Riding a bicycle is a fun, healthy, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly way to commute to work, or simply to enjoy the breeze and sunshine on a carefree summer afternoon. However, a relaxing bike ride can turn into a nightmare when the drivers around you are careless, reckless, intoxicated, or fatigued. On the congested streets of major Texas cities like Dallas, bicyclists are frequently struck by speeding or distracted drivers, often resulting in serious injuries or, tragically, the wrongful death of the victim.
If you or one of your family members was hit by a car while riding your bicycle in Dallas, you may have a personal injury claim, and could be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills, the earnings you lost, and the pain and suffering you endured as a result of your injuries. Contact our Dallas, Texas bicycle accident lawyers for a free consultation today at (817) 476-1797.
Common Reasons for Bike Accidents in Dallas, TX
In Dallas and throughout Texas, all motorists have a responsibility to exercise caution when driving. When a driver fails to take the normal precautions that are needed to minimize the risk of a foreseeable crash, resulting in a collision or “dooring” accident which injures or kills the cyclist, the driver may be liable for compensating the victim. If your injuries or the death of your loved one were caused by another person’s negligence, you could have a claim and should consult with a Dallas bike accident attorney at Queenan Law Firm, P.C.
There are many ways a driver can cause an otherwise preventable accident by being negligent or reckless. Some common driving errors that lead to avoidable crashes with bicyclists include:
- Driving aggressively, or even trying to force a cyclist out of the way.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Failing to check mirrors.
- Failing to come to a stop at a stop sign or red light.
- Failing to yield the right of way.
- Flinging open a car door without checking for oncoming cyclists. This type of accident is referred to as “dooring.”
- Making illegal U-turns or other prohibited traffic maneuvers.
- Making improper left turns.
- Speeding excessively.
- Tailgating and following cyclists too closely.
- Texting, eating, applying makeup, using smartphone apps, or fiddling with the radio instead of paying attention to the road.
No matter what type of driver error leads to a crash, the outcome for the cyclist, who has only a helmet for protection, is often severe injury. Common cyclist injuries resulting from car crashes include:
- Back Injuries
- Broken Bones
- Cuts and Lacerations
- Facial Injuries
- Hand and Wrist Injuries
- Internal Bleeding
- Oral Injuries
- Road Rash (Skin Abrasion)
- Scarring and Disfigurement
- Soft Tissue Injuries (Sprains and Strains)
- Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Whiplash Neck Injuries
What to Do After a Cycling Accident in Dallas
Before you do anything else, you should ensure that you obtain adequate medical attention to deal with any injuries to your person. Cycling accidents can cause injuries that you may not even be aware of at first, such as internal bleeding, which can have serious consequences if left untreated. Further, your potential lawsuit will be more effective if there is as little time as possible separating accident and medical care. This prevents the defendant from arguing that your injuries occurred after the accident.
Where possible, discover and record as much information as you are able to. You will want to obtain contact information of anyone who was involved in the accident, including any passersby who witnessed the accident. Take pictures of the scene of the accident and the damage to the vehicles or property. Remember, you can never have too much information.
As soon as convenient, your next step should be to contact a Dallas cycling accident lawyer. As you continue your treatment for your injuries, your attorney will be able to help document the costs for the purposes of claiming damages. Your lawyer can also help keep your case on track so that you avoid violating the statute of limitations (or time limit for filing your claim, which is typically two years from the accident in Texas). Your attorney can also communicate on your behalf with insurance representatives so that you are protected from traps to get you to make statements against your own interest.
Comparative Negligence for Cycling Accidents in Dallas
Depending on the jurisdiction, some courts may take into account whether the plaintiff in a cycling accident injury case was partially responsible for the accident and resulting injuries. Texas follows a modified comparative negligence rule. This means that recovery in a Dallas cycling accident lawsuit is reduced according to the proportion of blame that the plaintiff deserves. In the instance where the plaintiff is deemed to be more than 50% responsible for the accident, recovery will be barred entirely.
For instance, if a car speeds through a red light and collides with a cyclist who had rightfully entered the intersection, the driver of the car will likely be at fault. However, if the cyclist was not in the designated bike lane at the time of the collision and might have avoided the accident if they had abided by the rules of the road, a jury may determine that the cyclist was also partially at fault for their injuries. If the jury finds that the cyclist was 30% responsible for the accident, and the total damages sustained equate to $10,000, the cyclist could only recover 70% (or $7,000) from the driver.
Damages After a Cycling Accident in Dallas
If your cycling accident was caused by a negligent driver, the driver will be responsible for the consequences of your injury. These consequences are referred to in the legal world as damages. A Dallas court will use several factors to determine the financial scope of the damages in a particular case. Damages will typically cover the plaintiff’s medical expenses, including emergency services and rehabilitative physical therapy. If the injuries forced the plaintiff to miss time at work, damages would also encompass the plaintiff’s loss in wages. Further, courts will do their best to account for the pain and suffering that the plaintiff experienced because of the accident and the subsequent injuries.
It is difficult to estimate the scale of damages without specific information about the case at hand. Speak to one of our Dallas cycling accident lawyers today about your situation to get a customized estimate of the compensation available to you.
Wrongful Death Suit for Cycling Accident in Dallas
Texas had the third most bicycle accident fatalities in 2017. If a loved one has perished because of cycling accident injuries in Texas, you may want to consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death suit works the same way as a personal injury lawsuit, except the plaintiffs are the family members of the deceased. Per the Texas Wrongful Death Act, the spouse, parents, and children of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim. A successful wrongful death suit can award the plaintiffs with compensation for funeral expenses, medical expenses, loss of income, loss of companionship, and other forms of pain and suffering.
How Much Compensation Can You Get for a Bicycle Accident?
If your biking accident was caused by the negligent or reckless actions of a driver, compensation may be available for an array of expenses and losses, including those which you are expected to incur in the future. Compensation in a personal injury case is also referred to as “damages.”
Different types of damages attempt to compensate different types of losses and hardships. Some, called “economic damages,” function to compensate losses of a financial nature, such as:
- Reduction to future earning capacity caused by severe or disabling injuries.
- Various medical bills arising from the accident. Depending on the situation, this could potentially include expenses related to hospitalization, ambulance transportation, stitches, surgery, casts, sutures, staples, braces, wheelchairs, physical therapy, medications, medical scans, and other items and procedures.
- Wages, income, and other earnings you lost due to being out of work because of your accident.
Other types of compensation, called “non-economic damages,” try to compensate losses of a physical or psychological nature, such as the victim’s physical and mental pain and suffering. These types of losses are more difficult to quantify or assess objectively, but our Dallas bicycle collision attorneys will fight aggressively to maximize the value of your claim. Some factors that impact the amount of compensation available include:
- The severity of the injury.
- Whether the injury is permanent.
- Whether the injury left, or will leave, any permanent scars.
- The emotional and psychological impact of the injury, which can be devastating if the accident resulted in paralysis or extensive disfigurement.
Many states place preset limits, which are called damages caps, upon how much compensation a personal injury victim can ultimately recover. In Texas, damages caps apply only to cases involving medical malpractice. Victims of bicycle accidents are not subject to such caps.
Injured in a Bike Crash? Get Our Dallas Bike Accident Attorneys to Represent You
When you have been hurt in a serious accident involving a vehicle, it’s critical that you get plenty of rest so that your body can heal to the greatest extent possible. Our highly experienced attorneys will be there to handle all of the legal work on you and your family’s behalf so that you can focus on making a recovery. You can depend on our skilled legal team to work aggressively and persistently in a tireless effort to negotiate a favorable settlement offer, or, if doing so serves your best interests, to take your case to trial.
Equipped with more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury claims in Texas, the Dallas bike crash lawyers of Queenan Law are firmly committed to pursuing justice and accountability for injury victims and their loved ones. Contact us today for a free consultation at (817) 476-1797.