Texas motorcycle accident statistics shed light on the alarming level of death and injuries yearly and the legal implications of accidents of this nature.
A motorcycle is a fun two-wheeled vehicle beloved by several people. However, as fun as it is to operate, it is prone to traffic accidents. When motorcycle accidents occur, the motorcyclist would likely suffer severe injuries or death. There are very few instances where motorcycle riders suffer minor wounds.
Bike crashes could be solo or involve motor vehicles or trucks. When this happens, it is vital to look at the evidence to decide who the fault party is. When the motorcyclist is the victim, the negligent party will pay compensation to them. It is always helpful to get a Texas motorcycle accident lawyer involved. At Calhoun, Meredith, & Sims, we have experienced attorneys ready to listen and help out accident victims.
Riding a motorcycle on Texas roads is ideal because of its long summers and wide-open roadways. But it also makes it the one place prone to crashes and motorcycle fatalities. In the United States, Texas ranks among the top three states with the highest fatality rates. Statistics show that from 2010 to 2017, it recorded about 68,877 crashes involving motorcycles.
While solo motorcycle crashes are not very dangerous, the greatest threat to the life of bikers is other drivers. For example, between 2010 and 2016, over half of motorcycle accidents involved multiple vehicles. Most fatal motorcycle crashes happen on rural roads. Between 2012 and 2016, Harris, Dallas, and Bexar were the top three counties with motor vehicle accidents involving bikes.
Between 2010 and 2017, Texas recorded 5,438 bike accidents, including single and multiple-vehicle accidents caused by drunk driving. More often than not, traffic crashes of this nature are caused by riding under the influence of alcohol or drug impairment. Also, the motorcyclist is likely not wearing protective gear. 66% of impaired motorcycle riders were not wearing a helmet when the crash occurred.
Other key contributors to this type of accident in Texas are:
Following a crash from any of the above, it is vital for those involved to contact a motorcycle accident attorney. The attorney would explain the rights and liabilities of each of the parties.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, one motorcycle rider dies every day on Texas roads on average. In 2019, 412 motorcyclists died in Texas, and severe injury victims were above 1,800. The agency notes that the six-month period from May to October is the deadliest for bikers in the state.
In 2019, about 61% of the two-wheeled drive traffic fatalities occurred during that time period. This is why Texas DOT introduced the "Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles" campaign. It aims to educate passenger vehicle drivers and other road users to look carefully for a biker as their life depends on it.
Safety experts believe that crashes between motorcyclists and drivers occur when motorists make left-hand turns in front of an oncoming motorcycle. They misjudge the distance and speed of the bike, hence the collision. In 2019, a majority of motorcycle collisions (about 30%) and death from motorcycle accidents occurred in an intersection.
That same year, the highest number of fatal motorcycle crashes occurred in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Fort Worth. Also part of the list is Austin, El Paso, Corpus Christi, Lubbock, and Odessa. All these show the risk for motorcycle riders is higher than car drivers. Thus, both sides of the divide must do their part to maintain and follow traffic safety regulations on the roadway.
According to Statista, there are over 350 000 registered motorcycle riders in Texas. This explains why injuries and motorcycle traffic fatalities are not uncommon. The seriousness of motorcycle crash injuries comes from the fact that bikers and motorcycle passengers have little or no protection.
Below are some of the most common injuries from motorcycle collisions.
Other known injuries are painful skin damage, road rash from the road surface, and bruises and cuts. If you suffer any of these injuries, get medical treatment immediately, and keep track of the records. They will come in handy when making an accident claim against a negligent driver.
The CDC notes that the single and most effective way for states to save lives and money is by enforcing a universal helmet law. It is similar to the universal seat belt law. This is because helmets reduce the risk of head injuries by 69% and the rate of fatalities by 37%.
Asides from wearing helmets, another way to save lives is by following traffic safety regulations that would prevent accidents. Some of these safety tips include riding with less than .08% blood alcohol content. Motor vehicle drivers should look twice when changing traffic lanes and check mirrors for blind spots.
It would help if both motorcyclists and drivers slow down and maintain a safe distance. Bikers should avoid lane splitting, pay close attention at intersections, and passenger cars should take care when making a left turn. Following these safety tips would help to prevent fatal motorcycle accidents and injuries.
Like other jurisdictions in the United States, Texas has laws that protect those who suffer injuries in motorcycle crashes. Generally, there are three types of damages available to crash victims. They are economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
The first covers all the expenses and monetary losses the victim suffered from the accident. These include lost wages, medical bills, future medical expenses, and burial and funeral expenses. The fault driver's insurance company calculates the money to a specific dollar amount and pays it to the victim.
The second covers emotional and psychological damages caused by the accident. These include pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of enjoyment, and loss of consortium. Courts award the third in cases of gross negligence. There is no specific amount, and the sum differs from case to case.
Note that there are times when insurance companies refuse to pay compensation to accident victims. At other times, the fault party might not have enough coverage to pay the settlement sum. In that instance, they can file a personal injury claim through a personal injury attorney to recover compensation. If the victim died, their family could commence a wrongful death claim.
Motorcycle accidents can leave survivors physically battered and emotionally traumatized. Some never get to regain the quality of life they lived before the occurrence. Plus, while dealing with all these, they have financial commitments to meet and debts to pay.
This is why you should seek to get compensation from the negligent party. At Calhoun, Meredith, & Sims, we have a team of experts available to commence the claims process and get you the conversation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation on your case.