A motorcycle accident attorney from The Burkett Law Firm can help with your case and situation if you are injured in an accident. Unfortunately, many motorcycle accidents result in serious and fatal injuries due to the limited protection riders and passengers have. Taking steps to protect your rights in these cases is imperative.
However, it’s not always another party that’s considered at fault in motorcycle accidents. Like the other drivers on the road, motorcyclists in Texas must know and follow the applicable laws. Failure to do this can result in an accident, which would be their fault.
Learn more about Texas motorcycle accidents and determining liability here.
Passenger Vehicle Accidents vs. Motorcycle Accidents in Texas
Traditional passenger vehicle accidents and motorcycle accidents have some similarities. For example, it’s necessary for the injured victim in both situations to determine fault before they can pursue an insurance claim.
However, in these accidents, it’s common for a vehicle driver to try to place the blame for the collision on the motorcyclist. While there are some situations where the motorcyclist may be fully or partially at-fault, this isn’t always the case.
To better understand who is likely at fault for motorcycle accidents, it’s important to learn more about them, such as common causes and injuries.
Common Causes for Texas Motorcycle Accidents
It’s necessary to determine fault in Texas motorcycle accidents. This requires knowing what or who caused the collision. Usually, fault is applied to the party that violated a law or rule directly before the accident.
In many cases, this is the driver of a passenger vehicle. For example, if the driver was speeding or they may not react in time to changing circumstances ahead, such as a stopped motorcycle.
Some of the most common types of motorcycle accidents that occur in Texas include:
Passenger vehicle drivers can make many mistakes, such as distracted driving, speeding, ignoring the right-of-way, drunk driving, and even making unsafe lane changes. If drivers do something wrong and other people on the road are at risk because of this, the driver may be found liable for a resulting motorcycle accident.
In some situations, the motorcyclist will make a mistake that results in an injury. Motorcyclists often engage in dangerous practices, such as weaving in and out of traffic, driving under the influence, lane splitting, or speeding. Motorcyclists may still be able to receive financial compensation if they are partially responsible for an accident based on the comparative fault law.
Sometimes, motorcycle collisions in Texas are caused by environmental hazards rather than human errors. Examples of this include:
- Unsafe construction zones
- Loose gravel
- Uneven shoulder
- Grass clippings
Many other hazards may affect a motorcyclist’s ability to drive safely. Road hazards that should have been repaired before the accident may indicate that the city is liable for the accident.
Texas Helmet Laws and Their Impact on Personal Injury Cases
There’s no strict helmet law for motorcyclists in Texas. The law is slightly more complicated than that.
For example, anyone under 21 must wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Any rider who is 21 or older doesn’t have to wear a helmet if they have a health plan that meets the state’s guidelines or if they have taken a safety and training course.
Riders 21 and older who aren’t wearing a helmet must have proof of training or health coverage. However, the police can’t stop you to see if you have this proof.
If you aren’t wearing a helmet in an accident, and it is determined to be the other party’s fault, the fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet may be considered when it comes to a fair compensation amount. It’s smart to speak with a motorcycle accident attorney about your situation to learn your rights and options, and not wearing a helmet may impact the compensation you receive.
The Legality of Lane Splitting in Texas
Lane splitting is common among motorcyclists. It occurs when the rider goes between the lanes of slow-moving or stopped vehicles. Some states have taken steps to make this practice, while others still consider it illegal. Right now, it is not legal in Texas, and you will be charged significant fines if caught.
If an accident occurs while a motorcyclist is engaged in lane splitting, there is a good chance they will be considered at fault for the incident. If this happens, the motorcyclists would be responsible for their damages and injuries and the people in any other vehicle involved in the accident.
Why Determining Fault Is a Crucial Factor in a Texas Motorcycle Accident
The Texas insurance law requires fault to be determined before anyone can receive (or try to recover) financial compensation. As a tort-based state, the at-fault driver must cover all resulting damages. If you are a victim of an accident, have fault determined prior to receiving any compensation offer.
Motorcycle accident cases require evidence to show who is at fault. Some of the evidence used in these cases includes:
- Videos and photographs
- Accident reports
- Traffic cameras and surveillance footage
- Eyewitness statements
- Analysis of property damage
- Medical records
- Expert testimony
If you are successful in proving that the other driver was at-fault for your accident, their auto insurance company may be required to pay for the costs of medical treatment for accident-caused injuries, damage to your motorcycle, and replacement of your motorcycle (if necessary), lost wages, and more.
For situations where you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, it may be necessary to seek compensation from your auto insurance provider.
Understanding the Comparative Fault Law in Texas
If you are on a motorcycle and involved in an accident with a passenger vehicle, you may be required to show you were not completely at fault. Texas follows a comparative fault law. This means if you are found to be partially responsible for your accident, the amount of compensation you are trying to recover will be reduced by your percentage of fault. This is true whether you file a claim with the other party’s auto insurance carrier or seek compensation in court.
The Role of the Police Report in Determining Fault
If your goal is to prove fault when you are involved in a motorcycle accident, you need to acquire a copy of the police report created at the time of the accident. Usually, the police report will include pertinent information about who was at fault for the accident.
This includes if any involved party had a traffic violation issued. In most cases, if someone received a citation, they were likely at fault (or mostly at fault) for the accident. You can get a copy of your accident report from a police station in the town where the accident occurred.
In some accident situations, issues like the weather at the time of the accident and if a driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be used in supporting a claim regarding who was at fault for the accident. This information should also be included in the police report.
Get Help from a Texas Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, there are situations where you may be considered at fault or partially at fault. If this is the case in your situation, then you would be responsible for your injuries and the injuries of anyone else involved. Working with our motorcycle accident attorney at The Burkett Law Firm is best to learn more about your options and rights.