After Vital was replaced by João Barone, Herbert wrote the song "Vital e Sua Moto", to pay homage to his friend. The song became the band's first airplay hit and, shortly after that, they signed with EMI Music Group.
Herbert always liked to pilot helicopters and ultralight airplanes. On February 4, 2001, he suffered an accident in Mangaratiba, Rio de Janeiro, when the ultralight airplane he was piloting crashed into the sea, in the bay of Angra dos Reis. The accident killed his wife Lucy and put Herbert in the hospital for 44 days (part of them in a coma). The musician became disabled (he is now in a wheelchair) and lost part of his memory after the accident; however, after a slow recovery process, he returned to perform. Since the accident, Herbert has recorded four albums with Os Paralamas do Sucesso: Longo Caminho (2002), the live Uns Dias ao Vivo (2004), Hoje (2005) and Brasil a Fora (2009).