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08/29/2022

Learn what to do if someone hits you on your bike and how a Houston bike accident lawyer can help.

Accidents are unwelcome incidents. Sometimes they are avoidable, and other times, they're not. There are also several cases where the accident results from someone’s negligence or recklessness. 

Accidents are scary events, but bicycle-car accidents can be really scary because of the size difference between a vehicle and a bicycle. These forms of traffic accidents have also been shown to occur frequently. 

According to statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were about 846 bicyclist fatalities, and an estimated 49,000 were injured in traffic crashes in 2019. 

Americans ride bicycles for different purposes, including to commute, exercise, or for fun - and they should be safe doing so. The sad reality is that no one ever plans for an accident. However, if you find yourself in one, you must take specific steps to ensure you get compensation. 

If you are a bicycle accident victim, you should consult a Houston bike accident lawyer for legal guidance. This article will discuss things you should do after a bike accident.

Statistics and Causes of Bicycle Accidents 

Cyclists constitute just 1% of the total trips in the United States. However, bicyclists account for over 2% of fatalities involving motor vehicle accidents on public roads. 

About one thousand cyclists die, and over 130,000 are injured in crashes that occur on roads in the United States every year. From 2011 to 2020, bicyclist and other cyclist fatalities increased by 38%, from 682 in 2011 to 938 in 2020. 

The severity of injuries caused by bicycle accidents ranges from minor to severe. Below are some common causes of cycling accidents. 

  • A motor vehicle comes out suddenly from a sharp bend without noting the bike lane
  • Drunk driving
  • Left-hand turn accidents
  • Dangerous road conditions
  • A driver of a parked vehicle opens their door suddenly in the path of a rider 
  • The cyclist riding against oncoming traffic (wrong lane of travel)
  • A vehicle driving in the bicycle lane
  • Cyclist or motorist running a red light 
  • Cyclist or motorist making an unpredictable, dangerous move
  • Aggressive driving 
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving 

Can I Get Compensation if I Was Hit By a Vehicle While Riding My Bike?

Cyclists usually feel like they have lesser rights than other motorists on the road. This couldn't be farther from the truth. As an avid cyclist, you have equal rights with the other motorists on the road. 

So, if you were hit by a vehicle while riding your bike, you may be liable for financial recovery. However, the responsible party's fault must be proven on a preponderance of the evidence. 

Cycling accidents fall under personal injury law, and Texas is an at-fault state which gives you the right to pursue compensation if you were not at fault in the accident. Below are some of the damages you could collect when you file an insurance claim or lawsuit: 

  • Medical bills (past, present, and future costs)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage 
  • Loss of income and earning capacity
  • Loss of companionship 
  • Ambulance bills
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of amenities
  • Loss of household
  • Physical therapy bills
  • Out-of-pocket expenses 
  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Punitive damages

An experienced Houston bike accident lawyer is your best bet at getting the maximum compensation from the liable party.

What Should I Do After a Bicycle Accident?

As we stated earlier, nobody ever plans to have an accident - but they occur anyway. It is important that you're mentally prepared for them, should they happen. 

Each accident case is unique, and depending on the severity of the physical injuries, the things you can do are limited. The list below gives a general view of important things to do after a bicycle accident. 

Get Medical Attention 

Good health is non-negotiable. If you are ever involved in a bicycle accident, please seek immediate medical care regardless of the severity of the injury. Adrenaline, the fight and flight hormone, may sometimes prevent us from immediately feeling the extent of our injuries. This is why it's important for all involved parties to at least get a medical checkup after an accident. 

Call 911 if you're fit to do so after the accident, or get someone to do that for you if you can't. Another reason to get medical care after the accident is that the medical costs and your medical professional's testimony improve your chances of getting fair compensation from the negligent party's insurance company. 

Call the Police 

Another important thing to do after a bicycle accident is to call the police. When you dial 911, the police department is also alerted along with the paramedics. When the police officer arrives, they can write out their report which may help your case. 

They also collect eyewitness statements, the negligent driver's statement, the injured cyclist's, and traffic cam footage to ensure they get the correct account of the incident. The law enforcement officers may also ticket the at-fault party, which is very good for your case. 

Gather Every Piece of Evidence 

To receive any form of compensation, you will need to prove the at-fault party's liability. To do this, you need evidence. Every other piece of evidence you can lay your hand on, get it. 

Examples of some of the evidence to get include:

  • Accident Report: Try to get a copy of the accident report for yourself. Also, make sure your version of events is taken down by the police. 
  • Traffic Cam Footage: Cameras are revealers. Footage of the incident may go a long way in deciding who the at-fault driver is. The police can help you obtain this. You should also keep a copy of your helmet cam footage if you have that. 
  • Eyewitness Accounts: While their memory is still fresh, try to get the account of the event from the onlookers who saw the accident happen. Also, try to collect the contacts of fellow cyclists. Their testimony can make a positive impact on your case
  • Pictures: If you're fit enough, take clear pictures of the accident scene, including the plate number of the liable party's vehicle. If you're not fit enough, get someone to do it for you. 
  • Clothing: Keep any damaged clothing (and do not wash it) in a secure location as you will want to preserve it for potential evidence at trial.
  • Your bike: Keep your bike in the condition it was from the accident, take pictures of it, and do not attempt to repair it. 

Insurance 

Exchange contact information with the at-fault driver. You should also exchange information about your insurance companies if they have an auto insurance policy. At this point, we strongly advise against speaking about who's at fault or not. 

Do not admit fault or even speak about it. Whatever you say can be used against you during the case. Also, do not sign the settlement offer offered by the insurance company; it is probably way less than what you actually deserve. 

It also may not be enough to cover medical expenses and lost income. Instead, have a Houston bike accident lawyer review it and see if you have a good chance of getting a bigger compensation.

Consult With a Houston Bike Accident Lawyer

It may be quite challenging to keep a clear head after an accident, and rightly so. No one except you to make a full physical recovery in a short time, and you shouldn't rush your recovery. Hiring a Houston bike accident lawyer can help take some stress off of you so you can focus on recovering.

They have the knowledge, expertise, and experience to deal with your case and get fair compensation. Hiring a lawyer can save you all the leg work and stress. Once you hire them, they go all out to help you. They gather the shreds of evidence needed to help your case, file the proper documentation with the court, negotiate with the auto insurance company, etc. 

They are especially important in the negotiations stage because the insurance company of the at-fault party will tirelessly work to get you less than what you deserve or give you nothing at all. A good bike accident lawyer will be with you through the claims process and see to it that you're fairly compensated. They will also represent you in court should the matter escalate and give you good advice on the legal actions you can take.

How Fault Is Shared

When a bike accident involving a car occurs, blame is most times put on the vehicle driver automatically. This is true on many occasions. However, there are some cases where the cyclist may be fully or partially at fault for the accident too. 

Texas is a shared fault state that assigns fault with comparative negligence. If you were partially at fault in your bicycle accident, you might still be eligible for compensation, but the amount is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.

To receive compensation, the percentage of fault assigned to you must be less than 50%. This implies that you will not receive a settlement if your fault percentage is greater or equal to that of the other party. 

A good Houston bike accident lawyer understands all of this and will help you fight your case. They also know that the insurance adjusters will try to assign blame to you in a bid to pay you less or nothing. Your personal injury attorney, however, will have the experience to resist their wiles and get you a fair recovery. 

Statute of Limitations on Bicycle Accidents 

The Statute of Limitations defines the time limit on a particular case. That is, it sets the deadline for the period a case can commence. Bicycle accidents fall under personal injury law. 

According to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code section 16.003, the Statute of Limitations for a personal injury claim is two (2) years. This means that you have two years from the initial date of the incident to file your personal injury lawsuit in court. 

Let a Houston Bike Accident Lawyer Help You!

If you or a loved one was hit by a car while riding a bike, you might be eligible for compensation, especially if you suffered injuries and property damage. As long as you're not found completely at fault in the incident, you should be able to recover some compensation. 

At Calhoun Meredith, an experienced Houston bike accident lawyer can offer sympathetic and aggressive representation. We also have years of experience and the expertise to defend you before an insurance company or in court. Give us a call today for a free consultation.

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