request a free consultation

What Is the Average Motorcycle Injury Settlement in Texas?

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Being injured in a motorcycle accident can significantly disrupt your life. You may be faced with expensive hospital bills, motorcycle repairs, lost wages and a variety of other losses. Obtaining a fair settlement from an insurance provider can make it possible to pay off your related debts and move forward with your life. It is normal to wonder how much your motorcycle injury settlement might be worth in Texas. It is important to realize, however, that an average settlement amount does not exist.

How Much Do Motorcycle Accident Victims Typically Make?

An average motorcycle settlement is a fallacy. Every case and client is entirely unique, making it impossible to assign a single number that applies to every motorcycle accident lawsuit accurately. While online research may give you numbers such as $80,000 or $200,000, these may or may not be close to the value of your individual claim. Settlement values are determined on a case-by-case basis, according to factors that are specific to each, such as:

  • The gravity of your injuries
  • Your recovery timeline
  • Whether you have a permanent disability or disfigurement
  • The extent of your property damage
  • Your income before the accident
  • Your age and overall health
  • The number of defendants
  • The amount of insurance available

Believing that there is an average settlement could hurt your case. For example, the number you might have found as an “average” settlement could be far less than your claim is actually worth. Some accident victims have obtained several million dollars in case results. Believing that your case is only worth several thousand dollars due to an average figure could result in you accepting an unreasonably low settlement offer from an insurance company.

What Are the Parts of a Motorcycle Injury Settlement?

The best way to determine the potential value of your motorcycle injury claim is by consulting with an attorney who has experience in this practice area. It can also help to understand the basic parts of a settlement award in Texas. This can allow you to calculate an estimated case value based on your specific losses and expenses. Three main types of damages may be available:

  1. Economic damages. This is the financial impact the motorcycle accident has on the victim, including medical expenses, losses of income and employment opportunities, motorcycle repairs, and legal fees.
  2. Noneconomic damages. The intangible ways in which the motorcycle accident impacted the victim, such as physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, and reduced quality of life.
  3. Punitive damages. This is an uncommon type of award granted when a defendant is guilty of gross negligence or recklessness in connection to the motorcycle accident. It is meant to punish the defendant rather than compensate the victim.

You may be able to estimate the value of your motorcycle injury settlement by adding up all of your economic damages, including future foreseeable expenses. Then, estimate your noneconomic damages by multiplying your economic damages by a number from one to five based on the severity of your injuries. This is the multiplier method, and it is commonly used by juries to calculate pain and suffering. Although this is not a guarantee of what your case is worth, it can give you an idea of your settlement potential.

How Can You Increase Your Motorcycle Injury Settlement?

Securing a fair and full amount for a motorcycle accident in Dallas can help you and your family move on after a devastating collision. You may be able to increase the value of your settlement by taking the correct steps after your collision, such as calling the police right away and going to the hospital without delay. It can also help to hire an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to negotiate with an insurance claims adjuster on your behalf. An attorney will know the tactics often used by an insurance company to avoid a large payout, as well as how to counter them.

Posted by admin at 10:17 pm

How to Prove Negligence in Motorcycle Accident Cases

Thursday, August 19, 2021

If you file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit for a motorcycle accident in Texas, your case will most likely involve the legal theory of negligence. Negligence is a nuanced part of personal injury law with many related rules and requirements. If you need assistance proving or establishing negligence in your motorcycle accident case, consult with an experienced Dallas motorcycle accident lawyer.

What Is Negligence?

Negligence is the failure to uphold one’s duty of care, resulting in an accident or injury to others. A duty of care is a legal obligation to exercise a reasonable amount of care according to the circumstances. For example, all motor vehicle drivers have a duty to reasonably prevent collisions. In motorcycle accident law, negligence often takes the form of driver errors, such as violating a traffic law or driving carelessly. Common examples include:

  • Speeding
  • Driving distracted
  • Driver inattention
  • Driving under the influence
  • Reckless driving
  • Illegal turns
  • Cutting off a motorcyclist
  • Following too closely
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Failure to yield
  • Running lights and stop signs

In Texas, proving negligence is generally a requirement before you can recover financial compensation for a motorcycle accident. This is because the state uses a fault-based insurance law, where the driver or party at fault for the collision is financially responsible or liable. In a no-fault state, by contrast, all victims will seek benefits from their own insurance providers, regardless of who caused the collision.

What Are the Four Elements of Negligence?

In a motorcycle accident claim, the burden of proving negligence rests with the injured victim, known as the plaintiff. The burden of proof in the civil justice system is lesser than in the criminal justice system. It is a preponderance of the evidence, or enough clear evidence to convince a judge and jury that the defendant more likely than not is responsible for the injuries in question. The burden of proof in a criminal case, on the other hand, is proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Having the burden of proof means that it is you or your motorcycle accident lawyer’s responsibility to establish the defendant’s negligence. This takes evidence of four elements:

  1. Duty
  2. Breach of duty
  3. Causation
  4. Damages

In essence, your lawyer must demonstrate that the defendant owed you a duty to exercise reasonable care, failed to fulfill this duty through a careless or reckless act, and caused your motorcycle wreck. If the defendant did not act in a way that a reasonable and prudent driver would in the same circumstances, and your accident would not have happened but for this negligence, the defendant will be liable. There must also be evidence to demonstrate that you suffered compensable losses in the collision.

Evidence to Prove Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident Case

Proving negligence in a motorcycle accident case will come down to the strength of your evidence. This is why it is important to call the police immediately after your motorcycle crash to obtain an official police report. You can also collect other types of evidence at the scene, such as the other driver’s information, photographs of the crash and eyewitness phone numbers. Common evidence used in a motorcycle accident lawsuit includes:

  • A copy of the police report
  • Citations issued by a police officer
  • Videos and photographs
  • Surveillance footage
  • Signed eyewitness statements
  • The motorcyclist’s helmet, clothing and motorcycle
  • Accident reconstruction
  • Expert testimony
  • Medical records and documentation
  • An injury journal kept by the victim

Hiring an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can make it easier to prove your case. A lawyer can return to the scene of your motorcycle accident to collect evidence on your behalf, such as surveillance footage from nearby businesses. A lawyer will also have connections to investigators and accident reconstruction experts who can demonstrate to an insurance company how the defendant is at fault for the wreck. For more information about proving a motorcycle accident case, contact an attorney in Dallas.

Posted by admin at 10:10 pm

How Do You Find the Best Motorcycle Accident Attorney to Handle Your Case?

Monday, August 16, 2021

Hiring a motorcycle accident attorney to help you with your injury case can make it easier to recover the financial compensation that you deserve. The right attorney can stand by your side throughout the legal process, answering your questions and improving your peace of mind when you need help the most. A good lawyer can also fight for the best possible case outcome using proven legal strategies. Use these tips to find the best motorcycle accident attorney for you.

Research Your Options

Research is your friend as an injured motorcycle accident victim. It is important to take the time to research all of the options in your city so that you feel confident in your choice. There are a few different ways to research motorcycle accident lawyers. Start by asking friends and family members who have been in similar positions and had to hire personal injury lawyers. They may have a referral that you can use to find a good fit.

If not, you can use bar associations or lawyer directories that are accessible online. You can search using trusted directories such as Avvo, Martindale-Hubbell or NOLO to identify several options in your region. You can also begin with a simple Google search. Be sure to include your practice area and your location for tailored results, such as “motorcycle accident lawyer Dallas, Texas.” Make a list of a few potential options based on the firm’s location, experience in your practice area and whether they’re accepting new clients.  Then, narrow your list down to a final two or three choices.

Schedule Free Consultations

Contact each law firm using the phone number or the website’s online consultation form, if applicable. Verify that the law firm offers a free initial consultation. If so, schedule a meeting at a time and place that works for you. If you cannot leave your home or hospital because of your motorcycle accident, find an attorney who is willing to travel to you. Schedule free consultations with multiple choices so that you can select the right one for you and your case.

Ask Questions

Prepare for your free case evaluation by creating a list of the most important questions to ask an attorney. The consultation is your opportunity to ask any questions that you might have about your motorcycle accident case, as well as how the law firm operates. Use the consultation to gain a better understanding of your legal matter as well as choose the correct attorney for your needs. Get the most out of your consultation with a lawyer by asking the following questions:

  • How many years of experience do you have handling motorcycle accident cases?
  • Can you handle a case involving catastrophic injuries?
  • Do you have the power to go to trial, if necessary?
  • Do you have a history of successful case results for former clients?
  • Who is the attorney who will actually be handling my case?
  • How long do you think my case will take to resolve?
  • How much do you think my case is worth?
  • How much are your attorney’s fees?
  • Do I have to pay even if you don’t win my case?

The attorney that you choose should make you feel confident in his or her ability to handle the unique obstacles and challenges that may come with your lawsuit, such as a liability dispute or catastrophic injuries. The attorney should be honest, straightforward and forthright during your consultation. Attend multiple free consultations with different attorneys to make sure that you select the right one. In the end, trust your instincts and retain the motorcycle accident attorney that you feel is the best.

If you wish to schedule a free case evaluation at The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C., contact us today.

Posted by admin at 10:03 pm

Can You Get PTSD After a Motorcycle Accident?

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Many people associate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with soldiers who have been in active war zones. Although this is a common cause of PTSD and psychological trauma, it is not the only cause. Living through any type of trauma, including automobile accidents, can result in post-traumatic stress disorder. If you are diagnosed with PTSD after a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to list it as a damage on your insurance claim.

What Is PTSD?

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that occurs in people who experience or witness traumatic events. This can include combat, crimes, violence, death, sexual assault, abuse, motor vehicle accidents and natural disasters. It is an anxiety problem that can cause a variety of symptoms, often first noticeable in the days after the accident. PTSD is common among survivors of serious motor vehicle accidents, including vulnerable motorcyclists.

Surviving a motorcycle crash can result in post-traumatic stress disorder due to the psychological trauma the motorcyclist endures during and after the accident. Motorcycle accidents are often catastrophic for unprotected riders. Without the protective metal shell of a typical car, the mechanics of a crash can be especially loud, abrupt and distressing for a motorcyclist. A rider can also get PTSD from the pain of the injuries suffered in the crash, as well as emotional distress due to permanent scarring, disfigurement or disability.

What Are the Symptoms of PTSD After a Motorcycle Accident?

PTSD after a motorcycle crash can have many psychological effects on a rider. The motorcyclist may experience sudden flashbacks of the crash or nightmares about the accident. The rider may also wish to avoid certain events and actions, such as getting back on the motorcycle. In general, the symptoms of PTSD have to do with fear and anxiety surrounding the crash and related activities. No two victims are exactly alike, however.

Common symptoms include:

  • Recurring flashbacks or memories
  • Intrusive thoughts about the accident
  • Edginess or irritability
  • Being easily startled
  • Anxiety
  • Being obsessed with details of the crash
  • Mood swings and outbursts
  • Excessive anger
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Emotional numbness
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities, including riding
  • Trouble concentrating

Treatments for PTSD often include therapy and good self-care. In most cases, the symptoms of PTSD subside on their own within one month. If they last longer than this or feel severe, talk to a doctor or psychologist for additional treatment.

Can You Seek Financial Compensation for Motorcycle Accident PTSD?

Yes, it is possible to obtain financial compensation for PTSD after a motorcycle accident in Texas. The civil justice system allows the recovery of both economic and noneconomic damages. PTSD is a type of noneconomic damage, meaning that although it did not financially impact the victim, it significantly affected his or her life. PTSD is grouped with losses such as physical pain, suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish and loss of consortium.

To prove post-traumatic stress disorder during a motorcycle accident claim, you generally need an official diagnosis from a doctor or mental health professional. See a professional as soon as you notice potential signs of PTSD after a motorcycle crash. Even without a diagnosis, you may be eligible for financial compensation for your noneconomic losses if you can prove them with evidence such as witness statements from friends and family members, mental health expert testimony, and an injury journal.

If you need assistance proving PTSD or negotiating for fair financial compensation, consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer in Dallas. A lawyer will have the legal experience and knowledge you need for a strong claim to damages. Hiring a lawyer can be especially important if you plan on pursuing compensation for emotional distress or mental health conditions, such as PTSD, as you may not have hard evidence proving these losses. Talk to an attorney today for more information.

Posted by admin at 9:59 pm

What Happens to the Brain in a Motorcycle Crash?

Monday, April 26, 2021

Traumatic brain injuries, also called TBIs, are more common in motorcycle accidents than other types of automobile accidents. A motorcyclist can suffer severe damage to the brain from an impact between the skull and an external object in a crash, such as the hood of a car or asphalt. Understanding the mechanics of what happens to the brain in a motorcycle accident may be able to help you protect yourself as a motorcyclist in Dallas.

What Happens to the Brain in a Motorcycle Crash?

High Risk of Brain Injuries in Motorcycle Crashes

Traumatic brain injuries can occur in many different types of accidents. Some of the most common are motor vehicle collisions, falls, struck-by object incidents and acts of violence. Any incident that involves a strike, bump or blow to the head can damage the cells and tissues of the brain, causing long-term symptoms and damage.

Many different elements increase the risk of head and brain injuries in a motorcycle crash:

  • No seat belt
  • No airbags
  • No surrounding metal frame
  • No helmet (depending on the rider)

Without a seat belt available, the motorcyclist is typically ejected from the vehicle in an accident. This leaves the rider exposed to serious bodily injuries, including striking the skull against something and suffering a brain injury. Impacts to the head, or the brain jostling around inside of the skull, can cause bleeding, swelling, bruising and tearing in the brain.

About Traumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury can describe many types of damage to the brain in a traumatic accident. For example, if the brain starts to swell, it can only expand so far within the confines of the skull. The brain may press against the inside of the skull and cause further harm in addition to original damage from the collision. Common types of TBIs in motorcycle accidents are concussions, contusions, edemas, hemorrhages and coup-contrecoup injuries.

A TBI can cause many symptoms, some of which are immediately noticeable and others that appear later:

  • Feeling dazed or disoriented
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Memory loss
  • Cognitive challenges
  • Trouble communicating
  • Problems sleeping
  • Changes in personality, mood or behavior

A severe brain injury can also inflict long-term problems, such as the permanent loss of motor skills, irreversible memory loss, seizures and an increased risk of dementia. Every patient is unique. The effects of a TBI after a motorcycle accident will vary according to the individual, the area of the brain that is injured and the severity of the injury.

The Importance of Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet

The best way to prevent serious and life-threatening brain injuries as a motorcyclist is by wearing a helmet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wearing a motorcycle helmet reduces the risk of head injury by 69 percent and the risk of death by 37 percent.

Although Texas law does not require motorcyclists over the age of 21 (with proper insurance coverage or certification) to wear helmets, it is the most effective way to avoid a life-changing TBI. A helmet provides a barrier between your skull and other objects in a motorcycle crash. The protective shell and padding can make all the difference in how severely injured you are in a collision. While you may still suffer a brain injury even with a helmet, the odds of a severe or fatal TBI are significantly reduced.

Do You Need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?

If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury in a motorcycle accident in Dallas, consult with an attorney for assistance with the legal process. Any type of brain injury is serious enough to warrant a conversation with a personal injury lawyer.

Without hiring an attorney, you may be at risk of an insurance company taking advantage of you and offering less financial compensation than you deserve for your long-term medical needs and lost wages. A lawyer can help you negotiate with an insurance company or represent you at trial for the outcome you need.

Posted by admin at 8:32 pm

What Is a “No Contact” Motorcycle Accident?

Friday, February 26, 2021

Although most motor vehicle accidents in Texas involve two or more vehicles colliding, this is not always the case. A motorcycle may crash without ever coming into contact with another vehicle – yet the driver of the other car may still be to blame. This is what is called a no-contact motorcycle accident. It is often a difficult type of personal injury case to pursue in terms of liability.

How Do No-Contact Motorcycle Accidents Occur?

Like all types of motorcycle accidents, no-contact motorcycle accidents often come down to driver negligence. A driver is negligent if he or she does not use the appropriate level of care behind the wheel, such as failing to pay attention to the road and notice nearby motorcyclists. Drivers can cause no-contact motorcycle accidents in Dallas through many acts of negligence:

  • Merging or changing lanes on top of a motorcyclist
  • Drifting into the same lane as a motorcyclist
  • Driving the wrong way on a one-way street
  • Turning in front of an oncoming motorcyclist
  • Running a red light at an intersection
  • Making an unsafe passing maneuver
  • Speeding and/or tailgating a motorcyclist, threatening a rear-end collision
  • Other negligent or reckless acts

A no-contact motorcycle accident can cause serious injuries to the motorcyclist, including broken bones and traumatic brain damage. It is critical for an injured motorcyclist to review his or her legal options with a personal injury lawyer after a no-contact motorcycle accident, as a lawyer can help the victim pursue financial recovery for medical costs and other expenses.

Liability in a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident

Who Is Liable for a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident?

Although you may assume your insurance company will pay for your medical bills and property damage if another driver’s vehicle never came in contact with your motorcycle, this is often not the case. If a driver breaks a traffic law or otherwise drives without using the proper amount of care, and this forced you to react to avoid a collision by jerking the handlebars, running off the road or laying your motorcycle down, the driver of the motor vehicle (the phantom driver) is liable for the wreck, even if the two vehicles never touched.

After a no-contact motorcycle accident, remain at the scene and get the other driver’s information. Do not admit any fault for the accident, even if the other driver tries to blame you since his or her vehicle never actually touched your motorcycle. Remain calm and call the police to obtain an official police report. Go to a hospital in Dallas immediately. Then, call the at-fault driver’s insurance company to file a claim.

What If the Phantom Driver Does Not Stop?

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to hold someone else responsible for a no-contact motorcycle accident in Dallas, as many drivers do not notice when they cause these accidents. If the negligent driver never noticed you in his or her blind spot, for example, the driver might not have seen you react to a dangerous situation and run off the side of the road. The driver may continue driving, leaving no information for you to hold the driver financially responsible.

If the phantom driver fails to stop after you crash, call the police. The police can help you gather any available evidence, such as surveillance footage of the accident from nearby businesses or signed statements from eyewitnesses. The information collected during an investigation may be enough to identify and locate the at-fault driver. If this is possible, that driver’s auto insurance company will be liable for your financial damages.

If, however, the police cannot identify the phantom driver, you may need to rely on your own auto insurance policy for coverage. Your insurance company should pay for your medical bills and motorcycle damage if you have uninsured motorist coverage, as well as collision or comprehensive insurance. It may also be possible to hold a third party liable, such as the government entity that designed the roadway or intersection.

Consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible after a no-contact crash for legal assistance with this complicated type of claim.

Posted by admin at 11:02 pm

Dos and Don’ts When You Witness an Accident

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Witnessing a car accident can leave you with a lot of complicated questions. You could be wondering if you could have done more to help the victims or ensure you followed the proper procedures. Consult this quick guide provided by our Dallas personal injury attorneys for some dos and don’ts for the scene.

What to do When You Witness an Accident

What To Do & What Not To Do When You Witness An Accident

DON’T feel like you must stop. The law does not require you to stop at the scene of an accident. However, most people feel it is the right thing to do. If you are one of the first people to the scene of an accident, your assistance could be imperative for victims.

DO make sure you are in a safe place after you witness an accident. If you are a pedestrian, you must stay in pedestrian areas like sidewalks. Even medians and shoulders can be dangerous if traffic continues to pass by. If you are a driver, pull your vehicle to the side of the road, ensure rescue vehicles have room to navigate, and turn on your flashers or distribute hazard markers. Stay a safe distance from the scene unless you are rendering aid to victims.

DO dial 911. If you are the first to the scene and are not sure if someone else has already called the police, dial 911 and report the accident. Even if you are unsure of the extent of the injuries of the parties involved, if vehicle damage has taken place, the police will make a report. Give as much detail as you can regarding your location and the nature of the accident.

DON’T rush into the scene. Sometimes, your assistance will be helpful, but make sure you are not in danger of injury yourself due to broken glass and sharp metal. If you choose to enter the scene and render aid to victims, do so cautiously.

DON’T offer medical assistance unless necessary. It is best to wait for emergency personnel to arrive on-scene. You may accidentally make things worse for the victim if you move him or her the incorrect way. It often takes only a matter of minutes for EMTs to arrive, and most first aid situations can wait.

DO offer other forms of assistance. Perhaps victims could use a kind word, a cell phone to call relatives or insurance companies, or a paper and pen to exchange information. Offer what you feel you would need if in the shoes of the victims.

DON’T fear liability. In the event that the help has not arrived and someone is in urgent need of first aid you know you can handle, Texas has Good Samaritan laws in place. As long as you are rendering emergency aid in good faith, you are not likely to be liable for civil damages.

DO exercise caution. Accident scenes are often tense situations. Property has occurred, and tempers and emotions can run high. While the presence of a witness may help keep emotions in check, be careful when inserting yourself into the situation. Keep your own safety in mind, primarily.

DON’T allow a driver to leave the scene without exchanging information. You do not need to physically restrain a driver – see the above note about keeping yourself safe – but it is good practice to jot down identifying characteristics and license plate numbers. If an at-fault driver attempts to leave the scene, you can remind them of the consequences of doing so and record their vehicle and license plate description.

DO cooperate with the police. If you have chosen to stop and witnessed the accident itself, provide every detail you can to the police. Stay on the scene until your statement is complete and police have released you to continue traveling.

DO give your contact information to drivers, if they ask. Your ability to help accident victims may not end when you leave the crash scene. If you are willing to give your name, contact information and a statement about the accident, injured victims may be able to use this during a personal injury claim to help them prove liability. The information you have about the accident could be critical for investigators to piece together what happened.

DO give a statement. As an eyewitness to an accident, you are in a unique position to help those involved by describing what you saw. While the law does not obligate you to stay at the scene or give a statement, telling the police or the drivers involved in the crash what you saw could help clear up questions of liability and fault. Do not be nervous about giving a statement. Simply describe what you saw.

DO pay special attention if it was a hit-and-run accident. If the accident you witnessed was a hit-and-run, your input as a witness can be even more vital. You might have seen something that enables police officers to find the culprit, such as the make or model of the at-fault driver’s vehicle, or a partial license plate number. Write down everything you can remember as soon as possible, while it is still fresh in your mind. Stay at the scene to speak to the police about what you saw. Offering your assistance to a hit-and-run victim by calling 911 and requesting an ambulance could also be important since the other driver did not stick around to do so.

DON’T speculate about fault if you are not sure who caused the accident. If you do decide to give a statement to someone at the scene of the accident, stick only to the facts as you know them. If you do not have the answer to a question, say so. Do not feel pressured to answer every question asked. Do not make guesses as to what happened or who is to blame. Answer the questions asked honestly and as completely as possible.

DO prepare to go to trial, if necessary. Agreeing to give a statement as an eyewitness could mean going to court if the accident victim’s case ends up at trial. While this is unlikely, prepare for this as a possibility if you give victims or the police your contact information. Witness testimony can be invaluable during a car accident case.

DON’T ignore a subpoena. A subpoena is a judge-issued document ordering you to appear in court. If an attorney needs you to testify about what you witnessed, he or she may subpoena you as a witness. Do not ignore a court subpoena. This is against the law and could lead to you being held in contempt of court. If this happens, you may face penalties such as fines and even jail time for ignoring the court’s requests.

DO ask for help from an attorney. Staying and helping out at the scene of an accident in Texas is an honorable and brave thing to do. Do not be afraid to intervene and render assistance to those in need. If you end up getting involved in a personal injury lawsuit, turn to a lawyer for help with the legal process.

To Learn More, Speak To A Dallas Car Accident Attorney

Overall, many people choose to stop and help when they witness a car accident. Keeping these tips in mind can help ensure you are doing what you can for the victims and police while keeping yourself safe from harm. You are not necessarily a medical professional, a mechanic, or a police officer, but Good Samaritans can provide some help and may even save a life. Just remember your own limitations and leave the tough work to the emergency personnel. To learn more speak to a Dallas car accident lawyer.

Posted by admin at 7:59 am

Updated 2021: What Are the Motorcycle Laws Every Texan Should Know?

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Motorcycles are more than just a mode of transportation – they are a hobby and pastime for many Texans. Although motorcycles are a fun way to get around and enjoy pleasant weather on the road, it’s vital for Texans to understand state motorcycle laws. Knowing these laws not only keeps riders safer on the road, but also helps ensure riders are compliant and needn’t worry about fines or legal problems due to parking or mechanical issues.

Motorcycles must have the same basic mechanical features as other motor vehicles – brakes, reflectors, head and taillights, and the other typical parts of a vehicle. Just like passenger cars, motorcycles must be registered and riders must obtain the proper motorcycle license. Some states place restrictions on exhaust and muffler decibels for sound concerns, but Texas has no such laws.

 

2021 Texas motorcycle laws

LICENSE

If you are a motorcyclist, then you should know that motorcycle drivers have their own class of driver’s licenses, a class M. All motorcycle riders must have a valid class M license in the state of Texas. This class also includes mopeds. To obtain your class M license you must report to the Department of Public Safety and take a motorcycle safety class, followed by a written test and driving test, all capable of being waived for poor performance.

REGISTRATION

Any vehicle, including motorcycles and mopeds, that drive on Texas public roadways, must be registered through the County Tax-Assessor Collector in their county. After being registered, the motorcycle or moped must have a valid and visible registration sticker attached to their license plate.

INSPECTION

All vehicles including motorcycles in the state of Texas must receive a yearly inspection at an Official Motor Vehicle Inspection Station. If your motorcycle passes, the certificate of completion must be placed near the rear license plate. This certificate is valid for one year from the month of inspection.

INSURANCE

Motorcycles must show proof of insurance when registering, during inspection, or when obtaining a Texas Official Driver License.

PARKING

Just like passenger cars, motorcycle riders may only park their bikes in disabled parking spaces if they have the proper authorization and affix a disabled license plate or windshield placard to the bike. Additionally, a disabled license plate or windshield placard may not be given or lent to other motorists.

Some motorcycle riders believe that because their bikes are smaller than typical passenger cars, they may park in the striped areas near handicap parking spaces or other similar “Do Not Stop” areas of pavement. This is against the law. Motorcycles may not be parked on sidewalks, either.

HELMET LAW

In Texas, helmets are required for any rider under the age of 21. Riders over the age of 21 may forego wearing a helmet if they obtain the proper certification or insurance coverage. Such riders must either complete a Department of Motor Vehicles-approved Motorcycle Operating Training Course or obtain at least $10,000 in medical insurance. As with automobile insurance, these riders must keep a copy of their medical insurance card on their person while riding or stowed in the bike. However, Texas police are not permitted to stop or detain any rider solely to determine whether the rider has completed a training course or possesses medical insurance coverage.

Although the decision to wear a helmet is at the rider’s discretion if over the age of 21, helmets have been proven to save lives. Consider wearing a Department of Transportation-approved helmet while riding.

PASSENGERS

In Texas, no one under the age of five years may ride as a passenger on a motorcycle. Any passengers over the age of five and under 21 years old must wear a helmet. Passengers over the age of 21 may opt to ride without a helmet if the driver has the met the proper requirements. Additionally, the motorcycle must have a permanent passenger seat.

LANE SPLITTING

Many motorcyclists engage in a practice known as “lane splitting,” which is when a motorcyclist passes other vehicles by traversing between lanes of traffic. Some decry this practice as dangerous, and it can be in certain situations – specifically, when riders are splitting a lane with a larger vehicle or at high speeds. Lane splitting is NOT legal in the state of Texas.

Motorcycles are fantastic fun, but they are also inherently more dangerous than other motor vehicles because riders are almost entirely exposed. Passenger cars shield their drivers much more effectively than motorcycles. Therefore, if you ride a motorcycle in Texas, exercise more caution on the road than you might when driving a regular motor vehicle. Following the rules of the road and keeping these Texas laws in mind will reduce your risk of serious injury.

OTHER HEADWEAR/ EYEWEAR

A motorcycle windshield alone is not enough protection. Sunglasses with shatterproof lenses protect the eyes, but do not prevent your eyes from watering. Motorcycle riders are advised to wear goggles that both protect the eyes and block the wind. Proper motorcycle eyewear should be shatterproof, securely fashioned, optically clear, resist impact and penetration, and not block peripheral vision.

Another protective measure for motorcyclists are face shields. Research indicates that motorcycle riders that wear face shields suffer less facial injuries, even from rocks or insects hitting the face. A face shield should be securely fashioned to the helmet, free of scratches, and resist impact and penetration.

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING

Protection while riding a motorcycle does not stop with simply a helmet. Fully protective clothing can make all the difference when faced with motorcycle injuries, but also protects the driver from everyday risks of driving a motorcycle. Protective clothing can block out sunburn, windburn, rain, dehydration, cold, parts of the motorcycle, and provide visibility and comfort.

  • Low-heeled footwear should cover the ankle with no dangling laces or rings. Footwear can provide a good grip on the road and on foot pegs.
  • Gloves should protect the hands from cuts and bruises, blisters, cold, wind, and provide better grip for control.
  • Bright-colored clothes should fit comfortable witching binding and can resist abrasions as well as increase visibility to other drivers.
  • Rain suits are recommended for rainy weather.

EQUIPMENT

In Texas, a motorcycle must have all of following equipment to be legal and drivable.

  • Vehicle Identification Number
  • License plate lamp
  • Headlamp
  • An exhaust system
  • Wheel assembly
  • Tail lamp
  • Stop lamp
  • Horn
  • Mirror
  • Steering
  • Brakes
  • Tires
  • Rear red reflector

MOTORCYCLE INJURIES

Whether or not you know the rules of the road as a motorcyclist can make all the difference in motorcycle injuries. Motorcycle riders consider the fun and thrill of riding a motorcycle, but quickly forget the increased risk of injury and death. Wearing the right protective gear, following the rules of the road, and ensuring that all parts of your motorcycle are legally functioning help prevent injury, but due to their size and lack of outer protection, motorcycles are simply a greater risk. In the event of a motorcycle injury you want an attorney who is experienced in motorcycle cases. These cases require the knowledge and sensitivity that a Texas lawyer can provide.

Posted by admin at 11:50 pm

Ways to Avoid Common Motorcycle Accidents

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Motorcycles are fun vehicles for many Americans, but it is essential to acknowledge the inherent dangers of riding motorcycles and the risks of an accident. A motorcyclist has very little protection in the event of an accident, and some of the most common types of motorcycle accidents are avoidable with appropriate precautions. When a negligent driver causes a motorcycle accident in Texas, a motorcycle accident attorney in Dallas can help an injured victim recover his or her losses with a personal injury lawsuit.

Evade Left-Hand Turn Accidents

Cars turning left present one of the biggest hazards for motorcyclists. A driver may not see an oncoming motorcycle due to the bike’s small size and make a left turn directly in the path of a motorcycle in the opposite lane. Motorcyclists can avoid these accidents with vigilance and safe driving. If a collision is imminent, reducing speed as quickly as possible is the best way to limit injuries and damage.

Blind Corner Accidents

Motorcycles are incredibly maneuverable, and riders need to use this to their advantage when it comes to safety. When rounding a blind corner, reduce speed and be ready to react to changing road conditions. Hitting a patch of gravel or sand around a blind corner can easily lead to a wipeout. Riders should stay at safe speeds to maximize their available reaction time to dodge hazards around blind corners.

Lane-Change Accidents

Some drivers may overlook motorcyclists in their blind spots and inadvertently change lanes directly into a rider’s lane. The motorcyclist needs to account for other drivers’ blind spots and avoid lingering in them for too long. Staying vigilant and maintaining safe speeds are the best ways to avoid collisions from drivers who fail to look before changing lanes.

Rear-End Collisions

These accidents may only be minor fender-benders for enclosed passenger cars but they can be fatal for motorcyclists. If you are riding a motorcycle and stop at an intersection behind other cars, you can actually use those vehicles as a cushion against a driver who could rear-end you from behind. Pull ahead of a stopped driver in front of you and wave to indicate that you need to do so for safety reasons. This greatly reduces the chances of another driver rear-ending your bike.

Front Brake Lock-Ups

Misusing the front brake of a motorcycle can easily lead to a serious accident, and many riders can minimize the chances of such accidents simply by learning to appropriately use their front brakes or by purchasing motorcycles with antilock braking systems. It’s vital to learn how to reduce braking distance with the front brake without the rear tire lifting too high off the ground, and practice is the best option.

Inclement Weather and Slippery Road Conditions

Tires are the most important factor when it comes to avoiding accidents from slippery road surfaces. Make sure your motorcycle has appropriate tires for the surfaces on which you intend to drive. For example, you don’t want to take track rubber tires on highway. Improper tires can cause severe problems for motorcyclists. It’s also crucial to stay vigilant for other risks like wet manhole covers, gas and oil deposits on the road, and debris.

Alcohol-Related Crashes

More than 40% of fatal single-vehicle crashes involving motorcycles happen due to alcohol consumption. The best way to avoid this risk is by simply refraining from drinking and driving. Alcohol severely impacts driving ability, and a motorcyclist faces a much higher risk than a driver of a passenger vehicle in an alcohol-related accident. Driving under the influence not only leads to fatal accidents, it can also cause severe injuries as well as a host of legal penalties including fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges.

When motorcycle accidents happen in Texas, a motorcycle accident attorney in Dallas can help an injured victim determine his or her best options for legal recourse. However, by implementing a few best practices, riding at reasonable speeds, and staying vigilant for changing traffic conditions, motorcyclists can avoid many of the most common motorcycle accidents seen on the road.

Posted by admin at 10:00 am

The Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Motorcycles are much more than a means of conveyance for many Americans. Motorcycling is a hobby enjoyed all over the country, and while it can be extremely fun to feel the wind as you ride, riders must be aware of the inherent dangers of riding motorcycles. Unlike typical passenger vehicles, motorcycles afford their riders with very little protection from impacts and other external forces. Motorcycle riders must use extra caution on the road and keep a few best practices in mind.

Motorcycle accidents happen for a variety of reasons, but one of the main contributing factors to any type of accident is the size of most motorcycles. They are smaller and narrower than other vehicles and can easily slip through other driver’s blind spots. About 56% of all motorcycle accident deaths result from motorcycles colliding with larger vehicles, and this can occur in countless possible scenarios. However, some situations are far more dangerous than others. Consider the following tips and scenarios for staying safe while riding your motorcycle.

Head-On Collisions

One of the most fatal types of accidents is when a motorcyclist hits another vehicle head-on. Most head-on collisions involving motorcycles and larger vehicles happen when the car strikes the motorcycle from the front. These crashes are usually fatal for the motorcyclist.

Left-Turning Cars

Statistically, the most dangerous situations for motorcycles on the road are when larger vehicles make left-hand turns. Cars turning left typically strike motorcyclists when the motorcycle is continuing straight through the intersection as the car turns or when the motorcyclist attempts to pass or overtake a left-turning car. These situations are also dangerous for other cars, but motorcycles are especially vulnerable due to their smaller size and because they are less visible.

Lane Splitting

Some motorcyclists engage in a practice called lane splitting – when a motorcyclist maneuvers between two lanes of slower or stopped traffic. Some states do not have any laws barring the practice, so if a lane splitting accident occurs, the state’s laws will come into play in a subsequent lawsuit. Lane splitting is NOT legal in the state of Texas.

Road Hazards

Motorcycles typically have high acceleration and a fair range of maneuverability, but they can’t always react fast enough to avoid serious hazards on the road. Additionally, while a car may be able to run over a piece of road debris and barely feel the bump, the same piece of debris could spell doom for a motorcyclist. Motorcyclists must stay focused on the road ahead and give themselves an appropriate window to maneuver.

The Need for Speed

Motorcycles, especially sport and high-performance bikes, may inherently tempt their owners to push them to their limits and drive at excessive speeds. Some super-sport class motorcycles can easily reach speeds of 160 mph or more. The fatality rate for motorcycle accidents involving high-performance bikes is about four times the rate of conventional motorcycles. Owners of such bikes should use caution and obey the rules of the road.

Riding Under the Influence

Just like any other vehicle, operating a motorcycle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is incredibly dangerous and irresponsible. Alcohol is a factor in about half of all motorcycle accidents involving a single bike.

Helmet Laws

Finally, one of the best things any motorcyclist can do to stay safer on the road is to wear a Department of Transportation-approved helmet. While some states do not have helmet laws in place, it’s important to consider that helmets reduce the likelihood of death or traumatic brain injury in an accident. Even if you are an inexperienced rider living in a state without helmet laws, opting to wear one might save your life.

Motorcycle accidents lead to various serious or life-threatening injuries. Injured motorcycles should know their rights and their options for legal action should another driver cause an accident. If you suffer injuries and damages from a motorcycle accident, reach out to a reputable personal injury lawyer to discuss your options.

Posted by admin at 5:03 pm