Who Is Responsible for a Bike Crash With a Car?
Vehicle drivers are often the cause of bike accidents. It some situations, however, it is not clear who is at fault, which is why it is essential to contact a bicycle accident lawyer after a crash. When you believe the other party is responsible, you should have an experienced attorney thoroughly investigate the crash who will gather evidence of the motorist’s fault and defend against allegations that you were responsible.
Texas follows a modified comparative fault rule. This means, if you are somewhat at fault for a crash, you may still be able to recover compensation. As long as you are 50% or less at fault, you can receive compensation. However, the amount you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For instance, if an insurer or a court finds you are 10 percent responsible for the accident, you can only recover 90% of your damages. If it is determined that you are 51 percent or more at fault, then you are prohibited from receiving any compensation.
At Anderson Injury Lawyers, our bike accident lawyers have also represented drivers injured in crashes caused by cyclists and pedestrians injured because of negligent bikers. Whatever the situation, if you believe another person was responsible for your injuries, give us a call to learn more about how you can pursue what’s fair under the law.
A Car Pulls Out from a Side Street
The single most common type of bike accident occurs when cars pull out of a side street or parking lot and hit an oncoming bicyclist. Studies show that drivers tend to look into the middle of the road for oncoming traffic, but rarely do they check bike lanes or the sides of streets.
In this kind of accident, the driver is at-fault; bicyclists have the right of way and cars must yield to them.
A Driver Opens Their Car Door Into a Bicyclist
Even if a driver checks their side-view mirror before opening their car door, they might still not see a bicyclist. When a driver opens their car door and hits a bicyclist (or causes a bicyclist to hit the door), it’s the driver’s fault. The law states that no driver should open a vehicle door on the side of moving traffic until it’s reasonably safe to do so.
A Car Hits a Bicyclist Riding Against Traffic
As a driver pulls out of a side street to make a right-hand turn, they often look to their left (toward oncoming traffic) to check for when it’s clear. If a bicyclist is coming from the opposite direction, the driver could pull out into them and hit them.
In this instance, it could be shared fault, the driver’s fault or the bicyclist’s fault. Bicyclists who are riding on a main road with traffic are expected to follow the rules of the road (including riding with the flow of traffic), so riding against traffic would break this rule. However, if the bicyclist was on a sidewalk, those laws no longer apply.
A Car Turns In Front of a Cyclist
Cars turning right in front of bicyclists are another major cause of bike accidents. In many cases, drivers look for oncoming traffic before they turn right but it never occurs to them to check their mirrors to see if bicyclists are coming along the side. If a car turns into a biker and hits them, it’s the driver’s fault.
A Car Hits a Bicyclist Traveling in the Same Direction
Texas doesn’t have a statewide law governing the safe distance for a car to leave between them and a cyclist. When a car’s passing a bicycle, it’s up to their judgment how far is “far enough.” However, certain cities like Austin and El Paso have passed their own three-foot gap laws, meaning a car must leave at least three feet between them and a cyclist when passing them on the road.
Potholes and Bad Sidewalks Lead to Accidents: Suing the City
The Fort Worth Metroplex is not known to be pedestrian-friendly. Despite recent efforts by cities such as Fort Worth and Arlington to initiate projects intended to improve walking areas, most cities in North Texas heavily favor the automobile at the expense of the pedestrian. In fact, DFW ranks as the 10th most dangerous metro area in the nation in terms of pedestrian safety, according to Transportation for America.
Common accidents caused by poorly designed sidewalks include instances where there are no crosswalks available or where obstacles (such as fire hydrants or poles) in the middle of the sidewalk force pedestrians to walk in the street. This is particularly a problem for parents pushing strollers, joggers, elderly pedestrians and the disabled. It forces them off the sidewalk and into a position where they are much more likely to be hit by a car.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident with a Car
If you were riding your bike when suddenly you were struck by a car or other vehicle, you should take the following steps to set yourself up for a successful claim:
01 Seek Medical Attention
You may or may not go to the emergency room directly after a bike-car crash. If you were hurt but do not head to the ER, you should still see a physician as soon as possible.
02 Call 911
After an accident, it is important to have it documented. You want the police to come and draft a report. However, if you are seriously injured, do your best to call for help while keeping yourself as safe as possible.
03 Exchange Information
Ask for the driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information. However, if you are seriously injured and taken to the ER right away, you will not be able to gather this information. One of our bike accident attorneys can gather this information on your behalf.
04 Ask for Witnesses’ Information
If anyone saw what happened and stuck around to help, ask for their name and contact information.
05 Take Photos
If you can, you should document the scene the best you can. Take photos and video of your damaged bike and any damage to the vehicle or surrounding property. Also, take photos of your injuries.
06 Call a Bike Injury Lawyer
If you believe the driver caused the crash, call Anderson Injury Lawyers as soon as possible to discuss how to move forward with an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Bicycle Accident Compensation
Every bike accident case is unique, and your specific financial losses will depend on various factors. Your injuries may have resulted in overwhelming medical bills, time away from work, or permanent physical limitations. Whether you focus on recovering what you need through an insurance claim or a lawsuit, we will aggressively fight for you to receive full and fair compensation for your:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Physical Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Physical Limitations
- Reduced Earning Capacity
Pursuing Compensation After Being Injured in a Bicycle Crash
There are several reasons to contact a bicycle accident lawyer after a crash. The first is to ensure you know who is at fault. This is necessary if you wish to pursue an insurance settlement because you will need to file the insurance claim against the liable party’s policy. The second reason is that a lawyer’s thorough investigation will provide you with the evidence necessary to prove the other party’s fault. Without proof of the other party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct, you are unlikely to receive compensation for your injuries. Third, a lawyer’s experience, insight, and negotiation skills will not only be vital to obtaining an insurance payout, but also to maximize the compensation you receive for your physical, emotional, and financial injuries.
Another critical reason to speak with an attorney after a bicycle accident is to determine whether you need to file a lawsuit. It may be that the at-fault party does not have insurance. The party responsible for the crash may not have insurance. Or, if the insurance claim process leads to a denied claim, then you may be forced to pursue compensation at trial. Filing a lawsuit may also provide leverage for demanding a fair amount of compensation from an insurer who wishes to avoid lengthy litigation.
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Additional Information About Bicycle Accidents
When Is the Bicyclist At-Fault?
If you've been in a bicycle accident and specifically, if you've been in a bicycle accident with a car or truck, you're likely wondering who broke the law, who's at-fault and most importantly, who's going to pay for all the damages and injuries caused as a result?
At our firm, we see the driver being found at-fault for a car vs. bike accident. However, this isn't always the case. Here are a few laws that pertain to cyclists. If you were breaking one of them during your accident, you could be found at-fault.
- Cyclists should only ride on roads, streets and paths without "no biking" signs.
- On shared sidewalks, the bicycle rider is responsible for giving proper warning when approaching others.
- When cycling on a roadway, bicycles must keep as far to the right of the road as possible.
- If a cyclist must turn left on a roadway, they should align themselves appropriately as with any other vehicle.
- Bicycles on roads comply with all traffic signals, warning signs and other laws - just like cars must.
- All bikes must be in good working condition (proper brakes, handlebars, etc.)
- If you ride ,at night you must fit your bike with a white head lamp on the front and a reflector on the rear.
- If there is only one permanent seat/saddle fitted to the bike, then only one person may ride it.
- Pulling or dragging people on roller skates, sled, cart, etc. is not permitted.
- It is illegal to attempt to transport a load which requires you to have less than one hand on the bicycle's handlebars.
Bicyclists must also use correct hand signals to signal their intention to maneuver to other road users:
- Stopping - extend left arm downwards
- Turning left - extend left arm out horizontally
- Turning right - extend right arm out horizontally (or extend left arm upwards)
So, for instance, if you made a sudden left hand turn and didn't signal, and a car hit you as a result, you could be found at-fault for the wreck for failing to signal.
The Legal Rights of Texas Cyclists
Since bikes aren't motorized, many Texas motorists seem to forget that bicyclists have just as much right to be on the road as any other vehicle. Of course, it also means cyclists have to abide by all the same rules as other drivers. This includes staying off sidewalks, stopping at red lights and stop signs and yielding to pedestrians.
If you've been hit by a driver, it's likely the driver will try to pin the blame on you. They might accuse you of riding in the middle of the road or riding with two cyclists abreast, saying it's your fault you were in the way. However, if you understand the law and your rights as a bicyclist, you'll see that neither of these arguments are valid.
It's important to know your rights when making a claim against a negligent driver. They hit you and they need to be held responsible. Here are a few more Texas cyclist rights you should keep in mind:
- Cyclists may ride in the road in the same direction as traffic, though they should stay as far right as possible.
- Cars must yield to a bicycle when they have the right-of-way, just as they would to another car.
- Cyclists should ride near the curb, but Texas law allows cyclists to take up the entire lane when it's safer to do so.
- Cyclists can ride two abreast as long as they don't slow down traffic.
- Cyclists can take up the entire lane when the lane is too narrow for a car to pass the rider at a safe distance (or a road that's less than 14 feet across and doesn't have a bicycle lane).
At this point, many people choose to consult with a board certified personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you determine what laws the car was breaking when they hit you and how much money you deserve in compensation for your damages and injuries. Furthermore, a lawyer who takes on your case will collect evidence to prove the other driver was negligent.
Common Cyclist Injuries
As a cyclist hit by a car or pedestrian who collides with a cyclist, you may now be suffering from:
- Road rash
- Broken bones
- Dislocated joints
- Head and face injuries
- Dental injuries
- Concussions (mild traumatic brain injuries)
- Moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Whiplash or other neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
What Insurance Is Available to Cyclists?
In many accident cases, you can file against multiple insurance policies rather than just one. The most obvious is the at-fault driver's liability insurance, which should cover your bodily injuries and damage to your bike. You can also file against your own underinsured or uninsured motorist policy if you happen to have it.
For example, if you were in a bike wreck and you're left with $50,000 in medical bills, but the negligent driver only carries the state minimum of $30,000, then you are still going to have to pay $20,000 out of pocket. However, if you're carrying underinsured motorist coverage, you can file a claim against that coverage to cover the remaining balance.
What If the Driver Who Hit You Drove Away (Hit and Run)?
Luckily, you aren't out of luck if you've been injured as a pedestrian by someone who drove away or who doesn't have enough insurance to cover your damages. In these situations, you can use your own insurance to cover the cost of your medical expenses and more. The type of insurance you'll need to have is called Personal Injury Protection (PIP). PIP is a form of additional add-on insurance you can buy to protect yourself and your family members in the event of an auto accident. Since PIP is considered no-fault insurance, it can be used even if you caused the accident (as a driver, pedestrian or otherwise).To Find Out If You Have PIP, You'll Need to Do Your Research
You can look at your insurance policy to see if you're covered by PIP. Under Texas insurance law, the "named insured" and their family members are covered under PIP as pedestrians. If the injured pedestrian isn't either the policyholder or a family member, they aren't covered.
As Fort Worth attorneys, we know that insurance policies aren't always easy to understand. It might not be clear what insurance you have and if it's going to cover your damages and injuries, particularly in the case of pedestrian injury.
In these cases, it's best to consult with your personal injury lawyer. They'll be able to tell you exactly what insurance you're carrying and your right to coverage.Does PIP Cover Anything Else?
Aside from protecting you if you're hit by a car as a pedestrian, PIP covers a whole range of scenarios. Most involve auto accidents in some form or another, though you don't always have to be the driver or a pedestrian to use your PIP. For instance, contact with a car of any kind - like falling from a tree and hitting your car - will afford you PIP (if you've paid the premium and no rejection can be produced).
Bicycle Accident Injuries Hold Different Settlement Amounts
If you're riding your bicycle and were hit by a vehicle, it’s possible that you may be in pain and need medical treatment. Bicyclists whose injuries were caused by an at-fault driver may be entitled to receive compensation for their injuries in the form of settlement. The settlement can differ from a low to a high amount depending on the severity of the accident and injuries.
For example, a bicyclist who was pushed off their bikes and onto a car’s windshield may require physical rehabilitation if there weren’t serious injuries involved. This bicyclist’s settlement may be lower than a bicyclist who was airlifted to a hospital, received multiple surgeries, and required months to recover.
While both accidents involved injuries, each settlement would hold different amounts because they hold different levels of severity. Injured bicyclists who have medicals bills should contact the Anderson Injury Lawyers if they want an experienced team of attorneys to handle their case in a professional manner, especially if they want a settlement that covers for their accident-related medical expenses, which no injured victim should have to cover.
Texas Law Doesn't Always Protect Cyclists
Unfortunately, when a cyclist is hit by a car and it's the driver's fault, there aren't any statewide laws in Texas to protect the cyclist. They're considered a vehicle and are given no special treatment. However, it's clear that bicycles and cars aren't the same. Shouldn't drivers take extra care around exposed cyclists? And shouldn't they face harsh penalties for carelessness, especially if their actions cause harm to the cyclist?
If you've been hit on your bike by a car, you deserve compensation. Consider hiring an attorney (who won't charge anything unless they win your case) to take on your claim and help you recover the money you need to pay for your damaged bike and medical bills.
What Can Cyclists Do to Protect Themselves?
Wear a helmet! Cyclists have very little protection in the event of a collision, so protecting your head with a good helmet is an absolute must. The head holds the brain - one of the most important organs of the body - which is why safeguarding it with a sturdy helmet should be a primary task. It’s also important that you follow all the rules of the road, just as though you were driving a motor vehicle. Additionally, take care whenever you’re passing a row of parked cars – you don’t want to accidentally crash into a car door which suddenly opens.Additional Safety Measures
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), being seen by motorists is very important for a bicyclist’s safety. This can be accomplished by making sure that drivers see you by making eye contact with them. Also, crossing the road should be done stepping off the bicycle and stopping before crossing. By doing so, drivers have time to notice a bicyclist, and bicyclists can be sure that a driver has made visual contact with them. By both the bicyclist and driver noticing each other, an accident can be avoided.The Most Dangerous Time of Day
There is more traffic on the roads between the hours of 5:00 and 9:00 pm, as people head home from work and go out and about in the evening, which means there is greater potential for an accident to occur. It also starts to get dark during these hours, which means visibility becomes even worse.
Bicyclists who choose to drive within these late hours should be sure to have reflective gear on their bicycle, which can let motorists know that they are on the road. Also, attaching a light to the front of their bicycle can be a benefit when riding during the evening. Due to new technology innovations, bicyclists are able to purchase LED lights that shine brighter than conventional lights and last longer.
Is It Illegal to Bike Without a Helmet in Texas?
There are no statewide laws requiring helmets while riding a bicycle in Texas. However, there are a number of cities in Texas that have enacted their own local laws regarding helmet use.
As Fort Worth personal injury lawyers, we encourage all bicyclists to wear a helmet while riding. It's better to minimize the risk of injury - even traumatic brain injury - than to go without.Cities that Require Helmets
In 1996, the city of Dallas became the first Texas municipality to require cyclists of all ages to wear a helmet while riding. The following cities have also introduced local regulations regarding the mandatory use of helmets by cyclists:
- Arlington (under 18)
- Austin (under 18)
- Bedford (under 16)
- Benbrook (under 17)
- Coppell (under 15)
- Fort Worth (under 18)
- Houston (under 18)
- Southlake (under 15)
Although blanket helmet use is not mandated by Texas law, Sec. 551.104 of the Texas Transportation Code does require that all pushbikes are equipped with functional brakes capable of stopping on dry, level, clean pavement.
If a bicycle is indented to be operated at night, it must also be equipped with a white light on the front of the bike that is visible from a distance of at least 500 feet, and a red light on the rear of the bike that is visible from a distance of 500 feet. (A red reflector may be substituted on the rear of the bike in place of a red light. The reflector must be visible from all distances from 50 to 300 feet.)
Fatal Bike Crashes
If you received the devastating phone call that your parent, spouse, or child was killed in a bicycle accident, call our bike accident attorneys at Anderson Injury Lawyers right away. In addition to handling personal injury claims in Fort Worth, we also represent families and personal representatives in Texas wrongful death lawsuits. If there is evidence that another person’s carelessness, recklessness, or misconduct caused your loved one’s death, then we will explain your families right to pursue compensation.
Contact a Forth Worth Bicycle Accident Law Firm Today
If you were hurt in a bike crash, your best chance of obtaining what you need to cover your medical bills and other financial losses is to pursue an insurance claim, or in some cases, filing a personal injury lawsuit. However, dealing with an insurance company can be difficult, particularly when you are still recovering from your injuries. Filing a lawsuit on your own can be an intimidating prospect. For help with these steps, you can reach out to a bicycle accident lawyer at Anderson Injury Lawyers. We want to help you receive full and fair compensation for your injuries.
If you suffered harm in an accident or any incident caused by negligence, contact Anderson Injury Lawyers right away. We offer individualized attention, over 25 years of experience, and everything you need to get everything you deserve.
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