While the miles of open roads in Texas might be inviting to bikers, they can also be dangerous. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2015 nearly 500 people lost their lives in motorcycle accidents in the state and nearly 2,000 others suffered incapacitating injuries.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you might be contemplating legal action against the responsible party. In addition to economic damages, such as medical costs and lost wages, you might be able to receive compensation for pain and suffering.
However, it is important to understand that motorcycle accidents can differ from car accidents in how they are handled and the financial compensation that you might receive is dependent on a number of factors.
For a fuller picture of motorcycle crashes and their aftermath, please see our full Legal Guide for Texas Motorcycle Accidents. Here we will outline some of the factors that will determine how much in non-economic damages you can receive.
Non-economic damages in Texas
Non-economic damages include the pain, suffering and mental anguish you may face after a crash. If your case goes to trial, jurors may be tasked with using their own judgment in determining those damages. Therefore, it is up to you and your attorney to present compelling evidence about what you suffered. Keeping good records is important in this process.
Enjuris offers a post-accident journal template to document your pain and suffering, including medical appointments and treatments, reduced daily capabilities and other ways the accident has impacted your life.
Your settlement or award could also be lowered if you were partially at fault in the accident. In these types of situations, Texas' modified comparative fault rules apply. Under this method, the amount of fault that you are responsible for in the accident is subtracted from any award you receive.
For example, if you suffered damages of $200,000, but were found to be responsible for 10% of them, you could only recover $180,000. If you were found to be more than 50% responsible for the accident and resulting damages, you would not receive any compensation.
It is also important for Texans to remember that injured victims only have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. This is why it is critical that injured victims quickly obtain legal advice and start on their claim as soon as possible.
Ultimately you and your attorney will need to determine the best course to take in your case. The financial compensation in a settlement is typically lower than in a jury verdict (what’s the difference between a settlement and award?)
However, juries may not rule in favor of the victim, particularly in motorcycle cases where jurors might have stubborn bias in their minds about bikers. Juries may presume that bikers are dangerous and careless, and therefore automatically to blame for any accident.
Have you been injured in a motorcycle accident? Did you pursue damages for pain and suffering? Please share your story below.