Houston Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Table of Contents
- Common Bicycle Accidents in Houston
- What Happens When a Bicyclist Is Hit by a Vehicle
- Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
- When a Negligent Driver Is Liable for Bicycle Accident Injuries
- When a Bike Manufacturer Is Liable for Bike Accident Injuries
- Damages in Houston Bicycle Accidents
- Find Out How Our Skilled Houston Bicycle Accident Lawyer Can Help
Despite the significant decrease in road traffic in 2020, there was a dramatic increase in bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities in Texas roadways. In fact, collisions that involve bicyclists were responsible for killing 82 people in 2020. Also, approximately 697 bicyclists died in traffic crashes in 2020, and the five most fatal states for bicyclists were New York, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, and California.
A bicyclist getting hit by any kind of motor vehicle or running into a road hazard could cause severe injuries, permanent disabilities, or death. If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in a bike accident due to someone else’s negligence, you deserve proper compensation for your injuries, pain, and suffering, and property damage.
Here at The Patel Firm PLLC, our competent Houston bicycle accident lawyer can review your case and help you recover maximum compensation for all your bicycle accident-related losses.
Drivers usually cite reckless or errant bicyclists as the cause of accidents or collisions. However, it is actually a driver’s inattentiveness or failure to yield the right-of-way to bicyclists that pave the way for bicycle accidents to occur. Other common causes of bicycle accidents include speeding, failing to obey traffic control devices, and inclement weather conditions.
Understanding the various kinds of bicycle accidents could help cyclists and drivers be more prepared when sharing the road to avoid devastating injuries to cyclists. Our skilled Houston bicycle accident lawyer handles the following bike accidents:
- Crashes at uncontrolled intersections – When a bicycle and a car approaches an intersection with no lights or signs present at about the same time, the first motorist to reach the intersection must be given the right-of-way.
- Crashes at controlled intersections – When riding your bicycle, you should always treat all traffic control devices as if you were driving a vehicle, meaning that you should always follow stop signs and traffic signals and allow vehicles to pass when they have the right-of-way.
- The Right Hook – With this type of bicycle accident, a car making a right turn collides with the bicyclist when the bicyclist is on the right portion of the road. This specific accident typically occurs because the driver failed to see the bicyclist and take note of their surroundings when turning right.
- The Left Cross – The Left Cross occurs when a car turning left crosses the path of a bicyclist crossing the road. But because left-turning cars should always give the right-of-way, the driver is usually to blame when left cross accidents happen.
- The dooring accident – This type of bike accident typically occurs when a driver goes out of their car without making sure that there’s incoming traffic. In most cases, bicyclists get “doored” because they do not have enough time to react and avoid the accident.
- Sideswipes and rear-end crashes – A driver may miscalculate the space between their car and a bicyclist they are trying to pass. When this happens, the driver might hit the rider from behind or fail to stop on time at an intersection.
- Distracted driving accidents – A lot of things can easily distract drivers. These can include using a mobile phone, eating, drinking, or even arguing with a passenger, among others. But these distractions could prove fatal to another motorist or the distracted driver.
- Drunk driving accidents – Drunk driving accidents account for approximately one-third of traffic-connected deaths. Because they are intoxicated, drunk drivers often fail to notice other road users, which could result in accidents that cause more serious injuries or even death to bicyclists.
When a bicyclist is hit by a motor vehicle, there are specific biological and physical forces at play that perfectly explain why such accidents usually end up in bicyclists getting severely injured. Likewise, the speed at which the biker is traveling, the biker’s weight, and how suddenly the biker stops will all play a role in the severity of the accident and the resulting injuries.
When you crash into a hard object, like the pavement or a car, your injuries will be more severe if you stop suddenly and fast. While the brain is surrounded by fluid that offers some protection, sudden and fast stops could still lead to the brain hitting the skull vigorously and causing traumatic brain injury. Fortunately, helmets offer extra protection for the head and absorb some of the powerful forces involved when your head hits a hard object during a bicycle accident.
Based on a report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the average bicyclist will hit their head at a speed of 9.5 miles up to 13.4 miles per hour during an accident. Helmets, however, can help protect the head and dissipate the impact of the crash over a broader area to prevent skull fractures.
In addition, bike accidents likewise usually involve friction, which occurs when the rider experiences a sliding injury. Put simply, the faster you travel, the longer you will slide on the road, generating greater friction and causing more severe injuries. Also, even when your bike suddenly stops when a car hits you, you will continue moving, which could result in you being flung to the side of your bike or over the handlebars.
The kind of injuries a bicyclist might suffer would depend on the kind of accident, the bicyclist and other motorist’s speed during the accident, the exact condition of the road, and whether or not the bicyclist was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. These bike accidents can include the following.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Also called TBIs, traumatic brain injuries are among the most common kinds of injuries in bicycle accidents, particularly when the bicyclist was not wearing a helmet during the accident. However, it’s important to note that the brain could still crash into the skull even if a bicyclist were wearing a helmet. Keep in mind that when your head comes to a fast and sudden stop, it will continue to move before staying still, which could cause it to be jostled back and forth and result in a TBI.
Considered a severe head injury, a skull fracture occurs when there’s a break in the skull. It might involve cracks or depressions, or pieces of the skull might shift inward or chip off. Although mild fractures could result in a few issues and heal fully over time, more severe fractures could cause various life-threatening complications, such as brain damage, bleeding, seizures, infections, and a cerebrospinal fluid leak.
Fractures all throughout the body are likewise common in bike accidents. In most cases, bicyclists sustain multiple fractures in crashes with motor vehicles. Most cyclists sustain fractures on their arms as they fall off their bikes because they use their arms to brace themselves or break their falls as they crash on the pavement. Depending on where the bicyclist was hit, fractures could also occur in the head, neck, back, lower extremities, and ribs.
These could occur when a bicyclist is thrown off the bike and lands on their back or head at a strange angle. Depending on the impact and injury’s severity, these could cause paralysis or death.
Bicyclists may also suffer facial injuries, such as eye injuries, fractured cheekbones, and broken jaws, among others. Some of these facial injuries may cause permanent scarring, disfigurement, or disability, even after the injury has been treated.
If you have been hurt in a bicycle accident and have sustained any of these injuries, discuss your case with an experienced Houston bicycle accident lawyer to help you determine from whom you can hold liable for your injuries and recover compensation.
All road users are legally obligated to follow the road rules, which include essential traffic rules and the responsibility to exercise proper care to ensure everyone’s safety on the road, meaning that if a negligent driver or motorist was negligent or reckless and their actions caused the bicycle accident, the injured cyclist has all the right to seek compensation from the at-fault driver.
Negligence could take on different forms. Running a red light, speeding, and driving in a bicycle lane, among others, can all be considered reckless or negligent actions because they were conducted without regard for the safety of other road users.
For example, one of the most common bicycle accidents occurs when a bicyclist gets hit by a car that’s turning right. When turning right, the car cuts through the bicyclist’s path, whether the bicyclist is in a bike lane or traffic lane.
In most instances, these accidents occur when the driver passes the bicyclist, slows down as they turn right, and moves directly into the bicyclist’s path, leaving the bicyclist no space to turn or move. In other cases, the driver turns directly right into the bicyclist without noticing the bike. In either case, however, the driver will be held liable for the crash since one of the most basic road rules is that drivers should not make a turn unless they are certain that it’s safe to do so.
Some bicycle accidents occur due to a defective bike part or bike design. The bicycle could malfunction, causing the rider to crash or not stop on time to avoid a crash. If this happens to you, you might have no clue what happened and who should be held liable for the accident. Fortunately, under Texas products liability laws, you can hold the company that manufactured, designed, or sold the defective bicycle liable for the accident and the resulting injuries.
Also, you do not have to prove the company’s negligence, unlike in other types of personal injury claims. In defective product cases, strict liability could be claimed for:
- Design defects
- Manufacturing defects
- Failure to warn
To recover damages for your injuries, you will only need to prove the following:
- The liable party manufactured, designed, sold, or distributed the defective bicycle.
- The product was already defective when it was sold or distributed by the liable party.
- The injured party used the bicycle as intended.
- The injured party sustained injuries or some type of harm due to the defective bicycle.
Texas law enables injured bicyclists to recover monetary compensation for the following losses.
Also known as compensatory damages, these can include medical bills, including future and past medical expenses associated with emergency care, ambulance, surgery, hospitalization, medical treatments, medications, and physical therapy, etc.
These can likewise include lost wages for the wages you didn’t earn because you were unable to work due to your injuries. This could include lost earning capacity and future wages if you suffered very serious injuries that affected your ability to return to work. Property damage to compensate the injured victim for damage to their bicycle is also included.
Victims injured in serious bike accidents usually require longer treatment and recovery times, and noneconomic damages are the legal system’s way of compensating victims for these losses. These damages typically include pain and suffering, disfigurement, disability, emotional distress, mental anguish, and loss of companionship.
If you lost a loved one due to a bike accident, we could also help you pursue compensation under the Texas wrongful death act to hold the negligent party responsible for their actions and recover compensation for your loved one’s death.
Being struck by another motorist while riding your bicycle could be traumatizing. After suffering injuries and other related losses, you will also have to deal with the liable party’s insurance provider to recover compensation for your damages. But keep in mind that insurance companies will always be looking out for their profit margin and not what’s best for you.
There’s simply too much at stake if you deal with the insurer by yourself while also suffering from serious injuries. You deserve fair compensation for all your bicycle accident-connected losses. Call The Patel Firm PLLC to learn how you can recover proper compensation with help from our experienced Houston bicycle accident lawyer. Contact us online or call 361-400-2036 to set up a free review of your case with our Houston bicycle accident lawyer today.