Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Houston, Texas
Texas is home to comfortable weather, lots of beautiful open roads, and scenic majesty that makes motorcycle riding a prime attraction. Of course, motorcycles are at a severe disadvantage if they are struck by cars or trucks, which are larger and more shielded against any impact. Motorcycles are also more vulnerable than cars if bad weather forces them to wipe out or run off the road into trees or other objects. The results can be devastating, including severe injuries and even death.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), in the latest reporting year of 2021, there were 521 deaths of persons riding motorcycles, and 45 percent of the deceased were not wearing helmets. By law, motorcyclists and their passengers 21 or older do not have to wear helmets if they’ve taken a traffic safety course.
If you or a loved one has been injured while riding a motorcycle in or around Houston, Texas – or worse, if a loved one has perished as a result – contact the personal injury/wrongful death attorney at The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm.
Because motorcyclists are often viewed in a negative light by both insurers examining a claim and by jurors in a lawsuit, you will need the assistance of an attorney familiar with motorcyclist claims to fight that bias.
At The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm, we are more than familiar and equipped to fight against any type of prejudice to obtain the just compensation due to you. We will fight for your rights from start to finish, so notify us immediately following the accident. We proudly serve clients throughout the Greater Houston Area, including The Woodlands, Greenspoint, Katy, Houston Heights, Sugar Land, and Missouri City.
Involved in an accident? Let's uphold your rights.
Steps to Take If You’re Injured in a Motorcycle Accident
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident as a driver or rider, your first responsibility is to seek immediate medical attention. If your injuries do not rise to the level of immediate care and treatment and you can remain on the scene, there are several important steps to take.
First, of course, you need to get the contact and insurance information of the other driver or drivers involved in the incident. Take photos or videos of everything at the scene, including damage to your motorcycle, injuries to you or your rider, and even of the road itself to show the conditions and to highlight any traffic warning signs that may have been violated.
Also, if there are injuries involved or property damage exceeding $1,000, you need to contact the local police and report the accident. If officers come to the scene to investigate, make sure you obtain a copy of their accident report, which can prove vital in any insurance claim or lawsuit.
Since Texas is an at-fault auto insurance state, you can report the accident and make a claim with your own insurance company, which will then seek a subrogation claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You can also directly make a claim against the other driver’s insurance, or you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the insurer and driver.
However, your best course of action is to contact an accident/personal injury attorney who can then assume the claims process against the insurance company and at-fault driver. Insurers are for-profit businesses, so it is in their interests to limit compensation for your claim or deny it altogether. An experienced attorney knows their tricks and tactics and can counter those efforts to get you the best possible settlement.
Texas Motorcycle Laws
Texas law on motorcycles requires several equipment features, including a tail lamp, a stop lamp, a license plate lamp, a rear red reflector, a headlamp, and of course, the basic operating features such as brakes, tires, horns, mirrors, and more.
Texas law also prohibits lane splitting, which refers to a motorcycle using the space between two vehicles in adjoining lanes to pass them by. As for helmets, motorcyclists under 21 must wear a helmet, meeting Federal Motor Vehicle Standard #218. Those operators and riders 21 and over can become exempt from helmet-wearing if they complete an approved Motorcycle Operator Training Course or if they can show they are covered by at least $10,000 in medical insurance.
Determining Fault in Texas
Motor vehicle and motorcycle operators in Texas are required under law to show care for other drivers on the road and to operate their vehicles in a safe manner so as to prevent injury or damage to others. If this duty of care is broken, then that driver can be considered negligent and become liable for any injuries or damage they cause to others.
Not all accidents, however, are clear-cut in that one driver is 100 percent responsible. Sometimes, both of the vehicle/motorcycle operators in the accident might share responsibility. This is where the modified comparative negligence rule observed in Texas comes into play. For instance, if a motorcyclist who is injured in an accident with a car was lane splitting, which led to the accident, that person could be held liable to a certain extent, as well as the driver who turned into their motorcycle and caused injuries.
The modified comparative negligence rule is also known as the 51 percent rule. This means that if you are more than half responsible (51 percent) for the accident in which you were injured, you cannot sue the other driver or make a claim against their insurance.
The legal principle can also reduce your compensation. Say you are deemed 30 percent at fault; then your settlement or court award will be reduced by 30 percent. If you make a claim or sue for $30,000, for instance, your compensation will be reduced by $9,000, or 30 percent, to $21,000.
Filing a Lawsuit for a Loved One
If you lose a loved one in a motorcycle accident, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed. A wrongful death lawsuit is like an extension of a personal injury lawsuit. If the decedent had lived and been able to file a personal injury lawsuit, then you as a child, spouse, or parent of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Other family members such as siblings or grandparents cannot launch a wrongful death lawsuit.
Motorcycle Accident Attorney Serving Houston, Texas
Reach out immediately to The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm when you are injured in a motorcycle accident in or around the Greater Houston Area. We will handle negotiations with the insurance provider, and if need be, take the matter to court through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Your consultation is free, and any action we take will be billed on a contingency basis. You don’t pay until we win for you.