Millions of people enjoy the freedom of traveling down the road on a motorcycle. However, the lack of an enclosed cab means less protection in an accident. As a result, motorcycle riders can suffer severe and catastrophic injuries, leading to expensive, invasive, and ongoing medical treatment.
If your accident was not your fault, you deserve compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, and related financial losses. A Houston motorcycle accident lawyer with Domingo Garcia can help you seek monetary awards with an insurance claim or lawsuit against the driver or other party liable for your damages.
You focus on recovering from your injuries or helping your loved one heal. We will focus on getting the awards you need to get your life back on track.
Motorcycle Riders Are More Likely to Sustain a Severe or Fatal Injury
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), motorcycle riders are more likely to suffer an injury or die during a motor vehicle collision. In fact, the IIHS reports that per mile traveled in 2019, the number of deaths on motorcycles was 29 times higher than those of passenger vehicle occupants.
In Texas in 2021, there were 521 motorcycle accident fatalities and more than 2,300 suspected serious injuries. If you or a loved one were in a crash on Gulf Freeway, Grand Parkway, The Loop, or anywhere else in the Houston, Galveston or Beaumont area our attorneys can assist you.
We can pursue compensation for common motorcycle accident injuries, including:
- Head injuries: Accident Analysis and Prevention reports that head injuries are the most common type of injury in fatal motorcycle accidents. Head injuries are also the most common cause of disability in adults, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Types of head injuries, also called traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), include skull fractures, bleeding in or around the brain, and concussion. Symptoms of a head injury vary depending on severity but may include seizures and convulsions, slurred speech, difficulty walking, muscle weakness, behavioral changes, and loss of consciousness. Those with a severe TBI may need long-term medical assistance and rehabilitation.
- Chest and abdominal injuries: The journal of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine shows that chest and abdominal injuries are among the most common in those hospitalized following a motorcycle collision. Traumatic chest and abdominal injuries include penetrating injuries, rib fractures, lung contusions (bruising), internal bleeding, and organ damage.
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs): SCIs result from a sudden and traumatic blow that compresses, crushes, fractures, dislocates, or severs one of the bones in your spine (vertebrae). As detailed by the Mayo Clinic, the leading cause of SCIs is motor vehicle accidents. A complete SCI will leave the injured party with no motor function or sensation below the injury site. Those with an incomplete SCI may retain some movement and feeling. SCIs can also cause other conditions and health problems, including loss of bladder and bowel control, infertility or loss of sexual functioning, respiratory problems, circulatory issues, pressure ulcers (bedsores), and pain. Furthermore, SCI sufferers may need a lifetime of medical treatment and assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs).
- Whiplash: Whiplash is a neck or low back injury caused by sudden, violent, back-and-forth jerking of the neck (like the cracking of a whip, hence the name). According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the most common causes of whiplash is auto accidents, especially rear-end collisions. Whiplash is painful and can limit your range of motion. In severe cases, symptoms of whiplash can last for months or even years.
- Broken bones: Motorcycle riders are vulnerable to upper and lower extremity injuries, including broken arms, legs, hands, feet, fingers, and toes. Standard treatment for fractures is immobilization or casting. However, more severe breaks may require surgery, traction, plates, fixators, and screws. According to the Cleveland Clinic, broken bones usually take six to eight weeks to heal fully. During this time, you may be unable to work or may have to rely on mobility aids, such as a wheelchair or crutches. Severe complications of fractures include bleeding or swelling in the muscles, bleeding in the joints, blood clots, infection, and pressure ulcers.
- Sprains, strains, contusions, and cuts: Also known as soft tissue injuries, sprains, strains, and contusions can affect the ligaments, joints, and muscles. Motorcycle riders can also suffer severe scrapes and cuts, sometimes called “road rash.” These injuries can cause pain, limited mobility, and in some cases, infection. Road rash can also lead to permanent scarring and disfigurement.
Our practice is not limited to the injuries mentioned above. If you suffered any type of physical harm in a motorcycle accident, our Houston injury lawyers can help you secure awards to pay for your medical bills and other damages.
Seeking Compensation for Your Houston Motorcycle Accident
Our personal injury lawyers can help you recover your losses through an insurance claim or lawsuit against the party responsible for your motorcycle accident.
All Texas drivers (including motorcyclists) must have liability insurance to pay for injuries, deaths, or property damage they cause during a collision. According to the Texas Office of Public Insurance Counsel, motorists must carry a minimum of:
- $30,000 in bodily injury (BI) coverage for injuries to one party
- $60,000 in BI coverage for injuries to two or more parties
- $25,000 in property damage (PD) coverage
Drivers can choose to carry additional policies, including medical payments (med pay), personal injury protection (PIP), and underinsured/uninsured motorists (UM/UIM) protection. If you have an applicable policy, our lawyers can work with your insurance company to pay your medical bills until we win compensation from the liable driver.
We can attempt to negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company to secure an advantageous settlement. However, insurance agencies do not always offer fair compensation or act in good faith. Furthermore, insurance companies will only pay up to their client’s policy limit, and your medical treatment could exceed this amount, especially if you have a catastrophic injury.
If pursuing awards with a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit is the best option for your case, our attorneys will not back down. We are not afraid to take legal action, and our firm will take your case all the way to trial if necessary.
Texas Personal Injury Damages
Our Houston motorcycle accident lawyers will fight for every cent owed to you. According to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 41, personal injury damages may include:
Treating a motorcycle accident injury can be expensive. According to Healthcare.gov, mending a broken leg can cost up to $7,500, and a three-day hospital stay averages around $30,000. Even if you have health insurance, your deductibles, copays, and uncovered services can add up to thousands, especially if you have a severe injury that requires ongoing treatment.
Our lawyers can help you seek reimbursement for your current medical expenses and obtain fair compensation to pay for your future medical needs. Medical damages may include:
- Ambulance fees
- Doctor and hospital bills
- Specialist services
- Medical procedures
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Occupational therapy
- Mental health care
- Prescription drugs, medical devices, and mobility aids
- In-home health care and long-term nursing services
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle accidents cost Texas $5.7 billion in work loss costs in 2018. A serious motorcycle accident injury can result in weeks or months lost on the job while you recover. In addition, if you suffered a disabling injury, you may never be able to return to work, or you may have to train for and find new employment more accommodating to your injury.
We can help you recover your lost wages, benefits, and earnings, including tips and bonuses. Furthermore, if you must reduce your work hours, change careers, or leave the workforce, we can seek compensation for the loss of your future earning capabilities.
Pain and Suffering
A severe injury can take a physical, mental, and emotional toll. It can also alter your daily life, relationships, and your plans for the future. You may qualify for pain and suffering damages for:
- Chronic pain
- Loss of mobility or paralysis
- Loss of hearing or vision
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Mental anguish
- Sleep disorders
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of the ability to complete education, career, and life goals
- Loss of the ability to participate in hobbies and activities you once enjoyed
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Personal Property Damages
We can seek compensation for your motorcycle repairs or pursue the fair market value of your bike if your damages constitute a total loss. We can also recover the value of other damaged personal items, including cell phones, laptops, navigation equipment, watches, jewelry, and more.
In addition to property damages, you may have other miscellaneous expenses we can help you identify and pursue, including the value of household services (cleaning, lawn care, transportation, etc.). A disabling injury may also require modifications to your vehicle or home to accommodate your injury, such as lowering countertops, adding railings, or installing a stairlift. We can help you seek these and other costs.
Wrongful Death Compensation
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), there were 312 fatal crashes in Houston in 2021. If your loved one suffered a fatal motorcycle accident injury, you may qualify to take action for their wrongful death.
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 71 allows a deceased’s spouse, children, or parents to seek compensation for a death caused by negligence, carelessness, or a wrongful act. If eligible family members do not file suit, the deceased’s personal representative (executor) can pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate and its beneficiaries. Wrongful death compensation may include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills
- Lost income (including inheritance the deceased would have saved had they lived)
- Loss of the deceased’s service, support, love, companionship, and guidance
- Surviving family members’ mental and emotional pain and suffering
Valuing Your Case
It is difficult to estimate the value of your personal injury or wrongful death case without a consultation. However, several factors will influence your potential settlement or verdict, including the cost of your medical treatment, the extent of your physical injuries and pain and suffering, the length of your recovery, and your current wages.
We will work to calculate all of your expenses using bills, receipts, and other forms of documentation. If needed, we can hire experts, such as doctors, economists, and vocational experts, to provide testimony about your future expected medical treatment and how your injuries affect your life, work, and finances.
While every case is different, we stand by a track record of multi-million dollar case results. Our successful settlements include $3 million for a man injured in a motorcycle accident involving a commercial motor vehicle.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Collisions
Motorcycle accidents can result from driver error or unsafe conditions. Common causes of motorcycle crashes include:
- Speeding: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 32 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents involve speeding. A high-speed impact can also make nonfatal crash injuries more severe.
- Intersections: According to TxDOT, nearly one-third of motorcycle accident deaths happen at intersections.
- Left turns: According to the NHTSA, more than 40 percent of motorcycle accidents involving another vehicle occur due to the vehicle turning left into the motorcycle’s path.
- Drunk driving: TxDOT reports an alarming number of drunk driving accidents in 2021. That year, drunk driving resulted in more than 1,000 fatalities and 2,500 serious injuries on Texas roadways.
- Driver inattention: Because of their smaller size, drivers may have difficulty seeing motorcycles, especially motorcycles in their blind spot. Drivers can protect motorcyclists by checking mirrors, double checking blind spots, using turn signals, and paying extra attention at intersections and when turning. Drivers should also give motorcyclists room (i.e., avoid tailgating or lane crowding) and avoid common driving distractions, such as texting, eating, or personal grooming.
- Location and conditions: According to the National Safety Council (NSC), about half of all fatal motorcycle accidents occur at night, and nearly 80 percent happen during good weather. Additionally, 60 percent of fatal crashes happen on urban vs. rural roadways.
Motorcycle accidents can also result from everyday driving mistakes, traffic law violations, and road and vehicle issues, including:
- Driving drowsy
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Illegal passing
- Aggressive driving (road rage)
- Faulty brakes, tires, or other vehicle problems
- Broken traffic lights
- Obstructed road signs
- Negligent road maintenance
Houston Motorists Have a Legal Duty to Obey Traffic Laws and Drive Safely
Texas drivers have a legal duty to drive safely and obey the laws outlined in Texas Transportation Code Chapter 545. If a driver disobeyed traffic laws or acted negligently, recklessly, or wrongfully, we can build a case proving they are financially liable for your Houston motorcycle accident.
A robust personal injury case rests on four basic elements:
- Duty of care: As mentioned, drivers owe others on the road a legal obligation to act in a manner that prevents accidents and injuries.
- Breach of duty: We will show that the liable driver breached the duty of care by speeding, passing illegally, driving drunk, or engaging in other dangerous or negligent behavior.
- Causation: Our lawyers will prove the driver’s negligent actions were a direct cause of your collision and resulting injuries.
- Damages: We will demonstrate that your accident and injury resulted in financial losses and pain and suffering.
To win your case, you must back your negligence claims with evidence. Our legal team can do the work necessary to obtain and review documents, physical data, proof of your damages, and more, including:
- Medical bills and records
- Police reports
- Cell phone or surveillance video of your accident
- Photographs of your injuries and the site of your collision
- Eyewitness statements
- Expert testimony (including reports from crash reconstruction specialists)
- Bills, receipts, and expense records
Texas Motorcyclist Responsibilities
In addition to following traffic laws, motorcycle riders also have specific responsibilities when riding on Houston’s roadways.
- Licensing: Motorcyclists must have a valid motorcycle license (Class M). All riders must complete a Texas Department of Public Safety approved motorcycle safety course to obtain a Class M. Riders over age 18 must also have a valid, unrestricted Texas driver’s license or a valid, unrestricted motorcycle license from out-of-state or Canada. In addition, motorcyclists ages 15 to 17 must take a motorcycle drive test, complete at least 32 hours of a driver education course, and have a learner’s permit or provisional driver’s license.
- Equipment: According to the TDLR Motorcycle Operator Training Manual, Texas law requires that motorcycles have working:
- Exhaust systems
- Wheel assembly
- At least one tail lamp
- At least one stop lamp
- At least one headlamp
- Rear red reflectors
- License plate lamps
- Passenger footrests and handholds
- Safety gear: According to TxDOT, Texas law requires helmets for motorcycle riders under age 21. Though not legally mandated for older riders, helmets can protect against head injuries in a crash. Other safety gear that can protect motorcyclists include gloves, eyeglasses, boots, long pants, and long sleeves/jackets.
If you failed to obtain a Class M license, lacked proper equipment, or behaved in another negligent way, your actions can influence your case. You can still pursue compensation, but your payment may be diminished proportional to your degree of responsibility, according to TX Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 33.
Our Houston motorcycle accident attorneys can defend you against allegations of negligence and help you fight against attempts to reduce your awards.
Your Rights and Responsibilities as Our Client
Sometimes, clients make mistakes that can negatively affect their personal injury case. However, following these simple “do’s” and “don’ts” may increase your chances of a successful outcome.
- Seek medical care for your motorcycle accident injuries if you have not done so already
- Follow your doctor’s medical advice and keep all of your appointments
- Let your health care provider know about any new or worsening conditions
- Save prescription bottles, casts, crutches, walkers, and other medical items
- Save bills and receipts
- Record your daily pain level, mental and emotional state, and ways you notice your accident interfering with daily activities (this helps with pain and suffering claims)
- Keep our office updated on any change in phone number, address, workplace, or other contact information so we know how to reach you
- Do not
- Post about your motorcycle accident or your injuries on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media
- Discuss your accident and injuries with anyone other than your health care providers and our attorneys
- Engage in activities that could worsen your injury or that opposing parties could say caused your injury (you could be watched and photographed)
- Discuss your accident or injuries with the insurance company or opposing counsel; instead, have them direct questions to our office
- Agree to provide the insurance company or opposing counsel with a recorded statement
- Accept a settlement offer without consulting your lawyer
Let Our Houston Injury Lawyers Fight for You
Attorney Domingo Garcia has stood up for the rights of personal injury clients for more than 35 years. He and his team will advocate tirelessly to achieve the most advantageous outcome possible for your Houston motorcycle accident. Our firm will:
- File your insurance claims or lawsuits
- Collect evidence and build a case proving negligence
- Track deadlines and manage case paperwork
- Handle communications with insurance agents and opposing attorneys
- Represent you during insurance or pretrial negotiations
- Take your case to trial if necessary
- Promptly respond to your questions, phone calls, and emails
- Provide you with regular case updates
Do Not Let the Statute of Limitations Expire
According to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003, you have two years from the time of your or your loved one’s accident to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. If time runs out, the court will likely bar you from seeking compensation. In addition, failing to file an insurance claim within the statute of limitations can hurt your chances of a successful settlement.
Contact Domingo Garcia to Get Started on Your Houston Motorcycle Accident Case
The Law Office of Domingo Garcia is here to help you secure financial compensation and get back on your feet. We help injury clients seek justice at no upfront or out-of-pocket cost. We can take your case on contingency, meaning you owe us nothing unless we win.
Contact us for a free case evaluation and connect with a Houston motorcycle accident lawyer today.