Dallas Bicycle Accident Lawyer
The Dallas Law Office of Dorothy M. Hyde protects the legal rights of bicycle riders. Boasting more than two decades of personal injury litigation experience, Dottie Hyde is a respected bicycle accident lawyer who effectively represents cyclists who have been harmed by negligent drivers. Dottie Hyde always fights for maximum compensation on behalf of her clients, whether secured through a bike crash insurance claim or a jury verdict.
Read on for comprehensive legal information about bicycle accidents and injuries, their causes and liability issues specific to Texas.
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Types of bicycle accidents
There are many common causes of bicycle accidents in Texas, most of which occur near urban road junctions. Cyclists often share the road with other vehicles and pedestrians, which presents the opportunity for collisions and mishaps. A qualified bicycle injury lawyer can help determine the cause of the accident and who is responsible. Dottie Hyde has successfully represented numerous cyclists who have been injured by reckless or unobservant drivers.
Types of bike accidents that may lead to serious injuries or death:
- Road rage
- Doored by car
- Left turn/gap turn/right turn
- Side swiped
- Rear end collision
- Intersection collision
- Hit and run
- Street defects and road debris
- Failure to yield
- Merging or lane changes
- Pedestrian bike accidents
If a bike and car collide, who is at fault for the accident?
Throughout Texas and the United States, bicycle accidents with cars are the leading cause of severe injury to recreational cyclists. Statistically speaking, most bicycle deaths involving cars, trucks or other motor vehicles occur between 4 p.m. and midnight when visibility is poor. Those who are involved in a bike car accident may be entitled to monetary damages in the event that a negligent driver was at fault.
Establishing liability in a bicycle car accident hinges on a number of factors. If either the motorist or cyclist was not following the rules of the road, they may be under legal obligation to pay for property damage and financial losses. Texas adheres to a modified comparative fault rule, meaning that an injured cyclist cannot recover damages if they are more than 50 percent at fault in the accident.
Cyclists shoulder the blame nearly half of the time in bike-car collisions, according to research by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The most common cause of such accidents was failing to yield the right of way. Following any type of collision with a vehicle, it’s important to consult a bicycle wreck lawyer who will thoroughly review the case and collaborate with experts to determine liability.
Texas bicycle accident statistics
According to government bike accident statistics, an average of 48 Texans die each year in a bicycle crash. A surge in serious and fatal bicycle accidents should come as no surprise, given that increasing numbers of Americans are traveling to work by bicycle. In 2014, more than 21,000 cyclists were involved in traffic accidents in the U.S., including 3,514 who were severely injured or killed.
Bicycle laws in Texas regarding the specific distance for overtaking vehicles vary from city to city. For example, San Antonio, Austin, New Braunfels and El Paso have passed laws demanding that make motor vehicles give cyclists a 3-foot berth when overtaking. Motorists who violate this rule and cause injury or death while passing a cyclist may be held accountable by the victim and their bike accident attorney.
Texas bicycle helmet laws are also inconsistent across the state. In 1996, Dallas city officials passed a bike helmet ordinance as a means to improve cycling safety, which made helmet use mandatory for all cyclists – regardless of age. In 2014 the ordinance was changed and Dallas bike helmet laws only apply to those 18 and under who are cycling on sidewalks, public streets or park property.
Even though helmets are not legally mandatory for most Texans, their use can help prevent catastrophic skull and head injuries and bicycle fatalities.
What to do after a bike accident
The actions you take immediately following a bike on car collision, or any type of roadway incident, can seriously impact your rights to compensation. In the context of bicycle-versus-vehicle accidents, many cyclists are unaware of their legal rights and are relieved to simply walk away unscathed.
The following are tips on how to handle a bike accident with a vehicle, which will ensure your own protection and help preserve evidence for a personal injury claim.
10 steps to take after a bike accident:
- Call 911 and report the accident.
- Collect the other party’s personal and insurance information.
- Gather contact information from witnesses on the scene.
- Never admit fault or minimize your injuries.
- Get medical treatment immediately after the collision.
- Use your cell phone to photograph the accident scene, including skid marks and objects damaged during the collision.
- Check for and document hazardous road conditions and broken pavement that may be traced back to poor maintenance by the municipality.
- Write down a detailed account of the accident as soon as possible, which will prove valuable if a claim takes months to settle.
- Be consistent with follow-up medical care and treatment.
- Consult with a bicycle injury attorney who will deal with insurance companies and protect your best interests.
Another word of bike accident advice: be overly cautious about potential injury. Adrenaline masks pain, so be sure to have a complete physical exam following any type of accident.
Bike accident injuries
Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine confirms that safety helmets are effective in preventing bicycle accident injury, particularly head trauma. Without the benefit of protective head gear, cyclists are at increased risk for skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries that require costly medical treatment and ongoing care. While musculoskeletal and soft tissue trauma is the most common injury among cyclists, head injuries are responsible for most deaths and long-term disabilities.
Hospital costs for bicycle crash injuries can quickly accumulate into the tens of thousands of dollars, especially in cases involving catastrophic spinal or brain injury. Costs for emergency hospital care, medicines and physiotherapy are compounded by lost wages and extended time off work, putting many victims on the brink of financial ruin.
Non-use of helmets, crashes with motor vehicles and unsafe riding environments are the three largest risk factors for devastating bicycle accident injuries, including:
- Skull fractures
- Brain contusion
- Intracranial hemorrhage
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Bone fractures
- Cervical strains and spinal injury
- Road rash and lacerations
- Rib fractures
- Soft tissue and tendon damage
- Knee and hip injuries
- Facial and dental fractures
- Internal injury including splenic rupture, renal contusion and vascular perforation
Bicycle accident insurance claim
In Texas, cyclists are not able to purchase bicycle accident insurance coverage per se, but their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) auto insurance coverage may offer some compensation in the event of an accident. Like many states, Texas has a fault-based system of personal injury recovery and car insurance. The party who is found to be at fault in a bicycle accident will be responsible for paying damages. This compensation is covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier and accounts for losses such as medical bills, lost income, as well as bicycle repairs.
Not surprisingly, insurance companies are only interested in their own bottom line, and may propose unreasonably low settlements to those without legal representation. Bicycle accident claim payouts can reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on case specific circumstances. In order to get fair and full compensation that is deserved, you need a bike accident lawyer like Dottie Hyde who understands how to prepare personal injury claims and deal with insurance companies.
How much is my bicycle accident case worth?
Although there is no specific formula for determining how much a claim is worth, these factors may influence the amount recovered in a bicycle accident settlement:
- Amount of medical and hospital bills
- If injuries resulted in lasting disability
- Duration of medical treatment
- Loss of income and projected future earnings
- Aggravating factors such as distracted driving
- Cap on insurance policies
If a settlement offer is unreasonable, your attorney will file a bicycle accident lawsuit. Apart from the cost of repairing or replacing a crashed bike, a lawsuit may seek reparations for the following kinds of losses:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning ability
- Rehabilitation costs
- Pain, suffering and inconvenience
- Emotional trauma
Bicycle accident attorney Dallas TX
Put your faith in a law firm with a proven track record of success. Dallas bicycle accident attorney Dottie Hyde is passionate about protecting the rights of Texas cyclists, and has the resources and knowledge to get you back in the saddle and justly compensated for your injuries.
If you’ve been injured and want to explore your options for filing a claim, contact us today for a free case evaluation. You can reach us toll free at 214-790-7623.
Bicycle accident resources
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, Pedestrian and Bicyclist Crash Statistics http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/data/factsheet_crash.cfm
- NPR.org, When Bikes And Cars Collide, Who’s More Likely To Be At Fault? http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2011/05/20/136462246/when-bikes-and-cars-collide-whos-more-likely-to-be-at-fault
- NHTSA, Preventing Two-Wheeled Tragedies: The Mistakes We All Make file:///C:/Users/user/Downloads/S1N_Bicycles_812047.pdf
- New England Journal of Medicine, A Case-Control Study of the Effectiveness of Bicycle Safety Helmets http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejm198905253202101
- The Dallas Morning News, Dallas bike helmet rules now apply only to cyclists under age 18 http://cityhallblog.dallasnews.com/2014/06/dallas-bike-helmet-rules-now-apply-only-to-cyclists-under-age-18.html/
- American Family Physician, Bicycle-Related Injuries http://www.aafp.org/afp/2001/0515/p2007.html