HOW TEXAS MOTORCYCLE LAWS AFFECT PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS
The global pandemic resulted in fewer vehicles on Texas roadways in 2020. One likely attributable result was that accidents involving motorcycles decreased by 2%. Fatalities, however, rose by 17% over 2019. Unprotected by steel enclosures, motorcycle riders face unfavorable odds when they are involved in a crash. Furthermore, motorcycles are more susceptible to dangerous weather and road conditions than other vehicles.
Motorcycle riders also face an inherent bias that they are reckless, careless, and cause crashes. A significant number of accidents involving motorcycles are actually caused by operators of other vehicles who fail to take the care necessary to watch for motorcycles and avoid colliding with them. They simply fail to see motorcycles like they do other vehicles on the roadway.
At The Fostel Law Firm, I am dedicated to working with motorcycle accident victims and their families so they can recover compensation for injuries and other damages. Injuries can be catastrophic or deadly when a driver strikes a motorcycle rider. A motorcycle accident lawyer must be able to stand up to insurance companies focused on denying claims and attributing fault to the motorcycle operator. I will not back down.
Texas Laws Regarding Motorcycle Riders
Motorcycle riders must observe the same rules of the road as operators of other vehicles. Every driver has a legal obligation to care for everyone else on Texas roadways. There are, however, some state laws that apply specifically to motorcycles:
All riders under 21 years of age must wear a helmet. Riders aged 21 and older are not legally required to do so if they have completed a motorcycle safety course or have liability insurance.
Motorcycle operators must have — at minimum — bodily injury liability coverage of $30,000 per person per accident and $60,000 total per accident, as well as $25,000 in property damage liability coverage.
Lane-splitting is illegal in Texas. Lane-splitting is driving the motorcycle between two lanes of traffic. Evidence of this activity would place considerable fault on you in the event of an accident.
Motorcycle operators in Texas must hold a Class M license. A regular driver’s license does not suffice. Like all vehicles registered in the state, motorcycles are subject to annual inspections conducted by an official motor vehicle inspection station.
Motorcycle operators must adhere to the rules of the road, including laws pertaining to obeying traffic controls, changing lanes, maintaining certain distances between you and other vehicles, signaling at appropriate distances, use of headlights, avoidance of distractions such as cell phone use, and driving the speed limit. You may be assigned a share of the fault for a crash if you failed to comply with Texas motor vehicle laws at the time of the accident.
Modified Comparative Fault
Texas observes a “modified comparative fault” system in personal injury cases. As an at-fault state, Texas holds the person who causes a crash accountable for the damages of those injured, but there may be comparative fault if the other driver also did something that contributed to the crash. Anyone to whom 50% or more of fault is assigned is barred from bringing a personal injury claim against the other party.
As an example, the driver of a car changes lanes without checking its blind spot or signaling and strikes a motorcycle in that lane. The motorcycle operator, however, was speeding at the time. In this case, both operators can be assigned blame. If the driver of the car is assigned 60% of the fault and the motorcycle rider 40%, the recovery of the latter would be reduced by their share of fault. In a $100,000 settlement, the motorcyclist would receive $60,000.
Personal Injury Experience You Can Trust
Motorcycle riders injured in traffic accidents often face more than the usual need to prove fault for a crash. Insurance companies and even law enforcement agencies investigating a crash may be prejudiced against motorcyclists. Since insurance companies have a strong incentive to deny personal injury claims, they will use that prejudice and make significant attempts to place at least 50% of the blame on you.
At The Fostel Law Firm, I welcome the challenge of investigating motorcycle crashes, documenting evidence, and negotiating aggressively with insurance companies on behalf of my injured clients and their families. If insurers refuse to settle for the compensation to which you are entitled, I will move the battle to the courtroom.
I represent clients in Houston, throughout the State of Texas, as well as Southeast New Mexico. I also review cases from anywhere in the United States. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, call my office today to schedule a consultation.
Consultations are free and you pay nothing unless and until you settle your claim. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Call me now.