Motorcyclist Killed in Houston, TX, 18-wheeler Accident on Fallbrook
Houston, TX -- January 30, 2017, a motorcyclist was killed following an accident where he crashed into the side of an 18-wheeler on Fallbrook Drive.
Authorities from the Houston Police Department reported on the fatal collision which occurred in the 8300 block of Fallbrook Drive.
According to their reports, at around 7:00 p.m., an 18-wheeler was pulling out of the driveway of a distribution center. The truck made it to the median where slowed down to yield for traffic. This put the trailer across traffic lanes and into the path of an oncoming motorcyclist.
The motorcyclist attempted to stop but could not do so in time. The bike collided into the side of trailer and went underneath. Emergency services rushed to the scene and transported the victim to a hospital via helicopter. That person's injuries proved fatal shortly afterward.
Authorities did not report any citations or charges being issued following the crash. They say the crash remains under investigation at this time.
Map of the Area
All too often I see accidents where somebody fails to notice an oncoming motorcyclist and turns into their path. The sheer disparity in size between the two vehicles often means severe consequences for the motorcyclist involved. Looking at the details of this accident, it certainly appears that the 18-wheeler was pulling out of a private driveway and failed to see the oncoming motorcyclist. I've seen plenty of accidents happen just like that, and many people would think that this is a straight-forward scenario for victims and their families. The truth is that motorcycle accidents often bring complexities that typical car accidents don't.
In the general public, there exists a bias against motorcyclists that can hinder those affected by motorcycle accidents when seeking compensation. When a lot of people think of a motorcyclist, they imagine that person speeding past cars, weaving in and out of traffic, and barreling down the shoulder. We've all seen people like this, but the vast majority of motorcyclists are safety conscious drivers who respect the rules of the road and take the utmost care when driving. These other motorcyclists, despite being the bad apples of the bunch, have made an impression on the general public and tainted the reputation of law-abiding motorcyclists. It is no small dose of hypocrisy that those who accuse firms like ours of unfairly smearing all truck drivers when we speak of bad truck drivers are far too happy to perpetuate myths that all motorcyclists are dangerous thrill-seekers.
This becomes an issue because insurance companies know this unfair bias exists, and they try to use it to avoid liability following an accident. In many cases our firm has handled in the past, trucking company lawyers will shift blame onto the victim by saying they were speeding and driving recklessly. They're counting on the fact that people's negative views on motorcyclists will make it easier to get away with these accusations. Since liability in a civil trial is ultimately determined by a trial jury of average citizens, their hope is that an inexperienced lawyer will be intimidated into accepting a settlement well below what the victims and their families deserve rather than risk encountering a biased jury.
A simple police report is not going to sway an insurance company into paying victims the compensation they deserve. Police reports are often lacking in crucial details, and insurance companies can use this lack of information to their advantage. The key issue with the bias that motorcyclists face is that it thrives when there is missing information. The argument usually goes like this. "Sure, our driver failed to yield the right of way and pulled out in front of the motorcyclist, but if the guy on the bike wasn't speeding, he wouldn't have died. So, you see, it's really the motorcyclist who killed himself by speeding."
If it is not properly countered, such arguments allow people's imaginations to run wild, filling in the blanks with their own negative assumptions about motorcyclists. However, with the right experience, this strategy can be overcome.
Motorcycle bias is a beast best bludgeoned into submission by the weight of evidence. The only way to obtain that evidence is with a thorough, independent investigation is conducted. By collecting crucial evidence surrounding the accident, insurance companies can't capitalize on misinformation and inaccuracies. Professional accident investigators extensively look into each and every factor that could be involved an incident. They can scientifically determine the speed of the victim's vehicle, the visibility in the area/at the time of the accident, the condition of the truck driver, etc. When it comes to convincing a civil jury of liability, this scientifically-based, physical evidence speaks volumes. By letting the facts do the talking, victims and their families can ensure that trucking companies' lawyers can't spread misinformation and half-truths.
All that notwithstanding, it should also be pointed out that the truck in this case was blocking traffic lanes--and pictures show the truck blocking all of the traffic lanes on that side of the road. The ultimate point here is that no matter what kind of vehicle hit the trailer, the trailer shouldn't have been there in the first place. It is illegal for a truck to block traffic lanes, and this accident is a perfect example as to why.
It is only when an independent investigation is complete and the family of this victim are armed with the evidence of what happened in this case that they will truly be able to hold the trucking company accountable for their role in this tragedy.
--Grossman Law Offices