Motorcycle riders in Houston know how dangerous the roads can be. Full-sized trucks, cars, and 18-wheelers with multiple blind spots traveling at breakneck speeds put riders at risk every day. Houston motorcycle accident injuries happen almost daily on our busy roads. If you were injured while riding due to another person’s negligence, you need to contact an expert Houston motorcycle accident attorney to ensure you receive full compensation for your damages.
The small size, fuel efficiency, and quick handling abilities that provide motorcycle riders with a sense of freedom can also make them far more likely than other vehicles to be involved in a crash. In a motorcycle wreck, the rider has fewer safety features and the result is often more serious injuries for the motorcycle rider. Social misconceptions about motorcycle riders can put then at a disadvantage to recover compensation for their damages, injuries, and lost wages. The experienced Houston motorcycle accident attorneys at Blass Law will fight to get the very best outcome for your case. Call (713) 225-1900 or request an appointment online today!
Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), although there is no “typical” motorcycle crash, motorcycle crashes as a whole are typically likely to cause injuries. In fact, more than four out of every five reported motorcycle crashes resulted in the motorcyclist’s injury or death in 20161. But this doesn’t mean that the vast majority of motorcycle crashes are the motorcyclist’s fault; in fact, in more than half of all crashes, the precipitating factor is either something outside the motorcyclist’s control (like debris in the road) or the fault of another driver.
Some of the most common causes of (and contributing factors to) motorcycle accidents include:
Alcohol impairment is a major contributing factor to all types of vehicle crashes, but drunk driving accidents involving motorcycles are especially severe. Because there’s nothing (short of a helmet) to protect a motorcyclist from the road, a motorcyclist who veers into the path of a drunk driver or who has been drinking himself won’t necessarily be able to react quickly enough to avoid a potentially fatal impact. Motorcycles are small and vulnerable to being lost in a driver’s “blind spot,” so a driver who is under the influence is less likely to see (and avoid) a motorcycle as compared to a passenger vehicle or large truck.
Just like intoxicated drivers, distracted drivers can spell trouble for motorcyclists. According to a 2016 AAA study, nearly 60 percent of crashes involve some type of distracting behavior (like cell phone use) within the few seconds preceding the crash2. Motorcycles are smaller than passenger vehicles and fit more easily into a driver’s blind spot, causing them to be especially vulnerable to collisions with distracted drivers.
Inexperienced Riders (and Drivers)
Newly-licensed drivers may not be accustomed to the sight, sound, and reaction times of motorcycles and are more likely than experienced drivers to pull out in front of a motorcyclist, make a sudden stop or turn, or proceed through an intersection when they don’t have the right-of-way. This is one reason many seasoned motorcyclists opt for bikes with loud exhaust systems, as they’re more likely to catch the attention of distracted or inexperienced drivers who might not notice they’re sharing the road (or check their blind spots before changing lanes). Loud pipes save lives!
Inexperienced motorcycle riders are also at a higher risk of accident than those with a few thousand miles on the odometer. Many assume that a driver’s license doubles as a motorcycle license—but there are quite a few valid reasons for states to require motorcyclists to pass a separate licensing test. Encountering a patch of gravel, oil slick or grass clippings in an enclosed vehicle is far different from traveling over these slippery hazards on a motorcycle, and without the knowledge and experience needed to avoid common hazards, new motorcyclists are vulnerable.
In some rare situations, a malfunction with the motorcycle itself—or safety equipment like a helmet or face mask—can lead to an accident. From a “sticky” hand brake to a throttle that won’t stop feeding gas to the accelerator, a motorcycle that suddenly stops functioning properly can catapult its driver into disaster.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Even when motorcycle riders are wearing proper protection, injuries are common in a collision or crash. Some of the injuries most frequently suffered in motorcycle accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI), including concussions
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Road rash – scrapes, scuffs, and other abrasions
- Burns (often from landing on the motorcycle’s tailpipe)
- Wrongful death
These injuries can range from mild to serious, even fatal. Some injuries, particularly those related to the brain and spinal cord, can cause permanent disfigurement or disability.
Legal Damages Available for Motorcycle Injuries
Because so many motorcycle accidents are the fault of another driver, the injured motorcyclist may be entitled to recover damages from the at-fault party. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, these damages may be collected from the driver’s insurance company or through a judgment against the driver’s personal assets.
Some of the damages available to motorcycle drivers who are involved in a collision may include:
Often, a motorcycle that’s been involved in a serious accident may be totaled—and with the average price of a new motorcycle ranging from $10,000 to $35,000 or more, the cost to replace your bike and any damaged gear can be significant.
Along with compensation for the damage to your motorcycle, the at-fault driver may also be responsible for any medical expenses you sustain as a result of the accident. These can include both past and future costs, from hospitalization and medication to physical therapy and assistive devices like crutches or wheelchairs.
Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity
A serious motorcycle accident can leave its victim without a way to earn an income. If you’ve lost a job, missed out on wages while absent from work, or are no longer able to perform your job as a result of a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for these losses.
Pain and Suffering
While lost wages, medical bills, and property damage are objective and quantifiable costs, “pain and suffering” damages can be far more subjective and don’t have to be tied to actual financial losses. These damages recognize that not all injuries are physical and not all damages can be measured in dollars and cents.
Loss of Consortium
This claim is available to the spouse of someone involved in a motorcycle accident. Loss of consortium damages are designed to compensate spouses for the loss of companionship they experience when they transition from spouse to caregiver, even if only temporarily.
Contact a Houston Motorcycle Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or property damage in a motorcycle accident in Houston, don’t try to negotiate a settlement on your own. Call the motorcycle injury lawyers at Blass law and let us deal with the insurance company for you. We ride too! Your case evaluation is completely confidential so call (713) 225-1900 today or request an evaluation online.
1Traffic Safety Facts 2016, NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, DOT HS 812 492, https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/
2Carney, C., McGehee, D.V., Harland, K., Weiss, M. & Raby, M. (2016). Using Naturalistic Driving Data to Examine Teen Driver Behaviors Present in Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2007-2015. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.