Misconceptions about motorcycle accident law and lawsuits lead to costly mistakes in accident litigation. Our law firm is concerned. You should not suffer misunderstanding and misrepresentation in addition to the stress of your accident.
The Biker Stereotype
The best image of motorcycle drivers is that they are fun-loving free spirits. However, a carefree and independent person can quickly become a distrusted law-breaker in the eyes of other motorists, insurance companies and law enforcement. If you are in a Texas motorcycle accident, find a lawyer who will represent you as a law-abiding citizen and protect your reputation. Our Law Firm’s client-centered attorneys fight bias and biker stereotyping in motorcycle accident litigation.
The Biker Takes the Blame
Another misconception about motorcycle accidents is that they are always caused by the motorcycle driver. Our Law Firm says that Texas motorcycle operators have the same rights on the roads as other drivers:
A right to be seen,
A right to a fair share of the road, and
A reasonable expectation that other drivers will properly yield the right of way in traffic.
Motorcycle operators are required by Texas law to register their vehicles and be licensed. All bikers are required to pass a basic rider training course as a prerequisite to licensing. In motorcycle crashes with passenger cars, all too often, the driver “just didn’t see” the biker. Don’t take the blame when the accident wasn’t your fault.
Law Enforcement is Always Right
The officers who investigate accidents try to be unbiased and thorough in their reports, but everyone makes mistakes, especially under the pressure of reconciling witness reports and trying to clear busy roadways. A serious accident in deserves complete investigation. Contact an accident law firm immediately for experienced help.
The Insurance Company Is On Your Side
While most insurers honor their policies, adjusters are not going to offer more than minimum compensation. If there is any reason to deny coverage, the insurance company will find it. Our Law Firm can negotiate a fair accident settlement, or defend you against unreasonable claims on your insurance.
Under Texas law, bikers over age 21 electing not to wear helmets, must be covered by an insurance policy providing at least $10,000 in medical benefits.
However, if a motorcycle operator is charged in a crash with injuries, then the owner or owner/operator is financially responsible for injuries and property damage to others. If the biker did not have liability coverage was in effect, then the law says that the biker must purchase liability insurance and keep it for three years to avoid license and tag/registration suspension. Our Law Firm urges all bikers to carry some liability insurance.
A Rider at Fault Does Not Deserve Compensation
We all like to assign blame. We feel more in control if we can determine a clear chain of cause and event in the case of an accident. But usually, there are many factors contributing to a motorcycle crash, from driver error to poor road conditions. Don’t assume that because you were charged in your motorcycle accident, you are not covered by your insurance or entitled to compensation for your injuries. Let a qualified Texas motorcycle accident attorney guide you through the claims process and, if necessary, prepare a lawsuit for damages.
You Don’t Stand a Chance in Court
Despite the prejudice against bikers, statistics are that about half of all motorcycle operators are middle-aged, ordinary people who ride for pleasure or for economic reasons. If you’ve been injured in an Texas motorcycle accident, you deserve the financial compensation to help you:
Pay your medical bills
Recover lost wages,
Repair your bike
Get back on the road
If you have to file a lawsuit to get justice, an effective motorcycle law attorney can win in court for you. Contact our Law Firm. Don’t risk the optimum outcome of your case by misunderstanding the law. Our motorcycle accident attorneys are prepared to deal with whatever disaster has come your way on the dangerous roads of Texas. You know the story of your accident; our lawyers know the law. Together, we can work for the best outcome of your case.
Call us for a free consultation.
Trouble on Two Wheels – Motorcycle Accidents
You know that Texas motorcycle accidents can lead to serious injuries for the cyclists. You know that motorcycle drivers and their passengers are more at risk for painful injuries such as road rash, knee damage, and broken bones than travelers surrounded by the metal shell of a car or truck. You know that at the same time, motorcycle accidents are often caused by the failure of motorists to recognize how close a motorcycle is, what the motorcycle driver intends to do, or even that the motorcycle is there at all. However, the motorcycle accident lawyers at our law firm understand the lure of the motorcycle — the freedom, maneuverability and fun it offers – is too alluring to resist.
Motorcycle Safety and Awareness
The Texas motorcycle accident lawyers at our Law Firm have experienced that there are few true “accidents” involving motorcycles. What we know is that most accidents, and the injuries that result from these accidents, might have been prevented by preparation and awareness.
Our motorcycle accident attorneys want to urge you to practice defensive driving, anticipating as best you can the actions and reactions of vehicles around you on the road. Maybe it isn’t fair, but on roads shared by cars, trucks and motorcycles, it is the motorcyclists who are most at risk and who bear the most responsibility for safety.
Anyone who operates a motorcycle in Texas must complete a basic motorcycle safety education course as a prerequisite for the required drivers’ license motorcycle endorsement or motorcycle only license. However, the best preparation for safe operation of a motorcycle doesn’t end with the BRC (basic rider course) or licensing. Motorcyclists concerned about safety can also complete experienced rider course suites offered under auspices of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (www.msf-usa.org).
You may prevent a crash or serious injury in an accident by additional preparation and by your actions on the road:
• Wear proper clothing, including the required eye protection and gloves, to protect your body and to make yourself more visible. A helmet isn’t necessarily required by Texas law, but consider wearing one anyway.
• Maintain your motorcycle.
As you drive:
• Position your bike in relation to other traffic so that you can see and be seen.
• Clearly communicate your intentions with your turn signals, brake lights, and lane position.
• Be alert so that you have time and space to react to other drivers who just don’t see you, or to poor road conditions and other hazards.
Avoid Motorcycle Injury Risks
If, despite your precautions and your proactive driving habits, you are in a motorcycle accident and suffer injuries that are painful, disabling, or even physically and psychologically devastating, our law firm will be here to offer advice, represent you in insurance settlement conferences, and even act as your counsel in litigation. We will help you get compensation. Call us right away. It’s important that you not only receive medical help, but that you obtain experienced legal counsel for injuries that may include:
• Road rash
• Fractures or dislocations of bones and joints
• Spinal damage
• Brain trauma
The motorcycle accident attorneys at pur Law Firm believe in client-first representation. We are prepared to deal with whatever disaster comes your way on the dangerous roads of Texas. We will zealously advocate on your behalf.
Tell our lawyers your story. Call us for a free consultation.
When someone suffers a concussion (mild traumatic brain injury) their incidence of future degenerative brain disease increases. When someone suffers multiple or repeat concussions, there is a strong link between the concussions and future degenerative disease.
We know this from recent studies, reports, and research. And, anyone who works with injury victims who have sustained concussions knowns this from experience. In fact, we have written extensively on the link between concussions and long-term impairment.
The research and our experience, however, does not answer the question of why: why do concussions or other traumatic brain injuries increase the risk of degenerative brain disease?
The full answer is that the brain is a complex organ that we are still trying to fully understand. The short answer is that we simply don’t know.
It was first theorized that the long-term damage cam from the initial trauma. For instance, when someone suffers a severe whiplash injury, or a trauma to the head, what is taking place inside the head is a sudden acceleration and/or deceleration of the brain. The brain is bouncing around and hitting first one side of the skull and then the other.
And despite the traumatic nature of this event, it does not explain the slow progression of the loss of function and cognition problems and eventual issues such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
However, we do have several competing theories that attempt to explain the phenomena; the link between concussions or traumatic brain injury and degenerative brain disease. Author and researcher John Medina has written extensively on this subject in his best selling book, “Brain Rules.”
The central theory that Dr. Medina puts forth involves chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Because of the use of MRI, FMRI and CT scans we know that CTE involves the tangling or knotting of a brain protein called tau. Tau is a normal protein in the brain that supplies nutrients to brain cells and is a normal component of neurons. However, when the neurons and pathways in the brain are interrupted, brain cells begin to die from a lack of nutrients. And this, the theory goes, leads to CTE and all of the cognitive impairment symptoms that come with it.
This is, of course, only one theory that explains CTE and the link between concussions or traumatic brain injury and degenerative brain disease. There are several additional competing theories. Thus, we need more research and studies in order to better and accurately understand exactly what is taking place in the brains of injury victims when they sustain a brain injury.
The better we are able to understand the link between a brain injury and future cognitive problems and brain diseases, the better we will be able to treat injury victims and possibly prevent future impairments from taking place.
As this column is being written, the tragic events in the Gulf Coast are still unfolding. As the debate rages as to who is, or, rather, whom are at fault for lack of preparedness, we motorcyclists can learn a lesson from this primordial chaos and stench of death and destruction.
As we pour our donations into the relief effort and ask those questions, those same questions should be asked about ourselves in relationship to motorcycling.
Motorcycling is risky business. And if you don’t know that, you’d better get out of it now while the getting is good.
So, how are you set up to handle that risk? Are you at the full state of preparedness which will keep you out of a death or serious injury situation or financial disaster because of known risks of motorcycling? Are you ready to confront that sudden emergency of that car turning left in front of you. Have you learned how to foresee that eventuality so that you can be prepared to react to it. Have you learned the scanning tricks or learned how to use Murphy’s law as it pertains to motorcycling – what can go wrong probably will go wrong. Have you learned how to position yourself in traffic so as to give yourself the best edge possible to stay out of harms way? Have you learned the correct way to do a quick swerve so that you can dodge a hazard with a minimum of time lapse? And, if you have learned the technique, have you practiced it enough to make it automatic? Have you learned how to make a quick stop on a curve so that you don’t go down if stopping is your only alternative? And have you practiced it? Why haven’t you taken a motorcycle safety course? Are you wearing the proper equipment? Are tennis shoes, shorts and a T-shirt really the way to go when you’re riding?
If the unthinkable happens and you cannot avoid that debilitating accident, have you provided a sufficient amount of medical and disability insurance to minimize the expenses to yourself and your family? Do you even know what kinds of insurance are out there to minimize the financial costs? Have you put a will into place? Or a comprehensive estate plan? Do you have a living will? What do you want to happen to you if you are in a vegetative state with no way out?
Anyone living on the edge, and motorcyclists certainly do, have an obligation to not only ask the questions, but to take the right steps to answer them positively so that you can say, I am ready . . . I am prepared.
Insurance Tip of the Month.
Lately it has come to my attention that agents of certain insurance companies that issue motorcycle insurance – Progressive, for one, comes to mind – have been telling prospective insurance applicants that medical payments coverage would only cover the driver-owner of the motorcycle and blood relatives on the bike and nobody else. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Under §3103(2) of the no-fault act, motorcycle insurance companies are required to offer medical payments coverage to the owner of a motorcycle in increments. Motorcyclists are not required to purchase these benefits.
Where Progressive and others have it wrong is that, while under §3103(2), the company can provide for deductibles and coordination of insurance, by the statute’s terms “These deductibles and provisions shall apply only to benefits payable to the person named in the policy, the spouse of the insured, and any relative of either domiciled in the same household.” The non-resident, non-blood relative, passenger is not subject to those deductibles and otherwise has medical payments coverage from the motorcycle insurer to the extent of the purchased coverage.
Hope that clears up the question.
Until next time, ride SAFE and FREE.
At one of the many motorcyclist seminars at which I have participated, one of the attendees remarked that she couldn’t get lost wages because her employer does not offer such insurance as a benefit.
That remark dovetailed into what I was prepared to talk about: The ethical responsibility of bikers and insurance.
The hard fact that I first told the woman who posed the question about the disability insurance question is that motorcycling involves risk, risk that we all should know about and appreciate. There is a well known axiom among experienced bikers; there are only two kinds of motorcyclists: Those who have gone down and those who will go down. And the chances of injury are enormously higher than if we were in a car.
A wise former Michigan Supreme Court justice, John Voelker, writing as Robert Traver, wrote several celebrated novels including Anatomy of a Murder, which was made into a famous movie starring James Stewart, Lee Remick, and Ben Gazzara in the 50’s. His books usually involved a hero who was a young attorney, a heroine who was beset by unjust laws, and an older lawyer, usually a drunk, who went on the wagon for purposes of helping the young guy with the case. At the end of the book, when the case is won, the bad guys have paid up, and the young lawyer and heroine fall in love, the old lawyer goes off the wagon. In the book the heroine complained to the young lawyer about how bad it was that the old guy went off the wagon again. The hero’s response was something like, “I don’t know but that everyone has a right to be a fool in their own way!”
Think about that for a second: Everyone has a right to be a fool in their own way! That is the credo of the libertarian, the credo of anyone who believes that they have the right to live their life as they wish. That is something that all freedom fighters from Jefferson and Franklin to Martin Luther King and everyone in between has pursued.
But that freedom comes at a price, i.e., with one major caveat: We have a right to live our lives as we wish as long as we don’t hurt or burden other people while doing it.
This concept is lost on many motorcyclists who decry the fact that they have to maintain insurance on the bikes, that they can have pipes as loud as they want, or can willy-nilly go out on the road wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and sandals.
The fact of the matter is that motorcyclists will always be the scapegoats for politicians who don’t like that freedom, especially if it costs the public money.
Freedom costs money. At least 40% of all motorcycle accidents are single vehicle accidents, whether it involves running wide on a freeway ramp and going down, hitting a deer, blowing a tire, going down from a front end wobble, or cycle-cycle accidents. You get the picture. With no-fault laws benefiting the bikers, such accidents do not implicate the no-fault law. If you do not have health insurance or disability insurance you are in for a very rough ride, and at the taxpayers’ expense. Politicians don’t like that. And if you are the freedom lover that you think you are, the independent soul that you think you are, you shouldn’t like it either.
And don’t think that you are infallible as a rider. While motor vehicle drivers are more often at fault in a car-cycle accident than the rider, every one of you I am sure can remember a time that you were not as attentive as you could have been. Maybe you were plain lucky that you didn’t cause an accident. And maybe you did cause one. Bikers can cause injuries from their own negligence just like car drivers. And they should share in the responsibility of protecting those who they injure by carrying sufficient insurance to cover their own behind and misdeeds.
As I told the lady who asked the question at the beginning of the session, it costs money to be free and to stay free. If you can’t afford not only the motorcycle, but the cost of a decent health insurance policy, the cost of a decent disability policy, the cost of decent liability coverage and property damage, along with the cost of the motorcycle, you should not be out on the street riding a motorcycle. It is a hard statement. But it is a fact. And true libertarians, true lovers of freedom, should be prepared for that fact and quit bemoaning the truly minimal costs of same. Freedom does not involve a free ride.