Bicycles have experienced a resurgence in popularity nationwide for a variety of reasons. Some people prefer to ride bikes to work in order to reduce their carbon footprint and save money on gasoline, while many other people ride bikes as a valuable form of physical fitness. However, biking in Houston and many other areas of Texas can be dangerous.
Texas Transportation Code § 551.101 establishes that bicyclists have all of the rights and duties applicable to a driver operating a motor vehicle. Bicycles share roads with motor vehicles, and drivers must respect bicyclists’ rights. Unfortunately, they often fail to do so.
Most collisions involving automobiles and bicycles end very badly for bicyclists. This is because bicyclists are not afforded any of the protection that is inherent to the occupants of motor vehicles. Injuries in these cases can often be of a frighteningly severe nature. Some people will never be able to recover from their injuries fully. These victims deserve justice.
If you suffered catastrophic injuries, or your loved one was killed in a bicycle accident caused by another party’s negligence, you should not wait to get legal help. An experienced attorney can help you to pursue all compensation you are due.
The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian™ has a bilingual staff that is available to help victims of bike accidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact us today to discuss your case in a free consultation.
When a driver causes a bicycle crash, then that person could be liable for any injuries that result. The responsible party’s insurance company, however, will often try to claim that the bicyclist contributed to or even caused their accident.
People often express concerns about how their own actions could affect their injury claims. In Texas, a person cannot recover damages when their percentage of responsibility is more than 50 percent. This is known as modified comparative fault. If a plaintiff is not barred from a recovery, the court must reduce the amount of damages by a percentage equal to the plaintiff’s percentage of responsibility. For example, if a person is awarded $100,000 in a bicycle accident lawsuit but is found to have been 25 percent responsible for the accident, the court will reduce the award by $25,000. So, the most which the plaintiff could receive would be $75,000.
Bicycle crashes often result in severe injuries. Some of the most common kinds of injuries in these cases include:
Many bicycle accidents involve motor vehicles. Some of the most common causes of these crashes include:
Many drivers are preoccupied with talking or texting on cell phones while they are behind the wheel. These motorists are much more likely to fail to spot bicycles in time to avoid collisions. Distracted driving encompasses a far broader range of activities besides phone use. However, mobile devices happen to be the most common distraction that leads to bicycle accidents.
A right-turn accident usually involves a driver turning into a bicyclist traveling in the same direction. Often, these crashes occur due to the driver’s failure to accurately judge the speed and distance of the bicyclist. A left-turn accident involves a driver turning left in front of an oncoming bicyclist. These crashes also typically result from the driver’s failure to accurately judge the speed and distance of the bicyclist.
Drivers who ignore traffic signs or lights, or who fail to follow the basic rules of the road, can cause a severe and possibly fatal collision. Bicyclists passing through intersections can collide with motor vehicles when drivers do not respect the rights of the cyclists.
Any driver who operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be charged with the crime of driving while intoxicated (DWI). A DWI conviction can undoubtedly be helpful in proving negligence for a bicycle accident. However, even if a driver avoids a DWI conviction, the driver can still be held civilly liable. The two cases are separate matters in different types of courts.
A driver may bump a bicyclist from the side while attempting to pass them. Under a Houston city ordinance, drivers must give bicyclists at least three feet of clearance as they pass.
While rare, head-on collisions can occur when drivers unexpectedly depart lanes or possibly drive the wrong way. An accident between the front end of a bicycle and the front end of an automobile at full force can result in fatal injuries.
If you are hit by a car while cycling in Houston, you should try to take as many of these steps as possible:
Call the police. Always make sure a law enforcement agency is contacted so a police report can be completed. Police reports can prove to be valuable later on. Some officers may issue citations to negligent drivers. The citation can be used to prove negligence.
Get photos. When it is possible, you should try to get shots of the scene of your accident. Take photos of the vehicle involved, your bicycle and all other contributing factors.
Get witness names. Also, you should try to get the names and phone numbers of any people who saw your crash. If you cannot take these steps because of your need for medical care, try to have a friend, family member or even a co-worker do this for you.
Get medical attention. If you are involved in a bicycle accident, your priority should always be to seek medical attention. Many victims do not go to the emergency room or visit their regular doctor for several days after an accident. They regret that decision later. Visit a doctor even when you do not think you were hurt. Sometimes, injuries appear in the days and weeks after a crash, and in some cases, a doctor might diagnose an injury that you were not aware you had.
Talk to a lawyer before you talk with an insurance company. You will very likely be contacted by the negligent driver’s insurance company soon after your bike accident. You should decline all requests to give a recorded statement. Some agents will seem quite friendly and express concern about your well-being, but this is mostly an act designed to disguise ulterior motives such as looking for information to deny or minimize your claim. The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian™ can handle all phone calls from insurers on your behalf.
Under Texas law, a person has two years from the date of a bicycle accident to bring a lawsuit. If a person’s loved one died in a bike crash, the person must bring a claim within two years from the date of the death. This is called the statute of limitations.
If the statute of limitations expires, you will be unable to recover damages in a bicycle accident lawsuit. A court will likely dismiss the lawsuit. For this reason, you should not wait to get legal help after a bicycle crash.
A lawyer can negotiate with an insurance company while keeping the statute of limitations in mind. If the insurer seems unwilling to provide an adequate settlement before the two-year period arrives, filing a lawsuit may be necessary.