When you are injured in a motorcycle accident, effectively asserting your legal rights can be crucial to your recovery. Serious injuries can lead to exorbitant medical bills, and your injuries could leave you unable to work for weeks or months – if not years. The pain and suffering caused by your injuries can negatively impact all aspects of your life; and, in order to cope with these and other effects, you may need to recover financial compensation above and beyond your direct financial losses.
So, as an injured motorcycle rider in Texas, what are your legal rights?
1. You Have the Right to File an Insurance Claim
In Texas, all drivers and motorcycle riders are required to carry insurance by law. If you are involved in an accident while riding your motorcycle, you have the right to file an insurance claim just as you would after a car, truck, or SUV accident. It is important to file an insurance claim as soon after your accident as possible, and you can do this by contacting your motorcycle insurer.
When you contact your motorcycle insurer, you should provide the driver’s insurance information and other basic details about the accident (such as where and when it occurred), but that’s about it. The adjuster will ask you who you think was at fault, but you are not required to answer. If you say anything that suggests you may be fully or partially liable, the insurance companies will almost certainly use this against you.
2. You Have the Right to Recover Fault-Based Compensation
While some states have “no-fault” insurance laws that require accident victims to seek coverage from their own insurance companies, Texas is not one of these states. In Texas, you can seek fault-based compensation from the driver’s insurance company for forms of negligence including:
- Talking on the phone or texting instead of looking at the road
- Turning or merging in front of motorcyclists who have the right of way
- Speeding, tailgating, passing dangerously, and other forms of aggressive driving
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Making mistakes behind the wheel due to carelessness or inexperience
In addition, in many cases, factors other than driver negligence contribute to causing motorcycle accidents and motorcycle riders’ injuries. If your brakes failed, if your helmet was not up to DOT or Snell standards, if the road surface was dangerous, or if any other factor played a role in causing the accident or exposing you to serious injuries, then you may have one or more additional claims as well.
3. You Have the Right to Be Treated Fairly and in Good Faith
There is a common misconception that motorcycle riders are risk-takers, and this misconception, unfortunately, impacts the recovery process for many riders. By law, insurance companies are required to treat all riders fairly, and they are required to process all claims in good faith based on the specific facts involved in each particular case. When dealing with insurance companies, it is important to keep this in mind, and it is important not to let faulty assumptions or bad-faith insurance practices lead to an unjust result.
4. You Have the Right to Have Your Motorcycle Repaired or Replaced
As part of your insurance claim, you have the right to have your motorcycle repaired or replaced. If your motorcycle is capable of being repaired, then this is usually the route you have to go. If your motorcycle was totaled in the accident, then you are entitled to enough compensation to purchase a replacement.
If you need to get your motorcycle repaired, you can – and should – choose your own repair shop. If you need to buy a replacement, it will be important to make sure you receive the full value to which you are legally entitled. In some cases, insurance companies will try to pay only a small fraction of what they owe by undervaluing the totaled bike. An experienced Texas motorcycle accident lawyer can help make sure you are compensated appropriately so that you can purchase a suitable replacement.
5. You Have the Right to Fully Recover from Your Injuries
Similar to the right to choose your own repair shop, you also have the right to choose your own health care providers. After a motorcycle accident, it is important to seek medical attention promptly, and you need your doctor to conduct a comprehensive examination in order to identify all of your accident-related injuries. This includes not only injuries you can see – such as broken bones and road rash – but concussions, organ damage, and other internal injuries as well.
6. You Have the Right to Just Compensation for Your Financial and Non-Financial Losses
After a motorcycle accident in Texas, you have the right to recover just compensation for your financial and non-financial losses. If you were not at fault in the accident, you are entitled to recover 100 percent of your losses. If you were partially at fault, you can still recover partial compensation as long as you were not primarily at fault (i.e. 51 percent or more). The losses riders can recover after serious motorcycle accidents in Texas include:
- Medical expenses and prescription costs
- Medical supplies, transportation costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses
- Property damage repair or replacement costs
- Loss of income and future earning capacity
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Other financial and non-financial losses
7. You Have the Right to Hire an Attorney to Handle Your Claim
Finally, in order to help you deal with the insurance companies, file any additional liability claims, and accurately calculate your financial and non-financial losses, you have the right to hire an attorney. At The Law Office of Joel M. Vecchio, P.C., we handle all motorcycle accident claims on contingency, so you pay nothing unless we win. If you would like to speak with a lawyer at our offices in Plano, TX, contact us to arrange a free consultation today.
Speak with a Plano, TX Motorcycle Accident Lawyers for Free
To arrange a free consultation with a Plano, TX motorcycle accident lawyer at The Law Office of Joel M. Vecchio, P.C., call us at 972-380-4444 or contact us online. We can help you recover the financial compensation you deserve.