Riding a bicycle is undoubtedly one of the healthiest and most efficient ways of getting around town. Unfortunately, it’s not always the safest; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2010 alone, nearly 800 bicyclists lost their life in an accident, and an additional 515,000 arrived at the emergency room for treatment. Many of those accidents were likely attributable to collisions with motor vehicles.
It is not completely accurate though to assume that a driver is immediately at fault for a wreck, and will be liable for damages in all circumstances. The following provides a sample of common scenarios in which different parties may be responsible, as well as what you can do to recover compensation if you have been hurt in a wreck.
Cyclist Hit by Car: Failure to Yield at a Stop Sign
Of course, if a car blows through a stop sign and causes an accident with a cyclist, the driver will ultimately be deemed liable for any injuries that resulted. Similarly, a bicyclist that fails to yield at a stop sign may also be deemed liable for resulting damages. Bicyclists are required to follow all of the traffic laws that regulate motor vehicles; in the event of an accident, failure to abide by the rules of the road in Texas could make it impossible to recover payment for the cyclist.
Right-Turn Collision with a Bicycle
This is another common scenario: a bicyclist is moving along the right side of a car, or is approaching them from behind. Unaware of the cyclist, the car attempts to make a right turn at an intersection, and subsequently collides with the cyclist when they pass by. In this case, the car would be deemed at-fault for the accident; pursuant to Texas Transportation Code § 545.103, vehicles may only make a turn if they can do so safely.
Bicycle Accident at Intersection & Determining Who’s at-Fault
Accidents at intersections can become more complicated, as situations can vary. In some cases, an accident may happen when the cyclist is attempting to make a left turn, and fails to yield to oncoming traffic when the signal dictates. Or, a driver may attempt to make a similar safe left turn, and instead collide with an oncoming cyclist.
Ultimately, the options of securing damages vary depending on who can be deemed at-fault, or liable, for the accident (the at-fault party is the one that was responsible for the crash). Because Texas is considered an at-fault insurance state, an insurance policy will provide compensation based on the level of fault apportioned to the injured party.
Additionally, an injured party may file a civil lawsuit against the driver they believed caused the crash in order to recover further compensation. In this case, because Texas follows a system of comparative negligence (also known as proportionate responsibility), the injured party may be able to collect damages minus the portion for which they were liable. For example, if a cyclist’s failure to judge a car’s oncoming speed was deemed 15% responsible for the crash, they could only recover 85% from the driver. With this, if the bicyclist is considered more than 50% liable, they are barred from receiving anything.
Get Your Bicycle Accident Compensation With Help from our Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Filing an insurance claim and dealing with adjusters is the last thing you should be doing while recovering from a bicycle accident. Don’t face this challenge alone, contact a Texas bicycle accident lawyer at Tate Law Offices, P.C., today for a free case review and maximize your opportunity for compensation.