Bicycle riding is a great form of exercise, a fun recreational activity, and a way to work. But along with the positives of bicycling, there is some risk. Thousands of accidents involving cyclists occur every year in Texas, with many of those happening in Dallas and Tarrant Counties.
Our Dallas personal injury attorneys have decades of experience handling bicycle accident cases and doggedly pursuing compensation from those who caused accidents that hurt or killed bike riders. If you’ve been hurt while cycling, contact us for a free consultation by calling (214) 327-8000. We will walk through the details and discuss your options.
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Bicycle Accidents in Dallas/Ft. Worth
The Texas Department of Transportation Crash Records Information System (C.R.I.S.) reported from 2010-2016 there were 16,807 crashes in the state involving bicycles, resulting in 9,769 injuries, 5,646 possible injuries, and 362 fatalities. While Dallas is recognized by bicycle enthusiasts as a safe biking city, Dallas County ranked third in total fatalities (21) and fourth in number of accidents (1439), according to the 2010-2016 statistics.
Consider that behind everyone one of those statistics are real people who suffered injury or death while bicycling and each rider likely had a family, an employer, a social circle, disrupted by an accident that may not have been their fault. Holding the negligent party responsible and getting the compensation accident victims and their families deserve is how Anderson Injury Lawyers can help.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
There are plenty of dangers to be aware of when cycling and they may be dependent on where you are while riding. If on city streets, you’ll need to be more aware of traffic and pedestrians, while on designated bike paths other bicyclists might be a bigger concern.
Locations aside, there are some common causes for bicycle accidents:
- Distracted Drivers: Some of the most serious injuries to bicyclists happen when a car is involved. Often a driver has failed to pay proper attention while operating the vehicle due to cell phone use, eating, putting on makeup, disciplining children, or talking to passengers.
- Riders Inattentiveness: Auto drivers aren’t the only ones not paying attention out there. Some bicycle riders may be talking on handsfree cell phones or listening to music on earphones.
- Failing to Follow Traffic Rules: Both motor vehicle drivers and cyclists can be guilty of not following the rules of the road. Some aren’t even sure what those rules are! But ignorance of the law is not a defense to accidents.
- Poor Road Conditions: Sometimes no other person is involved in a bicycle accident. Instead, there could be hazards from poor road conditions like potholes that cause an accident.
- Limited Vision: Poor lighting is a known contributor to bicycle accidents. Statistics indicated most accidents occur after 5 pm.
- Equipment Defects: Accidents can occur because of a problem with the bicycle or even with the car involved. Either vehicle could have defective breaks, for instance.
- Pedestrians: Sometimes pedestrians can step off a curb into the path of a bike rider or step into a bike lane on a designated path.
Pinpointing the cause of your bicycle accident is important and the Anderson Injury Lawyers can help. Proving causation is a step in establishing a negligence claim so that you receive compensation for your damages from a bicycle accident. There may be times where the cause of your bicycle accident is unclear. You may have suffered severe injuries and don’t remember the details of what happened. In that case, our personal injury attorneys can gather evidence from the scene, police reports, witnesses, and even hire an accident reconstructionist if necessary.
Types of Injuries Common in Bicycle Accidents
Unlike a motor vehicle, bicycles have very little protection for riders in the case of accident. Cyclists can lessen the impact of some injuries by wearing a helmet, following the rules of the road, staying attentive, signaling turns, and having lights or reflectors, but in a crash the body of a bicyclist is likely going to get banged up.
Common injuries in bicycle accidents include:
- Road Rash – when a cyclist is thrown to the road in an accident, he may slide across the pavement leaving a rash from the asphalt
- Strains/sprains/bruises – these injuries can come from falls off the bike or collisions with pedestrians, other bikes, or cars
- Broken bones – fractures to wrists, arms, collarbones, and legs can occur from crashes
- Head injuries – even those wearing helmets, and more so those without, can suffer concussions and brain injuries
- Spinal cord – a crash could injure the back and neck
- Eye injuries – road debris can fly into riders’ eyes causing scratches to the eyeball and other eye issues
- Dental problems – some riders can lose or break teeth in accidents from hitting the bike, particularly handlebars, or the ground
For your claim to be compensable, your bicycle accident must result in actual injuries that were the fault of someone’s negligence. The costs related to those injuries will be part of the compensation you are owed.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
What you do immediately following an accident will depend on how seriously you are hurt. If you’re unsure of your injuries or you’ve hit your head, have numbness, or severe pain, it is best to be transported from the scene by ambulance. In the worst-case scenario, you may be unconscious, and others will seek emergency care for you.
If you can stay at the scene of the crash, do these things:
- Call the police and wait for arrival
- Make sure your version of events is written in the accident
- Only talk to the other party involved to get contact information
- Make no admissions
- Take cell phone video or pictures of the scene, damages, your injuries
- Look around to see if there were nearby businesses or homes with security cameras
- Contact someone to take you for a medical exam
- Arrange for your bicycle to be removed from the scene
- Preserve all evidence, including cracked helmet, blood-stained items, or torn clothing
You may be contacted after an accident by the other party or the insurance company. Be very careful about communicating with either. Calls “checking in” on you likely are fishing expeditions in which they hope you will minimize your injuries or admit to some fault.
Downplaying the harm you suffered would undermine a potential damage claim. Even worse would be taking some blame if you didn’t have any. In trying to be gracious, especially if you don’t like confrontation, you may naturally say something like, “Well, I guess I could have been paying more attention too,” just so the other person’s guilt is lessened. Don’t do it!
Insurance company adjusters have one goal: save the company money by lowballing settlement offers. You may feel tempted to just take the money and put the matter behind you, but you shouldn’t do so without seeking a free consultation with our Dallas bicycle accident attorneys.
Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit Necessary?
After a bicycle accident, your life can be turned upside down. You may face a long recovery from your injuries and be unable to work, go to school, or provide care for family as you had been doing prior to being hurt. Medical expenses and lost wages may squeeze you financially as well.
Families of those killed in a bicycle accident are dealing with the emotion pain of losing their loved one, and possible facing financial hardship as well. For them, a wrongful death lawsuit may be necessary.
When you’re faced with trying to recover, return to work, and make ends meet, you need an advocate to fight for the compensation you deserve. Our bicycle accident lawyers can walk you through a personal injury claim, explain the law and possible outcomes, and work with you to gather the evidence you need to prove your case.
Under Texas law, to have a valid claim for compensation due to someone else’s bad behavior, you must show the following:
- Duty of care – that the driver, pedestrian, road maintenance entity, product manufacturer had a duty of care (to not injury) you and did not do so
- Duty of care breached – a duty was owed but was breached by failing to act reasonably
- Cause in fact – that the breach of the duty caused the accident
- Proximate cause – without the unreasonable act the injury wouldn’t have occurred (there was no intervening act)
- Damages – you suffered “actual” damages such as pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to the accident, including fixing or replacing your bike
Your personal injury attorney will analyze the facts of your case to determine if they meet the elements for a negligence claim and if so, what parties should be pursued to compensate you. If you decide to retain counsel, from that moment forward we will handle all the legal matters so that you can focus on healing and getting your life back.
Part of determining the strength of your case will be evaluating any defenses other parties could have. In Texas, under a modified comparative negligence law (known as “proportionate responsibility”), if you are found partially at fault for the crash, the amount of compensation you receive can be reduced by your percentage of your fault. Accordingly, if you are 50% of more responsible for the accident, you may recover nothing.
Let Us Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve
When you’ve been in a bicycle accident the last thing you need to worry about is getting up to speed on the complexities of insurance or possible personal injury claims. You need to focus on recovery, returning to work, and being fully present in your life. By working with Anderson Injury Lawyers, we can take on the burden of your legal claim and fight for the compensation you deserve.