Riding a bike is a great choice for exercise, your checkbook, and the environment. More Texans choose to commute or travel to the store by bike every day.
Unfortunately, some drivers fail to pay proper attention to the bicyclists they share the road with. When they recklessly or negligently cause bicycle accidents, they can be held legally responsible for any injuries they cause.
If someone else hurts you in a bicycle crash, you have the right to demand the at-fault party pays for it. At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we help our clients seek just compensation for the suffering they’ve endured.
We can advise you of the legal options you have to hold the careless driver accountable for their actions. Our lawyers have the experience, knowledge, and resources to investigate bicycle accidents and obtain sufficient proof that someone else was at fault.
When you hire us, we’ll fight aggressively against the opposing parties and protect your rights. We’ll pursue the maximum financial settlement on your behalf. To find out more about how we can help you, call (713) 659-4000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Texas bicycle accident lawyers.
What Causes Bicycle Accidents?
Motor vehicle-bicycle accidents are common. Car drivers can have a hard time seeing bicycles, especially if when they ride in a blind spot. That’s not an excuse for causing a collision.
Some Texans don’t understand the bicycle traffic laws and when they have to yield the right of way. Others ignore the rules of the road entirely, leading to devastating injuries for bicyclists.
Most bicycle accidents happen because of driver error or inattention. When drivers of a car, truck, or other vehicle make a mistake or succumb to distraction, they can crash into a bicyclist and cause severe damage.
Some of the most common examples of driver error include:
- Distracted driving
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Changing lanes or making a turn without checking for a bicyclist
- Reckless driving
- Passing too close to a bicyclist
- Running a red light or stop sign
Even if you take precautions to ride your bike safely, it’s impossible to predict what motorists will do. You can practice diligence and avoid dangerous intersections, but even the most careful rider may be unable to prevent a crash from occurring.
Bicyclists Suffer Severe Injuries in an Accident
There’s no doubt that cars and trucks are much larger and heavier than bicycles. That means they cause more damage in a crash. Vehicles protect occupants with seatbelts, airbags, and other safety features. Unfortunately, a helmet is often the only protection a bicyclist has.
If a car hits you while you’re riding your bicycle, you may suffer severe injuries. Some bicyclists sustain fatal injuries or die at the scene of the crash. If you’ve lost your loved one to a bicycle accident, Gibson Hill Personal Injury can advise you on how to pursue a wrongful death claim.
The most common bicycle crash injuries include:
- Road rash
- Traumatic brain injury
- Internal bleeding or organ damage
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injury or paralysis
- Blunt force trauma
- Wounds and lacerations
Severe injuries can lead to permanent damage that requires ongoing physical therapy or pain management. You shouldn’t face medical debt when someone else caused your injuries. Demand compensation from the at-fault party with the help of the bike accident lawyers at Gibson Hill Personal Injury.
The Compensation You Could Receive After a Bicycle Accident
The maximum settlement you can pursue in an insurance claim depends on a range of factors associated with the bicycle accident and your injuries. Just like in a car accident claim, you can seek financial compensation for damages after a bicycle accident.
Damages are all losses suffered from an accident. They fall under two separate categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are expenses, such as:
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Loss of household services
Non-economic damages are forms of pain and suffering, such as:
- Psychological trauma
- Physical or emotional pain
- Loss of companionship
Under Texas’s fault system, you can hold the at-fault driver liable for the accident by filing a claim with their auto insurance company. All motorists must carry liability insurance with minimum limits for bodily injury and property damage. Your lawyer can help you seek the maximum allowed within those limits to compensate for your damages.
The insurance adjuster will calculate an amount to cover your economic damages. Non-economic damages can be more confusing because you can’t count physical pain. To determine what they’re willing to pay for a bicycle accident victim’s non-economic damages, the adjuster will consider the following factors:
- Type and severity of the injury
- Length of required medical treatment
- If there was a full recovery or future medical care is necessary
- Disfigurement, impairment, or disability resulting from the accident
- Total economic damages incurred
- Availability of sufficient evidence
- Effect of the injury on relationships, employment, and quality of life
- Total lost wages from inability to work
- Amount of liability insurance coverage
Gibson Hill Personal Injury can file the insurance claim on your behalf and obtain relevant evidence that proves the other person caused your bicycle accident. We’ll use aggressive negotiating tactics to recover a full and fair settlement that pays for all of your damages. If the insurer refuses to pay the settlement you deserve, we have the resources to file a lawsuit and take your case to court.
What You Should Know About Lawsuits
Lawsuits are more complex than insurance claims. They require more time to prepare and resolve. If your lawyer advises you to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver after your bicycle accident, you should understand there’s a strict deadline. The statute of limitations in Texas is two years. That means you have two years from the crash date to pursue legal action against the other person.
Besides seeking compensation for your economic and non-economic damages, you may be able to seek a third option called punitive damages. They don’t compensate the injured victim for any losses. Instead, they punish the at-fault driver.
Punitive damages are rare in Texas since a jury will only deem them appropriate if the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent, malicious, or fraudulent. For example, a drunk driver who hits a bicyclist may be forced to pay punitive damages.
What to Do if the Liable Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance
If you were injured in a bicycle accident and discover that the at-fault driver doesn’t hold liability insurance, your attorney can still help you seek a settlement from your own insurance company. Even though you sustained injuries on your bike, you can use your auto insurance policy to cover some of your damages.
In Texas, UM (uninsured motorist) coverage is optional. It’s not a legal requirement on all drivers’ policies, but insurance companies must offer it to their policyholders. If you opted for this coverage, you could potentially recover compensation for the following damages:
- Medical treatment
- Lost wages and lost future earnings
- Pain and suffering
You may be able to file a claim with your PIP insurance. PIP (personal injury protection) is another optional coverage on your policy that could cover your medical expenses and lost wages up to the limit you purchased.
Unlike UM and liability settlements that occur after treatment ends, your PIP coverage can begin immediately. It works like medical insurance by providing upfront payments for your appointments. Your medical providers will submit your bills to the PIP adjuster for direct payment. You may need to pay a deductible or copay, but some PIP policies cover the entire bill.
Modified Comparative Negligence Could Reduce Your Compensation
Another fault system Texas follows is called modified comparative negligence. Under this rule, both parties in an accident can recover compensation based on the level of fault they share. If you got hurt in a bicycle crash and incurred $100,000 in damages, you could pursue $100,000 in compensation if the driver was entirely at fault.
However, if it’s determined that the driver was only 80% at fault and you were 20% at fault, you could only recover a maximum of $80,000 in compensation.
The 51% rule prevents injured victims from recovering any compensation if they share at least 51% blame for the accident. Contact an attorney to find out how this rule applies to your crash. At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we’ll protect your right to a fair settlement.
Speak to an Experienced Texas Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Gibson Hill Personal Injury understands the stress you’re under. Your accident negatively impacted your life, and we want to help you get back on your feet and move forward.
When you hire our firm, we’ll fight hard against the at-fault driver and their insurance company for the compensation you deserve. You can count on us to dedicate our time and attention to creating an effective plan that meets your goals.
The driver’s careless actions shouldn’t go unpunished. They should pay for your medical care and the pain you’ve experienced.
Our Texas bicycle accident lawyers care about our clients. We’ll keep you informed of your case’s status, provide ongoing support, and maintain open and honest communication. Our team is available 24/7, so you can reach us no matter what your daily schedule is like. We’ll be by your side every step of the way.
If you were the victim of a bicycle accident and want the compensation you deserve, call us today at (713) 659-4000. We’ll schedule your free, no-risk consultation.