries may not present symptoms right away, and you may need diagnostic imaging to discover a problem before it’s too late.
Contact a lawyer. If you’re dealing with huge medical bills after a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, a motorcycle accident lawyer can help you seek the compensation you’re rightfully owed. Additionally, lawyers see the big picture – they can help estimate costs you might face in the future due to the accident and ensure you are prepared to handle them. A motorcycle accident lawyer can also help with coordinating your medical treatment and appointments, interviewing witnesses, compiling evidence and paperwork, and negotiating with tricky insurance companies. Most importantly, a lawyer can help you learn more about determining fault in a motorcycle crash.
Consult A Texas Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you get into a motorcycle accident in Texas, enlist the help of a dedicated motorcycle accident lawyer.
Whether you were cruising expansive stretches of Hill Country roads or zooming through the busy streets of Houston, we can help.
Staying informed about your legal rights and options is always important, but in the aftermath of a crash, it’s essential.
Contact one of our motorcycle accident attorneys today to receive expert legal counsel about your motorcycle accident, absolutely free.
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