Civil Justice Warriors

Dallas Bicycle Accident Attorney

Bicycles are the greenest form of transportation, great for exercise, and a way to appreciate nature. All fifty states have laws in place to afford bicyclists similar rights in traffic laws as motorists. However, reckless drivers who do not appreciate these laws can be a deadly danger for innocent bicyclists.

Get the Justice You Deserve Today

Speeding drivers can cause great injury to a bicyclist, helmet or not. Injuries can include loss of motor function, broken bones, hospitalization, or even death. The at-fault driver may be liable for a bicyclist’s hospital bills, lost wages, property damage, and non-economic damages. In an instant, the routine day-to-day of a bicyclist could be forever altered. While it may be tempting to accept any financial compensation that will help for medical bills, the reality is that these costs could be what you or your family must use as a primary source of income for the foreseeable future. Lost wages and modifications to the home can be costly if just compensation is not sought.

Our Dallas bicycle accident lawyers at Mathias Raphael PLLC Accident & Injury Lawyers appreciate the value that bicyclists serve in our community. We fight vigilantly to ensure that drivers cannot bully you to get any less than you deserve. With top legal representation from our Dallas personal injury lawyers, our qualified team will fight tenaciously to make sure no insurance company can get away with undervaluing your claim. Contact our team today for your free evaluation of your claim, with no exceptions guaranteed.

Causes of Bicycle Accidents

The type of bicycle accident that occurs can change the legal strategy advised. While a car can collide with a bicycle in a variety of ways, some collisions are far more common than others. Here are some situations commonly seen by our Dallas bicycle accident lawyers in the past:

  • Reckless passing or overtaking the lane – A motorist may fail to leave a safe amount of space between the vehicle and the bicycle. As a result, the vehicle may collide with or run over the bicyclist. When a motorist passes a bicyclist too closely, the term is colloquially known as “buzzing” a bicyclist.
  • Rear end accidents – Drivers who are careless can be just as dangerous as those who are not paying attention. Drivers who rear-end cyclists are sometimes not paying attention to the road and not giving enough room to a cyclist might not stop in time to hit a passenger from the back. Being rear-ended on a bicycle, for whatever reason, can result in serious injuries given the size of motor vehicles.
  • Reckless turns – A common accident unfortunately seen is drivers who believe they are making a routine turn and fail to check to see the area is clear. These types of accidents can occur both in right turns, when the driver fails to notice the cyclist in their rear view mirror, or in left turns, such as when a driver fails to see a cyclist who has a right of way. Bicyclists are especially susceptible to drivers who are speeding and fail to take the proper precautions to guard against their blind spots.
  • Opening the Door of a Parked Car – Biking in a city is an especially dangerous endeavor. Oblivious drivers rushing to get to work may fail to look at the door before exiting the vehicle. Even though cyclists have the right of way on bike paths, the possibility of an unaware suddenly swinging the door open and causing great injury to a cyclist is especially high.
  • Careless Drivers – Even if a cyclist guards against the danger areas that are particular to bicycling, the reality is that there are many drivers on the road who just drive carelessly. Like any driver on the road, motorcyclists are susceptible to drivers who are speeding, distracted (on their phone or paying attention to passengers), overly fatigued, or impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Common Injuries in Bicycle Accidents

Thousands of avid bicyclists live in Dallas, both for commuting and for recreation/exercise in their spare time. Every year, dozens of cyclists are injured or killed in Dallas. In 2016, 65 pedal cyclists were killed in vehicle collisions across Texas, a 25% increase from 2015. Motorists are required to drive safely and yield the right of way to bicyclists, just like any other vehicle. Negligent drivers who fail to exercise reasonable caution may act in a way that results in a collision.

Bicycles may have the rights afforded to them by the law on roadways, but unfortunately, bicyclists are at a higher risk of severe accident. In an accident, they are more likely to sustain serious to catastrophic injuries. Below are some of the consequences to bicyclists in accidents with reckless motorists:

  • Fractures of the Bones: Bone fractures are all too common given the force of impact and lack of protection for bicyclists. Bone fractures may necessitate a temporary absence from work while the victim recovers and can sometimes result in permanent mobility injuries.
  • Brain and Head Injuries: Unlike some states, Texas does not have universal helmet laws in place. This means that bicyclists of all ages can legally ride without helmets unless they live in a county where the laws are different. Bike accidents are particularly dangerous for head and brain injuries, especially if the rider is not wearing a helmet.
  • Injury to the Spinal Cord: If the impact crushes the spine, fractures the bone, or damages delicate spinal nerves, the bicyclist could suffer a serious spinal cord injury. A spine injury can permanently impair movement and sensation below the point of injury. A bicyclist who sustains a spinal cord injury may never recover. At our firm, we also have Dallas spinal cord injuries who specialize in these types of accidents.

Texas Law on Bicycle Accidents

State laws on car insurance fall into two camps: either a fault system or a no-fault system. In Texas, motorists are required to purchase insurance that follows a fault system. In a fault system, a victim is able to bring a claim through the insurance system of the opposing driver. The insurance companies are required to determine how the damages of an accident will be covered based on who was at fault.

If a motorist hits a bicyclist, bicyclists can take advantage of the fault system. Like victims in a car accident, bicyclists can bring a claim against the opposing driver to cover their damages. If a claim is filed, an insurance company will look to get a victim’s recorded interview right away. While these interviews may not be a deposition in court, they can be vital pieces of evidence to assess whether or not a bicyclist’s claim will be covered.

The representative of an insurance company who will likely reach out to a victim is the insurance adjustor. The adjuster will be in charge of filing your claim and assessing the potential coverage based on the facts. While the judgment quality can seem like a fair process, insurance adjusters work for for-profit insurance companies at the end of the day. Preparing your statement carefully and even reaching out to a Dallas bicycle accident lawyer before the discussion can be the most important part in this process.

Motorcyclist accidents are typically brought with a claim for negligence based on the carelessness of the driver. In Texas, the plaintiff is required to demonstrate that the motorists actions were the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. While insurance companies are the intermediary for assessing fault, our lawyers can help you determine when an actual lawsuit is necessary if the insurance company tries to blame your own negligence for the injuries.

Expectation for Bicyclists in Texas

An insurance company might be able to demonstrate your negligence by pointing to the laws that govern bicyclists. While these rules might be intimidating, a qualified Dallas bicycle accident lawyer will help you sort through both the statewide bike laws and citywide bicycle ordinances. Dallas, once one of the most dangerous cities for cyclists, now enforces several rules and regulations that apply to all roadway users in an effort to improve bicyclist safety. Some of the rules bicyclists should be aware of include:

  • Adult bicyclists in Dallas are no longer required to wear helmets as of 2014. The city’s helmet law now applies only to those under the age of 18. An insurance company cannot flat-out refuse your claim just because you were not wearing your helmet.
  • Bicyclists are not permitted to ride on the sidewalks in downtown Dallas business districts. They must instead share the road with other vehicles and follow all applicable road rules. Bicyclists must yield the right of way to pedestrians on sidewalks outside the central business district. However, in certain cases, bicyclists may be able to hop onto the sidewalk if they have a reasonable belief to believe a motorist’s action can be dangerous.
  • Bicyclists in Dallas must use bike paths when and if they are available. Otherwise, they have the right to use the main road. Bicyclists can ride two abreast in a single lane, so long as they are not riding in parallel with cars. Except when turning left, cyclists should stay as far to the right as possible in the right lane.

Actions to Take Following an Accident

Here are some key steps to keep in mind following a bicycle accident:

  • Do not admit fault, especially if you are unsure who is as fault
  • Get an official police report who will take note of both you and the opposing driver’s side in the story
  • Seek a medical professional to evaluate your medical state
  • Consider reaching out to a lawyer in preparation for a statement for the insurance company

Get the Justice You Deserve

Bicyclists are important members of our society who deserve the maximum protection afforded to them by our laws. At Mathias Raphael PLLC Accident & Injury Lawyers, we will not let opposing insurance companies bully you into less than you deserve. Contact our Dallas Bicycle Accidents today for your free consultation.