Corpus Christi Bicycle Accident Law Firm
Over the past decade, bicycling has become an increasingly popular form of transit for residents and visitors throughout the Coastal Bend. Whether for commuting, fitness, or recreation, cycling is an important aspect of life forCorpus Christi citizens. To ensure cyclists can conveniently and safely enjoy riding in their communities, the Corpus Christi Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has developed a comprehensive Bicycle Plan, fostering cycling as meaningful alternative transportation.
Although cycling provides a host of community benefits, there is an inevitable downside: A rise in cycling means a rise in bicycle accidents. The MPO’s Bicycle Plan makes safe cycling a top priority, but in reality, cyclists will always face dangers when sharing Corpus Christie-area roads with motorists. Collisions with motor vehicles, in particular, put cyclists at risk of serious injury and deadly accidents.
The Patel Firm is dedicated legal team of personal injury attorneys who represent victims of Corpus Christi-area bicycle accidents. Our mission is to hold motorists and others accountable when their careless, reckless, or inattentive actions leave area cyclists severely injured or worse. Read on to learn more about how we can help you and your family after a bicycle accident disrupts your life, and contact us today.
Our Law Practice
The Patel Firm is a Corpus Christi-based law firm that represents victims of unexpected accidents, injuries, and fatalities throughout Texas. Our sole mission is to help our clients recover the compensation they deserve from those whose actions did them harm. Having lived and worked in the Corpus Christi area for most of our lives, we have experienced both the benefits and tragic consequences of the growth of cycling in our community.
Attorney Minesh J. Patel founded The Patel Firm with only one interest in mind: supporting his fellow Corpus Christi citizens after an unexpected injury causes some of the most difficult moments of their lives. Attorney Patel and his colleague Attorney Justin P. Green, together with an outstanding team of paralegals and litigation assistants, have recovered millions of dollars for Texans and their families who have been injured as a result of someone else’s wrongful conduct.
Attorney Patel cannot guarantee he will recover compensation for you after a bicycle accident. But he promises you that he and his team will work tirelessly in pursuing justice for you and your family.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Texas law gives cyclists the same rights and responsibilities as any other road user. For cyclists, that means stopping at stop signs and red lights, using hand signals when turning, and generally conducting themselves the same way a vehicle driver would on the road. For motorists, it means treating cyclists as equals on the road. In fact, in 2012 Corpus Christi enacted an ordinance specifically aimed at protecting “vulnerable road users,” including cyclists that require motorists to:
- Only pass cyclists on the left;
- Pass cyclists at a safe distance, defined as three feet for a car, and six feet for a truck; and
- Return to the right only after the vehicle is safely clear of the bicycle.
Despite these laws, bicycle accidents still happen. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2018, in Corpus Christi, alone, there were 67 reported bicycle accidents, some of which resulted in incapacitating and even fatal injuries. Cyclists and motorists should safely share the road, yet too many factors frequently cause accidents. More reasons for the MPO’s safety Plan.
What factors contribute to these accidents? Here are some of the most common:
- Failure to yield right of way. Perhaps the single most common factor in all bicycle accidents involving a collision with a motor vehicle is the motorist’s failure to yield the right of way to a cyclist. While this can happen in a variety of scenarios, typically, collisions result from a driver’s inattention or even purposeful failure to yield the right-of-way to the cyclist. For example, a driver may headlessly change lanes, unaware of the cyclists in their blind spots or may inadvertently turn, crossing an opposing cyclist’s lane of travel.
- Failure to look before opening doors. In urban areas like Corpus Christi, where cars park parallel to the curb, cyclists face a constant danger of “doorings” when riding on the streets. A “dooring” refers to the scenario when a car driver or passenger opens a door directly into the path of a cyclist who doesn’t have time to react, causing the cyclist to crash into the open door. This can result in serious injury to the cyclist.
- Aggressive driving. Anyone who cycles on public roads, at one time or another, has had a frightening encounter with a motorist who seems angry to be sharing the road with the cyclist. At times, the angry driver may engage in aggressive driving behavior. Commonly reported behaviors include: passing a cyclist at an unsafe distance, speeding past a cyclist, cutting off a cyclist, riding a cyclist’s tail, or (in the worst cases) shouting at or throwing trash at cyclists. Often, aggressive driving behavior can result in a catastrophic bicycle accident.
- Inattention. Drivers suffer lapses of attention for all sorts of reasons. Some of the most common include drug and alcohol use, fatigue, or getting distracted by screens and other in-car distractions. Whatever the cause, inattention frequently results in motorists cutting off or colliding with cyclists.
- Poor visibility. Because cyclists must ride to the right-most side of a travel lane, they run the risk of not being seen when conditions hinder driver visibility. Cyclists, of course, can do their part to increase their own visibility by wearing bright colors and equipping their bikes with appropriate head and tail lights. Although effective at times, these precautions cannot protect cyclists on roads with poor sight-lines (because of dense vegetation or other visual obstructions).
Common Injuries to Cyclists
Bicycle accidents can cause a wide variety of injuries with varying degrees of severity. At The Patel Firm, we believe that any injury or loss a cyclist suffers in an accident caused by someone else’s carelessness, recklessness, or inattention deserves compensation. Especially when a cycling accident results in a tragic fatality, or causes catastrophic injuries that may require a lifetime of medical care and treatment, such as:
- Traumatic brain injury. In Texas, while it is strongly encouraged, the law does not require cyclists to wear a helmet. In the event of a bicycle-motorist accident, wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Brain injuries can leave unprotected cyclists with an assortment of serious, and often irreversible, side effects. For instance, TBIs can cause immobility and loss of cognitive functioning, including difficulty speaking or reasoning.
- Spinal cord injury/paralysis. In any bicycle accident, and especially a head-on-collision with an object or vehicle, cyclists run a high risk of flying over the handlebars and landing violently and awkwardly on a hard road surface. This type of fall dramatically increases cyclist’s risk of spinal cord injury, which frequently leads to partial or total paralysis.
- Cuts and abrasions. Landing on and sliding across pavement can inflict severe injuries on cyclists involved in accidents. Because cyclists are exposed (unlike motorcyclists, many rarely wear protective clothing), they are particularly susceptible to “road rash” in an accident. “Road rash” refers to the injuries resulting from friction with the road surface, which scrapes, tears, and burns exposed skin, often leaving dirt and debris embedded in the tissue. Treating severe road rash can require skin grafts and extreme measures to avoid infection.
- Orthopedic injuries. Cyclists commonly break bones, dislocate joints, and tear or sprain muscles, ligaments, and tendons in cycling accidents. Some of these injuries might heal with relatively minimal treatment and therapy, but others can cause permanent disabilities and lifelong discomfort.
Of course, these are just some of the types of detrimental harm cyclists involved in an accident may undergo. No matter how an accident has injured you, the team at The Patel Firm stands ready to help you recover compensation from those whose actions left you suffering.
Four Important Steps After a Corpus Christi Bicycle Accident
Sustaining serious injuries or a tragic loss in a bicycle accident is never something you will expect. It is impossible to prepare for the range of physical, emotional, and financial impacts that tragic accidents can have on those involved and their families. Nevertheless, if you become the victim of a tragic bicycle accident, take the following four steps to protect your and your family’s rights and wellbeing.
1. Seek Immediate and Appropriate Medical Care
Cycling poses a high risk of sustaining serious injuries in an accident, particularly in a collision with a motor vehicle. It is important to know that not all severe or even life-threatening injuries show symptoms right away. It is almost always a bad idea to self-diagnose or try to treat your injuries at home t when you’ve sustained serious trauma. Instead, go see a doctor right away. Not only does doing so protect your health and wellbeing, it also generates important medical records that will be necessary should you decide to pursue legal action against the person responsible for your accident.
2. Don’t Fix or Throw Away Your Bike
After a serious bicycle accident, your bicycle becomes important evidence, telling the story of what happened and who should be held t accountable for your injuries. Do not take your bike to the shop for repairs, and do not leave it by the curb for the trash collector. Instead, stash it somewhere safe—a garage or basement works fine—along with any loose parts that fell off during the accident. It is important to keep your bicycle stored away, untouched, until you have spoken with an experienced Corpus Christi bicycle accident attorney.
3. Be Wary of Talking to Insurance Companies
It is unlikely you can entirely avoid speaking with an insurance company after sustaining injuries or a tragic loss in a bicycle accident. For example, your need for medical care may require you to contact your health insurance company. If you must speak with a representative of your own insurance company, keep the conversation short and disclose only the most basic facts. You may not realize that an offhand comment, such as “I should have seen the other guy coming,” can be used against you as evidence of your own fault.
If a representative or adjuster from someone else’s insurance company contacts you, you must use extreme caution. If at all possible, decline to engage in the conversation at all and refer the caller to your attorney. Individuals representing the interests of another party involved in your bicycle accident is not concerned with your wellbeing. The only reason to contact you is their belief that by speaking with you directly, they can minimize their own financial exposure to costs for your injuries and losses. Don’t fall for their tactics. They use their skills and experience to influence injured cyclists to accept a sum of money much lower than you deserve in exchange for giving up your legal rights.
4. Talk to An Experienced Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Of course, we would prefer you call us, but talking with any Corpus Christi bicycle accident attorney will help to protect you not only from unscrupulous insurance tactics, but also from the financial and emotional burdens associated with the aftermath of a serious bicycle accident. Think of a lawyer as a shield who can protect you from people attempting to take advantage of your situation and allow you the time and space you need to process your trauma and begin to heal. A lawyer can also advise you about your rights to compensation for your injuries, investigate your accident to identify parties with potential legal liability to you for damages, and pursue those parties through negotiation or legal action.
Your Bicycle Accident Attorney
Attorney Minesh J. Patel and his team at The Patel Firm make it their mission to help Corpus Christi residents and visitors recover from devastating bicycle accidents. They have the experience, the resources, and the reputation to obtain the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. Calls us today at (361) 400-2036 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.