Texas overall, and Houston specifically, has a large motorcycle culture. Motorcycles can be seen driving around the city and the many suburbs of Houston. But when these motorcyclists are involved in accidents, the injuries that riders suffer can be very serious.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcyclists involved in accidents suffer many serious bodily injuries because there is little to protect them from an impact. Some of the most common injuries suffered by motorcyclists include:
- Impact injuries. A motorcyclist can collide with another vehicle or could strike the pavement at great speed, causing the motorcyclist’s body to scrape along the road surface. Any number of impact injuries are possible, from broken bones, to hemorrhaged internal organs, to serious disfigurement.
- Back, spinal cord and paralysis related injuries. Motorcyclists often experience serious injuries to the spine and back that could produce paralysis and other disabilities.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Texas law does not require motorcyclists to wear a safety helmet while operating their motorcycles. As such, motorcyclists who are involved in accidents often suffer traumatic brain injuries. These injuries can be severe, if not deadly, if not properly evaluated and treated by medical professionals.
- Death. Motorcyclists can die as a result of a motorcycle accident.
Liability for Motorcycle Accidents in Houston
Liability for motorcycle accidents is fault based, meaning that the negligent party or parties will be held responsible for the harm that they cause. Texas has adopted a modified comparative negligence approach to motorcycle accidents, whereby a motorcyclist can recovery for their injuries, even if the motorcyclist is partially responsible for their own injuries. As long as the motorcyclist is less than 51 percent liable for the accident, the motorcyclist can seek recovery from the other party involved in the accident. The motorcyclist’s total recovery will be reduced by their share of the liability for the accident.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Many motorcycle accidents are the result of negligence, either on the part of the motorcyclist or on the part of the other driver that is involved in the accident. Some common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Either the motorcyclist or the other driver was operating their respective vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Either the motorcyclist or the other driver was travelling at an unsafe rate of speed;
- Either party improperly made a turn without signalling or having adequate room to successfully make the turn;
- Either party improperly tried to pass another vehicle;
- Failure by either party to follow the right-of-way laws;
- Failure by either party to follow traffic signals and signs; and/or
- A motorist fails to see a motorcyclist, either because the motorcycle is approaching too quickly, or because the motorcycle is so much smaller than a car that the motorist fails to recognize a motorcyclist is present.
Statute of Limitations for Motorcycle Accident Claims
The statute of limitations for a motorcycle accident claim is two years from when the accident occurs. This applies to all causes of action arising from a motorcycle injury, including personal injury claims, property damage claims and wrongful death claims (although the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim starts when the motorcyclist passes away).
What Damages Can Be Recovered for A Motorcycle Accident?
Motorcyclists who are injured in an accident with a negligent driver can seek compensation in the form of damages from those who are responsible for the motorcyclists injuries. Damages that can be recovered include:
- Expenses associated with motorcycle damage repairs;
- Medical expenses, both past and future;
- Lost wages for any time the motorcyclist has to take off from work due to recovery;
- Damages for pain and suffering;
- Damages for disfigurement; and
- Damages for scarring, or loss of enjoyment of life.