Motorcycle accidents happen in Texas and throughout the nation at an alarming rate. Every 6 minutes and 18 seconds, a motorcyclist sustains a severe injury somewhere in the country, according to motorcycle accident statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In addition, every 1 hour and 44 seconds, a motorcyclist dies in a fatal motorcycle accident.
Knowing what to do after a serious motorcycle accident can be overwhelming. Even knowing how fault is determined and who's responsible for the cost of your losses can be confusing. Injured motorcyclists should understand the legal options available to them.
Below, you can find the answers to these questions and an explanation of why you should contact a motorcycle accident lawyer if you were injured in a wreck that was not your fault.
How is fault determined for a motorcycle accident?
If someone caused your motorcycle accident, that person and, by extension, their insurance company is responsible for your losses. This is because Texas has a fault-based car insurance system.
So how is fault determined after a motorcycle crash? Who decides who's at fault? Often, the insurance companies for everyone involved in the accident investigation determine who is responsible for the accident.
Not surprisingly, insurance companies often do everything they can to avoid responsibility and save money. An insurance adjuster may pressure you into accepting a lowball settlement offer that looks good on paper today but later proves to be far less than what you actually deserve to recover. Or, in some cases, they may blame the whole crash on you and offer you nothing at all.
Who pays for motorcycle accidents in Texas?
Once liability for your motorcycle accident has been determined, the at-fault party's insurance company is generally responsible for damages related to your accident, such as your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. While drivers are often to blame for motorcycle wrecks, other potentially liable parties may include:
- The motorcycle manufacturer. If a mechanical defect, design flaw, or faulty parts caused your motorcycle crash, the company responsible may be held liable for your damages.
- If you were hit by a drunk driver while riding a motorcycle, the bar, restaurant, or liquor store that sold alcohol to the intoxicated driver may be responsible for your losses. In such situations, you may be able to file a dram shop claim or lawsuit against the business.
The at-fault party's insurance company often makes a settlement offer to settle your injury claim, and in many cases, that offer does more for the insurance company than the injured motorcyclist. That's why before you accept a settlement offer, you should talk to a motorcycle accident lawyer first to ensure you aren't being taken advantage of by the insurance company.
Legal grounds for filing a motorcycle accident lawsuit
A settlement is a financial payment designed to settle your case once and for all. However, in some instances, filing a motorcycle accident lawsuit may be the best way to recover the compensation you're entitled to.
You may decide to file a lawsuit seeking damages (financial compensation) if the following situations apply:
- The insurance company's lowball settlement offer does not pay for all your accident-related expenses.
- The at-fault party's insurance company denies your injury claim and refuses to pay you anything.
The key to filing a successful motorcycle accident lawsuit is providing evidence that the at-fault party acted negligently or recklessly, resulting in your motorcycle crash.
How a motorcycle accident attorney can help
Motorcycle injury claims and lawsuits can quickly turn into complicated legal cases. But when you have a motorcycle accident lawyer handling your case, you can rest assured that your rights are being protected throughout the legal process.
A motorcycle accident attorney can:
- Conduct an in-depth independent investigation into your wreck.
- Gather evidence in support of your claim.
- Deal directly with the at-fault party's insurance company.
- Represent you in all court hearings and filings, including filing a motorcycle accident lawsuit.
The stakes are high in many motorcycle accident cases, and when your health and financial future are on the line, you need to put yourself in the best position to win.
Give your case an opportunity for success and schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Laredo motorcycle accident lawyer you can count on when it matters most.
Contact us today. We have experience handling complex motorcycle accident lawsuits and injury claims throughout Texas and look forward to seeing how we can help you.