Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Odessa
Whether you are riding down to Carlsbad Caverns Loop, seeing the Mystery Lights of Marfa, or viewing the ghost town of Shafter, there is no shortage of scenic motorcycle rides in West Texas. When a person happens to suffer injuries while riding a motorcycle in this part of Texas, they will want to quickly obtain the services of an experienced Odessa motorcycle accident lawyer.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reports that the most recent statistics show 8,322 total motorcycle crashes in the state, with 2,735 occurring in rural locations and 5,587 happening in urban locations. TxDOT also states that one motorcyclist dies in a crash on Texas roads every day, and 519 riders were killed, with another 2,318 sustaining injuries in crashes in 2021.
Causes of Motorcycle Collisions in Odessa
Many motorcyclists who are involved in wrecks believe that other drivers are at fault for causing their collisions, and many kinds of accidents do indeed stem from some kind of passenger vehicle driver negligence. The problem for most motorcyclists, however, is that filing claims with insurance companies can be challenging because many insurers have an incentive to try to instead blame motorcyclists for their accidents in an effort to limit the financial compensation they can recover.
Cesar Ornelas Injury Law understands the many common kinds of causes of motorcycle accidents, and we know how to help people with severe injuries prove such common causes.
Kinds of Causes of Odessa Motorcycle Accidents
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) — Any other driver who is operating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs will always be at increased risk of causing a collision, which is a major reason why law enforcement agencies throughout Texas are so adamant about enforcing DWI laws. Any crash that is the result of another driver being under the influence will usually result in the intoxicated driver being arrested and facing criminal charges. You need to understand that a criminal case against the driver will be completely separate from your own civil action for damages, and the burden of proof is wildly different because whereas a prosecutor needs to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, you only need to prove liability by a preponderance of the evidence, essentially meaning more likely than not.
- Motorcycle Defects — Certain motorcycle accidents may not stem from any kind of driver negligence but instead deal with problems with the motorcycle itself. When you have properly cared for your motorcycle and made sure all parts were in working order, then you might have a possibly defective product claim against a manufacturer if a certain part failed while you were riding.
- Running Stop Signs or Stop Lights — Most intersections in Texas have stop signs or stop lights to control traffic, and some drivers may ignore or miss such regulations. When another driver does not stop as they were supposed to, then a motorcyclist who collides with another vehicle because of the failure to stop can have a case for damages. In many cases involving red lights, passenger vehicle drivers attempt to speed through yellow lights and may end up running the red lights, which creates an enhanced risk of a crash.
- Failure to Yield Right of Way — The failure to yield the right of way could involve another driver not yielding to avoid accidents, not yielding to other vehicles in front of them, not yielding to other vehicles with the right of way, not yielding to emergency vehicles, not yielding to pedestrians, not yielding while entering intersections, not yielding to stop lights or stop signs, not yielding to funeral processions, not yielding to children in school zones, or not yielding to bicyclists. All of these failures can easily cause accidents.
- Improper Lane Changes or Turns — You can find a number of state laws pertaining to lane changes, including turn signal requirements under Texas Transportation Code § 101 and Texas Transportation Code § 104, as well as lane change guidance under Texas Transportation Code § 545.060(a). Improper lane changes and turns frequently result in collisions.
Other Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Odessa
- Aggressive or Reckless Driving — Texas considers operating a motor vehicle in any way that could endanger people or property to be aggressive driving. Texas Transportation Code § 545.401 defines reckless driving as meaning driving a vehicle in wilful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. Depending on whether a police officer saw another driver operating aggressively or recklessly, a negligent motorist may receive a citation for one of these offenses at an accident scene.
- Speeding — Odessa has a number of major highways that make speeding a common offense, including Interstate 20 (I-20), United States Route 385 (US 385 or Andrews Highway and Grant Avenue), Texas State Highway 191 (SH 191 or 42nd Street), Texas State Highway Spur 450 (Spur 450 or Kermit Highway), Texas State Highway Spur 588 (Spur 588 or Faudree Road), Texas State Highway Loop 338 (Loop 338), Farm to Market Road 1882 (FM 1882 or County Road West), and Farm to Market Road 2020 (FM 2020 or University Boulevard). Drivers who operate too fast can have more difficulty coming to stops when necessary.
- Tailgating — When drivers are operating at speeds of 30 miles per hour (mph) or less, The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Texas Driver Handbook recommends allowing 2 seconds of following distance. If speeds are more than 30 mph, then 4 seconds is the recommendation, with even more time necessary in cases of poor road conditions such as bad weather. You can also find the state law relating to tailgating under Texas Transportation Code § 545.062.
Distracted Drivers and Weather Conditions
- Distracted Driving — Driving distractions are typically visual, manual, or cognitive. A visual distraction is anything taking your eyes off the road, such as looking at something on the side of the road, looking at your phone, or even looking at one of your passengers. A manual distraction refers to anything that takes your hands off the wheel, such as adjusting your stereo or reaching for a food or beverage. A cognitive distraction is harder to identify because it is something that takes your mind off driving.
- Driver Fatigue — Also known as drowsy driving, fatigued drivers are much more common in cases of commercial truck accidents because commercial drivers have their hours intensely regulated by the federal government. It could be more challenging to prove that another driver was fatigued in passenger vehicle cases, but some motorists may admit to longer drives that would indicate possible fatigue issues.
- Potholes or Other Dangerous Road Conditions — Numerous kinds of hazards on roadways may be the fault of state or local government agencies responsible for maintaining the roads because they have an obligation to fix the dangers or at least warn road users about the hazards. Some of the most common kinds of unsafe roadway issues include not only excessive potholes but also a lack of warning signs, an absence of guardrails, or otherwise faulty road designs.
- Inclement Weather Conditions — While the weather is typically favorable in Texas, the state is no stranger to bouts of heavy rainfall or even hurricanes. During adverse weather events, all drivers need to reduce their speeds and operate with greater caution. Another driver who does not adjust accordingly can be at greater risk of causing a traffic accident.
Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries
There is little doubt that motorcyclists are much more susceptible to catastrophic injuries when they are involved in motor vehicle collisions because they do not have the same kinds of protection enjoyed by occupants of traditional passenger vehicles. Without airbags or anything else to protect them in crash scenarios, motorcyclists instead face the risk of a collision throwing them off their bikes and sending them several feet and possibly striking other objects.
A severe type of injury a motorcyclist could face includes spinal cord injuries that involve damage to the cells and nerves sending and receiving signals from the brain to and from the rest of the body. A spinal cord injury may be incomplete, meaning the spinal cord can still transmit messages to and from the brain to the rest of the body, or complete, meaning there is no nerve communication and motor function.
A spinal cord injury can also involve a risk of paralysis, which is the loss of the ability to move a portion or all of the body. Paralysis could affect any part of the body, including a person’s face, hands, or one side of the body (hemiplegia), one arm or leg (monoplegia), both legs (paraplegia), or both arms and legs (tetraplegia or quadriplegia).
Other Common Kinds of Injuries to Motorcyclists:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Closed head injuries
- Permanent nerve injuries
- Internal injuries
- Fractures or broken bones
- Sprains and strains
- Herniated discs
- Road rash
- Joint damage
- Back injuries
- Knee injuries
- Leg injuries
- Neck injuries
- Arm injuries
- Burn injuries
A motorcycle accident also involves a high risk of a person dying because of their injuries. Wrongful death actions have the same two-year statute of limitations as personal injury claims, but the two-year time limit begins on the date of a person’s death, which could be several days, weeks, or maybe even months after the date of an accident.
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.004 also establishes those surviving spouses, children, and parents of a deceased person are the only parties that can benefit from a wrongful death claim. Executors or administrators of estates may bring actions if surviving spouses, children, and parents do not begin actions within three months of death and do not object to the executors or administrators bringing claims.
Damages in Motorcycle Collision Cases
Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 41.001, the phrase compensatory damages refer to both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the actual financial losses, while noneconomic damages are nonpecuniary losses that are much more subjective.
One of the most common kinds of economic damages can be lost wages because many motorcyclists who suffer serious injuries will be unable to return to work for several months or maybe even years. Some victims could also find themselves with no way of returning to their previous line of work and may have to accept lower-paying jobs.
Other Kinds of Economic Damages:
- Property Damage
- Medical Bills
- Rehabilitation Expenses
- Physical Therapy Costs
- Costs of Long-Term Care
Two of the more common kinds of noneconomic damages are emotional distress and mental anguish. There is little doubt that motorcycle accidents can be extremely traumatizing incidents, so these kinds of damages are relatively frequent.
Other Kinds of Noneconomic Damages:
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Loss of Consortium
- Physical Impairment
- Loss of Companionship and Society
- Injury to Reputation
- Physical Limitations
Another kind of damage that is much less common is punitive damages, and the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code stipulates that these awards are more for the purpose of being a penalty or punishment. A court may award punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages when it wants to send a message to other people that the actions of a negligent party were intolerable.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with an Odessa Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Did you sustain severe injuries or was your loved one killed in a motorcycle accident in the greater Odessa area? Cesar Ornelas Injury Law can quickly become your lifeline to help obtain the necessary compensation you and your family need and deserve.
Our firm has a wealth of experience handling these types of cases, so you can be confident in knowing that a skilled and knowledgeable attorney will be representing you in court. You may call (888) 237-2794 or (210) 405-6503 or contact us online to set up a free consultation so we can further examine the details of your case and then fully explain all of the legal options you might have.