El Paso Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
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According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 5,634 motorcyclists suffered serious injuries throughout the state of Texas in 2012. Because motorcycles are associated with dangerous behavior, insurance companies often look to blame riders in accidents. But in many cases, it’s another motorist who is to blame for an accident involving a motorcycle.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, it's important to know your rights. Our El Paso motorcycle accident attorneys will be on your side and stand up to the insurance companies to seek the compensation that you deserve.
What to Know About Motorcycle Accidents in El Paso
Because motorcycles do not offer the same level of protection as standard motor vehicles--such as seat belts, air bags, and a barrier between the operator and the other driver--crashes often result in very serious and even fatal injuries. In fact, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die from a crash than a driver of a passenger vehicle.
If you have been in a motorcycle crash, you may have to deal with not only physical and emotional pain but also many overwhelming financial burdens. You may be left wondering many questions:
- How will I pay for my medical bills?
- When can I get back to work?
- How can I recover lost wages?
- Who will pay for my property damage?
- Is the insurance company offering me a fair settlement?
El Paso Motorcycle Laws
In Texas, all motorcyclists are required to attend a motorcycle-training course to obtain a Class M motorcycle license, which is required to drive a motorcycle. All drivers under the age of 21 must wear a helmet, while those over the age of 21 may choose not to do so if they complete an advanced motorcycle safety course or are covered by an applicable insurance plan.
YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION
What To Do After A Motorcycle Accident
In order to recover compensation for the damages you have suffered, you will likely have to negotiate with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. However, insurance companies are interested in one thing: protecting their bottom line. They do this by minimizing your claim in every way possible and paying out as little as they can for your injuries.
To build the strongest case possible, you must take the appropriate steps to show an insurance adjuster how much your life was affected by the crash.
The first and most important step is to seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the motorcycle accident. If the injuries should be considered an emergency, call ambulance and police to the scene to assist you.
Otherwise, visit a doctor or primary care physician immediately, even if you don't believe you are injured. After a crash, victims often experience adrenaline rushes that can mask the effects of an injury. Your doctor will be able to not only properly diagnose any injury but also create an official medical record that you can use for your injury claim.
Your next step is to document everything you can about the crash. Take photographs of any injuries and the crash scene, write down everything you remember about the wreck, and gather any witness statements if you can. It is also crucial to ask the police to fill out a crash report.
After you have received medical treatment and gathered evidence, you should contact an El Paso motorcycle accident lawyer. A motorcycle attorney will be able to help you pursue maximum compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and much more.
How Do I File A Claim?
1. Meet with your attorney
The first thing you should do meet with your attorney. It would be best if you did this as soon as possible after the accident to ensure they have access to pertinent information and evidence while it is available. Further, because of time limits on filing lawsuits, as well as the need to have your attorney deal with any insurance companies on your behalf, it is imperative to meet an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in El Paso as soon as possible after your motorcycle accident. That way, you can focus on your recovery while your lawyer focuses on building your case.
Your attorney will investigate the accident to gather evidence and facts. Your lawyer will examine the accident site, collect witness statements, police reports, and medical records regarding the extent and treatment of your injuries. They will seek to determine parties who may be liable and if negligence played a role and build the strongest case possible for you.
Once your attorney has gathered the necessary facts, they may attempt to negotiate a settlement to seek compensation for you. The negotiation may involve disputing liability, the amount of damages, or other factors. Attempting to negotiate with an insurance company on your own can be a daunting task. They are experienced negotiators who want to settle quickly, and for as little as possible, this is where your lawyer will truly be an asset to you and help you settle your case.
If a negotiated settlement is not reached, the case may be then brought to trial to seek compensation, where your attorney will represent your best interests.
How long do I have to file a claim?
The legal time limits, also known as the statute of limitations, for filing a personal injury claim in Texas is two years from the date of the injury. If you do not file a claim within two years, your case will most likely be dismissed if brought forward later. It is best to consult an attorney and file a claim well before time runs out on seeking compensation, ideally as soon as possible after an accident has occurred. This will aid your attorney in investigating the accident and determining who is at fault and if negligence played a role in the accident.
Motorcycle Accident Compensation
Compensation is made up of the combination of economic and no economic losses. These losses are known as ‘damages’ and can include:
Property Damage: Cost to repair or replace (at fair market value) your vehicle
Medical Expenses: Cost of an ER visit, hospital stay, treatments, medications, and therapies required because of injuries suffered in the accident.
Cost of Future Treatments: Where an injury results required medical care and treatment into the future and sometimes for a lifetime, the cost of future treatments may also be compensated.
Lost Wages: If your injuries resulted in your inability to work, you may be eligible to recover wages lost during the time you were unable to work as a result of your injuries.
Lost Earning Potential: If you were severely injured because of the accident, and as a result are unable to return to your job, you may be eligible for compensation for the loss of potential income.
Pain & Suffering: Compensation for physical and mental suffering caused by your injuries may be sought. The amount of compensation for pain and suffering will vary, as every accident is different.
Compensation for children (minors) may not be handled in the same way as that of adults. Parents may seek compensation to cover medical expenses. However, compensation for pain and suffering may be put into a trust for the minors, who will be able to access it once they turn 18 years of age. However, in some cases, the compensation may be released to the parents, who must use it for the child’s well-being.
Who is at Fault?
Depending on the exact details of the accident, different parties may be at fault in a motorcycle accident:
Car or Truck Driver
The driver of the car or truck involved might be at fault if negligent behavior by them caused the accident whether because of distracted driving, drunk driving, or any other such negligent behavior.
Company Employing the Driver
If a vehicle involved was a cargo truck, the trucking company might be liable if negligence was involved in the accident, either on their part or that of their driver. While such liability is most common in trucking accidents, a company can be at fault for any accident which was caused by their own negligence or that of their driver.
Motorcycle Driver (when sued by a passenger on the motorcycle)
If you are a passenger on a motorcycle or in a vehicle involved in an accident, the driver may be liable for any damages or injuries you may have suffered as a result of their negligence in causing the wreck.
State or Local Government
If the accident was caused by failure to maintain proper road conditions adequately, the agency responsible for maintaining the road might be liable.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
A TBI may occur when the head receives a sudden shock or blow and can occur even if a motorcyclist is wearing a helmet. They are often serious and can be fatal.
Neck and Spinal Injuries
Injuries to the neck and spine can occur in accidents, damaging spinal discs and in some cases the spinal cord itself. In many cases of spinal injuries, the victim may become paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair for life as a result, while less severe may still result in chronic pain.
Motorcyclists can suffer from burns as the result of an accident, usually caused by the ignition of a ruptured gas tank, and depending on the accident, these burns can be quite severe, some requiring skin grafting.
Due to the exposed nature of motorcycles, motorcyclists involved in accidents may also suffer from facial injuries such as broken jaws and noses, as well as permanent disfigurement due to injuries.
Motorcycle riders often experience broken arms or legs as the result of accidents, a result of hitting the pavement and/or the bike falling on top of them after the accident.
Internal injuries can occur because of motorcycle accidents and may not be obvious or readily apparent. Internal injuries include damage to vital organs and arterial networks. They are generally caused by blunt force trauma, which is often sustained by the force of an impact from a vehicle or with the ground. They may also be caused by debris or wreckage that has pierced the body.
Road rash describes the skin abrasions suffered by motorcyclists after making contact with the pavement and sliding along it after an impact. These abrasions can lead to infection and cause permanent scarring.
Since Pedestrians lack the protections offered by a vehicle or even protective gear a motorcyclist may equip, they are especially at risk of injury during a motorcycle accident. This can happen either through being hit directly while crossing a roadway or a careless driver entering a pedestrian area or as a result of an accident that causes a motorcycle to unintentionally enter a pedestrian area, such as a sidewalk. Children, passengers, cyclists, or scooter-users may also be at a higher risk for these injuries because of the lack of protection and vulnerability in motorcycle accidents.
These injuries can include:
- Spinal injury, including paralysis
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
- Concussions and other head injuries
- Neck injuries, such as whiplash, caused by a rapid movement of the neck back and forth during an accident
Our El Paso Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Can Help
If someone was responsible for your motorcycle accident, they need to be held accountable. A reputable motorcycle accident lawyer can help you investigate the accident, prove negligence, and recover damages. After a motorcycle accident you could be left with costly medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering to name a few. Nobody should have to pay for the irresponsible actions of others.
Call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free consultation with one of our experienced and knowledgeable motorcycle lawyers in El Paso. Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.