Houston, Texas Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

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Houston traffic is more than an inconvenience for motorcycle riders. It’s a danger.

There’s a lot to love about Houston, but the traffic isn’t one of them. Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s 2019 Urban Mobility Report ranked Houston as the seventh worst city for traffic congestion in the nation.

With more vehicles on the roads and cars and large trucks competing for space, drivers often overlook motorcyclists. Unfortunately, failing to look for motorcycles is how many drivers cause devastating accidents.

If you were injured or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident in Houston, don’t hesitate to reach out at (832) 690-7000. Let our Houston injury lawyers help you move forward. We have years of experience handling motorcycle and car accident cases.

Motorcycle rider with helmet with face being shown in reflection of motorcycle mirror

How Many Motorcycle Accidents Happen in Houston?

Houston experiences hundreds of motorcycle crashes every year. Between 2012 and 2016, Harris County had the most motorcycle crashes in all Texas counties. But with a population of over 4.4 million people and 6,157 motorcycle wrecks, Harris County had an annual average rate of 28 crashes per 100,000 people. That’s a lower rate than in Dallas, Bexar, Tarrant, Travis, El Paso, Bell, and Montgomery Counties.

What Is the Main Cause of Motorcycle Accidents in Houston?

Motorcycle accidents happen for all sorts of reasons. One important factor is speed. Motorcycles or other vehicles moving faster than the speed limit have less time to notice a possible collision and correct course. Speed’s also a critical factor in curve-related accidents. About one-third of curve accidents involve a speed issue, such as driving at an unsafe speed.  

Alcohol is another issue. Between 2010 and 2017, Texas had 5,438 impaired driving crashes involving motorcycles. Most fatal and injury-causing motorcycle accidents during that time involved intoxication.

Unprotected left turns and failure to yield to the right of way are significant dangers to riders, too. In fact, 39% of intersection fatal or suspected serious injury crashes involved one vehicle turning left and the other traveling straight in the opposite direction. Most left turn accidents happen because someone fails to let the vehicle with the right of way go first. A vehicle may turn into a motorcycle riding through the intersection or turn in front of them, giving the motorcyclist no time to stop and prevent a crash.

What Percentage of Motorcycle Riders Get in Accidents?

It’s hard to calculate the exact percentage of riders who get into crashes because we don’t know how many riders are out there. In 2017, Texas had 366,473 motorcycle registrations and over 1.1 million Class M licenses. Data also showed us many motorcycle riders in crashes rode without the proper license. Between 2010 and 2017, 43% of fatal motorcycle riders didn’t have a Class M license or any license.

What we know is that every year, thousands of motorcycle riders get hurt in single and multi-vehicle accidents, and hundreds pass away from their injuries. Though motorcycles are always a small percentage of vehicles on Texas roads, they made up 14% of all fatal crashes in 2016 & 2017.

What Types of Injuries Do Motorcycle Accidents Cause?

In 2020, Texas experienced 7,481 motorcycle crashes, which led to 1,856 seriously injured riders and 482 deaths. 

Common injuries include:

  • Friction burns and abrasions (Road rash)
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Head and traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Nerve damage
  • Paralysis
  • Crushed limbs
  • Amputations
  • Internal organ damage

Usually, the motorcycle driver or passenger sustains the most severe injuries—not occupants in a car or truck. Motorcycle crashes can cause catastrophic injuries, disfigurement, and disability. 

What Is a Major Cause of Death in Motorcycle Accidents?

Head trauma is a common cause of death in motorcycle crashes. A rider may suffer a severe TBI, which can lead to coma, a vegetative state, and death. Initial head injuries often lead to secondary trauma, too, including bleeding in or around the brain. Secondary injuries contribute to the severity of the injury and difficulty treating it.

Fatal head injuries are one of the most important reasons to wear a helmet. Studies estimate that helmets are 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries in motorcycle riders and 41% effective in preventing them in passengers. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69%.

Who Is Liable for a Motorcycle Accident?

A motorcyclist or other vehicle driver may be to blame for a crash. It depends on who negligently caused the collision. Everyone on the road has a legal duty to behave reasonably and obey the law. When determining who caused a motorcycle accident, insurers and courts look at who violated a traffic law or acted unreasonably under the circumstances.

When we handle your motorcycle accident claim, we thoroughly investigate the crash by:

  • Reviewing the police report;
  • Gathering and reviewing any photos or video;
  • Talking with witnesses; and
  • If needed, hiring an accident reconstruction expert.

We use the evidence to determine who caused the crash, whether they were speeding, distracted, or turned left when you had the right of way.

Behind-the-bars view of a motorcycle driving through the freeway

Can I Get Compensation After a Houston Motorcycle Accident?

If we can prove another person or business is responsible for the crash, you might recover compensation. Sometimes, a business is responsible because they employed the at-fault driver or owned the vehicle. Other times, the business was the negligent party.

We may win an insurance settlement or if you file a lawsuit, a court award. Your compensation can include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Physical limitations
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Reduced earning potential
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Are There Ways to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents?

When you choose to ride doesn’t impact your safety on the road much. A majority of crashes happen during the week and during the day when the weather is nice. That being said, crashes that happen at night tend to be more severe.

Overall, it’s less about when you ride and more about being vigilant and driving defensively. Never assume another driver will avoid you. It’s up to you to keep an eye on traffic, stick to the speed limit, and be careful.

Never drink and drive. Riding impaired due to alcohol and drugs significantly increases your risk of a crash. Even one beer is too many when you need to get back on your bike.

Most importantly, wear the right protective gear and a helmet. Wearing boots, long pants, an abrasion-resistant jacket, gloves, helmet, and eyewear won’t prevent a crash. But the proper safety gear goes a long way in mitigating your potential injuries.

Call a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Help

If you or a loved one were hurt in a motorcycle accident in Houston, reach out to Pierce Skrabanek by calling (832) 690-7000 or using our online contact form. We offer free initial consultations.

Our legal team has years of experience helping Houston accident victims. We know what our roads and traffic are like and the dangers they present to motorcyclists. Our local knowledge helps us build compelling, successful claims.

Motorcycle Accident FAQs

After a Houston motorcycle accident, your priority should be getting medical care. If you could take pictures of the crash site and get witnesses’ and the other driver’s information, that’s great. But if not, don’t panic. Pierce Skrabanek can investigate the motorcycle accident for you. Once you’re safe, notify your insurance company about the accident and give us a call.

Yes, you need a Class M license. If you’re 18 years or older, you have to complete a Motorcycle Safety Course, vision test, and motorcycle driving test. The knowledge test is waived by completing the safety course, and in some instances, you can get the driving test waived, too. Minors who want to get a motorcycle license have to complete additional requirements. If you or a loved one were hurt in a motorcycle crash without having a valid license, call us for help today.

Texas law states everyone is required to wear a helmet. However, there is a major exception. You can ride without a helmet if you are at least 21 years old and are covered by at least $10,000 in medical insurance or have completed a Texas Department of Licensing and Registration-approved motorcycle operator training course.

Texas personal injury law gives you two years from the date of your crash to file a lawsuit. However, some factors might give you more or less time. It’s important to work with a Houston motorcycle accident lawyer right away. You want to gather evidence while it’s fresh and demand an insurance payout as soon as possible.