What To Do If You Are In A Motorcycle Collision

motorcycle laying down on road after accident concept

Motorcycle riding is the most dangerous mode of transportation on our roads today. The number of motorcycle accidents is rising in Texas along with the severity of injuries suffered every year. Although the cause of injuries and deaths from motorcycle collisions are primarily from another motorist’s negligence, motorcycle riders suffer more serious issues following a motorcycle-car crash than automobile drivers.

The compassionate motorcycle accident lawyers at McKinney Vos have handled numerous motorcycle cases and we appreciate the seriousness of your situation. Motorcycle accident cases are complicated and usually hotly contested by insurance companies. No one walks away from a motorcycle crash unharmed. We fight for cyclists who are injured by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or distracted driving.

Texas Motorcycle Laws

In Texas, several laws apply to motorcycle collisions. First, Texas does not require helmet use for motorcyclists over the age of 21 as long as they have proof of medical insurance and proof that they completed a motorcycle safety program. Riders under 21 must wear a helmet and more stringent rules apply to students and cyclists holding a learning permit.

Also, Texas has adopted a modified comparative negligence law that limits personal injury claims. Under this law, you must be less than 51% responsible for your crash to recover damages from the other party. Insurance companies and their lawyers may try to shift the blame to you because you were on a cycle or because you were not wearing a helmet. If you are found more than 51% at fault for your injuries, you cannot request compensation from the other driver.

Why a Motorcycle Accident is Usually More Severe Than a Car Accident

When a motorcycle is involved in a two-vehicle crash, the cyclist is in a more dangerous position than drivers or passengers in standard cars or trucks. Motorcycle riders are not physically protected by the seatbelts, airbags, or steel frames that cars offer. Usually, the only personal protection riders have is their clothing and a helmet, if they wear one.

Cycles can stop more quickly so if a car is following too closely behind a stopping motorcycle, it may rear-end the motorcycle. The resulting car damage may be minimal while the motorcycle could be totaled and the rider seriously injured. Unfortunately, in some motorcycle crashes, the rider can be thrown from the bike and even run over by other vehicles. With so little protection between the motorcyclist and the road or another vehicle, they usually suffer very serious injuries.

Motorcycles are smaller, move more quickly, and can be difficult to see. Injuries and deaths from motorcycle collisions are primarily from another vehicle that pulls out in front of a rider not realizing they are coming. The oncoming cyclist may lay the bike down and experience severe injuries while trying to avoid an accident. Also, cycles are more sensitive to road conditions, weather, and changing situations. While a car may drive over a pothole without issue, a motorcyclist that is forced into a pothole or a road crack could lose control of the bike.

Injured motorcyclists can also expect a longer medical recovery which can mean more time off work, higher medical expenses, and more complications than a car accident victim. Insurance companies will try to settle these cases quickly to avoid paying the costs for a full recovery. Remember, the other driver’s insurance agent is not working for you. Their goal is to maximize their profits and minimize your settlement payment if possible.

What is the Most Common Collision Between Cars and Motorcycles?

While motorcycle collisions can happen anywhere, the most common type of collision between cars and motorcycles occurs at intersections. Usually, injuries and deaths from motorcycle collisions are primarily from a car waiting to turn left at an intersection that doesn’t see the approaching motorcycle.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 42% of automobile-motorcycle accidents are caused by the auto driver who turns in front of a cycle because the driver doesn’t see the motorcycle approaching the intersection. When a car turns in front of a cycle, the motorcyclist usually has two options – collide with the car or go off the road.

Other Situations Where Car Motorcycle Collisions are Most Common

Another common cause of motorcycle accidents happens when a car is entering a roadway and pulls out in front of a cycle without seeing it. Again, the rider must take evasive action to avoid hitting the car and losing control. Although the rider is usually not at fault, they bear a greater risk of injury and loss than the other driver.

Often, car-motorcycle collisions involve speeding, distracted driving, and alcohol use. As a motorcyclist, pay special attention when approaching intersections or side roads where a car might pull out unexpectedly. Slow down and anticipate other motorists’ actions to protect yourself. Also, although you might be tempted, don’t speed, and don’t drink and ride.

Head and Brain Injuries are Serious Medical Issues after Motorcycle Collisions

After a crash, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is one of the most serious and common injuries riders experience. This condition is caused by your brain impacting the inside of your skull. TBI can lead to serious life issues and even death. It’s important to wear a helmet when you ride, but unfortunately, helmets only help reduce death by 37% and brain injuries by 67%.

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) studied helmet use related to motorcycle crashes. It found bikers were three times more likely to suffer a TBI if they were involved in a crash while not wearing a helmet. Also, riders who wore helmets had a 73% lower fatality rate than those who didn’t use a helmet.

What to Do After a Motorcycle Collision

Of course, you should always seek medical attention as quickly as possible. However, if you are able, gather evidence from the scene of the crash or ask someone else to help. Take photos if you can. If there are witnesses, ask for their contact information. Obtain insurance information from everyone involved. Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible to help gather evidence, request a police report, and deal with the insurance companies on your behalf.

Be sure to follow through and continue all recommended medical treatments. Don’t try to “tough it out” only to realize you need more care later. If the insurance company sees a lapse in treatment it will argue that you didn’t need further care and try to exclude any expenses after the lapse. Also, don’t talk to the other insurance carrier on your own. It’s important that you don’t settle too quickly because early on you may not fully appreciate the extent of your injuries and how much money you will need to finish treatment and pay for other expenses.

Instead, work with a dedicated and compassionate motorcycle accident lawyer at McKinney Vos who will protect your right to compensation while you focus on recovering from your injuries.

Trust McKinney Vos to Protect Your Legal Rights After a Motorcycle Accident

At McKinney Vos, we have extensive experience helping injured motorists recover the compensation they deserve. We are there every step of the way while you put your life back in order. We know that injuries and deaths from motorcycle collisions are primarily from other people’s negligent or reckless behavior and we are committed to holding them accountable for your losses.

Call us at (512) 866-0261 or complete our simple online form to schedule a free consultation today. Let us help you restore your life and peace of mind.