Riding a motorcycle can be fun, exhilarating, and for some, practical. A motorcycle is cheaper to buy, maintain, and keep full of gas than a car. Getting around on a bike can be enjoyable and a real money saver. But there is a downside: motorcycles can be dangerous and put your life and health at risk. Even if you take a safe cycling course, observe all traffic rules, and ride with extreme care, you could be involved in a serious accident. Motorcycle accidents, contrary to popular belief, are not the fault of the biker in a majority of cases; a large percentage of collisions are caused by car or truck accidents. It is the biker, however, who usually suffers the brunt of the damage from the crash.
If you or a loved one was in a motorcycle accident in Dallas, please call the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. for a free consultation at (214) 200-4878. We may be able to help you hold the at-fault party responsible. Initial consultations with our lawyers are free, confidential and come with no obligation to hire us.
You may know someone who negotiated a settlement without an attorney, or the insurance adjuster may have told you that you don’t need one. While technically this is true, practically it is not. Motorcycle accident victims rarely win fair compensation without a legal battle. In the insurance industry there exists an unfortunate bias against bikers, based on an erroneous assumption that anyone who rides a motorcycle is reckless and a risk-taker. Insurance companies routinely deny motorcycle accident claims, and it will take a well-seasoned and highly skilled attorney to push back against their preconceptions and obtain a fair settlement for you.
A personal injury specialist will understand the full value of your damages and have the resources, skills, and reputation to aggressively pursue a monetary settlement that is adequate to provide you with the medical treatment and rehabilitation services you will need and to compensate you for other damages to your finances and quality of life.
A Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer will be able to take your case to court if the insurance company denies or lowballs your claim. Studies have shown that accident victims with skilled legal representation walk away with significantly more money than those who attempt to negotiate a settlement on their own. You future quality of life may largely depend on your receiving adequate compensation for your injuries.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) a majority of all serious motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle; in 42 percent of those crashes, the cause was a car or truck turning left directly into the path of a motorcycle in its proper lane, either traveling in its correct lane from the opposite direction or moving in the same direction and trying to pass the other vehicle. Both of these cases involve a driver of a car or truck who is violating the motorcyclist’s right of way.
In cases where an accident was caused by obstacles or debris left in the roadway by a construction crew, or cargo or tire treads deposited by a truck, the liable party might be a road construction contractor or government department doing roadwork, or the trucking company that created the road hazard.
These are some of the most common types of another party’s negligence that could trigger your right to receive compensation for your injuries:
When an insurance adjuster from the company covering the person or company that caused the accident calls and wants to take a statement from you, politely decline. Never allow an insurance adjuster to take a recorded statement, and never sign anything unless specifically instructed to do so by your lawyer. Explain to the adjuster that you have retained an attorney and say nothing further. If you have not yet found a lawyer, tell the insurance company that your lawyer will be in touch, and get the adjuster’s name and phone number. Then waste no time in finding legal representation. Call the law office of attorney Aaron Herbert in Dallas to arrange a consultation.
There are three types of damages that you may possibly recover: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Economic damages are those that can be proven with bills, receipts, and employment records. They may include:
Non-economic or “general” damages are those that pertain to your quality of life, and are harder to quantify in dollars; but for many accident victims, these damages are worse than the financial ones:
Finally, in a few cases, it may be possible to receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are an additional award specifically designed to punish the at-fault party for extreme wrongdoing and highly egregious behavior and to provide a deterrent for that type of behavior in the future. An example might be if you were struck by a driver with a very high blood alcohol count who was driving at double the legal speed limit.
If you believe you are eligible for compensation after a Dallas motorcycle accident, do not wait to seek advice about your legal options. If you wait too long, the state’s statute of limitations could expire. The statute of limitations is an important law that gives you a deadline on how long you have to file. Most civil courts will dismiss a case submitted past the statute of limitations, with very rare exceptions.
In general, you will have two years from the date of your motorcycle crash to file a personal injury claim with the Dallas County courts. Two years is the statute of limitations on all personal injury claims in Texas. The time limit starts on the date of the accident, with a discovery rule exception. If you do not discover your injuries right away, the clock will start counting down on the day of discovery. If your loved one lost his or her life in a motorcycle accident, the two-year clock starts ticking on the date of death.
The time limit on a case involving a government defendant is much shorter. If you need to bring an injury claim against a government entity, such as the City of Dallas for an unsafe roadway, you must act within six months of the date of the accident. Your deadline may also change if you or the victim was under 18. Minors have two years from the dates of their 18th birthdays to file personal injury claims in Texas. Contact Attorney Aaron A. Herbert right away after a harmful motorcycle accident to learn your specific time limit to file.
If you are 21 or older and can show proof that you have successfully completed a motorcycle training and safety course, or if you can prove that you are covered by a medical insurance policy, you are not legally required to wear a helmet. Furthermore, a law enforcement officer may not randomly pull you over for no reason other than to check to see if you have fulfilled these requirements.
If you have been injured in an accident and were not wearing a helmet, however, the lack of a helmet may be construed as an unnecessary assumption of risk and may affect the amount of compensation you can receive if you suffered a head injury. If your injuries did not affect your head, helmet use, or lack thereof, is irrelevant to your case.
As we said here earlier, motorcycle accidents usually result in very serious injuries that will affect your life in an untold number of ways. Some of the injuries bikers commonly incur in a crash include the following:
A motorcycle rider has absolutely no protection when a crash occurs, and is usually thrown from the bike, which can cause severe injuries or death. Bikers are about five times more likely to be injured, and by various estimates between 26 and 37 times more likely to be killed when an accident occurs. In 2013, 4,668 people died in motorcycle accidents nationwide, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) figures. Another 88,000 motorcyclists were injured the same year. The good news is that figure is 5.4 percent lower than the previous year. In 2012, the number of injured was 93,000.
In Texas alone, there were 495 people killed on motorcycles and 5,683 serious injuries in 2013. Fifty-three percent of those who were fatally injured were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash. If you are over the age of 21, you are not required to wear a helmet in Texas.
If someone close to you suffered a fatal injury in a Dallas motorcycle accident, you may have the right to file. A negligence-related accident, such as a crash involving a drunk or distracted motor vehicle driver, could give you and your family grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party. A wrongful death claim could reimburse you for all your loved one’s losses from the accident leading up to the date of death, as well as your family’s damages. These may include funeral and burial costs, medical bills, mental anguish, grief, and loss of consortium. Texas law only gives the right to file a wrongful death claim to certain parties.
These three parties will have the first right to file a wrongful death claim after a deadly motorcycle accident in Texas. They may file separately or together. If these parties do not file within three months of the loved one’s death, the right then extends to a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. The representative may be a family member or trusted individual the decedent named in a will, or else a person the courts appoint during probate. A personal representative may not file if a family member specifically requests him or her not to do so.
Because motorcycle accident injuries are so serious, it is unlikely that you will be able to do much more than dial 911 and have a police officer and an ambulance dispatched to the scene, but if you have the ability to take photos, do so, or ask someone in the area to do so. If possible, get the plate number driver’s name, contact information, and insurance company information for the car that hit you, if it was another car that caused the crash. Don’t discuss the cause of the accident with the other driver.
Your most important task at this point is getting appropriate medical attention. If an ambulance has been called, it will take you to the nearest hospital emergency room, where your medical treatment will begin. Make sure to keep all follow-up appointments. Follow your doctor’s instructions meticulously, right from the start, and continuing until your recovery is complete.
Contact an experienced and qualified personal injury attorney. Find a lawyer who is Board Certified as a Personal Injury Trial Lawyer by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and who has been practicing personal injury law for many years.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash, or if a close family member has been killed in one, and you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area or elsewhere in Texas, you can get the legal advice you need by arranging a free consultation with the personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Aaron Herbert. If we determine that you have a valid case, we will help you by:
Aaron Herbert is a top rated Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer with the highest possible AVVO rating (10/10), membership in the prestigious Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and a fourteen year history of successfully resolving more than a thousand cases for clients, including 50 jury verdicts. When results matter, Herbert Law can help. Important deadlines apply, so it’s important to act now. Call for your complimentary case evaluation today.