Articles Tagged with Helmets and motorcycles

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pexels-alexas-fotos-2156246-300x196When a plaintiff brings a Texas personal injury case following a motorcycle accident, various types of evidence are often discussed during the case. Plaintiffs will face all kinds of questions designed to reduce a defendant’s liability. Was either of the parties under the influence of any kind of substance? Did the weather cause slippery or dangerous conditions? Was the victim taking all the necessary safety precautions and wearing a helmet?

In a landmark Texas Supreme Court opinion, the court overturned 40 years of precedent and reversed rules that previously precluded evidence involving a plaintiff’s failure to wear a seat belt. Previously, the court had held that such evidence was inadmissible because it would reduce a claimant’s ability to recover for the injuries they sustained in an accident based on actions that did not contribute to the accident. However, in a change of heart, the court decided that evidence of use or non-use of seat belts would now be admissible for the purpose of apportioning liability in such claims.

Upon further analysis, the Texas Supreme Court’s opinion does not simply or only extend to seat belts. It held that relevant evidence of use or non-use of seat belts, and relevant evidence of the claimant’s pre-occurrence, injury-causing conduct is admissible. Because of the broad nature of pre-occurrence, injury-causing conduct, attorneys may now have the opportunity to submit evidence that motorcycle accident victims suing for damages in civil lawsuits were not taking full safety precautions by choosing not to wear a helmet.

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close-up-photo-of-a-black-and-silver-cruiser-motorcycle-s-1796053-scaledRecently, a national news source reported that Allen West, a former Florida state representative who is currently running for chair of the Texas Republican Party, suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident. Mr. West was traveling behind another motorcyclist who suddenly braked after a car changed lanes in front of him. The sudden braking resulted in a chain-reaction, causing Mr. West to slam into the bike in front of him. Emergency responders airlifted him to a hospital where he received treatment for a concussion, bone fractures, and several lacerations. This incident exemplifies the serious threat Texas motorcyclists face every day they get on a bike. Individuals who suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident because of another’s negligence or recklessness may be entitled to recover damages from the at-fault party through a personal injury lawsuit.

When it comes to Texas motorcycle accidents, there are three leading causes: failure to abide by traffic laws, driver error, and dangerous road conditions. Motorcycle accidents are more likely to occur when a motorist is disobeying traffic laws, such as speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, using a cell phone or other device while driving, failing to yield, and tailgating. Additionally, accidents often occur when a driver commits an error, such as quickly changing lanes, aggressive driving, following too closely, and distracted driving. Lastly, road conditions also affect the likelihood of an accident. Driving during inclement weather such as dense fog or heavy rain, road obstructions, sharp curves, and poorly maintained roads also lead to a higher chance of an accident.

Of course, all Texas motorists should abide by traffic laws. That said, motorcyclists should take extra care when operating the bikes because they are more likely to suffer serious injuries or death in the event of an accident. While motorcyclists who are over 21-years-old do not need to wear a helmet if they complete a safety course or purchased health insurance that covers motorcycle accidents, wearing a helmet is still a good idea because it has been shown to significantly reduce the likelihood of serious injuries. Notably, Texas law forbids motorcyclists from lane splitting, which is when a biker drives in between lanes to pass traffic.

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