Texas motorcyclists who are age 21 and up are exempted from the requirement to wear a helmet if they have completed a Texas Department of Public Safety-approved Motorcycle Operator Training Course or if they carry at least $10,000 in medical insurance coverage.
Motorcyclists and motorcycle passengers are 27 times more likely to be killed in a traffic crash than the occupants of passenger vehicles. Motorcycles can be hard to see, and they offer no real protection if an accident occurs.
The U.S. Department of Transportation tells us that 5,286 fatalities were reported in 2016 in accidents involving motorcycles. Despite these facts and figures, the use of motorcycle helmets remains controversial.
WHY DO SOME MOTORCYCLISTS REJECT THE USE OF HELMETS?
Some motorcyclists claim that helmets restrict their vision and make it more difficult to avoid collisions. There is no question that helmets can be heavy, awkward, and uncomfortable.
However, motorcyclists who wear helmets are far more likely to live through a motorcycling accident, and they are far less likely to sustain traumatic brain injuries.
A motorcycle helmet is the most basic piece of motorcycling safety gear. Helmets save lives and prevent thousands of severe injuries every year.
“There’s not a single study that suggests motorcycle helmets are a bad thing when it comes to motorcyclists,” according to Dr. Terence O’Keeffe at the University of Arizona Medical Center.
WHAT SAFETY EQUIPMENT DOES EVERY MOTORCYCLIST NEED?
If you ride a motorcycle in Texas, you probably already know that you need a helmet, jacket, boots, and gloves. You need to obey all of the traffic regulations and rules, and you must ensure that you are visible to motorists, especially at night.
The importance of a motorcycle helmet cannot be overstated or overestimated. Motorcycle helmets are designed to protect the head from traumatic blunt force trauma. Even in a low-speed crash, a motorcyclist can be thrown from the bike and essentially become airborne.
WHAT INJURIES ARE FREQUENTLY SUSTAINED IN MOTORCYCLE CRASHES?
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are caused by a violent or forceful impact or blow to the head. A severe traumatic brain injury can require a lifetime of medical treatment and therapy.
A helmet is not a guarantee against a traumatic brain injury, but those who wear helmets sustain far fewer brain injuries in motorcycle crashes than those who don’t.
Spinal cord injuries, bone fractures, road rash, burn injuries, and paralysis are just a few of the other injuries that motorcyclists typically sustain when a negligent driver crashes a car, bus, or truck into a motorcycle.
HOW CAN A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER HELP YOU?
If you are injured by a negligent driver in Texas while riding a motorcycle, an experienced San Antonio personal injury attorney can protect your rights and fight for the compensation that you will need.
Your accident attorney will immediately launch an investigation to determine exactly how you were injured and who was at fault. If a negligent driver is responsible for your personal injury or injuries, your lawyer will hold that person accountable for your medical bills and other damages.
WHAT IS COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE?
What is vital to understand, however, is that Texas is a “comparative negligence” state, which means that the damages an injury victim recovers will be reduced by the degree of the victim’s own negligence. Comparative negligence is best understood with an example.
Imagine that Driver A is speeding, but not excessively, driving five or seven miles per hour over the limit. While crossing an intersection on a green light, Driver A is abruptly struck by Driver B, who is intoxicated, speeding at thirty miles per hour over the limit, and running a red light.
A jury might find driver B entirely liable, but because Driver A was speeding, a jury might also find Driver B ninety percent responsible and Driver B ten percent responsible for the crash.
Thus, if Driver A’s damages total $10,000, that amount would be reduced by ten percent to $9,000.
HOW CAN PREJUDICE AFFECT A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT CASE?
Why is it particularly important for motorcyclists to understand comparative negligence in Texas? Because if you file a personal injury lawsuit and your case goes before a jury, jurors will inevitably bring their own experiences and prejudices to the case.
Even though Texas law clearly allows some motorcyclists to ride without a helmet, that only helps you on the criminal side of the law. In a civil case, there is nothing to stop a juror from believing that riding without a helmet constitutes negligence.
HOW CAN YOU HELP YOUR OWN PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?
Prejudices die hard, but a good personal injury lawyer will focus on the facts and the truth in your case. Still, if you wear a helmet every time that you ride your motorcycle in Texas, you’ll be in a much better position to bring and succeed with a personal injury lawsuit if you need to.
Even when a motorcycle collision in Texas is indisputably the other motorist’s fault, if your failure to wear a helmet played any role in the accident or the severity of your injuries, any compensation amount that you are seeking might be reduced.
The safety of car and truck occupants has substantially increased in the last several decades. Seat belts, air bags, and power brakes have reduced the number of annual traffic fatalities in the U.S. even as the number of vehicles on the street keeps rising.
Yet motorcyclists and their passengers remain at great risk.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO CONSIDER – AND TO REMEMBER?
Most motorcyclists in Texas take safety quite seriously. However, if another driver injures you while you’re riding anywhere in the greater San Antonio area, let a personal injury attorney fight for the compensation you’ll need and the justice you’ll deserve.
Nothing is more important than your health and your future. If a negligent driver injures you while you’re motorcycling – and whether or not you were wearing a helmet – you must get the legal help that you need, and you must get that help immediately. That is your right.