Texas Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Know Your Rights After a Motorcycle Crash

Video Transcript:

Raymond Hatcher:

Studies have shown time and again that if you have an attorney involved in your case, that case settles for way more than it does if you don't have an attorney.

Rob Rosenthal:

You get injured in a crash or riding your motorcycle; do you know what to do next? Well, we're going to find out because that's what we're going to ask the lawyer today.

Hi again, everybody, I'm Rob Rosenthal with askthelawyers.com, and my guest is Texas attorney Raymond Hatcher with the Sloan Firm. Ray, thank you for making some time for us again today. Good to see you again.

Raymond Hatcher:

Oh, it’s my pleasure.

Rob Rosenthal:

So, it seems to be in a motorcycle versus car accident that motorcycle riders for whatever reason, seem to have a bad reputation. That people think, “Oh, they must have caused the accident.” Is that what you've seen in your experience? And is it legitimate?

Raymond Hatcher:

Well, I think there is a stigma against motorcycle riders generally. Unfortunately, I don't think it's deserved. There are, of course, some people that ride around too fast on what people refer to as “crotch rockets” or high performance motorcycles, but generally, the people that are injured in motorcycle wrecks are just average people that are going about their business, and someone pulls out in front of them, or someone changes lanes without seeing them and injures them in that fashion.

Rob Rosenthal:

So when someone's injured on their motorcycle, maybe let’s say in a collision with a car, and they come to you, how much does fault figure into your decision whether or not to take that case?

Raymond Hatcher:

Well. It's like any other automobile collision case. There can be fault on both sides, and as a lawyer we have to evaluate that, but just because our client is on a motorcycle, that doesn't mean they’re at fault. Generally, in motorcycle-automobile collision cases, it's not the motorcyclist’s fault, and in fact, I have kind of an odd little niche in that I've represented multiple Longview, Texas police officers who are in the Motorcycle Division who had been injured in wrecks; it's always somebody that pulls out in front of them that has caused the wreck.

Rob Rosenthal:

And let's say, even if there is some fault on behalf of the biker, does that mean they have no claim? How does that work in Texas?

Raymond Hatcher:

No. Texas is a comparative fault state; so, the jury gets to apportion fault and as part of that process, the jury gets to listen to all the evidence, and then one of the questions asks for a percentage fault on each of the parties. And if there's evidence of fault on the motorcycle rider the jury will apportion some percentage of that, but it could be anywhere from 0 to 100, and obviously if it's a 100%, we're not going to be involved in that case. But it doesn't preclude you from having a viable claim, if you have some fault.

Rob Rosenthal:

So it makes sense then, even if you think—and you may not be as much at fault as you think you are—but to talk to someone like yourself and get an opinion on the case is always a good idea.

Raymond Hatcher:

Absolutely. You know, what I find is that whether it's motorcycles or any other kind of automobile collision, many people just don't understand how insurance companies or juries evaluate fault in that regard. It's good to talk to a lawyer, so you can get an idea from them as to whether they think your claim is viable or not.

Rob Rosenthal:

Is there a helmet law in Texas? And if, say, a rider is not wearing their helmet, can that affect their claim?

Raymond Hatcher:

Texas has a situation where you're not required to wear a helmet, but you're required to carry a certain amount of insurance as an offset for that. Realistically speaking, if you're riding a motorcycle without a helmet and then you're injured in a wreck, that probably is going to figure into the jury's calculations, but if the wreck was not your fault, that shouldn't preclude you from having a successful claim.

Rob Rosenthal:

What if someone's thinking, “Oh, so I was injured in a motorcycle accident. I can probably handle it myself and save some attorney's fees.” What would be your answer to that, Ray?

Raymond Hatcher:

Well, studies have shown time and again that if you have an attorney involved in your case, that case settles for way more than it does if you don't have an attorney. Insurance companies are savvy businesses and they're in business to make a profit. Every dollar that they have at the end of the year that they don't pay out in a claim to someone as a dollar profit. So if you're trying to settle your claim yourself without a lawyer, they take that into account and they discount what they offer you.

Rob Rosenthal:

And there's no cost to the client unless there's a recovery?

Raymond Hatcher:

Absolutely. And in fact, the first consultation with any of the lawyers in the Sloan Firm, there's no charge whatsoever. If you do decide that you want us to help you, we work on a strictly contingent fee basis, which means if we don't make a recovery for you, you don't owe us a penny.

Rob Rosenthal:

Lots of great, helpful information is usual, Ray. Thank you so much for making some time to answer our questions.

Raymond Hatcher:

Thank you.

Rob Rosenthal:

That's going to do it for this episode of AskTheLawyers™. My guest has been Texas attorney Raymond Hatcher.

If you want the best information or you want to be able to choose a lawyer that lawyers choose, make sure to go to askthelawyers.com. Also, please take a second to click the button in the lower corner and subscribe so you’ll know about future episodes. Thanks for watching. I'm Rob Rosenthal with AskTheLawyers™.

Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

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