On the night of May 22, one motorcyclist was killed and one injured as a pickup truck struck them both on the shoulder of Old Corpus Christi Road. The cyclists had pulled over to try and fix a problem with one of the bikes, but apparently, the driver of the pickup truck was not able to see them. One motorcyclist died at the scene, a 35-year old man, and a younger man was airlifted to San Antonio Military Medical Hospital with “life-threatening” injuries. While this accident is obviously a tragedy, it is somewhat unusual in that most motorcycle-related accidents occur when both vehicles are in motion. Texas roads can be more dangerous for motorcycle riders than any other vehicle operators.
Multiple Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents
While accidents simply happen sometimes, there are common causes which may precipitate accidents more often than might otherwise occur. A significant portion of motorcycle accidents, especially in Texas, with its high-speed limits, can be put down at least partially to visibility issues. The wreck on Old Corpus Christi Road can partially be ascribed to visibility problems, but more normally, visibility will be an issue in terms of seeing a motorcycle in a car or truck’s “blind spot,” or simply missing it because of its slim frame and light weight. Some motorcyclists will also lane split (share a lane with an automobile), despite its questionable legality in Texas, which can make them hard to see.
Another common cause of motorcycle crashes is driver error or recklessness, substance abuse being a significant category within that larger group of factors. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2016 (the most recent available year of data), approximately 450 motorcyclists were killed in Texas, but as many as 40 percent had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of over .01. 33 percent of those killed had a BAC of over .08 percent, which would be considered legally drunk.
If you are injured in an accident with a car, truck, or other motorcyclist, you do have a right to file suit to try and obtain compensation for your injuries if you believe their negligence was a major factor. What is important to keep in mind, however, is that you may have a cause of action against more than the other driver, depending on the situation. If the person you believe caused your accident was on the job, acting within the “scope of employment,” you may be able to sue their employer under a theory Texas law calls vicarious liability – namely, arguing that a person’s employer is at least partially responsible for their actions while that person is on the clock.
Another possible defendant may be the manufacturer of your motorcycle or of a part; Texas law permits that someone injured by a product may bring suit to try and recover their damages provided they can establish the required criteria. This is not an easy task – for example, if a plaintiff tries to establish that they were injured by a defectively designed product, they must show that a “safer alternative design existed,” and that it would have been economically viable to produce. Nonetheless, bringing suit may be worth attempting, especially if your medical bills are significant.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
While as of this writing, there is no word that the driver of the pickup will be charged with anything, this does not affect the ability of the families to bring suit in civil court if he is located. If you are unfortunate enough to experience a similar situation, consulting an experienced attorney to decide how best to proceed may be a good idea. The dedicated New Braunfels motorcycle accident lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm can sit down with you and help you weigh your options in terms of compensation. Call our office today to set up an initial appointment.