While motorcycles only make up a fraction of motor vehicles on the road, they were involved in 14% of all traffic fatalities, 17% of all occupant fatalities, and 3% of all occupant injuries in 2021. It’s more important than ever to follow the rules and regulations designed to keep you safe. Even when you follow the rules and practice safety recommendations, accidents can still happen. That’s where an Austin motorcycle accident lawyer at Steinger, Greene & Feiner can help. Our motorcycle injury lawyers in Austin have the skills and resources required to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions and secure maximum compensation on your behalf. Contact us today to achieve the results you want.
Motorcycle Accident Laws in Austin
Texas Motorcycle Laws and Regulations
Riders who are 20 years and younger are required by law to wear a motorcycle helmet. Riders who are 21 and older are not required to wear a motorcycle helmet if they have proof of motorcycle health insurance.
However, it is still highly recommended for safety purposes. Wearing a helmet can be the difference between life and death in the case of an accident. Motorcycle helmets reduce rider deaths by 37%, passenger deaths by 41%, and head injury risks by 69%. They’re the most effective means to minimize the severity of injuries and prevent deaths.
How an Austin Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Helps Navigate These Laws
Motorcycle accident victims often sustain severe or even life-threatening injuries. Personal property damage can also be extensive. You need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to explain applicable laws and regulations and make sure you know your rights.
A lawyer has knowledge, skills, and resources you don’t. This legal professional will help ease the financial burden of accident-related expenses by calculating the total cost of your losses—both financial and psychological. They will also handle all paperwork, negotiations, and litigation if your case comes to that.
Why Choose a Specialized Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Austin?
The Importance of Expertise in Motorcycle Accident Cases
Legal expertise is key in motorcycle accident cases. A personal injury lawyer knows the relevant state and local laws and regulations that apply to motorcycle drivers and passengers. They also have experience handling motorcycle cases for previous clients, which increases your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.
An experienced lawyer will help you navigate the legal landscape of motorcycle cases by investigating the accident, gathering evidence, filing paperwork within strict deadlines, negotiating a fair settlement, and more.
Liability can be tricky when it comes to motorcycle accident cases. It’s not uncommon for more than one party to bear responsibility, which makes calculating compensation more complex. Examples of responsible parties include the motorcycle driver, another motorist, a bicyclist, a pedestrian, or a manufacturer. A lawyer will recreate the events leading up to the accident to determine who caused it.
How Specialized Lawyers Differ From General Personal Injury Lawyers
While general personal injury lawyers represent a range of personal injury cases—from car accidents to medical malpractice—specialized personal injury lawyers represent specific case types, such as motorcycle accidents. They specialize in one or more areas of law to provide the most effective representation for their clients.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Austin
While we can’t predict when motorcycle accidents will occur, we do know what factors cause them to occur. This information can help us mitigate the risks to reduce the number of accidents. Although not an exhaustive list, these are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in the Austin area.
- Distracted driving
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Poor road or weather conditions
- Lack of proper training
- Poorly designed infrastructure
- Lack of visibility
The Complexities Involved
Navigating the aftermath of a motorcycle accident is no walk in the park. These case types are complex for many reasons. Here are the top five complexities involved in motorcycle accident cases.
1. Identifying the Cause
Legal and forensic experts must recreate the events leading up to the accident to identify what exactly caused it to take place. It might have been a driver texting while behind the wheel, a slippery road, or something else.
2. Determining Liability
The party liable for a motorcycle accident often acted negligently. Four criteria must be met to establish negligence.
- Duty: The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care.
- Breach: The defendant breached their duty of care.
- Causation: The breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
- Damages: The plaintiff suffered some form of identifiable harm—either physical, psychological, or financial—as a result of their injuries.
Texas practices modified comparative negligence, a legal principle that allows a partially at-fault plaintiff to recover compensatory damages. A plaintiff can be up to 49% at fault for a motorcycle accident and still seek compensation. A plaintiff cannot seek compensation if they are 50% or more at fault for the accident.
3. Gathering and Preserving Evidence
A motorcycle accident case won’t be successful without sufficient evidence. You and your lawyer should gather as much evidence as possible to build a strong case. Key pieces of evidence include the following:
- Medical records
- Photos and videos of the crash scene
- Video surveillance of the accident
- Eyewitness statements
- The official police or accident report
- A price breakdown of property damage
4. Negotiating With Insurance Companies
Insurance companies can be ruthless when it comes to compensating motorcycle accident victims. They care more about protecting their bottom line than supporting you in your time of need.
That’s why having a skilled motorcycle accident attorney on your side is crucial. This legal advocate will oppose common bad-faith tactics used by insurers—such as lowballing and denying valid claims—to maximize the compensation you receive. That way, you aren’t burdened with astronomical out-of-pocket expenses.
5. Calculating Damages
Damages caused by motorcycle accidents can be difficult to calculate. You must be thorough so you don’t miss anything. If you do, you could jeopardize your rightful compensation. Be sure to include all economic and non-economic damages—more on these later.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Austin
Immediate Steps to Take
If you ever get in an accident while riding your motorcycle, these are the steps you should take.
- Seek Medical Attention: Nothing matters more than your safety. If you sustained any severe injuries during the collision, call 911. First responders will arrive at the scene to provide emergency medical care.
- Call the Police: Report the accident to the police. Depending on the severity of the accident, officers might or might not respond. If they do, they will gather witness statements and fill out an official police report. Ask for a copy of this report before leaving the scene. If officers don’t respond, you should file an accident report through the local DMV. Be sure to obtain a copy of this report for future reference.
- Gather Evidence: Don’t leave the scene without getting photos and videos from every angle. This documentation will play a key role in recreating the accident to determine liability and award damages.
- Contact an Attorney: Do not contact your insurance company before consulting an attorney. This legal expert will make sure you understand your legal rights and options and know what steps lie ahead.
- Notify Your Insurance Provider: No matter who caused it, let your insurance provider know about the accident. This step is necessary for insurance purposes, as you can’t file a claim or recover compensation without documentation of the accident.
The Importance of Medical Documentation
Keep track of all medical bills, doctor’s notes, prescriptions, and other documentation related to your injuries from the accident. Your lawyer will need this evidence to prove the accident caused your injuries and that you sought medical care for them. This way, you can claim compensation for those out-of-pocket expenses.
Compensation and Settlements in Motorcycle Accident Cases
The victim of a motorcycle accident can claim compensation for two types of damages: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are tangible, calculable losses. They can include:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Rehabilitative care
Non-economic damages are intangible losses that can’t be assigned a dollar value. Common examples include:
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced earning capacity
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Psychological distress
Factors That Influence Settlement Amounts
Several factors are considered when determining a fair settlement amount for motorcycle accident victims.
- Liability: If the plaintiff shares any liability for the accident, their compensation will be reduced. If they had nothing to do with causing the accident, they can claim the maximum compensation available.
- Severity of Damages: The more severe a plaintiff’s injuries and property damage are, the higher their payout will likely be. This way, victims aren’t left with out-of-pocket expenses resulting from an accident they didn’t cause.
- Willingness to Settle: Some settlement negotiations wrap up in a few days, while others take weeks or months to resolve. It all depends on how much compensation the plaintiff seeks and how willing each party involved is to settle. If the opposing parties can’t agree on an amount, the case will go to court.
Navigating Insurance Claims and Disputes
Dealing With Insurance Companies After a Motorcycle Accident
When it comes to compensation, insurance companies don’t have your best interest in mind. They’ll do whatever it takes to minimize their losses, which could leave you with a pile of bills you can’t afford to pay. A skilled motorcycle accident lawyer will have years of experience dealing with unfair tactics and fighting for the compensation you deserve.
How a Lawyer Helps Negotiate Fair Settlements
Motorcycle accident lawyers negotiate fair settlements for their clients by:
- Accurately assessing the damages: Lawyers look at what injuries and property damage the accident directly caused to calculate exactly how much compensation you’re owed.
- Establishing liability: Lawyers review the evidence and interview eyewitnesses and experts to determine who caused the accident.
- Taking legal action: Lawyers present compelling evidence either during negotiations or litigation to support your claims, securing the justice and compensation you deserve.
The Legal Process and Litigation
The Legal Process Following a Motorcycle Accident
Here’s what you can expect from the legal process after contacting an attorney about your motorcycle accident.
- Evaluate the case: Meet with a motorcycle accident lawyer to discuss the details of your case, ask any questions you have, and go over your legal rights and options. The two of you will make a plan for next steps in the process.
- Gather evidence: Provide your attorney with any documentation you have that’s relevant to the accident. Your lawyer will gather any remaining evidence and start building a case.
- Negotiate a settlement: Your lawyer will work with insurance companies to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. If a settlement can’t be reached, your other option is to file a claim against the at-fault party and take your case to court.
- File a claim: Your attorney will file a lawsuit against the defendant on your behalf. This document establishes your grounds for suing and outlines the amount of compensation you request.
- Discovery: The defendant will receive a summons and a complaint in the mail detailing what they’re being sued for, along with where and when they must appear in court.
- Litigate: Your lawyer will represent your case in court before a judge and jury. These entities will determine who caused the accident, what degree of fault parties contributed, and what amount of compensation each party is owed.
What to Expect During Litigation
Here’s what you can expect after filing a lawsuit against the defendant:
- Discovery: Provide all relevant information and evidence to support your claims.
- Depositions: Witnesses answer questions under oath about the case.
- Mediation: When parties can’t agree to a settlement with their insurance companies, they meet with a mediator to try again.
- Trial: If this second attempt to settle fails, the lawyer takes the case to trial in a courthouse.
- Arbitration: Some cases are finalized beyond the court system. This only occurs when all parties involved have previously agreed to submit disputes to an arbitrator.
Choosing the Right Austin Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Austin
Credentials to Look For
A reliable motorcycle accident attorney will have the following credentials:
- A degree from an accredited law school
- Bar certification
- Board certification in personal injury
- Membership in legal organizations
Questions to Ask
- How long have you practiced law?
- What areas of personal injury law do you specialize in?
- Who will handle my case?
- What’s your success rate?
- How do you communicate with clients?
- What is your fee structure?
Reach Out to an Austin Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Steinger, Greene & Feiner is the firm you can trust to handle your motorcycle accident case. But don’t just take our word for it; see what our satisfied clients have to say about working with our attorneys.
A benefit of working with our motorcycle accident lawyers in Austin is taking advantage of our contingency fee basis. Between going to doctor’s appointments and taking trips to the repair shop, the last thing you should worry about is paying legal fees. That’s why you don’t pay until we win your case.
Don’t wait another day to get the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact our team today to claim your free case evaluation.