The “outlaw rider” stereotype has become extremely dated because people from all walks of life now use motorcycles for recreation, transportation, and fuel economy. Whether you are a blue-collar worker commuting to work, a businessman exploring the backroads of Texas, or a celebrity on a weekend road trip, the experience of riding a motorcycle can be exhilarating. Unfortunately, biases still exist that place motorcyclists at an increased risk of injury compared to occupants of passenger cars. This heightened risk of catastrophic injury or wrongful death is compounded by the lack of stability and safety features available to riders. Motorcycles lack seat belts, air bags, a reinforced passenger compartment, and the stability of a four-wheeled vehicle. These safety disadvantages mean that motorcyclists are more likely to be involved in an accident and face the prospect of more severe injuries.
These unique aspects of motorcycle accidents and riding injuries constitute one reason motorcycle crash victims need an experienced Fort Worth motorcycle accident attorney. Many people still harbor negative feelings toward motorcycle enthusiasts, which can skew their perception of the circumstances involving a crash. For example, studies have shown that many people significantly overestimate the speed a motorcycle is traveling. The police report in motorcycle accident cases also tends to be biased against a motorcycle rider. Because riders more frequently need to be rushed to the emergency room, the officer investigating the accident often prepares a report that relies heavily on the account of the occupants of the passenger car with no input from the motorcyclist.
Additionally, motorcyclists are more likely to be overlooked on the road than other motorists. Some people forget to watch out for motorcycles, as it is most common to encounter cars or trucks on the roadways instead of motorcycles. In fact, “Watch out for motorcycles” is commonly displayed as a bumper sticker on cars owned by motorcyclists. In a perfect world, motorists would be more cognizant of motorcycles utilizing the roadways, making roadways a lot safer for motorcyclists. However, the reality is that they don’t—which is where we come in.
Fort Worth Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
A motorcycle can provide a delightful ride, but it is essential to remember that riders are highly exposed in the event of an accident.
Often there is little or no protection available if you get involved in an accident with another vehicle. It is vital to take all measures possible for your safety and that of other drivers around you. This includes: 1) wearing a helmet; 2) operating within the speed limit; 3) wearing gloves; 4) checking the weather before riding; 5) and any other safety precautions that shall be applied.
But when you take precautions and find yourself involved in an accident, it’s necessary to work with an experienced Fort Worth motorcycle accident lawyer. Fulgham Hampton Law Group motorcycle accident lawyers will work with you to get the settlement you deserve for your injuries and damages.
Let us examine three questions you must answer to ensure a complete recovery from your motorcycle accident injuries.
First Question – Who Hit You? Did They Have Adequate Insurance Coverage?
For this discussion, we are going to assume that the person who hit you was at-fault. There is no question that the driver that caused your motorcycle accident claim was responsible, so we now need to know if they had bodily injury liability insurance coverage. In Texas, you must have at least $30,000 in liability coverage for each injured person, up to $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per accident. This basic coverage is called 30/60/25. These coverage amounts include recovery for all damages associated with lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. As you can see, receiving injuries in a motorcycle accident usually are more severe than in a fender bender in a car or truck, and the damages sustained can easily exceed $30K.
What if a high net worth individual with an umbrella policy, a corporate or commercial vehicle, an 18-wheeler, or an Uber or Lyft driver hit you? From a liability insurance perspective, this is the best-case scenario for a motorcycle accident claim in Texas. Why? Because these drivers have higher insurance policies that will protect you for a greater amount of recovery.
An umbrella policy is additional insurance that protects beyond existing limits and coverages of other policies. It can also cover specific injuries, property damage, certain lawsuits, and personal liability situations.
For example – many umbrella policies will provide a $500k – 1-million-dollar coverage policy. Umbrella policies protect high-net-worth individuals from a subsequent lawsuit that could reach their personal assets to pay for damages caused by their negligence in an accident. The same holds with a commercial driver. Most commercial or corporate insurance policies provide a higher policy limit.
What if a truck driver collided with your motorcycle? Truck drivers in Texas must adhere to the minimum liability insurance requirements established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Commercial liability insurance covers the costs of financial damages sustained by the truck accident victim. This insurance coverage will help cover your medical bills, repairs to your motorcycle, compensation for your pain and suffering, and future medical bills. The primary reason the law requires truck drivers to have this insurance coverage is to protect victims that have sustained serious injuries from the negligent actions of truck drivers.
The minimum insurance for truck drivers depends on the vehicle’s weight and the type of load being hauled. For example, trucks that weigh over 10,001 pounds that carry non-hazardous materials must have $750,000 of liability insurance. Trucks of the same weight that carry hazardous or explosive materials, on the other hand, must obtain $5,000,000 in liability coverage.
WHAT IF A LARGE PASSENGER VEHICLE COLLIDES WITH A MOTORCYCLE?
How are you compensated if a bus collides with a motorcycle driver, causing serious injuries and damages? There are special requirements for large passenger vehicles. If the bus is an interstate passenger carrier that transports 16 or more people, there is a minimum insurance liability coverage of $5,000,000.
If the bus carries 15 or fewer passengers, the requirement is $1,500,000. There is an exception for small vehicles that carry less than seven people, like taxis and passenger vans. These vehicles are exempt from the limits listed above if the exception applies.
What if a commercial vehicle is involved in a collision with a motorcycle and that commercial vehicle only travels in Texas? Here, the insurance requirements are much lower by Texas law. Trucks that carry household goods only need $300,000 in commercial vehicle liability coverage. Trucks that carry general freight only within Texas need $500,000 in coverage. Other trucks must maintain FMCSA requirements.
The reason is that trucks operating solely in Texas are only subject to Texas laws, while Federal Laws regulate trucks that travel from state to state. The reason for this is that state laws may sometimes differ from Federal law; If Federal law, however, conflicts with state law, the Federal Law will apply. If the federal and state law is not in conflict, state law will apply. State laws can provide greater restrictions than federal laws, but state laws on the same subject matter cannot loosen a federal restriction.
OTHER TYPES OF TRUCKING INSURANCE
Most 18 wheelers have at least $750K in coverage, and Uber and Lyft drivers (provided the driver accepted the ride request) typically have a $1 million coverage policy.
What If The Driver Who Hit You Didn’t Have Enough Insurance Coverage?
Are you out of luck? Not necessarily! You must then look to your policy to see if you can recover under uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage pays you for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical care that the at-fault driver’s insurance company did NOT cover due to your motorcycle accident.
What if you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage on your motorcycle? You should now check your other vehicle insurance to see if you have uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is “stackable” in Texas. Stacking uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage may permit a person to add together either insurance coverage from several auto policies or insurance coverage from family members. This coverage will allow you to provide recovery for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Also, if you did not own the motorcycle you were driving at the time of the accident, uninsured motorist coverage will pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Not sure if you have uninsured motorist coverage on your motorcycle or auto insurance policy? Look at your declarations page on your insurance policy. This should be easily found online or on your insurance app.
Additionally, if the driver that hit your motorcycle doesn’t have sufficient insurance coverage, you should also look to make sure that there may not be coverage elsewhere. In other words, was the person driving the vehicle doing it for the economic benefit or with authorization from a business or entity? Sometimes, your personal injury lawyer may be able to find coverage from another source to help you recover from your motorcycle accident.
Second Question – Did You Have Minor Injuries? Did You Seek Immediate Medical Attention?
As a general rule for all personal injury cases, the extent of the injuries determines the extent of the recovery. This applies just as much to motorcycle cases as to car accident cases. Here is one big difference: how some people view motorcycle riders. If you were riding on a motorcycle and you were not badly injured, you can sometimes run into prospective jurors during a jury trial who are biased against motorcyclists. In other words, they just don’t have much sympathy for people that get injured while riding a motorcycle. If you run into this situation, a juror that is biased against you as a motorcyclist might not agree to a large payout on a jury verdict. Unfortunately, some people view people who ride motorcycles as reckless and worthy of whatever injuries they receive because they assumed the risk when they got on the bike. However, under Texas injury law, that is not the case.
Vehicle drivers are regularly prejudiced against motorcyclists for reasons beyond the actual truth. Motorcyclists ride for reasons ranging from improved fuel economy to leisure. No method of transportation should be seen as reckless when obeying the precautions in place to ensure a driver’s safety.
How Can You Tell If Your Motorcycle Injuries Were Major Or Minor?
When we say minor injuries, we talk about neck pain, back pain, elbow pain, or other bruising or light scrapes resulting from the accident. Suppose you suffered a broken bone, major road rash, or other injuries that required surgery or more extensive medical treatment. In that case, there is little doubt that you suffered an injury worthy of a more substantial settlement amount. For example, death, permanent disfigurement, or a substantial loss of use of your body (crippled, blind, etc.) would be cases that you would expect a full value recovery for a motorcycle accident case.
Third Question – Can You Prove Fault?
What if you suffered severe injuries due to a motorcycle accident in which you were the only person involved? Single vehicle accidents pose a serious problem for recovery. To get money for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, the cause of the accident must be someone other than yourself. Note that, someone other than yourself does not always mean another driver. It could be a government entity, such as a city, for allowing a pothole to degrade to the point of causing injury to the public. It could be a power company that negligently installed a powerline.
How do we determine who is at fault? One source we look to is the police department’s crash report to outline the cause and determination of the accident. However, be careful not to rely solely upon this piece of evidence. It is critical that you have an experienced and aggressive personal injury attorney examine the totality of the facts to determine if you can prove that another party was at fault.
Hopefully, if someone else was involved in the accident, a police officer should have written them a ticket, citation, or arrested them if they attempted to leave the accident scene. This will provide a strong presumption that they were negligent and the cause of the accident. Additionally, take photos at the accident scene and record all relevant details that could help determine who is at fault. Relevant details include intersection description, coordinates, direction at which the drivers were traveling, and photos of the scene and the outcome of the accident.
What Are The Risks Of Motorcycle Riding?
Motorcycles are inherently less safe than other vehicles. They have no exterior shell, the engine is exposed, and they have no bumpers to take the impact in an accident.
Furthermore, cars and trucks can’t see motorcycles particularly well, with roughly half of all Fort Worth motorcycle accidents caused by a driver turning left in front of a motorcyclist. Generally, drivers subconsciously expect to encounter cars and trucks on highways and byways, and often, it is too late by the time they notice a motorcycle.
Fort Worth personal injury lawyers have seen that Fort Worth drivers are often distracted by cell phones and other activities when they drive. Here are some of the most common risks of motorcycle riding.
Riding Makes Motorcyclists Vulnerable To Accidents
Over half of motorcycle accidents are caused by other vehicles turning into the path of a motorcyclist.
Motorcycle riders aren’t able to protect themselves like other drivers. Their bikes offer no protection in an accident, and they are often ejected or crushed by the impact of another vehicle.
Drivers Can’t See Motorcycles Like They Can Cars
Motorcycles are small, and much of the time, drivers will not see them until it’s too late.
Drivers aren’t looking for motorcycles, and that often leads to accidents. Even if you have a loud engine and expect other drivers to hear your vehicle, that might not be the case.
The fact is that even if drivers hear and see your motorcycle, they may still turn into your path of travel.
Motorcycles Are Less Stable Than Cars
Motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters are lighter than cars. They can be challenging to control in adverse weather conditions, such as rain or ice.
Add in rough road conditions, and it’s easy to understand why drivers may have trouble avoiding motorcycles.
Motorcyclists Are Less Visible
Drivers don’t see motorcycles as often as they do other vehicles.
These vehicles are much smaller, and drivers find it difficult to spot them, especially while looking out the side window. A good portion of drivers simply cannot see motorcyclists from many angles in their vehicles.
Motorcycles also don’t have bumpers or exterior shells like cars, so if you collide with another vehicle, there’s a greater chance of serious injury.
Motorcycle brakes are less effective than cars. This is due to the way they are constructed. During emergency braking, the main task always rests with the wheel in the front. The contact area of a motorcycle tire with the road is much smaller than that of a car tire. Even considering the difference in the weight of both vehicles, the balance is not favorable for the two-wheeler.
Even if you follow all the rules and ride safely, it may not be enough to protect you from a fellow driver.
How To Reduce Motorcyclist Risks
There are several ways to reduce the risks of riding a motorcycle. The best way is to follow the rules of safe riding and those for being a good, defensive driver.
A motorcycle is a symbolic alternative to any other motor vehicle; however, a motorcycle is not meant for everyone. The truth is that an individual who overestimates their abilities, skills, or safety level will sooner or later pay a high price for it. Generally, a motorcycle does not forgive mistakes, whether rookie or accidental. Of course, it’s not only motorcycles that are dangerous, but motorcyclists themselves. Every vehicle, even a bicycle or a scooter, can become dangerous in the hands of an irresponsible person. Nevertheless, a good motorcyclist should be aware of the specific characteristics of a motorbike and always take them into account.
Additionally, a motorcycle is very susceptible to skidding, especially on dirty, wet surfaces. Motorcycles are also very sensitive to any unevenness of surfaces. Therefore, it is vital for motorcyclists to check the weather before riding their bikes.
A responsible motorcyclist does not disregard the laws, and always approaches other road users with great distrust. They always assume in advance what any inexperienced driver may do. They also try to think for others. They prefer to brake early and unnecessarily instead of being caught in an inescapable situation.
When riding, you can protect yourself by taking motorcycle safety classes and wearing appropriate clothing, including proper boots and gloves.
It’s also essential to wear the fitting helmet and have a biker’s engrained knowledge of road rules and regulations.
Another vital thing to do is keep your motorcycle in good working order. If you have any concerns about the safety of your bike, take it to a professional service center for an inspection.
And even if you’re an experienced rider, take refresher courses to keep your skills sharp. It’s also essential to learn how to control your motorcycle in emergencies.
These Questions Help Determine Whether You Should Ride A Motorcycle
Riders should be aware of the risks involved in motorcycle riding and decide whether they feel comfortable on a bike.
For those who choose to ride, it’s essential to take as many precautions as possible and do everything to reduce those risks.
These questions can help determine whether your personality and experience make you well suited for riding a motorcycle.
Are You A Risk-Averse Driver?
A risk-averse motorcyclist is someone who takes steps to eliminate danger whenever possible. This person keeps a safe speed, looks for ways to avoid hazardous situations, and always obeys the road rules. A risk-averse driver will avoid the possibility of paying a parking fine, unlike a risk-neutral driver.
Ultimately, if you’re a risk-averse driver, there’s a good chance that you would also be careful on a bike.
Have You Been In Many Automobile Accidents?
You don’t have to be a motorcyclist to have had a car accident. But if you have been in several accidents, either as a driver or passenger, there’s a good chance you will be at a higher risk for accidents on a motorcycle. Reckless driving, speeding, and drunk driving are all bad habits that make motorcyclists prone to accidents. Any sign of these things on your driving or criminal record would make it more of a hassle to prove that you were not at fault if an accident were to occur. A poor driving or criminal record will work against you because the other driver will likely assert those things in their defense, which is highly likely to sway the trier of fact (judge or jury).
Do You Often Have Near Misses?
Having near misses often as a driver of a car or SUV could indicate that you’re a rider who takes unnecessary risks.
It’s essential to know your limits as a biker and not put yourself in danger. Since motorcyclists are already operating at a higher risk, extra precautions should be taken.
How Distracted Are You When Driving?
Someone who is easily distracted behind the wheel of a car or SUV might be in danger while riding a motorcycle. Riding a motorcycle requires 100% of your attention, and motorcyclists should be prepared to decrease the number of things they’re doing while on a bike. There is no time to check your phone at any point while operating a motorcycle. It is not safe to talk, text, or even use a GPS. Riding in a car offers a hands-free option for phone use; however, when using a motorcycle, there is no such thing. Communicate all necessary correspondence before your trip. As far as GPS goes, it may not be wise to travel unfamiliar routes on a motorcycle. You can’t use your hands-free device for directions. You’d have to pull over, check your phone, and try to remember each exit or turn. This sounds like quite a challenge. To avoid that challenge, just ride your motorcycle on a route you are so familiar with that you could get there with your eyes closed (not literally, though).
It is much easier to become distracted on a motorcycle than to become distracted in a car.
If you don’t think this is something you can do, or if you have difficulty focusing when a lot is going on around you, you might have a hard time riding a motorcycle.
Motorcycle Risk Management
You can improve several skills to prepare better to ride a motorcycle. Although you cannot eliminate all risks, you can learn to manage them. Here are some tips that will help.
Do Your Research, Make A Commitment, Then Set A Goal
Whenever you have committed to doing something in your life, you probably do some research to ensure this is what you want to do; you set a goal to achieve it, and then you execute. Aspiring motorcyclists will need to apply that same thought process to becoming a motorcycle rider. If not, you likely become susceptible to more mishaps and accidents. Research is key because operating a motorcycle is even more dangerous without the proper knowledge. It is not an activity where you can use trial and error in the learning process. Take a class. Make sure that attending the class regularly is realistic and achievable. Most classes use a standardized curriculum developed by the motorcycle safety foundation (MSF).
Buy Proper Gear
In many states, it is unlawful to operate a motorcycle without a helmet. Some states even create laws that require helmets to meet specific requirements. Helmets are some of the most critical equipment a rider can invest in. The human head and brain are very fragile and require tremendous protection.
Riders should dedicate time to researching the product before making a purchase. It is essential to purchase a product that follows federal, state, and city regulations. It is important to understand that a motorcycle passenger also needs to wear a helmet for protection.
Many motorcycles are designed without windshields; therefore, motorcyclists must consider investing in protective eye gear. Good eye protection will protect against small rocks, dirt, insects, or other airborne debris. Wearing protective eye gear can also help combat winds of any speed. Purchasing good quality material is essential to the rider’s safety. A good shield can be part of a helmet or purchased separately.
Protective clothing material can also help safeguard motorcyclists. With the proper attire, the rider can shield their body from airborne debris and scrapes, burns, and blisters if they fall from a moving motorbike. The clothing material should be durable and resistant. Fabrics such as leather or even a special synthetic material are ideal clothing materials for riding a motorcycle. Motorcycle wear should be made of durable and resistant fabric, and the clothing should also be fitted with long sleeves and pants when riding. Loose-fitting clothing is not ideal as it can become entangled in motorcycle parts.
Gloves should include non-slip material on the fingers to have a good grip on the motorcycle’s controls. Leather gloves are highly recommended. Boots are considered optimal footwear for riding motorcycles. Motorcyclists should avoid sneakers, sandals, and other similar footwear that is thin and offer little to no protection.
Develop Riding Skill And Maneuverability
One way to do this is by improving your riding skill and maneuverability. The more you know about how a motorcycle handles on the road, the better you’ll be at avoiding obstacles and dangers.
In addition, being a good rider means being able to control your bike in an emergency.
An essential and life-saving skill on a motorcycle is learning how to effectively and adequately bring your bike to a dead stop regardless of your rate of speed. While improper cornering and excessive speed are the most common causes of motorcycle crashes, it’s also true that improper braking technique is a quick way to find yourself taking a tumble.
Motorcycling requires good technique and consistent practice. It can still be dangerous even with practice, but the goal is to minimize the odds that the rider is the cause of those problems. Practice makes you better. The only way to become a better rider is to get out and ride. If you don’t have time for long rides, schedule short trips to safe locations that will allow you to cultivate your riding skills. Ideal locations may be your local dealership or other nearby locations to start experiencing how it feels to ride your motorcycle in different traffic and riding conditions. Set a short-term goal of riding 1,000 miles before a specific date.
If you have time for long rides, make sure to prepare in advance. This means preparing you and your bike for your first long-distance, overnight ride. You’ll likely need more luggage and riding gear than you’ve used on your short hops around town. Visit your local dealership to see what accessories are available for touring on your motorcycle (luggage rack, saddlebags, windshield). Rain gear is also necessary. No matter how much you check the weather, nature tends to be unpredictable. Considering that weather is not always predictable, it is better to stay ready so that you don’t have to get ready. For overnight rides, night-riding glasses would be appropriate. While preparation is critical for long rides, don’t overdo the preparations.
Knowing how and when to operate your brakes are vital skills for safely operating a motorcycle. A good practice drill will allow you to bring the motorcycle to a dead stop from 25 miles per hour using both brakes. To apply brakes safely and effectively, good posture is required.
Before applying brakes, you want to ensure that you have good posture with a relaxed upper body. For best posture, start by squeezing your legs tight against the tank. This action has two purposes. The first is to connect you to the bike and relax your upper body, mainly your arms and hands. This allows a smoother transition onto the motorcycle. Keep your head and eyes forward and locked on what is presented in front of you. Though the motorcycle might lurch forward as you apply the brakes, you want to stay alert by keeping your head up and eyes open. This will provide you with balance and stability.
To stop abruptly after riding at high speed, apply your front brake smoothly with gradually increasing force. The front suspension compresses due to forward motion and friction from the brakes when done correctly. This action forces the tire’s contact patch to increase into the pavement.
Finally, don’t forget about the rear brake. As you focus on applying increasing pressure on the front brake lever, pressing on the rear brake pedal during the initial portion of the stop is equally important. As the weight from the front brake shifts forward, the load on the motorcycle’s rear lightens. For this reason, you’ll need to decrease the pressure on the rear brake. This is so you do not induce a skid, or worse, lose control of the motorcycle.
The goal is to come to a smooth stop. Every movement made on the motorcycle should be smooth. If the motorcyclist smoothly operates the motorcycle, meaning that there are no abrupt or sudden movements or application of pressure, the motorcycle will also operate smoothly.
Learn How To Handle Road Traction
Road traction is the total grip available at the tire/road interface. Any rider needs to understand how traction works, and it can be beneficial for new riders.
Traction is a function of many variables, including tire type and size, weather conditions, road surface features, etc. As you gain experience as a motorcyclist, you start understanding road traction and how it impacts your riding.
Traction technology in motorcycles isn’t as developed as traction technology in cars. Generally, the traction control system prevents the motorcycle from drifting. This happens by controlling the power delivered to the back wheel. In simpler terms, it controls the rotational speed of the back wheel. This causes a significant reduction of potential drifting.
There are two categories of traction control in motorcycles. The first category is reactive, while the second category is predictive. The name of the categories suggests how they operate. In the reactive type of motorcycle traction control, many system components wait until the spinning of the wheel occurs and then make corrections.
In the predictive type of motorcycle traction control, various sensors read the data in real-time and make changes before the wheel spins. The system continuously judges the probability of traction loss. It also acts fast to avoid drifting the motorcycle.
Reactive and predictive traction each rely on various complex sensors and functions. These sensors can collect and process the necessary information within seconds. This, however, does not allow the wheel to simply lose traction. The sensors involved include a bank angle sensor, gyroscope, throttle position sensor, gear position sensor, and vehicle speed sensor.
Different manufacturers use different sensors and functions to achieve smooth traction control. Some of these systems are so efficient that the rider won’t notice anything while the traction control works in the background. Because of these functions, the rider will not lose control even during off-road corners.
Being familiar with your motorcycle’s traction technology allows you to control the ride better, no matter which riding mode you are in. Riding modes include rain (maximum grip), sports (a few drifts with some amounts of slippage), and street (smooth cruising with controllable speeds). Some manufacturers are developing a new riding mode called “off-road mode.” You will get a slightly more slip with greater but controlled drift in this mode. You might have more fun riding in off-road conditions than ever before.
Give Yourself Enough Time And Space To Respond To Risky Situations
Motorcyclists should give themselves plenty of room when driving to avoid getting caught in a dangerous situation. This means taking corners slowly and making sure you can see around them.
You also need to know where you are going and how to get there safely. Many novice riders tend to follow other bikers since it’s more comfortable, but this can be dangerous since you might not know what you’re doing. In addition to doing research and practicing, finding an experienced mentor will also serve as a practical guide for an aspiring motorcyclist. As a beginner, you should find a rider who has more miles on their tires than you do to serve as a mentor.
This person should be able to offer advice and help you to avoid life-threatening mistakes. It is not always necessary to have a mentor; however, it is nice to have someone to refer to when you need guidance or just want to go for a ride. Skills you might practice together with a mentor or riding buddy include taking your first ride on the expressway, riding in the rain, pulling into a parking lot and parking the bike, and backing your motorcycle effectively. Most importantly, make sure your mentor possesses compassion and patience. Without those two characteristics, the person is not a mentor.
Which Strategies Prepare You For Motorcycle Riding?
Riding a motorcycle is fun and exhilarating, but it also comes with risks that bikers need to be aware of. That’s why these strategies will help you prepare for safe motorcycle riding.
Improve Your Land Positioning And Presentation For High Visibility
Riding a motorcycle can be dangerous because you’re not as visible as in a car. That’s why it’s essential to improve your lane positioning and presentation.
You need to be seen by other drivers so they know you’re there. Being in a particular lane position will make you more visible in various traffic environments.
There are many things you can do to make yourself more visible. Some things are as simple as making sure your headlights are on, not riding behind large vehicles, keeping your distance from other vehicles, and using your horn and signal could make a massive difference in your visibility as a motorcyclist.
If your headlight does not automatically turn on when you start your bike, turn it on every time you ride – even during the day. Having your headlight on adds a heightened level of visibility for other motorists.
Be aware of where you are in relation to other vehicles. Riding behind a tractor-trailer or in a car’s blind spot will make it extremely difficult for others to see you. Try to stay out in the open as much as you can.
While it is good practice for any driver, you can keep yourself safe by staying a few car lengths behind the vehicle in front of you. Keeping a safe distance will give you time to react if something happens in front of you. Don’t be afraid to honk your horn if you are worried that another vehicle doesn’t see you. A simple honk will signal your presence to that driver and others.
Another important habit to adopt is using your signals. I know most drivers have a tough time doing this. However, it is a lifesaving habit when riding a motorcycle. The easiest way to ensure that your intentions are known is to make them known. Use your blinker and a hand signal if you can each time you plan to turn or change lanes. Once you have maneuvered to the prospective lane, remember to turn the blinker off to eliminate confusion.
Know What You Can And Cannot Do
In addition, it’s essential to know your limits as a motorcyclist. You don’t have airbags or an enclosed vehicle, so you can easily take a spill from falling off your bike.
Being aware that you might not be able to avoid specific road hazards will help you stay safe while on the open road.
Road hazards are a common cause of motorcycle accidents. Things that have little to no effect on a car, like debris, uneven road surfaces, small objects, or wet pavement, can cause a motorcycle to crash. Motorcyclists should understand what constitutes a hazard, be alert for such dangers, and take precautions to avoid them.
Rough and bumpy roads, either from wear and tear, construction work, or resurfacing efforts, are more likely to cause motorcycle accidents. Gravel is one of the more challenging hazards for motorcyclists to navigate. It is particularly troublesome if encountered during cornering.
Unfortunately, gravel on pavement tends to be more common on winding roads –which are popular with bikers and which require lots of cornering. Accidents caused by gravel go hand in hand with motorcyclists who are going too fast and likely those who do not have the requisite skills to ride a bike in such conditions.
Edge brakes also pose risks for motorcyclists. An edge break is when two traffic lanes are at different heights. This is not a big deal if you are driving a car, but it can be problematic for unsuspecting motorcyclists, especially when traveling on the freeway at high speeds.
Uneven surfaces can also cause motorcyclists to crash in rainy weather. Expansion joints connect two sections of a road or a section of a road to a bridge. They allow the road to expand or contract without cracking. The uneven surface can cause motorcycle riders to crash, especially when they become slick in wet weather.
Open bridge joints are things to watch out for as well. Open bridge joints hold sections of a bridge together. Sometimes they are very wide, making it difficult for motorcycle riders to navigate.
Animals darting out in the street always wreak havoc on drivers. Hitting a small animal can throw a motorcycle off course or off balance. Consequently, live animals that run into the road are difficult to anticipate. Swerving to avoid them can also cause an accident. Large animals, like deer, can be a major hazard in areas with large deer populations. Hitting a deer can be fatal for all drivers, especially motorcyclists.
The surface you ride on can also make for a risky ride. Some surfaces are more dangerous when slippery. The list of objects and surfaces that can become slippery is long. Slippery surfaces are much more dangerous for motorcycles than for cars.
The unstable nature of a two-wheeled bike and the smaller, lighter size means that sliding on the road can easily result in a crash. Slick surfaces are even more dangerous when the biker is turning. The following debris and road surfaces can be very slippery, especially when wet:
- crosswalk lines
- trolley tracks
- other painted surfaces
- anti-freeze or oil
Bikers must also be cautious of rain after a dry spell. Rain on a dry road is difficult to drive on, even for cars. The mud and oil on the road combine with the water to form a slippery later. The first half-hour of a rainstorm is the most dangerous time to ride on the road.
Standing water is likely to cause hydroplaning if a motorcyclist drives through it. Snow and ice will have the same effect. It is natural for drivers to be cautious in these conditions because if you have owned a car long enough, it is second nature to be careful in such conditions. Apply those same instincts on your motorcycle.
Motorcycle tires can get caught in a railway track, causing a crash. Some railway crossing areas have metal or wood between the tracks, which become extremely slick when wet. Motorcyclists should proceed with caution when encountering railroads.
Maintain Your Motorcycle Properly
Maintaining your motorcycle will ensure that you’re not putting yourself in danger. Riding on a bike with faulty equipment can lead to severe injuries or death. In most cases, if you apply yourself just a little bit, you can fix your motorcycle on your own. YouTube videos and online forums provide a great deal of information about repairing your motorcycle. Self-repair may be right up your alley if you are savvy in mechanics.
Motorcycles are not complex machines. They were intentionally created to be very basic and minimal. If fixing a motorcycle intimidates you, take a chance and try doing a repair yourself. You honestly don’t have much to lose.
If you don’t know how to do this yourself, at the very least, take your bike in regularly for inspection and proper maintenance. Doing so will save you money in the long run by avoiding expensive repairs and even replacement costs.
What Are The Most Common Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents In Fort Worth?
The most common cause of motorcycle accidents in Fort Worth is distracted drivers. This means that people are driving while talking on their cellphones or texting.
Vehicles driving erratically or violating traffic laws are another common cause of motorcycle accidents in Fort Worth. Unfortunately, you can’t avoid accidents when they involve other distracted drivers.
But you can do your part to avoid these kinds of accidents by wearing protective clothing and staying alert in traffic. And if you find yourself in an accident due to another driver’s neglect, then an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney can help you recover damages.
What Are The Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries?
Motorcycle riders are 27 times more likely to die when they are in an accident than are drivers and riders in cars, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). People riding motorcycles are also ten times more likely to be severely injured in a crash compared to people in cars.
Injuries from motorcycle accidents are usually very severe in those cases where the rider survives the crash. Multiple fractures or loss of limbs are frequent in motorcycle crashes. Typically, all injured riders suffer “road-rash” in a motorcycle crash. Road-rash is a term that fails to describe how terrible these injuries are. Several motorcycle accident victims have said the road-rash was more painful than the fractures and other injuries from the accident.
Understanding and recognizing that car accidents and motorcycle accidents are not the same is the first step for injured riders to protect their legal rights after a motorcycle crash. The second step is hiring an attorney who understands the differences between the two and is prepared to present a motorcycle accident case in a strategic and compelling way to an insurance company, or to a jury if needed.
Minor injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents in Fort Worth can include road rash, scrapes, bruises, and other crash effects.
But some injuries are more serious, including broken bones and internal injuries. Some riders are killed instantly or die later due to their injuries.
Accidents on motorcycles are often very significant because they involve many more injuries than when you’re in a car.
It is essential to work with an experienced Fort Worth motorcycle accident attorney if you are involved in an accident.
What Should You Do After A Motorcycle Accident?
The first thing you should do is analyze your surroundings and current situation. Are you in harm’s way? Are you badly injured? If possible, remove yourself from the roadway and out of traffic. Check to see if anyone else was involved in the accident and help them get to safety as best as possible.
If you are involved in an accident, it’s essential to contact the police immediately. This way, they can conduct their investigation and write up a report.
You may be in shock, and the adrenaline may be preventing you from feeling any pain or injuries. Always keep this in mind and wait for paramedics to arrive before removing your helmet and other gear to avoid worsening your injuries. Allow medical professionals to provide you with a thorough examination. This will make it easier for everyone when building your case.
Even if you don’t think you’re injured, it’s always best to get checked out by a medical professional after an accident. Serious injuries may not be apparent right away, and sometimes, it will take days, weeks, or months for symptoms to appear. If you were on a motorcycle during the accident, you are highly susceptible to broken bones and severe internal damage and bleeding. Simply put, get checked anyway.
When filing your claim, you’ll also need the information provided in the police report if you decide to hire an attorney in Fort Worth because they will look at the police records to investigate the accident.
Also, take down witness names and phone numbers in case they have helpful information regarding what happened when the motorcycle accident occurred. Finally, you should call your insurance agent if damage or injury is involved.
Another important tip is to keep conversations with witnesses, victims, and drivers to a minimum. It may be tempting to speak with the other drivers after a collision. However, it is wise to keep conversations brief and polite.
Often, emotions run high after a motor vehicle collision. Even if the other drivers seem angry or agitated, do not respond emotionally. Be polite and collect the necessary information from those involved. You should never discuss the crash at length with the other drivers.
When the police arrive, provide them with brief and factual statements for the accident report. Never speculate about who is to blame for the collision. Even if you believe that you caused the accident, you could be wrong. Accepting fault for the crash will make it difficult to recover the financial compensation that you are due.
Finally, you should make your insurance company aware that you were involved in a crash. Provide your information to the insurance adjuster in a factual manner. As with other conversations, you should never admit fault to your insurance agent. Still, contacting your insurer in the aftermath of a crash can help to secure a favorable outcome in your motorcycle accident case.
What Should You Do If You’re Involved In A Motorcycle Accident?
When riding motorcycles in Fort Worth, you must always drive defensively because accidents involving distracted drivers are commonplace.
If you are in an accident, you’ll want to get medical treatment for your injuries immediately if severe enough. This way, the proper records are made on file with what happened during the accident.
You need this documentation because it could be used later on when filing a claim against the other driver involved in the accident or even with your insurance agent if there is damage or injury involved.
Don’t refuse medical help because you “feel fine,” and don’t try to begin nursing yourself at the scene. Wait for help to arrive to check you over carefully after a traumatic event like a motorcycle crash.
What Should You Do If You’re Hit By A Motorcycle?
Motorcycles have become dangerous due to negligent drivers who don’t pay attention while driving their vehicles on roads and highways. If you have been hit by a motorcycle, the severity of the crash will depend on whether you were in a vehicle or not. When a motorcycle hits your car or truck, you might only experience minor injuries. However, if you are hit by a motorcycle as a pedestrian, the likelihood of severe injury is high. No matter the circumstances of your collision, you will probably think, “I need to know what to do if I was hit by a motorcycle.” In the aftermath of such a crash, it is vital to contact a reputable personal injury firm.
If you’ve been hit by a motorcycle that was not adequately driven or maintained, contact an experienced Fort Worth personal injury attorney.
They can provide you with information regarding your legal rights and options for pursuing financial recovery for injuries, damages, or even wrongful death.
Our law firm’s Fort Worth personal injury attorneys have recovered millions in compensation for their clients, so they know how to best approach your claim. Get in touch with our team today.
How An Experienced Tarrant County Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help
The attorneys at Fulgham Hampton Law Group have the tenacity and proven experience taking cases to trial that puts insurance companies on notice that a lowball settlement offer is unacceptable. Our clients find comfort in the fact that we have taken over a hundred cases to trial, with many being argued before a jury. Our experience has enabled us to hone skills needed in conducting a thorough investigation of the facts, analyzing relevant documents, identifying key legal issues, conducting appropriate legal research, effectively negotiating with insurance companies, and presenting compelling arguments to a judge or jury.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident because of the negligence of another party, you cannot trust the other party’s insurance company to protect your interest. Although many insurance adjusters seem friendly and helpful, their role is to ensure you receive the smallest sum of money possible for your injuries. We work with a team of investigators, accident reconstruction experts, medical experts, and others to facilitate the most persuasive case possible for serious injury victims. We conduct our own crash analysis because we know the police report typically will be slanted in favor of the passenger car’s driver.
Factors Contributing To Texas Motorcycle Accidents
Many factors contribute to motorcycle accidents, including distracted drivers, drunk drivers, and speeding motorists. While drivers who engage in these forms of negligent operation of a motor vehicle threaten the safety of everyone on the road, motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to devastating injuries from these forms of unsafe driving:
- Failure to Observe Right of Way: The most common cause of motorcycle accidents is the failure of a car or truck driver to yield right of way. These accidents often occur at intersections when a driver turns left in the face of an approaching motorcycle.
- Distracted Drivers: When drivers multitask behind the wheel, their eyes, ears, and hands are not focused on the safe operation of their vehicle. Although inattentive drivers that drift into an adjacent lane or fail to stop for an interruption in traffic threaten all motorists, motorcycle riders have virtually no protection from injury.
- Substance Impaired Drivers: Motorists under the influence of drugs or alcohol account for more than one-third of traffic-related fatalities.
- Braking Distances: Because of the lack of stability associated with bikes, greater stopping distances are required to avoid laying a motorcycle down.
- Limited Visibility: Because motorcycles are relatively small compared to passenger cars, they are easy for drivers to miss if they are not paying attention. Their diminutive size also enables bikes to slip into spaces where other motorists do not expect a vehicle.
- Sharp Turns: Hard, sharp turns caused by a motorcyclist reacting to avoid an accident can result in the bike tipping over.
- Roadway Defects: Defects in the roadway like uneven pavement or eroded edges of the surface can trap the wheel of a motorcycle and cause the operator to lose control.
- Defective Motorcycles: When motorcycle companies design or manufacture bikes with defects that contribute to an accident, any company in the production or distribution chain might be strictly liable for defects present when the vehicle left the party’s possession.
- Aggressive Driving: Drivers who engage in multiple forms of illegal or unsafe driving, such as weaving through traffic while speeding, can easily cause a motorcycle collision.
- Disobeying Traffic Laws: Traffic laws are designed to prevent collisions, but drivers speed, execute unsafe lane changes and run stop signs far too often.
These are just a few of the causes of motorcycle accidents that cause serious injuries or wrongful deaths in Fort Worth and the surrounding areas of Tarrant County. Because Fulgham Hampton Law Group is committed to helping injured motorcycle riders seek compensation for their injuries, we examine the liability of all potential parties like another motorist, manufacturers of the motorcycle or other vehicle involved in the crash, a public entity for an unsafe roadway, employer of a negligent driver, owner of the vehicle, and other possible responsible parties.
Financial Recovery For Serious Motorcycle Accident Injuries
When you experience a catastrophic injury or loss of a loved one in a devastating motorcycle collision, the compensation obtained in a personal injury or wrongful death claim might shape your financial future. Although no monetary award can give you back the ability to walk or hug your child, a maximum damage recovery can provide funding for the best medical care, supportive services, lost household income, and more. Because of the vulnerability of motorcyclists, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, internal organ damage, amputated limbs, paralysis, and broken bones are common. If you or a family member is injured in a motorcycle crash, the types of damages you are entitled to receive will depend on the facts and circumstances. Some of the types of damages the court might award include:
- Medical bills and hospital costs
- Past lost wages
- Diminished future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Property damage, like vehicle repair or replacement
- Loss of companionship of a spouse or guidance of a parent
- Burial/Funeral (Wrongful death)
- Punitive damages (egregious conduct)
Conclusion – Work With An Experienced Fort Worth Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
These simple strategies will prepare you for safe motorcycle riding. They also help decrease your chances of being part of a tragic accident where someone is hurt or killed due to another driver’s negligence.
If this does happen, meet with an experienced Fort Worth motor vehicle accident lawyer so they can get started on your case immediately. It’s crucial to find a good injury law firm because their experience and knowledge of state laws can be vital against negligent drivers and insurance companies.
Texas law firms that handle motorcycle accident settlements and litigation typically do so on a contingency basis, which means they are paid a percentage of any recovery in a personal injury claim. As experienced Fort Worth motorcycle accident attorneys, Fulgham Hampton Law Group can assess your case and advise you of your legal rights and best legal strategies. Fulgham Hampton Law Group has helped hundreds of people in Fort Worth and the surrounding areas of Tarrant County recover compensation. Call us today at (817) 697-4400 or contact us online for a free consultation.
The Fulgham Hampton Law Group legal team of injury lawyers provides you with skilled litigators that have tried over 100 jury trials in Texas with expertise in matters ranging from car accident cases, complex cases with insurance companies and skilled settlement negotiations. Our injury lawyers are here to help you navigate the complex legal system and make important decisions to ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries.
Our legal team of personal injury lawyers has over 45+ years of experience and over 100 jury trials in Texas. Our personal injury attorneys have a stellar reputation for dealing with insurance companies, negotiating favorable settlements with insurance companies, providing a thorough and prompt investigation and fighting to make sure you receive all the compensation your entitled to under the law.
We Get Results
Once you entrust us with your case, we commit to you and your cause and work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. Because we limit the number of cases we accept, our injury attorneys and staff are able to focus on your case and commit the time and resources necessary to achieve the best possible result. We promise you that your case will be handled with compassion and the personal attention and detail you deserve!
Working with this firm was the right decision. From start to finish, everyone knew me by name, treated me respectfully, and gave my case the required attention. Communication was clear and responses were prompt. Not to mention a great outcome. Definitely recommend.Todd S.
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