For many Texans, there is only one way to enjoy the freedom of our incredible 310,000 miles of highways and roads — on a motorcycle. But tragically last year in Texas, 501 of them lost their lives, usually at an intersection or when another driver was changing lanes. Contrary to popular belief that bikers always get hurt because they ride too fast, the typical motorcycle accident happens at lower speeds. According to statistics from NHTSA, almost half of all fatal bike crashes happen when the rider is hit by a car or truck driver who suddenly turns in front of him.
Yesterday I told an insurance adjuster denying liability that I am filing suit. Her insured, a commercial truck driver, made a reckless right turn across two lanes and caused serious injuries to my client. That call prompted me to share several ideas about these cases. More about how to win any vehicle collision case is here.
Can you win if the police write a negative report?
If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, don’t assume that your situation is hopeless because an unfavorable police accident report was written — as in the above case. For example, last fall a motorcyclist died in Fort Worth after a collision with an SUV and the police report said he was speeding. But several eyewitnesses came forward and said the motorcyclist was not speeding. The driver of the SUV had turned left into the path of the motorcyclist and he didn’t have time to avoid the crash.
The problem often happens because the police officer rarely witnesses the crash. He arrives later and has to rely on hearsay from the car or truck driver who is still at the scene after the motorcyclist has been rushed to the ER. And he (and many others) may make an improper assumption that all motorcyclists are reckless thrill-seekers.
A good motorcycle accident lawyer can work with the officer to review all evidence, ask him to change his report, and take his deposition to make a record of what really caused the crash. If you have compelling evidence, you will have an easier time proving your case and being awarded damages. Other evidence includes
Who is liable?
If your motorcycle intersection accident was the result of a driver who improperly failed to yield the right of way by turning in front of your motorcycle, you have a strong case against that driver. He may have been in a hurry or have been illegally texting while driving or otherwise distracted. That’s why it is so critical that car and truck drivers be hyper-alert for motorcyclists (and bicycle riders, as they go so much slower and are even more vulnerable). Bikes don’t begin to offer the same protection to avoid serious injuries.
Sometimes the owner of the vehicle may have negligently entrusted it to him, e.g. if he was intoxicated or an unqualified driver. Other times, the employer may be at fault.
Or the intersection was hazardous due to its design or maintenance. For example, last year a widow sued the City of Fort Worth after her husband died at an intersection while aboard a motorcycle. The widow’s lawsuit alleged that the flashing yellow traffic light at the intersection caused the fatal crash. Winning a case like this means proving that the city knew or reasonably should have known how unreasonably dangerous the intersection was. This intersection had a history of previous crashes due to its construction and that light.
Because motorcyclists are at such a high risk of injury compared to other vehicle drivers, their crashes often cause major injuries. These trigger enormous medical bills, extensive time away from work, and an enormous amount of pain and suffering. Insurance companies love to deny these claims.
To make sure you have the legal representation you need to get the compensation you deserve, you owe it to yourself to talk to a board-certified injury attorney who has extensive experience in handling motorcycle accidents.
I have handled them since I started practicing personal injury law in Fort Worth in 1980. I have resolved a lot of them including recent disputed intersection cases for the entire personal (not commercial) insurance policy limits available of $100,000, $100,000 and $200,000.
I used to ride a motorcycle (OK, it was in the 70’s when I was in college and law school) but still ride a road bicycle and run and am keenly aware of the danger of being out on the road.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle (or bicycle) accident, please contact my law firm today at 1-888-801-8585 or email us online.
Of course it would be far better if riders were not injured in a motorcycle accident in the first place. Here is more info that might help that, especially now that warmer weather is finally here and more guys will be out there on their bikes.