While motorcycles may provide a sense of freedom and attachment to nature for the riders and passengers, they don’t come without inherent risks. In fact, according to statistics provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2012 alone 4,667 motorcyclists lost their lives throughout the country, with many more sustaining serous injuries.
Reflecting the actions one may take after a car accident, the injured parties of a motorcycle accident may choose to file a car accident claim or civil lawsuit in order to recover compensation to cover the costs of the damages they sustained in the crash. There are, however, additional factors that must be considered in a motorcycle accident claim when ultimately determining who was responsible for the wreck, and who should be held liable for damages.
Helmet Laws for Motorcycle Riders
Motorcyclists are frequently advised to wear helmets and other types of safety gear while on the road. In fact, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that in 2010 helmets saved the lives of over 1,500 riders, and that helmet laws enacted in states can help raise that number.
Texas has thus far enacted and amended its helmet law, which currently requires that all riders under the age of 21 wear a helmet when riding. This will not necessarily affect riders over this age; if a motorcyclist under 20 is injured in a crash while not wearing a helmet, however, he or she may be apportioned liability for the crash due to the lack of protective headgear.
Many states across the country have developed a lane-splitting law, a piece of legislation that allows motorcyclists to ride in a lane already occupied by another bike or car. The idea behind these laws is based on the motorcycle’s size and agility: riders can proceed more quickly through traffic and avoid being caught in jams, and avoid being stuck in inclement weather.
Texas, however, has no enacted lane-splitting law, and even has a statute asserting that vehicle operators must “drive as nearly as practical within a single lane.” That being said, a motorcyclist’s choice to lane-split may not always be deemed the cause of an accident. Instead, the apportionment of liability will ultimately depend on other specifics of the case.
Behavior of the Motorcyclist and Other Motorists
Unfortunately, motorcyclists have garnered a bad name over the years, and are often seen as aggressive and often antagonistic to other drivers. Some unscrupulous drivers who are involved in a motorcycle accident may attempt to take advantage of this negative reputation, quickly contending that the motorcyclist was solely responsible for the accident.
It is up to the motorcyclist’s representation, then, to gather all evidence and information necessary in order to shield him or herself of liability in a claim or civil lawsuit. This may be done with the use of accident reports, witness testimony, photos and videos, and other pieces of valuable evidence. An attorney can guide you through this complex process to better prepare you for your civil suit.
At Tate Law Offices, P.C., our motorcycle accident lawyers understand the challenges an individual injured in a motorcycle accident will face, which is why we are prepared to work zealously on your behalf. Call us today at 888-565-7068 for a free initial consultation.