Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Were You Seriously Injured in a Texas Motorcycle Crash?
Per the NHTSA, for every 100,000 registered motorcycles, over 70 will become involved in a motor vehicle accident. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4,500 died in motorcycle crashes in 2010, and there has been a 55% increase in motorcycle crashes since 2000. This is a disturbing trend. If you are a victim of a severe motorcycle accident or if your loved one passed away, it is important to remember that you are not without hope—there are places for you to turn to get the healing you need to help put your life back on track once more.
Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes
No two motorcycle accidents are the same. However, that does not mean that their cause is not similar. Popular myth would have most people believe that the negligence of the motorcyclist causes almost all motorcycle accidents—and while this is not always untrue, the fact is that the primary causes for motorcycle accidents are much more varied than that. In fact, it has been shown that in a significant portion of accidents, the primary cause is not that the motorcyclist was negligent in any way, but rather that the driver of the passenger vehicle somehow violated their rights. This could mean not paying attention or not checking blind spots and swerving into their lane or making an abrupt turn.
"Negligent drivers" seems like a broad term, and this is because negligence can be classified hundreds of different ways. Any time the driver of a vehicle is not obeying all necessary traffic laws they are driving negligently. There is even a window to act negligently while following traffic laws, such as in the case of some distracted driving.
Any time a driver does not signal when changing lanes or turning, this can be considered negligence if it resulted in a collision with a motorcycle. Any time a driver was distracted by a cell phone, the radio, or even something else on the road and this causes an accident, they can be considered to have been driving negligently. An alert driver is fully aware of the circumstances on the road around him or her, obeying all traffic laws as well. If you are a motorcycle driver and were injured because of a negligent driver, then you can get help filing a claim.
Driver Blind Spots
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists have a higher fatality rate in comparison to drivers of passenger vehicles. If you ride a motorcycle, your risk of a fatal crash is 35 percent higher and 16 times the injury rate than drivers of other cars. Motorcycles provide little safety in the event of an accident, so extra precaution must always be taken when on the road.
One leading cause of motorcycle crashes is negligent driving on behalf of drivers of passenger vehicles. Because motorcyclists are harder to see on the road, it is easier for a driver to have a lapse in judgment and get involved in an accident with a motorcyclist.
One of the main driver errors that lead to motorcycle crashes involves blind spots. Every vehicle has blind spots, and drivers must be aware of them to avoid an accident in any form. Since motorcycles take up less space on the road and they are also allowed to maneuver in between vehicles, drivers may not signal properly or look long enough to notice a motorcyclist before it is too late. Window glare blind spots may also cause many car and motorcycle accidents. Drivers need to take extra precaution when it comes to avoiding motorcyclists on the road.
When drivers are not careful to check their blind spots, motorcyclists can end up with serious injuries.
Another commonly overlooked cause is that of a dangerous roadway. Potholes, uneven payment, and similar situations may be an inconvenience for a passenger vehicle, but it can be outright deadly for someone in a motorcycle. With a smaller car with much less stability, even the slightest dip in the road or unexpected crack could cause the operator to lose control of the vehicle and swerve. In these cases, it is not another person that would be held accountable, but rather the government entity responsible for the upkeep of those roadways.
An also much overlooked cause of motorcycle accidents is faulty equipment. While most people like to believe that they are purchasing a 100% safe and tested vehicle, the truth is that some parts and pieces could be defective. This could be a design that was defective from the inception or could even be a product that was designed safe but manufactured poorly (for example, being built with low-quality materials). Should this occur, it could cause the motorcycle to "wobble" at high speeds or fail entirely. Some motorcycles are not equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) that allows for emergency braking, and a lack of ABS has been proven to cause accidents.
Common Injuries Sustained in Motorcycle Accidents
Many different types of injuries can be sustained in a motorcycle accident. These can range from mild to severe to even fatal.
Some of the most common injuries obtained from motorcycle accidents include:
Due to the critical role that the brain plays in a person's functioning, even the most minor of injuries can cause serious, debilitating consequences. A brain injury could range from a contusion to a concussion, but rarely is it a cheap injury to receive treatment.
No matter whether the injury involves fractures to the vertebra, slipped discs, or a crushing injury, should the spinal cord suffer damage of any kind, the victim could suffer from the consequences for the rest of their life.
Road rash occurs when a person is ejected from the bike and thrown across the ground. The friction between the pavement and the victim can cause skin layers to be rubbed away—resulting in serious and severely painful damage.
Bones are the structure that make up the human body, but they are also some of the most vulnerable parts. Should they be placed in the wrong positioning or should the wrong amount of pressure be applied, they can break.
Loss of Limb
An accidental amputation is not only a painful injury, it is also an emotionally stressful one. It can be difficult for a person to hear that they have lost a limb, not to say anything about the logistics about moving forward.
This is an injury that can leave the victim crippled for the rest of their life—with ever-mounting medical bills and a serious need for legal assistance in receiving comprehensive monetary compensation.
Road Rash: About the Injury, Treatment & More
One of the most common forms of injury affects the most exposed area of the body: the skin. While motorcycle safety tips often mention wearing full body coverage, many motorcyclists choose to ignore this instead of more comfortable clothing. This, unfortunately, leaves them vulnerable to sustaining road rash. Road rash is typically caused by abrasion with the road and can affect the health of the bone. When an accident occurs, the motorcyclist is often ejected from their bike and is thrown across the pavement. This motion can cause significant friction - which can, in turn, cause layers of the skin to rub off. Depending on the speed, the angle of the throw and the amount of protection that the rider has on, this can even expose the bone. Treatment for road rash is simple and usually involves cleaning the area with either mild soap or an antiseptic wash. It also often requires that the area be covered and left to rest. In some cases, the road rash is so severe that it is considered a third-degree road rash and requires a trip to the emergency room. This could mean that antibiotics, dressings and pain medication are used in conjunction to help.
Sport Bike Accidents in Houston, TX
There are many different types of motorcycles—all of which have their nuances and dangers. One of the most common forms of motorcycle is a sports bike. This is not the more comfortable, more common cruiser; instead, this is a bike built for speed. The design and manufacturing is meant to help boost acceleration, streamline braking, and improve low, fast cornering. Many claim that the first sport bike to hit the road was the Honda CB750 in 1969. This was followed by a massive rise in enthusiasm to pursue the model, becoming closer to racing models throughout the next few decades. Now, modern models all differ, but carry similar elements that include high foot pegs, low handlebars, and lightweight frames.
The three main types of sport bikes include the following classifications:
- Lightweight - This are considered a beginner or entry level bike and distinguished with an engine displacement up to 500 cc.
- Middleweight - These can be raced, but that is not their niche. These usually have an engine displacement of 600 to 750 cc.
- Superbike - These are usually for racing. Their engine displacement averages 1,000 cc. Bikes above that are in an open class.
Sport bikes are typically more dangerous than the more common cruiser. This can usually be attributed to the fact that these are more for performance over comfort and are ridden at more dangerous speeds. This, however, does not mean the negligence of an operator causes all sport bike accidents. In fact, it has been determined that the primary cause of many motorcycle accidents is the driver inattention.
Cruiser Motorcycle Accidents in Houston, TX
Cruisers are some of the most common motorcycles seen on the road. Most Harley-Davidsons are considered to be cruisers; in fact, their designs are typically believed to "define" this genre. The common factors that can be attributed to a cruiser include engines with low-end torque, which allow for less shifting and a more comfortable ride. Similarly, the rider is placed in a position that is designed for comfort with high forward-facing feet which allows for the spine to lean back slightly or stay erect. Due to comfort, it is commonly the bike of choice for road trips.
This comfort, however, doesn't mean that those who choose this type of bike are exempt from being involved in motorcycle accidents. Like all motorcycles, cruisers leave the operator vulnerable to severe injuries that range from brain damage to loss of limb. In fact, it has been noted that as these riders commonly are not as prepared as a sport bike operator, they can be more vulnerable to an accident. Sport bike operators regularly wear full-face helmets, along with more comprehensive safety gear, which operators of cruisers have notoriously been known to forgo.
About Cruiser & Chopper Bike Accidents
Per the U.S Department of Transportation (DOT), 4,000+ fatal motorcycle accidents occurred in 2009; the NHTSA compounds on this by stating that there were 106,000+ motorcycles involved in an accident during that year. Age has also been an interesting statistic to track. NHTSA reports that motorcyclists that are over the age of 40 accounted for almost half of all fatalities related to a motorcycle accident. The age of the motorcyclist has steadily risen over the years; in fact, according to the Motorcycle / ATV Owner Survey put out by the Motorcycle Industry Council, the average motorcycle owner was 43 years old in 2008—making average age leap up four years over the last two decades. As cruiser bikes are commonly targeted toward this older demographic, many of these middle-age riders are finding themselves aboard choppers.
Motorcycle Accident FAQ
What If I Was Injured in an Accident Caused by a Dangerous Road?
Negligent operators do not cause every accident. In some cases, the very roads that you travel on could be considered reasonably dangerous. If this is the case, you are not without hope. Roads are legally required to be maintained to a certain degree of safety. For example, if a pothole caused the accident, we could file a claim on your behalf and hold the appropriate parties legally responsible for your injuries.
Do I Need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Even If My Injuries Are Not Serious?
Though you may not be seriously injured immediately after an accident, it is still worth it to call a lawyer. Occasionally, injuries remain undetected for a while after an accident. First, seek the counsel of a trusted physician who can evaluate your physical state and advise you of any future complications. Next, seek the legal counsel of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who can evaluate your case and guide you through your legal options. If a more serious injury surfaces, you can trust that we will fight on your behalf and pursue just compensation.
How Important Is It to Immediately Pursue an Investigation?
The accident investigation is crucial to the overall outcome of the case. For this reason, you should give us a call as soon as possible. You can be sure that the insurance company will be at the scene of the accident trying to find evidence. Even the playing field by calling our skilled Houston motorcycle accident attorneys. We can gather evidence, witnesses, and information that will strengthen your case.
What If a Defective Part Caused My Accident?
Unfortunately, not every motorcycle placed on the market is 100% perfect. There are defective products that could have been dangerous in design, manufactured with low-quality materials, or even built by an improperly trained employee. The best way to know for sure if you have a claim is to get a lawyer involved. We can exhaustively investigate every factor in your accident to make sure that the liable party, be that the designer or the manufacturer, is held responsible for your injuries and damages sustained.
Do I Have Legal Options If My Loved One Was Involved in a Fatal Crash?
There are steps that you can take if your loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident. At our firm, we could help you to pursue a wrongful death claim—this can help cover all related expenses, such as burial costs, funeral expenses, all related medical bills and even the loss of wages.
Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer to Help?
Yes! You absolutely need the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney to help. This is too important of a process to leave it up to legal chance. You need to be proactive in your attempts to fight for just outcome. Give an attorney a call and get started on the fight for your just resolution.
Can I Afford a Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
At Arnold & Itkin, we operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that unless we obtain compensation on your behalf, you will not be charged legal fees. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by calling our firm for a free case evaluation. We will fight for your future financial security. Recovering billions of dollars, our motorcycle accident attorneys know how to recover compensation.
Practicing Motorcycle Safety
Driving a motorcycle may be a symbol of speed and freedom, but it does not always mean that it is always the safest venture. Due to the negligence of car drivers, many motorcyclists find themselves paying the price for their mode of transportation. In fact, per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over two million who found themselves injured in a motor vehicle accident in 2007 alone. Four percent of all of these injuries were attributed to motorcyclists. For this reason, we at Arnold & Itkin look to advocate for the rights of those who have wrongfully suffered motorcycle injuries—regardless of whether they were aboard a sports bike or a cruiser.
Tips for Motorcycle Safety: Protecting the Driver
Many motorcycle accidents are caused by the negligence or carelessness of a car driver. However, we also know some tips can be followed by motorcyclists to maximize their safety and take preventative measures to protect themselves. Remember, when you are on a bike, you must consider road safety as being as important as if you were behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
Some common safety tips that should be followed by all motorcyclists include the following:
- Pick a motorcycle that fits you! When you are choosing a bike, pick one that fits you. Not one that you find the most attractive, but one that has limitations that suit your riding ability. If you are getting your first sports bike, get an entry level lightweight. Also, consider size as your feet should be able to touch the ground comfortably when sitting on your bike.
- Never carry a passenger if your bike is not built for it. Make sure that your bike is built to carry extra weight. Also, make sure there is designated space for a passenger, along with all necessary safety amenities for the passenger to use.
- Use smart riding techniques. There are specific actions a motorcyclist needs to consider that a vehicle driver does not. Some are just things that should be exaggerated. For example, avoid tailgating and leave a safe amount of room between you and other vehicles. Also, even though it is tempting, try to stay away from riding between lanes—no matter how slow the traffic.
- Assume that other drivers cannot see you. Don't rely on other operators to adjust to you. Instead, always assume that you are invisible and drive defensively to help protect yourself. This includes staying a safe distance away, avoiding blind spots and always using your headlights, no matter the time of day or the weather.
- Wear protective gear—all of it! When riding a motorcycle, you should be fully and adequately covered. This includes wearing a DOT approved helmet, eye protection, gloves, boots that cover your ankles, long pants, and long sleeves.
- Enroll yourself in a training course. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) offers standardized courses throughout the nation that train students on how to handle their bikes properly. Find a local course and get yourself enrolled.
Before You Get on the Road
Before you ever get on your motorcycle and hit the road, it is crucial that you get licensed with the proper state agency. This process includes making sure that you are informed of motorcycle roadway safety, know how to operate a bike, and understand the rules that apply to motorcyclists. To obtain this license, you must pass a knowledge test and complete a motorcycle safety course and riding skills test.
Once you have a license, you should make sure that you are comfortable with your specific bike. You should know how to work the bike before taking it out on busy streets and highways—this includes understanding the gears, how to maneuver, riding in different weather settings (wind, rain, hazardous road conditions, etc.) and more. Finally, before you take the road, make sure that the bike itself is safe for driving. This includes making sure your brakes are working, tire pressure is good, fluid levels are correct, and the tread is in the right condition.
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? Know What Your Next Step Should Be.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, then you already know how emotionally damaging this can be. You, however, may not know what your next move should be. That is where we come in. By getting an Arnold & Itkin attorney on your side, you will be able to take the next steps towards evaluating your case and determining the best course of action. If you suffered motorcycle injuries, no matter whether the accident was on a sports bike or a cruiser, if the negligence of a third party caused it, you likely have grounds to file a personal injury claim.
When you need legal services on your side, we are here to help. Our clients' best interests always come first. We know the best ways in which to investigate the accident and understand how to help our clients maximize their recovery. No matter whether it was caused by a drunk driver, a dangerous roadway, or even a defective part, you can be confident knowing we will be there to help you in every way possible. We recognize that compensation needs to be obtained comprehensively—not just for the immediate bills, but also to ensure that you are taken care of in the long run, and we will do everything that we can to fight for the full financial compensation that you deserve.
Choose a Houston Personal Injury Law Firm That Has Recovered Billions of Dollars
Our two founding attorneys, Kurt Arnold and Jason Itkin, were both been named as "Top Lawyers for the People" by H Texas Magazine in 2005 and have both been honored with several other recognition. They are not only locally known throughout Houston, Texas, but have become nationally known for their efforts to protect the legal rights of plaintiffs. They are even recognized outside of the legal sphere; both were listed in the Houston Business Journal in the "40 Under 40" for 2011—a list that looks to name those under the age of 40 who excel in their industry.
Other honors that our firm has received include the following:
- America's Elite Trial Lawyers (2015 & 2016)
- The Inner Circle of Advocates
- Super Lawyers® and Super Lawyers® Rising Stars℠
- Million & Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum®
- Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers
- The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40
At Arnold & Itkin, we recognize the dangers of motorcycles, but we also don't believe that just because they are dangerous that it should mean that injuries are ignored. If you were involved in an accident that was caused by the negligence of a third party, you could have grounds to seek full compensation. Contact our firm to learn more.