Motorists can certainly sustain injuries in all kinds of motor vehicles, but motorcyclists are undoubtedly the most vulnerable ones on the road. Attorney Stewart Guss is an avid motorcyclist himself, and is extremely proud of the M designation on his Texas driver’s license. He has spent hours upon hours riding throughout various parts of the state—so he understands the unique risks to which motorcyclists expose themselves each time they ride.
Even the safest riders, however, face greater accident risks than people in cars or trucks—and significantly increased risks of sustaining serious injuries when accidents strike them. In fact, according to data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2015, motorcyclists are five times more likely to suffer accident injuries than the occupants of cars or trucks.
Injuries That People Sustain in Motorcycle Accidents
Accident injuries that motorcyclists can sustain vary greatly in terms of severity. Because motorcyclists do not enjoy the protections offered by the body of a vehicle around them, even seemingly minor accidents have the potential to cause extremely serious injuries. For instance, a relatively low-speed collision between a motorcycle and another vehicle can toss the motorcyclist through the air like a rag-doll, potentially causing injuries like fractures, dislocations, and serious lacerations to skin and other tissues. A list of injuries often sustained in motorcycle accidents, along with some basic information, follows below:
Traumatic brain injuries – In any accident in which a motorcyclist’s head hits something, like the ground, another vehicle, or object, a traumatic brain injury can result—even if a motorcyclist wears a helmet at the time of a crash. Even mild TBIs can leave victims with serious symptoms that last for weeks or months. Severe TBIs may leave victims with physical or cognitive disabilities that can last their lifetimes.
Spinal cord injuries – Spinal cord injuries are among the most dangerous and potentially life-altering traumas a person can sustain. An injury to the spinal cord that partially damages the ability of signals to pass between the brain and parts of the body can result in pain, numbness, weakness, loss of range of motion, and other serious issues. An injury that completely cuts off communication between the brain and the rest of the body typically will completely paralyze victims below the injury site.
Serious soft tissue injuries – Motorcycle accidents commonly result in serious soft tissue injuries, such as lacerations, contusions, sprains, and strains. These injuries involve any damage to the soft tissues of the body, including skin, fat, tendons, ligaments, synovial membranes, and muscles. In serious cases, soft tissue injuries require emergency surgeries and can result in long-term complications such as scarring, chronic pain, disfigurement, and loss of range of motion.
In many instances, the severity of injuries (or even their very existence) takes time to emerge in the minutes and hours immediately after an accident. For example, injuries to a person’s organs or those that cause internal bleeding may not show symptoms until they become life-threatening. Consequently, anyone involved in a motorcycle accident must seek medical attention and undergo a thorough evaluation conducted by a medical professional as soon as possible. In addition to recognizing and treating any unidentified injuries, doing so will create evidence describing the extent and nature of your injuries in the form of a medical record that can help establish damages during settlement negotiations or in court.
Potential Liable Parties in a Motorcycle Accident Case
After a motorcycle accident, you can incur significant losses, both economic and non-economic—from property damage to your motorcycle and lost income to lost quality of life and physical and emotional pain and suffering. Fortunately, Texas law entitles people injured in accidents to compensation for losses caused by the negligence of others. You could potentially hold many parties liable for the losses incurred in a motorcycle accident, and an attorney will identify them after reviewing the facts of your case in detail.
A significant percentage of motorcycle accident victims can hold another motorist liable for their injuries. Common examples of driver negligence that can lead to serious motorcycle accidents include:
- Distracted or drugged driving
- Failure to yield
- Aggressive driving
- Failure to signal lane changes
In addition, parties other than motorists can cause serious motorcycle accidents. For example, employees of the government agency responsible for road maintenance and design in your jurisdiction can ignore dangerous road defects—including potholes, inadequate drainage, overgrown vegetation, missing or faded lane markings, and missing or inadequate signs—that can cause extremely serious motorcycle accidents.
Some accidents result from problems with the motorcycles or equipment. When motorcycle or motorcycle equipment manufacturers or retailers sell defectively designed, marketed, or manufactured products, you may hold them liable for any injuries the defective products cause you. As a result, anyone hurt in a motorcycle accident that a defective bike or product may have caused should thoroughly review the case with an attorney. This is particularly true in single-vehicle accidents in which no clear reason explains the cause of the crash.
Recovering Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident
If the negligence of another person caused your accident, the first step to recovering compensation is filing a claim with the at-fault person’s insurance company. If the person who injured you was working as an employee, you may hold the employer liable for your injuries.
Typically, accident victims will resolve personal injury claims through a settlement with the at-fault’s party’s insurance company. Even if a case does not go to trial, however, you need an attorney to represent you throughout the settlement process. Insurance companies often take advantage of unrepresented parties by using delay tactics to get them to accept lowball offers and simply move on with their lives. An attorney, however, will negotiate with the insurance company for you and make you fully aware of how much compensation you deserve before accepting a settlement offer.
In some cases, however, the other party does not concede liability for an accident or is unwilling to offer a reasonable settlement. You may need to take a case to trial to recover compensation. When the other party contests liability, you must present evidence that proves the other party’s negligence caused your accident. In a case where the other party concedes liability, the trial will focus on the extent of your damages.
Protecting Your Rights After a Serious Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accident victims can take steps after accidents to protect their rights and maximize their chances of recovering compensation. This is true even in cases where another motorist clearly caused the accident. In fact, victims not only must take affirmative steps to recover compensation—they should not do anything that could ultimately reduce their settlements or awards or make recovering any compensation difficult. To maximize your chances of recovering compensation for your losses after a motorcycle accident:
Gather information about your accident – To protect your legal rights after an accident, collect information about the way your accident occurred and the people involved. If you can, exchange information with the driver or drivers involved and write down the vehicle license plate numbers. Make note of the weather conditions at the time of the accident and take photographs of any roadway hazards that you believe may have contributed to the crash.
Keep detailed notes about how your injuries damage your life – Establishing damages is the most important issue in most motorcycle accident cases. Keeping detailed notes about how your injuries afflict you can help your attorney maximize the settlement or award you ultimately receive. Issues of which you should make note include pain, feelings of depression or anxiety, having to skip social events or family functions, the inability to exercise or engage in recreation, or trouble sleeping.
Be aware of what you post on social media – Insurance companies involved in accident litigation can use what you post on social media as evidence against you. For example, posts of you engaging in exercise or simply having fun with your friends could serve as evidence that the accident injured you less seriously than you claim—justifying a lower settlement offer. For this reason, refrain from social medial use at all while your personal injury case is pending.
Retain an attorney – The single most effective thing you can do to protect your rights after an accident is to retain a lawyer to represent you. Remember that any delay in obtaining representation could result in the loss or destruction of evidence important to your case. Retain an attorney immediately after an accident.
Call Our Office Today to Speak With a Texas Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
As a 20-year motorcyclist himself, attorney Stewart Guss understands the risks that motorcyclists face every time they ride, and he is committed to holding careless drivers responsible for their actions. He understands how to obtain maximum compensation from insurance companies and is not afraid to take a motorcycle accident case to trial when necessary. You should choose our team because:
- Our team of skilled lawyers believe in integrity, respect, and family values.
- We will always be there for you!
- Our decades of combined experience allow us to recover as much as possible for your motorcycle accident-related losses.
- Motorcycle accident cases are complicated and involve extremely serious injuries, so get our experienced legal team in your corner.
- You don’t have to pay us anything unless we win your case!
Stewart Guss and his team of experienced Texas motorcycle accident attorneys are committed to helping injured motorcyclists recover compensation from careless motorists and other parties that cause serious wrecks. To schedule your free consultation with an attorney, call us today at 800-898-4877 or send us an email through our online contact form.
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