Bicycle Accidents in Texas

With the massive number of cars on roads that are straining to provide adequate space for drivers, riding a bicycle in Texas can be a difficult and dangerous proposition. Even so, the benefits of a bike outweigh the negatives when you consider its environmental friendliness and the positive effect it can have on your overall health and well-being.

Unfortunately, even a socially responsible act like riding a bicycle can lead to disastrous consequences, depending on who you are sharing the road with. In fact, a prior study conducted by the Bicycle Almanac stated that as many as 92 percent of all accidents involving both an automobile and a bicycle are the fault of the driver and not the cyclist.

In light of these alarming statistics, it is important that you know what your options are if you are ever involved in an accident due to the negligence of another while riding your bicycle. This will enable you to approach the impending legal situation in the most productive and timely manner, giving you a greater chance of receiving the compensation you deserve for the pain and suffering you sustained.

Elements of a Bicycle Lawsuit

After being involved in a bicycle accident, there are many reasons why a lawsuit may become the next logical step, such as if the offending party hit you but did not stop, if they dispute the fact that they were negligent, if the insurance company refuses to pay for all of your injuries and medical bills, etc. If any of these situations presents itself you may be eligible for financial compensation (also called damages). However, keep in mind that even though you may be eligible to receive damages, it is still your responsibility and that of your attorney to prove the offending party was at-fault.

There are many different situations and scenarios in which you can be injured while on a bicycle due to an accident caused by the negligence of another. Some of the most common in the state of Texas include:

• Failure to Yield
• Aggressive Passing
• Failure to Stop (red light or stop sign)
• Traffic Congestion
• Reckless Driving
• Speeding / Failure to Control Speed
• Driver Distraction
• Failure to See Bicycle
• Drunk Driving
• Turning into Cyclist

The State of Texas follows what is called “comparative negligence.” The Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §33.001 states that a claimant (the injured party) may not recover damages if his or her percentage of responsibility is greater than 50%. Section 33.013 goes on to say that if the percentage of responsibility attributable to the defendant with respect to a cause of action in greater than 50%, then the injured party is eligible to file suit. This is beneficial to the plaintiff because if Texas followed what is called “contributory negligence”, the injured party could not sue if they were even 1% responsible for the accident.

Comparative negligence is an interesting concept, because the amount of damages awarded is reduced by the percentage of the plaintiff’s fault in the bicycle accident. This means you can be partially at-fault and still sue, though your potential damages would be less than if the defendant was fully responsible for the accident.

In Texas, the plaintiff and his/her personal injury attorney must prove the following by a preponderance of evidence (51%):

•That the negligent driver owed the injured bicyclist a duty to act with reasonable care when operating his/her vehicle, which is a general duty imposed on all drivers in Texas.

•That the negligent driver breached this duty by failing to act with reasonable care when operating the vehicle, such as by using their phone while driving, driving while distracted or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

•That the negligent driver’s conduct was the actual and proximate cause of the bicyclist’s injuries.

•That the bicyclist suffered some form of injury from the negligent driver’s conduct that can be compensated in the form of monetary damages.

Understanding these elements of proof in a Texas bicycle accident lawsuit will give you the ability to approach this stressful and complex situation in the most effective manner possible.

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