Austin Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer immediately.
In Texas, there are more than 448 thousand registered motorcycles.
To receive a motorcycle license, you must pass a motorcycle safety course, although that requirement can be waived for people transferring a valid motorcycle license from another state. You also have to pass a vision test and a driving test (although a few exceptions apply).
Motorcycle operators are not necessarily at fault for all crashes they’re involved in, nor are all motorcycle crashes fatal. But crashes may be more likely to be fatal if a rider isn’t wearing a helmet or if the other vehicle is much larger than the motorcycle. In a motorcycle crash, unlike most car crashes, a vehicle will usually make contact with a motorcyclist’s body, which greatly increases the likelihood of serious injury.
- What To Do After An Accident
- Aftermath of Motorcycle Crashes
- Motorcycle Safety in Texas
- Why You Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
- Highway Hazards for Bikers
- Helmet Laws in Austin
- Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
- Dangers of Nighttime Driving
- Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Austin, TX
What To Do After An Accident
The decisions you make and actions you take after an accident can have a huge impact on the success of any potential legal action or compensation. After a motorcycle accident, you should:
- Stay at the scene and call 911. Safety is your first priority. Remain at the scene until emergency personnel arrive. If you are injured, do not attempt to move until first responders can help you.
- Exchange information with other drivers, including names, phone numbers, driver’s license number, license plate numbers, and insurance information. If you can do so safely, take photos of the scene and damage to the vehicles.
- Seek medical attention. Follow all medical advice and keep all your appointments.
- Contact an attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with motorcycle accident lawyer Chip Evans, call (512) 732-2727.
- Do not speak to the other driver’s insurance company. Under no circumstances should you discuss the details of the accident with anybody but your motorcycle accident attorney and the police. If the insurance company calls, politely tell them that they should contact your lawyer.
Aftermath of Motorcycle Crashes
When you are a motorcyclist injured in a crash, you may require long-term medical care. Traumatic brain injuries, for example, are one of the most serious, debilitating consequences of motorcycle crashes; depending on the severity of the injury, people may need personalized in-home care for the rest of their lives. But even if your injuries are less serious, your medical costs can add up quickly. More than 80 percent of all reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death to the motorcyclist.
The most common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Head and neck injuries
- Road rash
- Muscle damage
- Biker’s arm
- Leg injuries.
Why You Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Hiring a lawyer after you’ve been involved in a wreck with your motorcycle does not mean you will have to sue anyone or go to court. It’s a smart idea to have legal representation in place as soon as possible after the accident.
If another driver is at fault, their insurance company will waste no time in coming to you with an offer. You may be recovering, unable to work, and worried about mounting bills, so, of course, it’s tempting to take the money without question. But by doing that, you are doing exactly what the insurance company (and their teams of lawyers) are hoping you will do. Their goal is not to compensate you fully for your losses. It’s to save their employer money.
Your motorcycle accident attorney will add up the total cost of your past, present, and likely future expenses related to the wreck, including less tangible costs like pain and suffering. They will be able to approach the insurance company and skillfully negotiate until the two parties come to an agreement that’s fair to you. In a relatively small percentage of cases, the insurance company may not be willing to give you what you and your lawyer believe your injuries warrant. At that point, you and your lawyer will want to discuss next steps, like filing a lawsuit.
Highway Hazards for Bikers
Helmet Laws in Austin
Texas law requires riders age 20 and younger to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. Riders age 21 and older are not required to wear a helmet, provided they can show proof of a motorcycle health insurance plan. That said, if you are in an accident, a helmet can save your life — no matter your age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69% and the risk of death by 37%.
In April 2015, a tragic accident occurred about 150 miles north of Dallas. A group of 13 motorcyclists was traveling on U.S. Highway 81, just north of Comanche, Okla., when a pickup truck crossed the center line and crashed head-on into the riders. Several of the motorcyclists were seriously injured, and one of them died.
Large vehicles – especially commercial trucks over 10,000 pounds – pose a serious threat to motorcyclists. Riders should exercise caution when larger vehicles are nearby and understand that other drivers might not see them.
To increase visibility on the road, motorcyclists can wear bright colors, use reflective gear, add auxiliary lights and avoid riding in other drivers’ blind spots.
No matter how vigilant you are, you are still at the mercy of others’ bad and inattentive driving. If you’ve been injured, contact motorcycle accident lawyer Chip Evans at (512) 732-2727 today.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Every year, the Austin Police Department publishes its Analysis of Traffic Fatalities, which includes a section on motorcycle fatalities. It not only details the number of crashes and deaths in the city in a given year, but breaks them down by contributing causes (like impairment and speed), day of the week, type of road, and other factors.
Nationally, motorcycle fatality statistics fluctuate year to year, but one thing has remained constant: in the Lone Star State — our love of the open road comes with a price. Texas consistently ranks among the leading states in motorcycle traffic fatalities.
Here are some common causes of motorcycle accidents:
- Lane Switching. Due to their small size, motorcycles are easy to miss by other drivers. If the operator of a car or truck fails to signal and/or check the blind spot, they may merge into a motorcyclist’s path.
- Head-on Collisions. When a car and a motorcycle collide head-on, the result is often death or serious injury to the cyclist due to lack of protection to the body and the discrepancy in the vehicles’ size.
- Car Door. A driver who has parked their car in the street (or their passenger) may fail to check for oncoming bikes and open the car door in the motorcycle’s path.
- Speeding. Driving at an unsafe speed gives a driver less time to react in a given situation. And higher-speed accidents are more likely to cause serious damage and injury.
- Impaired Driving. As with all motor vehicle accidents, alcohol and drugs play a role in many motorcycle crashes. But motorcyclists are much more likely to pay with their lives if they or another driver drives under the influence.
- Lane Splitting. Lane splitting is a practice in which motorcyclists ride between lanes of stopped or slow-moving traffic to get ahead. It is especially dangerous when attempted by inexperienced bikers but can be dangerous to even practiced riders, as surrounding cars may not realize you are there.
- Sudden Stops. When two cars are involved, a rear-end collision often results in a minor fender bender with minimal injury and vehicle damage. But if a motorcycle is rear-ended, or smashes into another vehicle, the motorcycle operator and passengers are unprotected and much more likely to be killed or seriously injured.
- Inexperienced Drivers. Inexperienced drivers (especially teens) are more likely to misread a situation, not know how to react in a dangerous spot, and get distracted while driving. They may not know to look out for motorcycles when changing lanes or turning.
- Left Turns. Accidents involving a motorcycle and a car making a left turn are common, as a motorcycle’s small size makes it less visible to other drivers. Motorcyclists are especially at risk if they try to pass the car on the left.
- Road Hazards. Hazards such as potholes, dead animals, slick spots, and uneven surfaces that are no big deal to a car can be bad news for a motorcycle due to the vehicle’s small size and susceptibility to getting off-balance.
- Vehicle Defects. In some cases, an accident may be caused by a defective or poorly designed motorcycle part. In these cases, the manufacturer of the bike and/or the part may be held liable.
A study by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) — a not-for-profit organization made up of motorcycle manufacturers — found that other factors likely to significantly increase crash risk include various types of intersections, aggressive rider behavior, traffic density, grade, and roadway surface.
If you’ve been injured on your bike, call Austin motorcycle lawyer Chip Evans at (512) 732-2727. We will make sure the responsible parties are held accountable and you receive the compensation you need to recover and move on with your life.
Dangers of Nighttime Driving
There is something especially exhilarating about riding your bike at night. However, these hours come with added risk. It’s not that you can’t or shouldn’t ride at night — but just remember to put safety first with certain precautions and be extra vigilant about your surroundings and potential dangers.
- The chances of encountering a drunk driver increase at nighttime. That puts everyone on the road in danger, but especially vulnerable are motorcycle operators and their passengers.
- As darkness falls, obstacles — debris on the road, potholes, slippery spots, animals — that are perfectly visible during the day may not be noticeable at all or not until it’s too late to avoid them. And a hazard that a car occupant would hardly notice can spell disaster for a biker.
- A study by Donald Redelmeier of the University of Toronto and Eldar Shafir of Princeton and published by the BMJ suggests that nighttime riders should be particularly careful during a full moon, as they are more likely to crash on these nights than on non-full-moon nights. While the study didn’t draw a firm conclusion to why, it’s likely due to distraction: a big, bright full moon catches the eye — and may lead to drivers’ taking their eyes off the road.
If you do drive at night, put safety first and follow these tips.
- Be Visible. Save your black leather jacket and jeans for daytime rides. If riding at night, choose colors that will make you pop against the dark sky: fluorescents like neon pink, yellow, green, or orange. You can even just throw on a neon safety vest like those worn by construction workers. Deck out your helmet, bike, and other gear with reflective safety tape and decals. Make sure your gear has retro-reflective panels that glow when illuminated by headlights. Consider upgrading the lighting on your bike with LED lights, brake-light flashers, headlight modulators, and auxiliary lights.
- Maximize Your Visibility. Make sure your visor is clean before heading out on your ride, and avoid using a tinted visor. Photochromic visors adjust to light levels, so they can be used day and night.
- Practice Defensive Driving. This is always important for motorcycle operators, but is especially true at night. Keep a safe distance behind other vehicles, always use your signals, and stay out of cars’ and trucks’ blind spots.
- Stay Alert. Don’t drive while drunk, impaired, or drowsy. Don’t do anything that could compromise your reaction time or decision-making ability.
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Austin, TX
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle crash, you may have options that will compensate you for medical costs, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
The Evans & Herlihy Law Firm has represented many victims of motorcycle crashes and their families — with winning results. We understand the devastating impact these accidents can have on people’s lives and are passionate about bringing justice to our clients. Fill out our contact form or call (512) 732-2727 to arrange a free consultation.