You take every precaution when riding a motorcycle. You wear a helmet, keep a vigilant lookout, and follow all the traffic laws. And you assume other drivers do the same. However, history tells us that, unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. In fact, Texas is one of the worst states for motorcyclists, with the second-highest rate of fatal motorcycle accidents in the country. It’s imperative to understand your rights and what legal options you have following an injury or fatal motorcycle accident. To learn more, speak with the skilled Carrollton motorcycle accident lawyers at Hartley Law Firm today.
Motorcycle accidents can change the course of your entire life. It’s not just the time spent in the hospital recovering, but also the lingering pain, the missed work, the medical bills, the limitations on what you can do. If you sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident, you deserve compensation for what you’ve been through. At the Hartley Law Firm, our Carrollton motorcycle accident attorneys are here for you. We recognize that you already have a lot on your plate, and the thought of bringing a lawsuit may feel like too much to take on right now. We can help. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation, and if you decide to bring us on board, we will handle everything so you can focus on getting your life back.
Proving a Carrollton Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
After a motorcycle accident, everything is a blur. To be sure, it’s a scary time. But once reality sets in, your anger may turn to frustration. You may wonder how another driver could have been so careless as to cause the accident. The fact is, some drivers don’t pay attention or drive in a way that puts others at risk. It’s only a matter of time before they cause an accident. Unfortunately, you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
While nothing can turn back time to before the accident, speaking with a Carrollton, TX motorcycle accident lawyer about bringing a personal injury claim is the first step toward holding the negligent driver accountable for their actions. If, after speaking with a legal practitioner, you decide to bring a claim, you will need to prove four basic elements:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care;
- They violated that duty;
- Their breach of the duty owed to you caused your injuries; and
- You suffered damages as a result of the accident.
If you can prove each of these elements, the next question becomes one of damages. Generally, Texas allows injury victims to recover for both their economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those accident-related costs that require you to either spend money or miss out on making money. For example, the following are types of economic damages:
- Medical bills,
- Lost wages,
- Decrease in earning capacity, and
- Property damage.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are those damages that are difficult to assign a monetary value to. The most common types of non-economic damages in a motorcycle accident lawsuit include:
- Pain and suffering,
- Mental or emotional pain,
- Physical impairment,
- Disfigurement, and
- Loss of the enjoyment of life.
At the Hartley Law Firm, we know that both economic and non-economic damages are critical to your full recovery. Our Carrollton motorcycle accident lawyers command an impressive ability to identify the full extent of your damages, so you are not left with unmet needs in the future.
It’s not fair or right, but motorcyclists face a social stigma. Read any news article about a motorcycle accident; it will almost certainly portray the motorcyclist as bearing some—or all—responsibility for causing the accident, often before police even began an investigation. However, this highlights the unfortunate reality that many people think, often with no basis in fact, that motorcyclists are aggressive drivers.
This is something that the Carrollton, TX motorcycle accident attorneys at the Hartley Law Firm is aware of and knows how to address. We rely on facts, not assumptions. We will investigate the accident and argue to the insurance company, judge, or jury that you were a victim and that the other driver was the negligent party. Even if you were partly to blame for the accident, you may still be able to recover a portion of your damages from the other driver.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
The most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Distracted driving,
- Driving while intoxicated,
- Tire blowouts,
- Turning left without looking,
- Low visibility, and
- Road obstructions (which can lay a motorcycle down).
Left turns are probably the most common single cause of motorcycle accidents. However, multiple factors can contribute to a motorcycle accident as well. For example, someone could be distracted and try to stop suddenly, only to find that the brakes aren’t working.
What Are the Most Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents?
When you ride a motorcycle, you are constantly facing hazards on the road. Many of these accidents result in injuries and sometimes death. Some of the most common accident types that our Carrollton motorcycle accident attorneys represent clients for include the following:
- Left-hand turns—when a driver fails to follow traffic signals and signs at an intersection, they might drive into the motorcycle rider who had the right of way;
- Car door impact—when drivers are exiting their vehicles, they should always look before opening their door to avoid striking a passing motorcycle rider;
- Head-on collisions—motorists who are not carefully watching the road might drift into another lane, which could have oncoming traffic;
- Rear-end collisions—when drivers are tailgating, it’s easy to rear-end the motorcycle in front of them if they cannot stop in time;
- Backing up—motorists who are backing up, especially out of parking lot spaces, often forget to watch for motorcycles;
- T-bone collisions—these are also called side-impact crashes, and they occur when a driver impacts another vehicle or motorcycle on the side; and
- Road hazards—road hazards or defects, such as missing road signs, potholes, or inadequate lighting, make it more challenging for drivers and motorcycles.
If you don’t see your motorcycle accident type listed here, it doesn’t mean we cannot assist you. These are just some of the most common types of claims our Carrollton, TX motorcycle accident lawyers handles.
What Are the Most Common Injuries in Carrollton Motorcycle Accidents?
Injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents are typically more severe than those sustained in car accidents. One reason is that motorcycle riders lack the same protection that occupants in a vehicle do. If someone is speeding and hits a motorcycle rider, injuries can be catastrophic or even fatal.
Some of the most common injuries we see in motorcycle collisions include:
- Road rash;
- Broken or fractured bones;
- Lacerations and penetrating wounds from landing on an object or flying debris;
- Muscle, ligament, or tendon damage;
- Bulging or herniated spinal discs;
- Internal injuries, including organ damage and bleeding;
- Spinal cord injuries, including partial or full paralysis;
- Severed limbs or ones that require amputation;
- Facial scarring and disfigurement;
- Burn injuries;
- Infections from lacerations, road rash, burns, etc.;
- Knee, foot, and leg injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries; and
Injuries can range from mild to serious ones that have life-long consequences. Some injured victims may pass away from their injuries. In the event your family member passed away from their injuries, you may have the right to file a wrongful death claim in Texas.
What Should I Do at the Scene of a Motorcycle Accident?
Take the following actions if you can:
- Push your motorcycle off the road;
- Summon medical help;
- Take photos of injuries, property damage, weather conditions, road conditions, skid marks, traffic signals, and other relevant images;
- Get contact information from the other driver and from witnesses;
- Obtain insurance information, license plate numbers, and driver’s license numbers from the other driver; and
- Seek medical treatment ASAP, even if you don’t think you were seriously injured.
Be sure to keep all accident-related documentation, especially medical bills.
Is Lane-Splitting Legal?
“Lane splitting” means operating a motorcycle between rows of vehicles in the same lane. It is illegal in Texas. This is important because if you cause an accident by lane-splitting, a court will rule you automatically negligent (negligence per se) because you caused the accident by breaking the law.
Can I Still Recover Damages If I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet?
Texas does not absolutely require its motorcyclists to wear a helmet. You don’t have to wear a helmet if you are at least 21 and you either (i) completed an approved motorcycle safety course or (ii) carry sufficient insurance coverage.
If you suffer head injuries in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet, you will be considered automatically negligent if you were breaking the law by not wearing a helmet. Even if you were not breaking the law (because you qualified under one of the foregoing exceptions to the helmet rule), a court might still find you responsible for your own injuries and deny you compensation if it determines that you could have avoided your injuries by wearing a helmet.
How Does Comparative Negligence Work in Texas?
When two or more parties are at fault for an accident, a Texas court will apportion fault on a percentage basis. It might rule, for example, that the accident was 75% the motorist’s fault and 25% the motorcyclist’s fault. You will lose whatever percentage of damages equals your percentage of fault—25% of your damages if you were 25% at fault, for example.
If you were more than 50% at fault for the accident, you will not be able to collect damages.
Contact the Hartley Law Firm to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Carrollton Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today
If you are suffering from injuries related to a motorcycle accident and wonder what you can do to hold the driver who caused the accident accountable, reach out to the Hartley Law Firm. Our knowledgeable Carrollton, TX motorcycle accident attorneys are here to help you through every step of the process, from answering the questions you couldn’t find answers to online to aggressively litigating your case in front of the jury and everything in between. We are a full-service injury law firm that puts our clients first. We understand that this is a challenging time and will do everything we can to make the process as easy on you as possible.
To learn more and to schedule a free consultation with our Carrollton motorcycle accident attorneys, give us a call at 469-289-6063 or connect with us through our online form.