Know What to Do in the Event of a Motorcycle Accident

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 9,859 injuries and fatalities to motorcycle drivers and passengers in 2016. That’s a significant number and an increase over previous years. It’s also a sign that motorcycle drivers and passengers are less safe than ever before. The drivers of other automobiles typically cause motorcycle crashes.


A Lack of Awareness: Motorcycle Drivers Are at an Increased Risk


One of the most significant contributing factors in the rise of motorcycle accidents across Texas is negligence on the part of other drivers. With an estimated 500,000 registered motorcycles on Texas roadways now, it’s more important than ever for car, truck, van and 18-wheeler drivers to be observant. That’s the force behind the state’s 2017 DoT campaign – “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles.”

Drivers of other vehicles are urged to be vigilant concerning motorcycles. An accident involving a motorcycle is five times more likely to result in an injury than a car-to-car crash, and 29 times more likely to result in a fatality. Of course, motorcycle drivers and passengers also need to be vigilant. However, you need to know what to do if you’re involved in a motorcycle accident.


When You Are Involved in a Motorcycle Accident, Know What to do.

Houston Car Accident Lawyer Answers Questions

Car Accident Lawyer helps Motorcycle Victims

Assess the Damage – First of all, you need to assess the damage, and that includes physical injuries to you and a passenger on your motorcycle. What injuries have you sustained? Are you able to sit up, or stand?

Chances are good that if you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident involving a car, truck, van or an 18-wheeler, you have sustained serious injuries. If possible, use your cell phone to call 911 to ensure that help is on its way immediately. If you are able, check the condition of any passengers, and the driver/passenger of the other vehicle.

Move Off the Road – If possible, move your motorcycle off the road. The other driver will also need to move their vehicle out of the flow of traffic. If necessary, move any injured individuals off the road (assuming you’re physically able to do so).   Most of all, do not cause more harm by trying to help.

Gather Evidence

Exchange Insurance Information – If you’re capable, exchange insurance information with the other driver. You should also get their name, phone number, and address. All of this information will be necessary to file a claim.

Take Pictures – If you are physically able, use your cell phone to take pictures of the accident scene before moving the vehicles out of the road. You’ll need proof of who hit whom, the position of the vehicles, and more. If you’re not able to take photographs, try to memorize every detail of the scene possible.

Talk to Witnesses – While not always the case, witnesses are sometimes present. Get the contact information from these individuals.

Don’t Talk about Fault – Whether the motorcycle accident was the fault of the other driver, or you think it was your own, don’t talk about it except with the police. Avoid discussing the accident with the other driver.

Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?

While you may not need a car accident lawyer in all instances, it’s wise to have an experienced professional on your side if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident. Why? Insurance companies are in business to make money.  Consequently, they don’t do that by paying out a lot of cash to those injured in accidents. An experienced car accident lawyer like Farrah Martinez can help ensure that you receive the compensation you need to pay for medical bills, missed time from work and your pain and suffering.

For a free consultation, contact Car Accident Lawyer Farrah Martinez at (713) 853-9296.



Calculating Damages and Medical Expenses in a Personal Injury Claim

The value of your personal injury claim depends on the different types of losses you have suffered. This blog will focus on how to calculate medical expenses in a personal injury claim.  Now for medical expenses, you must consider your past medical bills, your current medical bills and any future medical bills you might incur from an ongoing problem related to a serious injury.  Then, you gather all of your medical bills, prescription medication costs, physical therapy and chiropractic care bills, and any other medical bills you received as a result of the bodily injury you sustained as a result of a car accident, a dog bite or animal attack claim, a slip and fall claim, or any other type of personal injury claim.  From there, most people think you just add them all together and presto out jumps your total medical damages.

Well over the years Texas case law has complicated the process of calculating costs and rather than quoting a bunch legal mumbo jumbo, I have provided the case reference if you want to read more.  See Haygood v. Escabedo, 09-0377 (TEX. July 1, 2011).  In the meantime, I will provide you with some examples you can understand.

Example 1.  John Doe is involved in an car accident and he rushed to the hospital from the scene.  John provides the medics with his health care information.  His healthcare plan picks up the $25,00 bill.  His insurance company has a preexisting agreement with the hospital so, it recalculates the costs and his healthcare plan only pays $9,000 for John’s hospital bill.    Now when John’s claim is evaluated by the at-fault party’s car insurance company,  it will only look at the $9,000  rather than the $25,000.

More importantly, if John’s case goes before a jury he can only provide evidence of the $9000 paid versus the $25,000 actually billed by the hospital.  This is significant because juries often look at the total medical expenses to calculate pain and suffering.  A bill of $25,000 indicates a more serious injury than a $9,000 bill.

Example 2.  Now look at Sally Doe who is involved in a similar accident and she incurred $25,000 in medical bills and has no insurance.  She is able to present evidence to show the total $25,000 in medical bills and the jury has all the medical information needed to make a decision as to the seriousness of the injury and the pain she suffered.

This is not true for John’s personal injury claim; he is essentially penalized for having insurance because the jury is not given all of the information to determine the pain and suffering John experienced as a result of the wrongdoer.

Calculating medical expenses is no longer a matter of taking all your medical bills and simply adding them together.  You must know the law surrounding medical damages and how to accurately calculate those damages in personal injury claims.  Then you must be able to provide evidence to show the seriousness of certain injuries even when the bills do not add up.

For more information, contact Farrah Martinez, PLLC at (713) 853-9296 or visit us at Farrah will evaluate your personal injury claim at no cost to you.

 I slipped and fell. Can I sue?

This is an article written by Farrah and published by The Houston Lawyer Magazine.

Ross v. St. Luke’s, is a significant case for claims by visitors, not patients, hurt while visiting hospitals or medical care facility. Personal injury lawyers, this blog is for you.

A Visitor’s Slip and Fall is not a Health Care Liability Claim
By Farrah Martinez

In Ross v. St. Luke’s Episcopal Hosp., No. 13-0439, slip op. (Tex. 2015) the Supreme Court addressed whether a slip and fall premises liability claim, by a visitor, constitutes a health care liability claim (HCLC).  Lezlea Ross, a visitor at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, slipped and fell as she approached the exit doors of the hospital.  She was not a patient of the hospital and was there only to provide companionship to a friend.  As a result of the fall, Ross suffered injuries and filed suit against the hospital under a premises liability theory.  The hospital moved for summary judgment, alleging that Ross’s claim was a HCLC under the Texas Medical Liability Act and her failure to file an expert report under Chapter 74 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code required dismissal by the law.  The trial court granted the motion and Ross appealed.

The court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision, citing Texas West Oaks Hospital, L.P. v. Williams 312 S.W.3d 171 (Tex. 2012).  Previously, the Court decided in Williams that when a safety standards-based claim is made against a health care provider, the Texas Medical Liability Act does not require the safety standards to be directly related to the provision of health care in order for the claim to be a health care liability claim.  Ross appealed to the Texas Supreme Court.

Before the Court, the hospital advanced two primary arguments to support the lower court’s ruling that Ross’s claim is a HCLC.   First, the hospital argued that any slip and fall incident at its facility is directly related to health care because it encompasses the safety of its patients.  Secondly, the hospital asserted that Ross’s claim falls within the health care purview since she specifically alleged that the hospital breached standards applicable to maintain a safe environment for its patients. 

Ultimately, the Court rejected both arguments and concluded that there must be a substantive nexus between the safety standards allegedly violated and the provision of health care.  That nexus requires more than a “but for” relationship.  Ross was a visitor; she was not a patient and received no medical services while on the premise.  She was injured only as a result of physically being present on hospital grounds.

As noted by the Court, the lines between a safety standards-based claim that is not a HCLC and one that is a HCLC are often blurred; the Court provided a lengthy list of nonexclusive factors to consider when evaluating whether a plaintiff’s claim is related to a defendant’s provision of medical or health care and is therefore an HCLC.   

In Ross’s case, the Court held that there was “no substantive relationship to the hospital’s providing of health care,” so Ross’s claim was not a HCLC.   In light of the Court’s finding, Ross was not required to file an expert report and her case was improperly dismissed.  The Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals and remanded the case to the trial court.   
Farrah Martinez is the owner of Farrah Martinez, PLLC, where she focuses her practice on personal injury and insurance law.  She is an associate editor for the Houston Lawyer.