Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Legally Reviewed By: Jud Waltman
Houston is an aesthetically perfect city for motorcyclists with its close proximity to city views, countrysides, and sandy beaches. Houston also has the unfortunate distinction of being one of the deadliest cities in the United States for motorcyclists and the most dangerous in Texas. Motorcyclists have the right to use the roadways, and Houston drivers owe them a duty of care.
The motorcycle attorneys at the Lanier Law Firm are dedicated to the cause of motorcyclists who are injured because of the negligence of others.
What causes most motorcycle accidents?
Drivers who are not consciously watching for motorcycles may not see them at all, even if they appear to be looking right at them. One of the most common causes of collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles is the other vehicle turning left in front of the motorcycle. Other common causes include the following:
- Being rear-ended by a car
- Cars changing lanes into the motorcyclist
- Cars opening doors in front of the motorcyclist
The Motorcycle Foundation lists the following tips to help you boost your safety on the road while enjoying your motorcycle:
- Be as visible as possible
- Keep your headlight on day and night
- Use reflective strips on your clothing and motorcycle
- Avoid riding in cars’ blind spots
- Flash your brake light when slowing down or stopping
- Use your turn signals
- Ride as if you are invisible
- Always have an escape route
- Watch for cars that might pull out in front of you
- Use strategic lane positioning to see and be seen
- Dress for a crash as well as the ride
- Wear a full-face helmet
- Choose protective clothing, such as leather
- Scan the road well ahead
- Follow the rules of the road
- Don’t ride while tired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Ride within your skill level
- Get hands-on training
- Develop riding techniques before you go out into traffic
- Swerving maneuvers
- Braking techniques
- Handling adverse road conditions
Are helmets required in Texas?
Helmets are required for riders under the age of 21. Riders ages 21 and older may ride without a helmet as long as one of the following conditions is met:
- $10,000 in health insurance,
- Completion of a state-authorized motorcycle training course.
Regardless of the legal requirements, all riders should consider wearing a helmet at all times.
The Most Dangerous Intersections in Houston
Intersections are hotspots for all types of accidents, but for motorcyclists, even a fender-bender can be deadly. Nearly one-third of Texas motorcycle fatalities occur at intersections.
The most dangerous intersections are along FM 1960, SH 6, and the 610 Loop, including the traffic circle near Hermann Park and the following:
Pease Street and Fannin Street
Bissonnet Street and Westchester Avenue
Main Street and Montrose Boulevard
FM 1960 at the West Lake Houston Parkway and Treaschwig Road intersections
South Gessner Road and Westpark Drive
Highway 6 at the Spencer Road, Bellaire Boulevard, and Westheimer Road intersections
Clay Road and Barker Cypress Road
Common Injuries in Motorcycle Crashes
While motorists have some insulation from the ground thanks to airbags, seatbelts, and their vehicle bodies, motorcyclists involved in collisions have no such protection.
The following injuries are common after a motorcycle crash.
- Head injuries, which can occur even while wearing a helmet
- Skull fractures
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neck injuries
- Full or partial paralysis
- Eyesight damage
- Road rash, which occurs when motorcyclists slide on the pavement
- Nerve damage
- Long-term skin irritation
- Biker’s arm
- Occurs as a result of the natural reflex to block a fall with
- Similar to road rash, but more extensive
- Occurs as a result of the natural reflex to block a fall with
- Leg injuries
- Loss of hearing
Texas Automobile and Motorcycle Insurance Requirements
The state of Texas requires motorcyclists and drivers to carry the following liability insurance:
- Bodily injury coverage of $30,000 per person, up to $60,000 per accident
- Property damage coverage of $25,000 per accident.
These are the minimum requirements. We recommend purchasing as much coverage as you can afford. We also recommend purchasing uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverages.
How much is my motorcycle accident case worth?
It is impossible to estimate how much compensation you may recover without knowing the specific details of your case. Every case is unique, and not all cases qualify for all types of compensation available.
Types of Compensation
Economic damages are the objectively quantifiable monetary losses from the accident.
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
Non-economic damages are the significant losses sustained in the accident that cannot be quantified:
- Emotional distress
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Loss of society
- Loss of enjoyment of life activities
- Loss of bodily functions
- Loss of consortium
Exemplary damages are punitive damages that are awarded in cases where the crash was caused by fraud, malice, or gross negligence. While there are no state limits on the amount of economic and non-economic damages you can recover, the state does limit exemplary damages to the greater of:
- Two times the economic damages awarded plus an amount equal to any non-economic damages found by the jury, up to $750,000
If the injurious acts were inflicted during the commission of a felony, punitive damages are unlimited.
Factors Affecting Compensation
Several factors can influence the amount of compensation you recover.
Insurance companies are only liable to pay compensation up to the coverage limits. If your damages exceed those limits, you will have to look for other parties from which to collect. This often requires the filing of additional lawsuits. These resources include the following:
- Additional insurance sources you may have purchased prior to the accident
- The negligent driver
- A third party not present during the accident, such as a municipality with poorly maintained roads or the manufacturer of defective automobile or motorcycle components
Collecting compensation from the negligent party is limited when the party does not have financial resources. Our attorneys thoroughly investigate the at-fault party’s resources and provide a thorough forensic analysis of the accident to establish the liability of third parties who have more assets from which to recover your compensation.
If you are partly responsible for the accident, this impacts your compensation. If you are more than 50 percent responsible, you are barred from receiving compensation. However, if your share of the fault is 50 percent or less, you can recover compensation that is adjusted proportionately.
This is another reason our attorneys work with forensic investigators. If the original police report or the insurance company assigns more fault to you than you deserve, we can help you refute those findings and restore your right to receive your compensation.
What if my family member was killed in a motorcycle accident?
Losing a family member in a motorcycle accident is tragic. When another person’s negligence is to blame, we can help your family claim the compensation you need. While compensation alone cannot make up for the loss of a loved one, it can alleviate the resulting financial stress.
Your family may be entitled to such compensation as the following:
- Medical expenses
- The pecuniary value of services and income lost through the death
- Emotional anguish of the family
- Punitive damages
- Burial expenses
- Pain and suffering of the deceased
- Loss of companionship
How much time do I have to file a motorcycle accident claim?
The statute of limitations for most personal injury and wrongful death cases in Texas is two years. While this may seem like sufficient time, it is important not to wait to contact an attorney. The sooner your attorney can start working on building your case, the better your attorney’s access to evidence will be, and the more time your attorney will have to build a strong case.
Do I really need a Houston motorcycle accident attorney?
The attorneys at the Lanier Law Firm have been vigorously defending motorcycle accident victims for over thirty years, and this has given us firsthand knowledge of how taxing these legal battles are for those who are injured.
Insurance companies resort to numerous legal maneuvers and tactics in hopes of reducing compensation. They intimidate and take advantage of those without representation by experienced Houston personal injury attorneys.
We are nationally known for our creative resourcefulness in helping our clients. Our attorneys are consistently recognized by our peers with such prestigious recognitions as the following:
- Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America
- Best Law Firms, Tier 1 by U.S. News
- Best Lawyers in America by Best Lawyers
- Top 10 Super Lawyers and Texas Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters
These recognitions have come about because of our commitment to each client to achieve nothing less than remarkable results. We have won billions on behalf of our injured clients, including the below:
- $2.2 million on behalf of a woman injured by a drunk driver
- $1.95 million for a worker injured on a construction site
- $5.5 million for a worker who suffered severe head injuries from a fall
We only charge fees after we win your case and recover your compensation. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.