When you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, your personal injury case in Texas turns on The Rules of the Road and your lawyer’s familiarity with handling motorcycle accident cases.
Every personal injury case involving a motorcycle accident in Texas (or in any State for that matter) turns on the Rules of the Road because the injured person has to prove that the accident was the other guy’ fault. And traffic laws are different from State to State.
When evaluating whether you have a good motorcycle accident injury case, you, and especially your personal injury lawyer, must be familiar with the Rules of the Road in Texas, but especially as they apply to motorcycles and riders. Individual cities have their own ordinances regarding trucks, cars, motorcycles and bicycles, so you need a lawyer who is knows what Rules to apply to determine who had the right of way and therefore, who was at fault for your accident. Having a lawyer with personal experience riding motorcycles is important, too.
Injuries in motorcycle accidents can vary from temporary muscle strain type injuries like whiplash and a thrown out back, to cuts from broken glass, contact with the road, to broken bones from the tremendous impact forces, to knee and shoulder injuries, to even paralysis and death. Remember, all vehicles, on two wheels or more, propel the human body faster than it can go by itself and that causes the body to be exposed to forces in a crash that it was never designed to handle. And on a motorcycle, you have less protection than you would in a car.
So not only does handling such personal injury cases require knowledge of liability law (Texas Motor Vehicle Code, local Municipal Codes, and possible Federal trucking law and regulations), but skill and knowledge of a broad base of medicine to handle proof of the injury aspects of the case.
And, insurance companies these days do everything in their power to defeat an inured person’s claim right from the beginning, before the injured person knows their rights. They do things like take recorded statements from witnesses and injured people before they know their rights, and get injured people to sign papers before the injured person knows what is at stake.
Here are the Top Five Guaranteed Ways to Destroy Your Injury Case
1. Fall For What I Call the “Good Cop–Tell Me All About It” Routine. This is when the insurance adjuster acts like he is she really cares about you, your injuries, and your financial needs, especially after a motor vehicle collision. They call you, tell you not to worry about the medical bills, that “everything will be taken care of. Be aware, they are doing this so that you open up, let your guard down, and provide them with a recorded statement, or sign away your rights on paperwork they send you to sign. Once the insurance adjuster uses the skills he or she has in getting the RIGHT kind of answers out of you (RIGHT for the insurance company, but WRONG for you and any chance of getting a fair recovery) and once the Medical Payments coverage is exhausted, their attitude changes. They got what they wanted, and now, you cannot get a return call or any help whatsoever.
2. Give a Recorded Statement. Every insurance adjuster out there is trained by insurance company lawyers about WHAT questions to ask, and more importantly, HOW to ask them to get the answers they need to defeat your claim. That’s why the ONLY time I allow one of my clients to give a statement is when they are in my office and being represented and advised by me.
3. Sign the paperwork. This sounds like a horror story out of a book. And it is so underhanded and rotten, I can barely believe it myself. But early in my career, I was contacted by an elderly gentleman who could not read too well. He got hurt in an accident. The Insurance company told him “sign these papers we send you and we will send you $1,000.00 for your pain and we will pay all of your doctor bills. Guess what? He got the $1,000, but because he could not read too well, he did not realize that notwithstanding the promise to pay the doctor bills he was told on the telephone, he signed away his rights forever. Even highly educated people’s eye glaze over when an insurance company sends them a document with teeny tiny print using legal mumbo jumbo. But that “legalese” can kill your chance at fair compensation.
4. Tough it our and don’t see a doctor (or see a doctor 3 months after the accident). When a seriously injured person fails to be seen by a doctor after an injury, it is like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Eve all rolled into one for an insurance company. They love it. Now, you and I know that MOST people do not like going to a doctor, and MOST people put it off until they just cannot stand it anymore. But, when someone tries to explain that at trial, juries are skeptical. They think “this guy is asking for money for his injuries–how bad could the pain have been if he waited a month to see a doctor?”– EVEN WHEN THEY THEMSELVES HAVE PUT OFF SEEING A DOCTOR FOR MONTHS OR EVEN YEARS FOR THEIR OWN MEDICAL CONDITIONS.
5. Try to Hide a Prior Medical Condition, Old Accident (or Lie About Anything, Really). When I was a young lawyer, I heard stories about lawyers who told their clients to keep old injuries a secret, or to try to suppress they fact that they had a car accident before. Aside from the fact that this is completely unethical, a lawyer can lose his license for suggesting this, and a client can lost their case, it is just plain stupid to try to do this. We live in the computer age. Believe me, there are databases that track everything about you, including prior accidents, prior medical treatment, you name it. You are just asking for trouble. I always advise my client to tell the whole truth. As Benjamin Franklin said: If you always tell the truth, you do not have to remember anything.
Obviously, these are just the top five–I see many, many more mistakes made in motor vehicle accident cases all the time, but the above five are probably the most common.