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McKinney Personal Injury Blog

Do You Have To Wear A Motorcycle Helmet In Texas?

There's no question that motorcycle helmets can save lives.  Still, many people choose to ride without a helmet - and this can be a perfectly legal decision in some states, including Texas.

This wasn't always the case.  In 1975, nearly every state required all motorcyclists to wear helmets because of a federal law that tied highway construction funding to helmet laws.  However, states began to chip away at their helmet laws after Congress ended the funding incentive in 1976.  Texas was one of the first states to repeal its universal helmet requirement in 1977, although it was later temporarily reinstated between 1989 and 1997.

Texas' New School Bus Seat Belt Law Aims To Keep Kids Safer

You would certainly never let your kids ride in your car without making sure they're properly wearing their seat belts.  However, most parents across the country send their children off to school on buses that don't even have seat belts.

This is slowly starting to change.  A new Texas law went into effect this September that requires new buses to have shoulder-to-lap seat belts installed in all seats.  Six other states have enacted similar laws in recent years.

What To Do If You Are Hit By An Uninsured Driver

Nobody feels lucky after a car wreck, but you may feel especially unfortunate if your wreck was caused by an uninsured driver.  Although every driver is required to have insurance, many still do not.  About 13 percent of Texas drivers do not carry insurance, according to recent data from the TexasSure vehicle insurance verification program.

It's important to remember that you still have the right to seek compensation after a car wreck, even if the other driver isn't insured.  Texas requires all car insurance companies to offer coverage for property and bodily damage caused by uninsured and underinsured drivers.  Unless you signed a written rejection slip denying it, you are afforded uninsured motorist coverage per Texas law.

U.S. Bike Fatality Rates Are Rising, Especially Among Adult Men

Who is more likely to be killed in a bike accident: a child or an adult?  The answer to this question has changed dramatically over the last 40 years.

In 1975, most victims of fatal bike accidents were children or teenagers.  Today, the opposite is true:  people over age 20 make up the vast majority of people killed while biking on U.S. roads, according to a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Administration that analyzed 40 years of data on bike fatalities.

Nearly One-Quarter Of Trucks On Texas Highways In Violation Of Safety Standards

An inspection blitz earlier this summer of more than 8,000 commercial vehicles by the Texas Department of Public Safety resulted in nearly 2,000 of them being placed out of service due to a wide range of violations.  This is a frightening reminder of the dangers that tractor trailers pose on Texas highways, in many cases because of negligence or blatant disregard of safety regulations by truck drivers and the companies that own these big rigs.

The report in Overdrive, an online publication that covers the commercial trucking industry, states the Texas DPS inspected 8,182 commercial vehicles during the blitz and placed 1,938 of those (23.6 percent) out of service.  Issues with brakes and defective vehicle lighting were two of the most common violations that led to removing these vehicles from the road.

What Are the Deadliest Cars On the Road?

As much as Americans are drawn to their cars for their interior and exterior styling, safety is also a primary concern when making a buying decision.  This is especially true when parents hit that nerve-wracking milestone of having young children get their driver's licenses.

A recent study on car safety identifies models that provide reliability and those that are involved in higher rates of fatal accidents.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) collects data on the rate at which drivers of individual models are killed in crashes (it does not take into account passenger deaths).

Why Truck Accidents Need Close Scrutiny

As we hear more about autonomous vehicles and all of their potential benefits, including as it relates to commercial transportation, that technology is still on the horizon.  For now, the steady flow of local and interstate commercial vehicle traffic is powered by humans, and that means human error is inevitable.  The sheer size and weight of these trucks means when they are involved in crashes, catastrophic injuries often occur, leading to a lifetime of disability or even death.

Because of the increased danger that truck crashes pose, the commercial trucking industry is regulated by federal and state laws.  The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are primarily responsible for enforcing federal trucking regulations, while each state has additional laws regulating intra-state commercial trucking.

Should Income Disparity Be Reflected In Injury Settlements?

The most devastating personal injury claims involve wrongful death or injuries so severe the victim can no longer work.  In these cases, it is necessary to use economic statistics to determine the total amount of lost earning capacity. If the victim is only beginning a career or is a minor who has not yet completed his or her studies, determining lifetime earning potential becomes much more difficult.

When creating a lost earning capacity damage model, economists often times refer to broader statistics that break down earning potential by gender, race and pre-existing health issues (smoking, diabetes, etc.) to determine how much a victim would have earned during his or her lifetime.  It is one of the only instances in the legal system in which race and gender are regularly considered in determining a damage award.

Keep Calm and Collect Information After A Car Wreck

The minutes and hours following a car wreck can be hectic and confusing.  Thoughts become scrambled and logic may disappear as you receive treatment for your own injuries or stay close to family members or others who are injured in the crash.

This recap of steps to take when a wreck occurs can help you accomplish important tasks and avoid common mistakes that can prove costly.  As you will see, a cellphone is a critical tool to record important information following a wreck.

The Walk of Life: Being A Pedestrian Is Getting Riskier

The past two years have been challenging for auto safety, and even worse for pedestrians.  A study released by the Governors Highway Safety Association reports pedestrian fatalities increased 22 percent in the past two years.   Based on data from the first six months of 2016, the report projected there were 5,997 pedestrian fatalities in 2016, which is up from 4,910 in 2014.

This increase in pedestrian fatalities comes on the heels of a report from the National Safety Council that traffic fatalities in general increased 14 percent in the past two years, marking the first increase in consecutive years since the 1960s.

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