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How much car insurance do I need?

All states, including Texas, mandate that drivers must have a minimum amount of car insurance in place before getting behind the wheel. However, you might want to consider increasing your coverage to ensure you’re fully protected against many different incidents, such as those unrelated to a collision. U.S. News & World Report explains the different types of auto insurance and how they can protect you.

Liability insurance

3 ways drivers cause motorcycle accidents

Riding your motorcycle is a fun activity, but it can also be dangerous. Sadly, car and truck drivers often do not see motorcyclists and are likely to cause accidents. Due to the small size of your vehicle, motorists may fail to notice you, causing a collision. When it is you and your bike up against a passenger car or giant truck, you suffer the most injuries and property damage. According to the United States Department of Transportation, nearly 5,000 motorcyclists died in motor vehicle accidents in 2015. Motorcycle riders are 27 times more likely to die in a wreck than occupants of passenger vehicles.

While you cannot predict motorist negligent on any given day, you can take some steps to ensure your own safety. The first step to reducing the likelihood of a crash is knowing about the most common types of motorcycle accidents.

When a car crash causes a TBI

A traumatic brain injury is one of the most serious and catastrophic injuries you can sustain in a Texas vehicle crash. As explained by the Mayo Clinic, a TBI is a malfunction or dysfunction of your brain that occurs when the force of your crash impact makes your head and/or neck jerk violently back and forth. This sudden and extreme movement, in turn, causes your brain to “slosh” around in your skull, during which its delicate tissues, cells and nerves become injured, sometimes irreparably.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 286,000 people sustain a traumatic brain injury each year due to a car crash.

Understanding the negligent entrustment doctrine

For all of the resources and effort that go into preventing car accidents on Conroe, such incidents are still a fairly common occurrence. Texas (thanks to its large population) routinely ranks among the top states in terms of annual volumes of vehicle collisions. Indeed, according to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 9,417 accidents in Montgomery County in 2017 alone. Often, assigning responsibility for such accidents is not all that difficult. People may easily spot when a driver is operating a vehicle recklessly and/or without regard to others. In such a situation, the only thing that may be more surprising than the liable driver's behavior is the fact that someone entrusted them with a vehicle at all. 

When a reckless driver causes an accident, vicarious liability may also be assigned to whatever third parties enabled that person to drive. This option (known as the negligent entrustment doctrine) is only available, however, in cases where one loaned a vehicle to an irresponsible driver. One might automatically assume that a vehicle owner would always be liable for any damage or injuries that are caused by that vehicle, regardless of whoever is behind the wheel. Yet that is not always the case. 

Working with your insurance company after a car accident

If you have been involved in a car accident, chances are you have already begun to experience the barrage of emotions that comes with healing from your injuries, getting repairs to your vehicle and dealing with your insurance company. At The Bryant Law Firm, we have helped many Texas car accident victims to work through the legal process of getting help from their insurance company. 

The sooner you file a claim with your insurance company after your accident, the better your chances are of getting a settlement sooner than later. Throughout all of your communications, keep written documents that detail all of your interactions. These can be invaluable for your reference at future dates if there is disagreement about what was said or promised. Additionally, make sure that you understand the parameters of your insurance policy so you are fully aware of your rights and responsibilities, as well as the responsibilities of your provider. 

Distracted truck drivers: continuing dangerous problem

As a Texas motorist, you likely know full well the continuing problem this nation faces with regard to distracted driving. You probably see distracted drivers all around you every time you get behind the wheel. Many drivers seem to see no problem whatsoever in dividing their attention between driving and something else such as talking on their cellphones, hands-free or otherwise, eating, drinking, applying makeup or the seemingly endless other activities drivers insist on doing when they should be concentrating on the road.

Unfortunately, such bad driving practices become even more dangerous when the driver is behind the wheel of a huge tractor-trailer. Given that these monsters weigh up to four times as much as your passenger vehicle, it is you and your passengers who likely will suffer the most serious injuries, perhaps even death, should a collision occur.

What are right-of-way laws in Texas?

While motorists in Conroe may understand that they are required to share the road with you when you are on your motorcycle, many still seem to have difficulty comprehending that also means affording you the same rights as they would other vehicles. Their line of thinking may be that even though you are on the road, the fact that you are not in a car does not entitle you to the same protections afforded by the standard "rules of the road." Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than the failure to yield the right-of-way. 

You yourself might be unfamiliar with what the right-of-way rules are in Texas. According to the state's Department of Public Safety, in cases where you arrive at an intersection at the same time as another vehicle (and the intersection is not controlled by signs or traffic signals, you have the right-of-way if you are on the right. In instances where there is a sign or signal, and you come up to an intersection with a single- or two-lane road while traveling on a multi-lane road, you again have the right-of-way. The same is true if you are traveling on a paved road that intersects with an unpaved road, or when a driver is pulling on to the road you are traveling on from a private road or driveway. 

Just how safe are refineries?

Like most in Conroe, you likely have a soft spot for your employer (no doubt due to the fact that without your job, you would not enjoy the life you do). That soft spot may lead you to give your company the benefit of the doubt in all things (even up to the safety of your work environment). Employers in specialty industries (such as refineries) understand that their work presents unique risks to its practitioners. You might assume that knowing these risks, your employer has taken every possible precaution to protect you and your coworkers. Yet is that the case? 

Information shared by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration shows that there is a good chance your assumption may be wrong. In a recent investigation into the process safety management practices for petroleum refineries in the U.S., OSHA showed there to be numerous violations of even basic safety measures. The three most common proved to be: 

  • PSM equipment that did not comply with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices 
  • Failures to maintain accurate and up-to-date piping and instrumentation diagrams
  • A lack of documentation detailing relief system designs

What can you do after a hit-and-run?

You were driving through an intersection when out of nowhere, another driver ran the red light and slammed into you. Since you suffered an injury in the collision, you felt too stunned for a moment to do anything but collect your thoughts, although you thought you weren’t too hurt to get out of your car and assess the damage, exchange information with the other driver and call the authorities. However, to your shock, the other driver suddenly sped away. Is there anything you and other Texans can do if you are in a hit-and-run accident?

Being involved in a hit-and-run can make you feel helpless and angry. You may also feel worried. Will your insurance coverage pay for the damage caused by another driver if the driver fled the scene? Who is going to pay for your medical expenses?

Collision involving FedEx truck leaves woman dead

It is easy to view the semi-trucks as commercial vehicles rumbling along on Conroe's roads as gigantic unforgiving monoliths. Yet inside of them may be regular people simply working to support themselves and their families. They may be simply completing their expected routes when they are involved in accidents, which then raises the question of who is ultimately responsible for such incidents: the drivers or the companies employing them? 

That may be a question that arises after a collision involving a FedEx truck in Fort Worth. While investigators are still trying to piece together the exact details of the accident, it has been reported that the truck ran into the car in front of it. Because traffic had been merged into one lane due to road construction, several cars ended up being involved in the accident. Yet it was the driver of the car that was initially hit that suffered the worst of it. She died at the scene. The condition of the FedEx truck driver as well as the other motorists involved was not released. 

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