One of the things that Texas motorcycle riders should know is that they have as much a right to the roads they traverse as those in cars and trucks. However, unfortunately for Texas bikers, careless drivers often fail to take reasonable precautions toward people on motorcycles. In 2018, there were 618 motorcycle crashes in Houston alone. Those crashes produced 168 injuries, 131 more serious injuries, and tragically took 26 lives. Among the many possible causes of a Houston motorcycle accident, lane splitting is a common factor.
If you or a loved one has suffered significant harm in a motorcycle accident, you should contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer right away. You may be facing a long road to recovery, and only an aggressive Houston motorcycle attorney will be able to protect your legal rights and get you the compensation you deserve.
At Sutliff & Stout, we are proud of the culture we’ve built at our firm, uniting our strengths and diverse backgrounds in order to provide high-quality legal representation for injured accident victims throughout Houston. When your life takes an unexpected turn for the worst as a result of a motorcycle accident, don’t settle for less than the best. That’s exactly what you’ll get when you partner with the Sutliff & Stout team.
We’re proud to be rated among the best motorcycle accident attorneys in Houston
What Is Lane Splitting?
People often get lane splitting, lane sharing, and lane positioning confused. Lane sharing is the process by which two motorcycles share the same lane of traffic. However, lane splitting occurs when motorcycles operate between lanes of traffic or between lines of vehicles on the road. This is not a lawful practice and can result in serious injury to both motorcycle riders and vehicles alike. Motorcyclists riding in a specific lane of traffic cannot pass another vehicle that is the same lane as they are when riding.
Comparatively, lane positioning can help a motorcycle rider to see other drivers better to reduce the possibility of a collision. Lane splitting can actually result in a motorcycle rider moving into a driver’s blind spot.
Immediate Steps to Take after a Motorcycle Crash in Houston
What you do in the immediate aftermath of a motorcycle crash in Houston can determine everything from your liability to the lasting impact of any injuries you may have sustained.
Therefore, if you are not critically injured to the extent that you require on-scene emergency medical assistance and transportation, the most important thing you can do is stay calm. Doing so will allow you to think rationally and logically about your situation. If you’re still on your bike or lying beside it, remain seated there and wait for help. For a moment, observe the situation to see if you are in any danger and, if possible, try to move out of the way.
Once you are able to move to safety, there are vital actions you should take and others you should not. Below is a compiled list of the “do’s” and “don’ts” for the immediate aftermath of a motorcycle collision in Houston:
- Call 911 as soon as possible. An officer can help control the situation and generate a police report that can serve as invaluable evidence later on.
- Get medical assistance right away, even if you don’t feel like you’ve been badly hurt. Some injuries are masked due to adrenaline, and injuries like internal bleeding don’t appear on the outside.
- Document and gather evidence at the scene of the accident. Photos, videos, vehicle damage, and other parties’ contact information.
- Contact an experienced and trusted motorcycle accident lawyer in Houston.
- Inform your insurance company, but don’t trust that any insurer is on your side.
- Don’t get into a heated discussion with other parties or police.
- Don’t apologize. This could to others indicate that you’re at fault.
- Avoid discussing fault or damages with other parties or police.
- Under no circumstances are you required to make any statements to insurance companies. Don’t rush to speak with them without an attorney’s advice.
- Refrain from posting content on social media that could jeopardize your claim.
- If presented with a settlement offer right away, don’t accept it. It’s likely significantly undervalued.
Given the sobering statistics on motorcycle crashes, it’s apparent that the issue with motorcycle injuries is the severity. This is especially poignant in situations involving lane splitting, as being in a driver’s blind spot can cause even more severe injuries. Because your entire body is exposed on a motorcycle, you have almost no protection to absorb the energy being transferred from the vehicle on impact. As a result, some of the associated injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Facial disfigurement
- Bone fractures
- Internal injuries
- Road rash
- Lacerations and burns
Each of these injuries is notoriously painful and can cause immense distress for victims. In the event of severe injuries, the consequences can truly be devastating, potentially requiring multiple medical operations. Not only do catastrophic injuries cost tens of thousands of dollars to treat, but the cost of in-patient hospitalization accumulates quickly. Consequently, many victims find themselves unprepared to shoulder excessive medical costs and lost wages due to missed work. A Houston motorcycle accident lawyer at Sutliff & Stout can help you plan for the future and give you peace of mind for what lies ahead.
How Can a Houston Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help Me?
After a motorcycle crash, you need to focus on recovering from your injuries and restoring your health (to the extent that this is possible). It’s critical to seek prompt medical attention and follow the course of treatment recommended by your doctor.
If you do not get immediate medical treatment after a motorcycle accident, the at-fault party (or their insurance company) may try to deny you compensation for your injuries. They’ll try to argue that your injuries weren’t really caused by the motorcycle accident, but from other separate, unrelated events.
A motorcycle accident lawyer can relieve your stress by communicating with the other parties and their insurance company representatives on your behalf. He or she can also make sure that your interests are not compromised and you maximize your chances at receiving a fair settlement.
How to Choose a Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
In Houston, you have countless options when you need a personal injury lawyer. While finding a lawyer is the least of your worries, choosing one should be a significant matter. You need an attorney who gives you the highest chance at yielding the best results for your case—not one who wastes your time or money.
For this reason, choosing a firm with proven experience, results, and a long-standing reputation cannot be overstated. Of course, none of these elements matter if you don’t think your lawyer will be a good fit for you. Your best bet is to sit down and get to know each prospective attorney’s personality and background. Because most reputable personal injury law firms offer potential clients a free and confidential initial consultation, you have nothing to lose by setting up a case review with a Houston motorcycle crash attorney.
A motorcycle crash can happen in a split second. What was supposed to be a simple joyride could end up becoming a deadly destination. For decades, accident and fatality rates for motorcyclists sit substantially higher than other roadway users. One widely understood explanation for this is that motorcycles are smaller and difficult to spot. Other common causes of motorcycle accidents in Houston include:
- Reckless drivers
- Impaired drivers
- Inexperienced drivers
- Aggressive drivers or road rage
- Distracted drivers
- Left turns
- Road hazards
- Environmental factors
The Houston motorcycle lawyers at Sutliff & Stout will analyze the factors of your case to determine fault and establish the other driver’s liability. Finally, based on your injuries, expenses, and additional losses, our legal team will precisely quantify a dollar figure necessary for your recovery.
There is an important concept under Texas personal injury law called the “51% bar rule.” Texas courts apply what is known as a “modified comparative fault” rule to negligence claims. If you were partially responsible for the accident, the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced by a percentage proportionate to your fault.
However, you cannot recover any damages if you were more than 51% responsible for the accident. This means that even if you were very badly injured, you may be prevented from receiving any money for your injuries. This is one of the reasons working with an experienced Houston motorcycle accident lawyer is essential to successfully navigating a claim.
The term “damages” refers to a legally recognized harm. The harm may be tangible (for example, a medical bill) or intangible (such as pain and suffering). If you suffered any of the following types of injuries or losses, a Houston motorcycle attorney can help you recover compensation in an insurance claim settlement or personal injury lawsuit.
- Past and future medical treatment: A motorcycle accident victim may be entitled to compensation for past or future medical treatment.
- Lost wages and reduced earning capacity: If you missed work as a result of a motorcycle accident, an experienced lawyer can help you recover lost income. You may also be entitled to damages for the amount of income you will lose over your lifetime if your earning capacity has been reduced.
- Property damage: You may be able to recover damages for the damage to your motorcycle, helmet, protective equipment, and other personal property.
- Pain and suffering: Texas law recognizes the right of motorcycle accident victims to sue for pain and suffering.
- Loss of enjoyment: This refers to the loss of enjoyment of recreational activities or time spent with family and friends.
- Loss of consortium: Texas law allows motorcycle accident victims to recover damages if their ability to enjoy intimate relations with their spouse has been impacted.
- Punitive damages: Under Texas law, you may be entitled to punitive damages if the party who caused your injuries behaved in an extremely careless manner.
Only an experienced and top-rated motorcycle accident lawyer who has represented bikers in the past can calculate the amount of damages you’re entitled to receive in your motorcycle accident lawsuit. If you were in a motorcycle crash and are dealing with any of these types of injuries or financial hardships, contact an aggressive motorcycle accident attorney right away.
There are two different methods for obtaining compensation after a motorcycle accident. You can either enter into a settlement agreement with the at-fault party’s insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit against that party in Texas state or federal court.
For some minor motorcycle accidents, it may be possible to secure a fair compensation settlement from an insurance company. But often, insurance companies will try to unfairly shift blame onto motorcycle riders. You may get to a point during the insurance claim settlement and negotiation process when you realize that it won’t be possible to get the compensation you deserve.
A motorcycle accident lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party in state or federal court. Although it generally takes more time to reach a settlement in a personal injury lawsuit, you may ultimately receive a significantly higher settlement than the insurance company was willing to offer.
By filing a lawsuit, you’ll show the at-fault party that you’re serious about getting the compensation you deserve. Because going to trial can be an expensive and risky proposition, the responsible party may quickly realize that offering you a fair settlement is the best thing to do.
Road safety is a major concern worldwide, with bikers and cyclists being our most vulnerable road users. Ultimately, road safety is everyone’s responsibility. As a motorcyclist, the following safety tips can help you play your part in keeping our roads safer, and potentially reduce your chances of being involved in a serious accident.
- Avoid lane splitting at all costs, even if it seems you have few other options to get around or through heavy traffic
- Wear protective gear, including a helmet, face shield, eyewear, elbow guards, and knee braces
- Obey all traffic laws
- Ride attentively and defensively
- Don’t ride when you’re sleepy or under the influence
- Prep your bike before you ride; check your lights, horn, brakes, fluid levels, and tires
- Know the weather
- Plan your route
- Anticipate traffic and dangerous roadways
- Maintain a safe distance
Even while following all of these tips, there is always potential for accidents. If you’ve been in an accident, reach out to a motorcycle accident attorney in Houston, TX for help.
Failing to promptly treat your injuries could mean the difference between a few months of recovery and several years of treatment, surgeries, and rehabilitation. Not acting within the time required by law could be detrimental to your case and jeopardize your entitlement to financial restitution. Also, embarking on this legal journey alone could lead to costly—often irreparable—mistakes. That’s why allowing best injury lawyers Sutliff & Stout to guide you in the right direction will pay off.
At Sutliff & Stout, we fight for motorcycle accident victims to get the compensation they deserve. We understand that motorcycle riders face unfair prejudices and will work tirelessly to make sure you receive a full and fair settlement for your injuries and other losses. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with a Houston motorcycle accident attorney at Sutliff & Stout, text or call (281) 942-8694 anytime, 24/7, or submit our online contact form today.