Texas is a beautiful state, making it the ideal location to travel on a motorcycle. When one combines the breathtaking sights, freedom, and lower expenses of a motorcycle, it should come as no surprise there are close to 420,000 motorcycles registered across the state. Traveling by motorcycle is far more economical than other means of transportation, but also comes with higher risks of being in a motorcycle accident.
Remember That Motorcycles Lack Protection
One of the challenges of remaining safe on Texas roadways when traveling by motorcycle is it leaves you vulnerable. Since the average car traveling on the road weighs in around 5,000 pounds and the average loaded tractor-trailer weighs in around 80,000, motorcycle operators are particularly vulnerable to injury should they be involved in an accident with another vehicle. While Texas has a helmet law that applies to motorcycle operators under the age of 21, those who are over the age of 21 may take a safety course and travel legally without a helmet. This lack of protection can result in more serious injuries in the event of an accident.
Since Texas statistics show an accident can occur in less than a minute, motorcycle operators are at significant risk. Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs, distracted drivers, or drivers who are simply traveling too fast can, and do cause accidents.
Common Accidents Resulting from Motorcycle Accidents
Car accidents can involve serious injuries and many of those injuries are like those which occur in motorcycle crashes. Victims of motorcycle accidents can suffer very serious injuries including:
- Road rash – While some people may believe road rash from a motorcycle crash is not a serious health risk, there are some potential risks. Road rash can lead to serious infections, which may require long-term treatment; and for victims with serious road rash, these injuries and infections could result in permanent disfiguration.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) – Even when a motorcycle operator is wearing a helmet, depending on the severity of the crash, TBI is possible. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), wearing a helmet reduces the chance of TBI by 69 percent but, that does not mean you are free from risk. TBI can result in problems that extend well beyond the time required for physical healing after a motorcycle accident is complete.
- Amputations and limb breaks – Since a motorcycle can roll over during an accident, victims sometimes find themselves pinned under the bike. This can result in broken bones or may result in a limb being amputated. When a broken bone occurs, the break could be a result of crushing which could result in one or more surgical procedures being required to repair the damage.
- Serious internal injury potential – Being thrown from a motorcycle traveling 50 or more miles per hour means the victim will likely suffer some type of internal injury. These injuries often mean internal bleeding, organ damage, or other soft tissue damage. In serious cases, victims may require surgery, and in extreme cases, damaged organs may require removal or transplants.
These are not the only injuries a motorcycle operator or passenger may suffer on Texas roadways. Back or neck injuries, facial injuries, and spine injuries can result in debilitating pain, require long-term medical care, and in some cases, can require multiple surgical procedures. Victims of motorcycle accidents may face high medical bills, long-term rehabilitation, and may have to live with pain for the rest of their lives.
Insurance Company Motorcycle Claims
Every driver on Texas roadways is required to carry liability insurance. Since Texas is an at-fault state, victims of a motorcycle accident should file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, drivers are required to maintain a minimum amount of coverage which is “at least $30,000 of coverage for injuries per person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 of coverage for property damage.” Anyone who is seriously injured in a motorcycle accident could potentially learn the responsible driver does not have enough coverage. This is when it may be necessary for the victim to file a personal injury lawsuit: You should not have to face a financial crisis because another driver was negligent and caused you to suffer injuries.
Potential Compensation After Motorcycle Accidents
While no two accidents are the same, there are some basic guidelines as to what types of damages you may be eligible to collect after a motorcycle accident. There are non-monetary losses such as pain and suffering, and punitive damages that are often used to punish a driver who acted negligently. Drivers have a duty to behave in a manner that is not detrimental to other drivers. For example, we all know there are strict drunk driving laws, and if we are driving drunk, this may be considered negligent behavior.
Some of the monetary damages you may be entitled to collect include reimbursement for time lost from work, medical bills, cost of rehabilitation, prescription bills incurred as a result of a motorcycle accident, surgical procedures, bills for X-rays and other diagnostic tests, costs associated with in-house nursing care when necessary, and the cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle. A motorcycle accident attorney can answer your questions about what damages you may be able to collect. Recovering from a motorcycle accident can take weeks or months. For those who are the primary breadwinner in a family, the financial toll can be devastating. Too often, victims are so focused on the mounting medical bills while they are unable to work, they fail to focus on their physical recovery.
Chances are, you will have many questions after a motorcycle accident. Once you have taken care of your immediate physical needs, you may wish to consider contacting an attorney. An experienced Texas motorcycle attorney can offer you a free consultation, explain your options, and help you make the best decision for yourself and your family as you move forward.