A helmet is by far the most critical piece of safety gear when it comes to riding a motorcycle. Helmets saved 1,859 lives in 2016 and reduce the overall risk of dying in an accident by 37 percent. That is why many states, including Texas, have helmet laws in place to promote safety. Current Helmet Laws in Texas For most motorcycle riders, helmets are a requirement. They protect your safety, and they can drastically reduce the possibility of a brain injury or death from an accident. But, some people in Texas have the option not to wear a helmet under certain circumstances. First, motorcyclists must be older than 21 before helmets are an option. After that, riders must complete an approved motorcycle operator safety and training course, as well as carry proof of the appropriate health insurance coverage to be allowed to ride without a helmet. This insurance of at least $10,000 worth of coverage is intended to take care of medical expenses in the event of an accident. It also shows that the motorcyclist accepts the risks that come with riding without a helmet. Helmet Requirements Motorcycle helmets must meet the following safety standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation: It must weigh at least three pounds. Unsafe helmets usually weigh only one pound or less. An inner liner that has a layer of firm polystyrene foam at least one inch thick. This may not be visible, but its thickness can be felt. Sturdy chin straps with rivets. Any external components or decorations do not extend further than two-tenths of an inch from the helmet’s surface. The helmet has a manufacturer’s label with the name, model, size, month and year it was manufactured, and the type of materials used. A “DOT” sticker is on the back of the helmet, certifying compliance with the Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standards. Novelty helmet sellers may give motorcyclists counterfeit DOT stickers to place on a non-compliant helmet, which is why all the other standards must be observed to distinguish if a helmet is safe. The Impact of Helmets on Liability If you are injured in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet, it can be extremely challenging to recover full and fair compensation, particularly if you were required by law to wear one. The reason being that victims have the burden of proving another party’s negligence caused the accident before receiving compensation. The at-fault party may deny liability or fight your claim by suggesting your negligence in choosing not to wear a helmet was the actual cause of your injuries. Texas courts follow the rule of modified comparative negligence with a 51% bar. This rule can dramatically reduce or eliminate your compensation if you are also responsible for your accident. If you are found more than 50 percent at fault for your motorcycle accident, you are barred from financial recovery. If less than 51 percent of the blame is placed on you, you can recover compensation, but it will lower it. For example, if you are awarded $10,000 and found 40 percent at fault, you will receive $6,000. If you are awarded $10,000 and found 51 percent at fault, you won’t receive anything. Speak to a Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer For more information on Texas state laws regarding motorcycle helmets, or if you believe you have an injury claim, speak to a Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer at Milano Legal Group. We offer free consultations; call (713) 489-4270 or reach us online today.
A “no contact” motorcycle accident occurs when a motor vehicle indirectly causes a motorcyclist to crash, without colliding into them. In most cases, it is the driver’s negligent behavior that results in this type of accident. This could happen, for example, if a car suddenly changes lanes and cuts off a motorcycle; in effect, causing the rider to perform a dangerous maneuver to avoid a collision. While the reckless driver may attempt to avoid responsibility for this type of accident and the resulting injuries, their degree of negligence can be determined by an insurance company or the court. If they are found liable, the motorcyclist may be entitled to compensation. Speak to an experienced Houston motorcycle accident attorney to learn more about your legal options. Establishing Liability after a No Contact Motorcycle Accident All no contact motorcycle accidents are unique, and require a legal investigation to establish liability. The basis of the claim is whether the driver was negligent, which means they did not exercise reasonable care that other drivers would have applied in a similar situation. Drivers must follow the rules of the road, including being aware of what is going on around them. If the driver causes an accident by failing to notice or see a motorcycle, they will most likely be found negligent. Proving negligence will require evidence. Hiring a lawyer can ease the stress of validating your claim, especially if you are still recovering from injuries. They will conduct their own investigation and gather police reports, eyewitness accounts, your medical records, as well as hire experts to testify on your behalf regarding the driver’s required standard of care. The courts, or an insurance company, will look at both parties to determine each side’s degree of liability. An alternative scenario is a driver who doesn’t realize they caused an accident and continues to drive away. Unless the motorcyclist can catch the vehicle’s license plate or even a description, it may be hard to locate the at-fault party. In those cases, the police will treat it similar to a hit and run and will work to find the driver. That can take weeks or even months, leaving an injured motorcyclist without compensation. In these instances, the rider would rely on their own insurance to help cover the costs of medical bills and property damage. If the driver is eventually found, the motorcycle rider can then file a lawsuit against that driver. Most Common Causes of No Contact Motorcycle Accidents There are several ways that drivers can cause a no contact accident with a motorcycle, including: Failing to notice motorcycles riding close to them Violating traffic laws, such as failing to yield the right of way, speeding, running red lights, etc. Driving distracted Failing to signal or a sudden lane change Failing to check blind spots Tailgating Reckless driving Road rage Contact the Milano Legal Group PLLC for Help Our team can help no contact motorcycle accident victims pursue legal options to obtain the compensation they desperately need. Call us today at (713) 489-4270 or contact us online to set up a free case evaluation.
Texas law requires that all people who register a car carry a minimum amount of car insurance. In particular, a driver should have at least $30,000 in personal injury liability coverage to pay for a victim’s medical bills and lost wages, up to $60,000 maximum if two or more people were hurt. But many drivers fail to carry the required amount of insurance or any insurance at all. Indeed, according to Value Penguin, about 14% of drivers in Texas do not have insurance. What happens if you were hit by an uninsured motorist in Texas? Can you receive compensation for your injuries? Below are the key considerations. Should You Use Your Health Insurance to Pay for Care? Under Texas law, the driver responsible for the accident must cover your medical expenses. However, if the driver is uninsured, you need to consider other options. One option could be to use your health insurance. However, there are serious reasons not to rely on it. For example, you will be responsible for paying your deductible and your copay, which might be very expensive. If the other driver had insurance, you could get reimbursed in a settlement, but since the driver is uninsured there is no guarantee you will receive any money. Some health insurance plans also exclude car accident injuries from coverage. Read your policy to find out more. What Other Insurance Can You Use? Texas law also requires that insurers offer uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, which is called “UM” insurance. If you don’t want it, you must reject it in writing. This insurance covers the situation where an uninsured motorist in Texas hits you and causes damage. You can receive compensation for the following using UM coverage: Medical bills Lost wages Property damage Check your insurance paperwork to see that you have UM coverage. You will end up making a claim with your insurer for compensation. Generally, you can receive compensation up to the maximum of your policy. Should You Consider a Lawsuit? Even if the driver who struck you doesn’t have insurance, you still can sue. If you win the case, the driver will need to use other assets to pay your judgment. Now, in some situations, this might not be practical. After all, a driver who cannot buy insurance probably doesn’t have a lot of cash sitting around in a bank account, so it may be difficult to have your judgment paid. You can also seize assets and sell them, but many assets will be exempt or the driver might not have any. Still, bringing a lawsuit is an option if you were hit by uninsured driver, and you should discuss it with an attorney. You might also want to sue if your losses exceed the maximum amount of your uninsured motorist policy. Will a Lawyer Help Me? Yes. At Milano Legal Group Accident Attorneys, we have represented many people who were struck by an uninsured motorist in Texas who need compensation to help pay their bills. If you have questions, contact our Houston car accident lawyers. We offer a free, confidential initial consultation to those who were injured.