Steps to Take Following a Motorcycle Accident
Here are critical steps to immediately take following a motorcycle accident:
- Get to safety. Help other accident victims if you can.
- Call 911 to get emergency medical help for your injuries.
- Report the accident to the nearest local police department or law enforcement office.
- Exchange relevant information with the other drivers involved. Get the driver's name, address, license number, phone number, insurance information, and insurance identification card.
- Gather and document necessary details, such as the police report, medical treatments, medical records, doctor's appointments, accident scene photos, and witness statements.
- Document your personal account of the accident and its impact on your daily life.
- Inform your insurance company about the accident.
- Hire a knowledgeable attorney to help negotiate a fair financial settlement with the insurer or file a personal injury lawsuit.
Texas Motorcycle Laws
Here are some laws affecting motorcyclists in the state of Texas.
Lane splitting is illegal in Texas. According to Texas Transportation Code Section 545.060(a), a motorist on a roadway divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic:
- Shall drive as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane, and
- May not move from the lane unless the movement is considered safe enough
Under Texas motorcycle helmet laws, motorcycle riders under 21 years are obligated to always wear a helmet. However, if you are able to prove any of the following requirements, you do not have to wear a helmet:
- You are 21 years or older.
- You have completed a state-approved Motorcycle Operator Training Course.
- You can provide proof of a minimum of $10,000 in medical insurance coverage that covers injuries from motorcycle accidents.
According to Texas Transportation Code Section 601.072, motorists in the state, including motorcyclists, must have minimum liability insurance of the following coverage limits:
- $30,000 for bodily injuries to one person per accident
- $60,000 for total bodily injuries to two or more people per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
Determining Fault in a Texas Motorcycle Accident
Texas is an "at-fault" auto insurance state. This means that the person who caused the accident (at-fault party) will pay for bodily injuries, property damages, and other accident-related losses suffered by accident victims. When involved in a Texas motorcycle accident, you can seek compensation by:
- Filing a claim with your own insurance provider
- Filing a third-party claim with the at-fault driver's insurance carrier
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault driver
Modified Comparative Fault
Texas follows the "modified comparative fault" rule, with a 51% bar. You will be barred from pursuing compensation if you were mostly (51% or more) at fault for your injuries or accident. However, the damages you may recover will be reduced by your fault degree.
For example, if the court awards $30,000 in total damages against the at-fault party, but finds you to be 10% liable for the motorcycle accident, your damages will be reduced by $3,000. You will only be able to recover 90% of $30,000 ($27,000).
Filing a Claim for an Incapacitated Loved One
If you're filing a claim on behalf of an incapacitated loved one, you will need to establish guardianship through a court hearing. Once you have been confirmed as the victim's legal guardian, you can file a personal injury action on the person's behalf to recover fair compensation for their injuries.
Filing a Claim for a Deceased Loved One
If a loved one dies due to a negligent motorcycle accident, the immediate family members of the deceased person (including the spouse, parent, or children) can file a wrongful death claim in Texas civil courts. The personal representatives of the decedent's estate can also bring a wrongful death action.