Whether riding along the San Antonio Loop Around or navigating the appropriately-named Texas Twister, motorcycling is an enjoyable pastime for many. Others rely on their bikes to get to work, attend school, or run errands.
Although exhilarating, motorcycling isn’t always the safest way to get around, mainly because of other motorists. Even the most conscientious motorcycle riders risk injury and death around negligent drivers who behave recklessly or simply don’t look out for them.
Sadly, motorcycle accidents can be devastating. Even riders wearing protective gear can suffer severe injuries like spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and internal injuries, all of which can lead to expensive medical bills and significant financial losses. If it happens to you or someone you love, knowing how to file a lawsuit after a Texas motorcycle crash is critical to getting the financial compensation you need.
In this article, we will provide an overview of the steps involved and how a San Antonio motorcycle accident lawyer at Villarreal & Begum, LAW GUNS, can help injured motorcyclists get justice.
Steps to Take After a Texas Motorcycle Crash
If you have been involved in a motorcycle wreck in Texas, you must take immediate action to protect your well-being and legal rights. The steps below outline what you should do in the aftermath of the accident and after you receive medical care.
- Seek Medical Attention and Document Injuries: The first and most important step is to seek medical care for yourself and any other injured parties. Even if you feel okay initially, it is critical to get checked out, as not all physical injuries are immediately apparent. Once you receive a diagnosis and start treatment, keep track of all medical bills and expenses.
- Report the Accident to the Police: Call the police to report the accident. When they arrive, they will interview witnesses and document the scene. Ask for a copy of the report, as it can serve as important evidence in a personal injury lawsuit.
- Collect Evidence: Take photos of the accident scene, including any damage to your motorcycle, the other vehicle involved, and any road hazards that may have contributed to the crash. Collect the names and contact information of anyone who saw the accident and ask them to provide a witness statement.
- Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer: Once you know the extent of your injuries, contact a personal injury lawyer with a strong track record in handling motorcycle accidents. The Villarreal & Begum, LAW GUNS, are highly experienced motorcycle crash lawyers who can help you navigate this difficult time.
Filing a Lawsuit After a Texas Motorcycle Crash
Motorcycle accident victims may be able to seek fair compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and property damage. In a fatal motorcycle accident, the surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
One of the first steps is to establish liability. If you can prove that someone else’s negligence led to your motorcycle collision, you can hold them responsible for your accident-related damages. Examples of negligence include:
- A careless driver was speeding, ignoring traffic laws, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Someone was indulging in aggressive driving due to road rage.
- A distracted driver failed to watch their blind spot or pay attention to other road users.
- Your motorcycle malfunctioned because the manufacturer was negligent.
- Careless car manufacturers produce vehicle defects that later become dangerous.
- The city did not properly maintain the road or its traffic lights, resulting in dangerous road conditions.
In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing motorcycle accident lawsuits is generally two years from the date of the incident. However, some cases may have shorter deadlines, depending on the circumstances of the crash. For example, if you were stuck by a city-owned bus, the deadline for taking action is six months.
Once you retain a personal injury lawyer, they will draft a complaint that outlines the legal claims against the at-fault party or parties, file it with the court, and have it served on the defendant(s). The defendant(s) will then have the opportunity to respond to the complaint and may also file counterclaims.
Once a lawsuit has been filed, the parties will engage in a process called discovery, during which they exchange evidence and information related to the case. Depositions may be taken from witnesses and accident reconstruction experts, and medical records and other documents may be requested.
Settlement negotiations also normally happen at this time, with the goal of reaching an agreement that resolves the case without the need for trial. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to trial, during which a judge or jury will determine the outcome.
It is important to note that very few cases go to trial. While most insurers start with a lowball offer, an experienced and aggressive motorcycle accident lawyer in Austin will insist on maximum compensation and hold firm until a fair settlement is achieved.
What If You Are Partly Responsible for Your Motorcycle Accident Injuries?
If you contributed to the auto accident in any way, you can still recover compensation for your damages, but the amount you receive may be reduced. This is because Texas follows a modified comparative fault rule, which means that your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault for the accident.
For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault for the accident and your damages are $100,000, your award will be reduced by 20% and you will receive $80,000. However, if you are found to be more than 50% at fault, you can’t recover any damages.
Many insurance adjusters will try to shift blame onto the injured party to minimize their liability. This is why you should have an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can investigate the crash, build a strong case to establish liability and maximize your compensation.
What if the Driver Was Uninsured or Underinsured?
If the driver who hit you was uninsured or underinsured, you may still have options to recover compensation.
One option is to file a personal injury claim with your own insurance policy if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This type of coverage can help you pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the accident. However, many insurance companies hesitate to pay out on these motorcycle accident claims and may try to offer you a lower settlement than you deserve.
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help you negotiate with the insurance company or pursue legal action against the at-fault driver in court if necessary. They can also help you determine if other compensation sources are available, such as the driver’s personal assets or a third party’s liability insurance carrier.
How Can a Texas Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help?
While you aren’t legally required to hire an experienced attorney, doing so can maximize your chances of getting the outcome you need. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you prepare and file your claim, negotiate with insurance providers, and prepare your case for trial if the insurer refuses to be fair.
The laws affecting motorcycles and other motorized vehicles are always subject to change. Personal injury attorneys thoroughly understand these laws, including any recent changes, and can use this knowledge to your advantage. They can also assess the strength of your case and advise you on the best course of action to take.
Challenges are common in motorcycle accident cases, particularly when proving fault and the extent of damages. An experienced lawyer can help address these challenges by interviewing witnesses, consulting with experts, and gathering medical records. They will also be prepared to fight back against any attempts by insurance companies to minimize your compensation.
In short, working with a Texas motorcycle lawyer can be instrumental in securing the outcome you need after an accident. They can help you navigate the legal process, overcome challenges, and ultimately protect your rights. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, consult a lawyer as soon as possible.
Questions About Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits?
If you or a loved one have been involved in a Texas motorcycle crash, you may be dealing with catastrophic injuries, emotional trauma, and financial strain due to medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Just remember that you don’t have to face this alone.
Working with the experienced motorcycle accident lawyers at the Villarreal & Begum, LAW GUNS, can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Our law firm has a proven track record of helping injury victims get the compensation they need and will fight tirelessly to protect your rights and interests.
Don’t wait to take action. The statute of limitations for filing motorcycle accident lawsuits in Texas is two years from the date of the accident, so time is of the essence. Contact the Villarreal & Begum, LAW GUNS, today for a free consultation and take the first step towards getting the justice you deserve.