Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

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The Texas Longhorns and its huge fan base (including Mr. Berenson who graduated from the University of Texas in 1976) are in mourning after learning that Cedric Benson died in a motorcycle crash in Austin Saturday night. What a terrible way to begin the football season.

Cedric was one of the best running backs in the history of Texas high school and the University, then played eight years in the NFL with the Bears, Bengals, and Packers. He was 36 years old. We extend my condolences to his family and the family of his passenger who also died at the scene.

We at Berenson Injury Law want our roads to be safer for all motorists, including for those who ride motorcycles. You have to ask

  1. Why does Texas have more fatal crashes than any other state?
  2. Why do about 500 people die each year riding their motorcycles in Texas
  3. What causes us to be #1 in this terrible category?
  4. How can we stop so many motorcycle riders and other motorists from dying and being injured on our roads? Continue reading

Mayor-Betsy-Price-Bill-BerensonTemps are up, so are bicycle and motorcycle accidents in Fort Worth

Yesterday kicked off the annual Tour de Fort Worth sponsored by Fit Worth and it was an honor to get to ride with our wonderful Mayor Betsy Price. But the warmer weather unfortunately brings an increase in the number of bicycle and motorcycle accidents in Fort Worth.

Saturday sadly marked the latest motorcycle death in our area. Texas leads in the country in the number of fatal motorcycle crashes with almost 500 riders losing their lives each year.

And though it happened it happened in New Hampshire on Friday, it was horrible to read that seven people riding motorcycles died when a man who was driving in the wrong lane crashed into the group of former Marines. He had to be either texting while driving or driving while intoxicated, or both.

What causes all of the bicycle and motorcycle accidents?

Bicycles and motorcycles are similar. They are small and offer no protection from injuries. Drivers often don’t see them or ignore them; some probably consider them an annoyance. They are often ridden by younger people who enjoy going fast and take unsafe risks.

So there’s a constant friction between the motorists on four wheels and riders on two wheels. On the one hand, motorists must yield the right of way, pay attention to vehicles on the road, slow down, stop looking at cell phones while they drive, and not drink and drive, the usual causes of crashes. But cyclists must also obey the rules of the road, stop at red lights and stop signs, and not engage in risky maneuvers. If there is a crash, the negligence of all drivers and riders will be weighed.

There are too many motorists and bicycle/motorcycle riders who don’t seem to know basic traffic laws — or follow them. So here’s a refresher.

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As I got in some exercise around Dallas early Sunday morning with my son-in-law and a group of other cyclists, I saw people cruising around on those controversial electric scooters. Admittedly, riding a bicycle anywhere, especially in a large city, is dangerous. And a lot of people have been using Uber and Lime Bike for instant transportation without any problem for years. So why not allow someone to click an app and scoot over to the next bar — what could go wrong with that? Plenty, starting with a serious injury rate. No wonder Fort Worth has banned them. But other Texas cities are considering allowing or increasing their use. That’s not a good idea until our state laws are enhanced.

Current regulation of electric scooters in Dallas

You may not know what is legal when you hop on one in Dallas. The Texas Transportation Code, Section 551.351, has limited prohibitions. So Dallas enacted a new ordinance to pick up the slack when it allowed their use in July. Just in Dallas, they cannot be rented by someone 17 or less, at night, on streets if the speed limit is 36 mph or more, on sidewalks downtown or in Deep Ellum, and to the center or left of the traffic lane unless a left-hand turn is being made.

But after Dallas’s long-time state senator Royce West saw two people riding an electric scooter almost crash in Austin, he decided to sponsor a new law that would increase their safety across Texas. Senator West’s bill, which has been endorsed in his committee and which no member of the public testified against, would amend our lax state law and prevent them from being ridden

— By more than one person;

— On any sidewalk;

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— At night;

— Faster than 15 mph;

— On streets with speed limits higher than 35 mph;– By someone who is 17 or younger;

–and parked where they are a safety hazard.

I just blogged about motorcycle riders and their often horrendous injury rate so this post is a series in advocating for the safety of riders and not just drivers of cars and trucks.

The problem with electric scooters

Electric scooters are dangerous. In Dallas, at least one person has already died and 88 had to be admitted to the emergency room, 35 with brain injuries, just at the Baylor Scott and White hospital nearest Deep Ellum and only in the second six months of last year. Eight people were admitted to the intensive care unit.

I blogged about how dangerous these are and worry about any new way people can get injured as they move around the Dallas-Fort Worth area. With 7,500 of them available in Dallas, they appear to be accidents waiting to happen.

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Motorcycle accident claims can be difficult

For many Texans, there is only one way to enjoy the freedom of our incredible 310,000 miles of highways and roads — on a motorcycle. But tragically last year in Texas, 501 of them lost their lives, usually at an intersection or when another driver was changing lanes. Contrary to popular belief that bikers always get hurt because they ride too fast, the typical motorcycle accident happens at lower speeds. According to statistics from NHTSA, almost half of all fatal bike crashes happen when the rider is hit by a car or truck driver who suddenly turns in front of him.

Yesterday I told an insurance adjuster denying liability that I am filing suit. Her insured, a commercial truck driver, made a reckless right turn across two lanes and caused serious injuries to my client. That call prompted me to share several ideas about these cases. More about how to win any vehicle collision case is here.

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IMG_6312-MediumWe had the pleasure of representing a very nice young man who was riding his Harley Davidson in north Fort Worth last year. At an intersection, our client thought the driver in front of him was going to make a right turn, but instead he made a left turn and the two vehicles collided.

Unfortunately, the police officer blamed our client, who had already been rushed by ambulance to the hospital with a broken leg and didn’t have the chance to explain his side of the story. His claim was denied and he hired Berenson Injury Law to help him since we have successfully handled a lot of motorcycle crashes.

After a lot of pretrial investigation and protracted negotiations with adjusters and attorneys, we were able to make the insurance company pay the entire limit of the policy. The company’s lawyer believed he could easily win the case in court. Then we drastically reduced the young man’s medical bills, cut attorney’s fees, and waived expenses. As a result, our client received $20,000 of the available $30,000, an excellent result.

MC-before-crash-BLOG-B-LeongFort Worth Fatal Motorcycle Crash Controversial

A 30-year-old man was riding his bike when he hit another vehicle at an intersection last week. Tragically, Da’Ron Miller was the victim of another fatal motorcycle crash here. We have far too many of these deadly crashes. Sadly, 501 people drivers and passengers lost their lives last year according to statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation. The police found that Mr. Miller was to blame. But according to this article in the Star Telegram, there is a heated dispute about whether another driver was at fault.

According to witnesses, Mr. Miller had just left a charity car wash by himself when a woman cut in front of him. The police officers did not interview these people.

Based on the woman’s account, the police said that Mr. Miller was speeding in a group of cyclists and that the crash was 100% his fault.

The investigating officers obviously did not witness the collision (although they were down the street investigating another motorcycle crash). And people sometimes have preconceived ideas about who is at liable, especially when a young man is riding a motorcycle.

The police are now saying that they want to talk to these eyewitnesses. A lawsuit for the wrongful death of Mr. Miller will presumably have to be filed to find out what really happened.

There was a similar motorcycle crash yesterday in Arlington. A 23-year-old man riding his motorcycle on New York Avenue died after a woman in a SUV suddenly cut in front of him.

And on Thursday there was another death arising out of a car accident in Fort Worth that was either caused by road rage or a suicide.

Sometimes it is clear who caused a motorcycle, car, or truck collision, but other times it is not. Crashes happen in the blink of an eye. Legal questions about fault, damages, and payment of damages are common. Continue reading

Few people love freedom more than a motorcycle driver in the Lone Star State. While Texas tends to frown on imposing too many regulations in any field, most will agree that Texas motorcycle laws enhance safety for drivers, passengers, and others on the road.

Texas boasts more motorcycle owners than any other state in the country. This reflects the Lone Star State’s well-known culture emphasizing freedom and rugged individualism. The state’s unique landscapes, wide-open spaces, and huge highway system also attract millions of motorcycling enthusiasts from around the country.

Everyone, from both Texas and other states, however, should learn the specific rules governing the use of motorcycles in the state.

We are pleased to announce that we successfully resolved the claim of an injured young man for the total amount of insurance available of $100,000.

Motorcycle cases can be more difficult than those where people are driving cars and trucks. Liability disputes are common. Jurors can hold biases against riders that can make large verdicts unusual, even though injuries can be severe.

Both drivers claimed they had the right of way when a light was changing from yellow to red. Worse, three eyewitnesses sided with the car driver and our client was seen riding at a high rate of speed just before the crash on his bright bike.

But Brandon was extremely injured and was in a great deal of pain. He had no idea how he could get his medical bills and lost wages paid.

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It’s April — time for motorcyclists (and cyclists) to start riding more. But unfortunately serious injuries and deaths in Texas from cycle-vehicle collisions have risen dramatically here.

500 people tragically die on motorcycles every year in Texas. Just last night in Arlington, a motorcyclist was crashed into by an SUV changing lanes on State Highway 287 and tragically lost his life.

As a motorcycle accident attorney and advocate for the safety for all all people driving a vehicle, this upsets me. And I went to another funeral of a client hit riding his motorcycle several months ago so thought to write this post to try to prevent another injury or death.

Most motorcycle and bicycle crashes are caused by two things:

  • People do not see the cyclist at all — or until it is too late; and
  • People see the cyclist but fail to yield the right of way, especially in intersections.

To prevent these collisions, here are some suggestions:

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Does the State of Texas have a duty to warn drivers about a dangerous road condition? Last week’s decision by a Texas appellate court ruling said that it did.The Dallas court affirmed a jury’s verdict in favor of a motorcyclist who crashed when his wheels hit a large crack in the highway. The trial court capped the $1,200,000 verdict at $250,000, the maximum damages allowed under the Texas Tort Claims Act, and the state appealed.

Brian Milton was traveling on FM Road 148 in Kaufman in 2012 at night. He couldn’t see the deep cracks in the road pictured here until he hit one and crashed his bike into a ditch. Milton had never driven on this road before. He was severely injured.

Testimony from state employees and other evidence showed that the TxDOT clearly knew about the problem before the crash. The responding officer noted the “big cracks” in the roadway.

A few days later, Milton’s wife took this photo of the severely eroded highway. And just one month earlier, a TxDOT worker had taken pictures of the poor road conditions and ordered signs to warn drivers about the failing road but the signs weren’t placed in the correct location.

In addition, the agency had begun roadwork nearby but had not yet made its way to the area of the crash where work orders were in place.

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