Houston is one of the largest cities in America, and it’s growing rapidly. People love it here. But they don’t love the terrible traffic or parking here, and people may turn to motorcycles to quickly and efficiently scoot around town or out to some beautiful rides outside Houston or along its coast. The yearlong warm weather means motorcycles are always in season.
But the traffic can endanger motorcycle riders—and sometimes the potential for an accident becomes actual, and terrible injuries can result.
If you suffered injuries in a Houston motorcycle accident, you are likely dealing with costly treatment, extensive pain, lost income, and other stresses. Let the Houston motorcycle accident lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman assess your rights to possible compensation. Contact our office today.
Some of Our Actual Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits and Settlements
- October 2016 – We recovered $750,000 on behalf of a client who was thrown from his motorcycle in a crash with a car. The settlement was for the policy maximum for bodily injury coverage and underinsured motorist coverage. Our client suffered a serious shoulder injury and a closed head in the accident. The TBI resulted in a loss of executive function and a permanent impairment for the rest of their life.
- June 2014 – Our client recovered $415,000 after he suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash that required a cervical fusion. This was the case where the insurance company tried to make a much lower offer, thinking that our client may run to settle the case. However, a client with a motorcycle accident attorney on their side knows what their case is worth and when to file a lawsuit for a better payment. Here, the defendant settled on the eve of trial for an amount that was over three times what the insurance company’s best offer was before we filed a lawsuit for our client.
- April 2014 – Our client recovered $320,000 after a motorcycle accident that resulted in a cervical fusion. This was another case that required litigation because, without it, the insurance company would not make a reasonable settlement offer. Here, it required eight months of litigation, but the defendant settled for over $100,000 higher than the insurance company’s best offer.
As you can see, while an insurance company settlement is often the best-case scenario, lawsuits can be necessary to get you what you deserve. We fight for our clients because the insurance company is not always acting in your best interests.
These are just three of the many motorcycle accident cases that we handled that either settled or reached a jury. Some motorcycle accident claims settle before the injured party files a lawsuit, but insurance companies often need litigation to hold them accountable and force them to pay you what you deserve. Even then, many of the court cases filed settle before they go to trial.
Our lawyers can help you with no money out of your pocket. We are paid on a contingency basis, meaning that you owe us nothing unless we help you recover. Your motorcycle accident claim is too important to leave anything to chance by trying to file and negotiate it on your own. Do not let a fear of the cost get in the way of hiring one of our lawyers to fight for you. The cost of not having a lawyer in your motorcycle accident case will be even greater.
Houston Presents Dangers for Motorcyclists
Texas is known for its long and straight highways such as I-10 and I-45. While you may think that these are safe roads, these highways lull drivers into speeding and taking chances. Further, drivers tend to become distracted on Houston roads. In fact, there are close to 100,000 crashes involving distracted drivers in Texas each year.
Motorcycle fatalities are unfortunately too common. In a recent year, there were 412 motorcyclists killed on Texas roads. On top of that, 1800 people suffered serious injuries in motorcycle accidents in the state. In the previous year, there were 419 motorcyclist fatalities in Texas. Many of the motorcyclist fatalities in Texas are drivers between the ages of 20 and 40, and Texas is second to only Florida in the number of motorcycle deaths. Houston is one of the areas in Texas with the highest number of motorcycle fatalities.
These all present a major challenge for motorcycle operators on Houston roads. With the long and straight highways causing drivers to speed and lose attention, motorcyclists are even more at risk. Drivers often cut in front of motorcycles, cutting them off when they make illegal left turns. Automobile drivers may also not be paying attention, causing them to not see motorcycles on the road.
Common Injuries in Houston Motorcycle Crashes
Motorcycle drivers will tend to get hurt worse in crashes than other motorists. The obvious reason is that the motorcycle itself is less crashworthy than a car. It does not have support beams, a roof, or even an airbag. In many crashes, the driver is thrown through the air and to the ground at high speed, raising the risk of serious Houston personal injury. Contact with the pavement is the cause of the most serious motorcycle injuries.
Some of the most common types of serious motorcycle injuries are:
- Traumatic brain injuries (even helmeted motorcycle drivers are at risk of a TBI as they happen in almost 20 percent of motorcycle accidents)
- Crush injuries
- Road rash (this happens because the motorcycle rider is thrown to the ground and can skid along the pavement, causing deep burns and lacerations)
- Broken limbs
- Spinal cord injuries
What Happens After a Houston Motorcycle Accident
It helps to know the exact order in which things unfold after your motorcycle accident.
Here is some of what you can expect:
- You might be hospitalized or receive continuous treatment for your injuries with many medical appointments.
- You will likely be getting phone calls from your insurance company and the at-fault party’s insurance company since they are trying to begin work on the possible claim.
- Injured victims may not even take calls because of the extent of their injuries.
- Even months after the accident, you may still be struggling to recover and are still dealing with pain and suffering.
- The extent of your injuries could leave you unable to work, and your finances can suffer.
With this in mind, you need a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to help you navigate the days and months afterward. Your legal rights and financial future are at stake. This is why you need to call our lawyers immediately after an accident, so we can immediately start working on your claim.
Resolving Your Houston Motorcycle Injury Claim
When you file a motorcycle accident claim, you may seek significant financial compensation if someone else is at fault for your injuries. A motorcycle accident claim is like any other injury claim in that it requires a finding of negligence before you can receive compensation.
In any negligence case, you must demonstrate four different elements by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that it is more likely than not that what you are alleging happened.
The four elements of any motorcycle accident case include:
- Duty of care – In general, drivers owe other motorists and their passengers the duty to act with reasonableness and prudence, including complying with traffic laws.
- Breach of duty – Once you establish a duty of care, you would need to show that someone else acted in a way that a reasonable person would not. Every negligence case will look at the “mythical reasonable,” and your job is to show how the other driver was not acting like this. Below, we will give examples of things that could be considered a breach of the duty of care.
- Injury – A plaintiff needs to prove that they suffered a physical injury or some other sort of damage, such as damage to their property.
- Causation – The final element of the test is that you must demonstrate that your injuries would not have happened if not for the action or inaction of someone else. This is also known as the “but for” test.
While the four elements of negligence have remained largely the same in the United States since the 1800s, the application of that test considers the specific facts and circumstances of your own case. An insurance company or jury will look closely at the actions of each person that led up to the accident.
Negligence that Can Lead to Compensation for Your Houston Motorcycle Crash
In a motorcycle accident, some acts could automatically be considered negligent and may not even require much work by the insurer or jury to reach a conclusion.
Here are some examples of negligence by the responsible party:
- Colliding with a motorcyclist because the driver was speeding
- Aggressive driving
- Cutting off a motorcyclist
- Making an illegal turn that runs a motorcyclist off the road
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs
In many cases, when the other driver violated the law, it can be a major help for your claim. Of course, this is why you need to call law enforcement to the scene of your motorcycle accident, so they can issue citations or make arrests for driving violations.
Some cases are very clear, and negligence is not hard to determine. However, when one of the drivers did not break the law, each side might try to argue why they were not at fault for the accident. Liability is not always clear-cut when you file a negligence claim. In fact, the first thing that the insurance company will try to do is determine who is at fault for the accident.
How the Insurance Company Determines Negligence for a Houston Motorcycle Accident
The process that the insurance company uses to decide who is at fault for the accident is only one reason why you need a motorcycle accident lawyer. The calls may start immediately after the accident. Not only do you need to deal with your own insurance company, but you may also start getting calls from the other party’s insurance company. Naturally, they do not want to pay out what could be a large claim because it hurts their own bottom line.
Anything that you say to an insurance company can ultimately determine whether you receive payment for your injuries and how much. The insurer can use things that you say against you to limit your payment. You may not know that you are under no obligation whatsoever to speak with the other insurance company. This is when one of our attorneys can help you by advising you on who not to talk to after an accident and how you should talk to your own insurance company.
What Our Houston Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Can Do to Help
The immediate days after a motorcycle accident are a critical time to have an attorney on your side.
Here are some ways an attorney can help right after you have your motorcycle accident:
- Investigate the scene of the accident and have conversations with witnesses
- Be on the phone when you speak to the insurance company and help you present your side of the story
- Keep the other insurance company from trying to ambush you or catch you unaware
- Formulate a strategy for how you will handle your case
What Your Houston Motorcycle Accident Case Is Worth
If you have a possible motorcycle accident claim, you are probably wondering how much compensation you can get in a settlement or jury verdict. In short, injured motorcyclists should receive a financial recovery that would put them in the same position as if the accident never happened in the first place. This means that you should receive payment for every ounce of harm that you suffered.
Your financial compensation can include:
- Payment for all of your medical bills
- The cost of rehabilitation and future medical care (including home nurses and round-the-clock care)
- Lost wages both in the past and the future
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium for a spouse
The average plaintiff may not know how much their case is worth. In addition, you only have one chance to settle a motorcycle accident claim. If you settle for too little, you are leaving money on the table that you will need in the future. The attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman can help you come up with the right dollar value for your claim, so you know how to negotiate with the insurance company.
Houston Motorcycle Accident FAQs
Below are brief answers to some FAQs about motorcycle accident injuries. To discuss your specific case, please consult with a member of our team directly today.
How long do I have to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit in Houston?
In Texas, as in any state, there is a time limit on filing any lawsuit. Specifically, the Texas law is set out in Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Title 2 § 16.033. Like other personal injury claims, in Houston motorcycle accidents you have two years from the “date that the cause of action accrues.” What this means is that there is a two-year deadline from the time that you suffered injuries or should have known that you suffered injuries. In nearly all motorcycle accident claims, this means that you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that the statute of limitations gives you two years to begin working on your claim. Once the time limit expires, you completely lose your ability to file the lawsuit. The court is not forgiving, even if you are a day late. Therefore, you should contact a motorcycle accident attorney and begin working on your lawsuit well in advance of the deadline. This way, you do not run any risk of something going wrong, and you end up missing your window to file the lawsuit.
Many attorneys would advise you not to wait too long to start your motorcycle accident injury lawsuit because you could lose some evidence. For instance, witness recollection could fade over time. While you should take the time to develop a strong legal case, waiting too long could hurt your case in more ways than one.
Who else can I sue in a Houston motorcycle accident?
The most likely defendant in a motorcycle accident lawsuit is the driver of the vehicle who caused the crash. However, there are other cases when someone else may be to blame for the accident.
For example, the motorcycle itself that you were driving may have been responsible for your crash. The bike could have blown a tire, or the brakes could have failed, causing your crash and injuries. In this case, you would file a product liability lawsuit against the company that either made the motorcycle or the part on the motorcycle that failed. This would be a completely different type of lawsuit than a negligence lawsuit against another driver.
Another possible defendant in a motorcycle accident action could be the government. If your accident happened due to a road that was in poor condition and inadequately maintained by the state, you might sue the state for the failure to keep up their roads. Lawsuits against a state have different rules than court cases against individuals. There may be different timelines and requirements to notify the state. In addition, you could not get punitive damages from the state.
Finally, not all motorcycle crash injuries that end up in front of an insurance company or court are those of the motorcycle driver. The passenger on a motorcycle may end up filing a lawsuit against the motorcycle driver if they caused the passenger’s injury with their own negligence.
Will my Houston motorcycle accident result in punitive damages?
Punitive damages can really increase the size of your jury award. However, these damages are rare in Houston civil lawsuits. They only might apply when someone does something very wrong, and the jury wants to make an example out of the defendant.
In Texas, the description of punitive damages lies in Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 41.001. Punitive damages are a part of the category called “exemplary damages.” Exemplary damages are “damages awarded as a penalty or by way of punishment but not for compensatory purposes.”
It would follow that, in a negligence case, the need to punish a defendant would be rare. The defendant would usually need to act with gross negligence, recklessness, or intentionally harmful conduct in a Houston motorcycle accident case to face possible punitive damages.
There is nothing that would keep you from asking the court to consider a request for punitive damages. However, you should let a skilled Houston motorcycle accident lawyer assess the possibility in your claim.
Do I need an attorney for my Houston motorcycle accident case?
If you are filing a lawsuit after a motorcycle accident, chances are that you or a loved one suffered a serious injury. Motorcycle crashes often result in severe injuries that leave a person incapacitated for a long time.
When you are recovering from serious injuries or have lost some of your capacities, dealing with a claim and possible court case is the last thing that you would have the bandwidth to deal with during a difficult time. A motorcycle injury claim can be extraordinarily difficult without an attorney.
As an individual claimant, you may struggle to deal with the insurance company. The first thing that you would have to do on your own is to convince the insurance company that someone else was at fault. This is before you would even begin to discuss a settlement agreement. Insurance companies know that people working on their own behalf without an attorney are an easy mark, and they try to take advantage of you.
If you settle your claim, your motorcycle injury settlement will be the only chance that you have to receive payment for your injuries. You will sign a release of claims that says that you can no longer sue for the accident. With this in mind, you need an attorney to know the full value of your claim, so you will not settle for pennies on the dollar.
Further, you absolutely need an attorney if your case goes to court. Houston motorcycle accident trials require working with scientific and technical experts and questioning witnesses under oath. All of these are things that an experienced attorney does as part of their job that the average person would not know. Thus, it is best to hire a motorcycle accident attorney as soon after the accident as possible.
Can I afford a Houston motorcycle accident attorney?
Yes, you absolutely can afford one of our attorneys in your Houston motorcycle accident case. The reason why is that you will not need to pay anything out of your pocket for an attorney. Your lawyer will take your case on a contingency basis. What this means for you is that you do not need to pay your attorney upfront or as the case progresses. There are no retainers or hourly fees for you to worry about when you may already be struggling with money.
Contingency also means that your lawyer only receives payment if you are successful in your case. This means that you have achieved a financial recovery either in the form of a settlement or jury award. Your retainer agreement with the lawyer will specifically detail how much your attorney will receive when you recover money.
If for some reason you are not successful, you do not need to pay attorney’s fees. This is a risk that your attorney assumes when they take your case and is not a chance that you take. This is why your motorcycle accident attorney will want to learn as much as they can about the facts of your case before they agree to represent you.
What should I do right after a Houston motorcycle crash?
Your actions after the accident will depend on the severity of your injuries. You should always seek medical attention if you feel that there is even a remote chance that you suffered injuries. Make sure that someone calls the police to come to the scene of the accident to write a report. Calling 911 can also ensure that you receive the emergency treatment you need.
Once you see a medical professional and receive a diagnosis of your injuries, be sure to closely follow your treatment plan. Then, contact an experienced Houston motorcycle accident attorney who can help determine the best course of action for your legal claim.
Should I accept the insurance company’s settlement offer after my Houston motorcycle accident?
Insurance companies are businesses, and they have their own bottom lines and priorities. They do not make money when they pay out too much in claims. This does not mean that an insurance company will never make you a reasonable settlement offer. It does mean that it may take some doing to get a settlement offer that compensates you for the harm that you have suffered.
The insurance company knows this and is trying to use the situation to their advantage. They are counting on the fact that they think that you may be desperate and will jump at the first offer that they make. We are not saying to never settle your case. However, we are saying that you should always assume that the insurance company’s offer is low.
This is part of the reason why you should call our attorneys if you do not yet have a lawyer. The insurance company knows exactly what your claim is worth. They have armies of statisticians and lawyers on their side, backing up the formidable claims adjuster. You would likely not know on your own how much you should receive in damages. This is where a lawyer can help you since they work with insurance claims all the time.
Most motorcycle accident claims and cases settle. While we spend a great deal of time talking about Houston motorcycle accident trials, the truth is that very few cases actually reach that point because many people end up accepting the insurance company’s offer. However, be aware that settlement negotiations will require several rounds of offers and counteroffers before you reach an agreement. You may even need to file a lawsuit first to convince the insurance company to come to the table with a reasonable offer.
Is the process the same if my loved one died in a Houston motorcycle accident?
If you or a loved one suffered injuries, you would file a Houston motorcycle accident lawsuit. If someone did not survive the motorcycle accident, the proper case would be a wrongful death lawsuit. Many of the elements of the two cases are the same. For example, in both cases, liability depends on a finding that someone was negligent in the accident.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the damages would be somewhat different. In addition, some questions may arise about who may bring the claim. However, the two types of cases may overlap.
Will I recover more money if my Houston motorcycle accident case goes to trial?
Usually, motorcycle accident victims settle their case for less than they would get if they went to court and won. However, the amount of money alone is not the only consideration that you should think about. First, there is no guarantee you will win your case at trial. Anything can happen when you get in front of a jury. You could receive a large damage award, or you could end up with nothing. When you receive a settlement offer, you at least have a guarantee to get some money if you accept.
This does not mean that you should accept any settlement offer made by the insurance company.
You should weigh many factors with the help of your attorney when deciding whether to agree, including:
- What is your risk of losing the case at trial?
- Are the facts of the case bad enough that a jury may award you punitive damages?
- How much is the settlement offer below what you feel is the true value of your claim?
- Do you need money sooner rather than later?
Working with your motorcycle accident attorney, you would weigh these factors in making your own decision whether to accept a settlement or go to trial. The decision may depend on how much risk you can and want to take. Accident victims may reach different decisions based on their own individual situations.
Learn How Our Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Can Help You
After a motorcycle crash and injuries, you need legal representation you can trust. Seek help from the best motorcycle accident attorneys in the Houston area. Contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman today for your free case evaluation. You can easily reach us at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH), or you can write to us using our online contact page.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
6330 Gulf Fwy Suite 110
Houston, TX 77023
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