Riding a motorcycle can be quite a rush. Unfortunately, because motorcycle drivers are entirely exposed in collisions, it can also be hazardous, particularly if you do not wear a helmet. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident or someone you love has been killed, there are steps you can take to protect your rights.
What should I do if I was in a motorcycle accident?
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, there are several steps you should take:
File a Police Report
According to Texas Transportation Code § 550.026, you are legally obligated to inform law enforcement immediately if you are involved in a motorcycle crash that causes injury to or death of a person, or damage to a vehicle to the extent that it cannot be normally and safely driven. Even if the accident does not meet these requirements and seems minor, you should always contact the police to file a crash report. Insurance companies find a police determination of fault to be persuasive, and having a police report to back up your side of the story can strengthen your claim.
Photograph the Accident and Your Injuries
After calling the police, you should take photos of the crash scene and all of the damage to the vehicles involved from every angle. You should also photograph the scene of the accident, any road or weather conditions that might have played a role in the accident, and any injuries you sustained, no matter how minor they seem.
Obtain Contact Information from the Other Driver and Witnesses
You should get the following information from any other driver that was involved in the crash:
- Address and phone number
- Driver’s license and license plate numbers
- Auto insurance information
You should also write down the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident, even if the police also interview them.
When should I go to the emergency room?
You should go to the emergency room immediately after the motorcycle accident if there is any chance you are injured. If you are offered an ambulance at the scene of the crash, you should agree to take it to the hospital. In the ambulance, the EMTs can provide treatment during the trip to the hospital and monitor you for any sudden changes to your condition. On the other hand, if you try to drive yourself or refuse to go to the emergency room and try to drive somewhere else, your symptoms could intensify on the way, potentially making you a danger to yourself and others.
Additionally, if you refuse to take an ambulance to the hospital or otherwise delay in seeking medical treatment, the insurance companies will argue that your injuries must not have been as serious as you claim. Even if you feel fine after a motorcycle accident, you may not be able to feel the full extent of your injuries. After a motorcycle crash, adrenaline can prevent pain signals from reaching your brain, and some injuries might seem minor right after the accident but worsen over time.
You should always go to the emergency room if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Back pain
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
You should also agree to take an ambulance to the emergency room if you hit your head on a window or airbag, even if it does not feel like you are injured.
What if my family member was killed in a fatal motorcycle accident?
If your family member was killed in a fatal motorcycle accident, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the person responsible for the crash by filing a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death lawsuit may allow you to recover damages for:
- Medical bills
- Funeral costs
- Loss of care, maintenance, and support, including wage loss
- Loss of love, companionship, and comfort
- Loss of inheritance that would have been accumulated and left to family members if the victim lived
In some situations, you might also be able to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish the responsible party for the gross negligence or intentional action that caused the death.
However, not every family member is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Texas, only the following family members can file receive wrongful death compensation:
- The victim’s spouse
- The victim’s children
- The victim’s parents
Can I sue someone for a motorcycle accident?
Yes, you can sue someone for a motorcycle accident if their negligence resulted in your injuries. A person acts negligently when they behave with complete disregard for the effect their actions will have on other people. With motorcycle crashes, this could include drivers who are speeding, cutting people off, weaving in and out of traffic, failing to yield, or engaging in a variety of other behaviors that could cause an accident.
To successfully sue someone for negligence, you must be able to prove that the other person failed to exercise reasonable care while driving and their behavior was the cause of your injuries.
How long after a motorcycle accident can you sue?
State laws generally will place a limit on how long after a motorcycle accident you can sue. This time limit is called the statute of limitations, and if you don’t initiate a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, you lose your opportunity to sue. In Texas, the statute of limitation for personal injury cases, which include motorcycle accidents, is two years from the date of the crash. While this might seem like it would be plenty of time, negotiating with insurance companies, seeking and receiving medical treatment, and collecting evidence to support your side of the story can take much longer than you think. Therefore, it’s essential to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a motorcycle accident.
When should I contact a motorcycle accident lawyer?
You should contact a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible after the crash. A motorcycle accident attorney will manage the communications with the insurance companies, so it’s crucial to involve a lawyer as soon as possible to avoid being taken advantage of in your insurance claim. Claims adjusters are trained in methods of manipulation to get you to say things that can damage your claim. For this reason, it’s much better to let an experienced motorcycle accident attorney handle all communications with them.
Do I need a motorcycle accident lawyer near me?
Even though there is no legal requirement for you to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer, a seasoned personal injury attorney can help you get full compensation for your injuries. If the insurance companies refuse to offer a fair settlement, a motorcycle accident lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf to get the payment you deserve.
Have questions? We protect victims like you every day.
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