Bicycling in any major city can be risky, especially in a city where drivers are unaccustomed to seeing bicyclists on the side of the road. The city plan of Houston was not laid out to safely provide for bicyclists on the majority of its city roadways, but many people within the city often commute to work on their bicycles or enjoy biking on the weekends. Many drivers do not know how to react when they see a bicyclist on the road, which has resulted in a higher number of bicycle accidents.
If you or a family member have been a victim of a bicycle accident, contact an experienced Houston bike injury attorney to determine your rights as a result of the accident
Why You Should Choose Attorney Brian White & Associates for Your Houston Bike Accident Case
- Our Houston personal injury attorneys have a strong reputation for tenacity and out-preparing the opposition. When other law firms refer their cases to us because they need experienced courtroom attorneys, the insurance companies and large corporate defendants in those cases have a tendency to change their minds about going to trial once we become involved.
- We have the resources to hire top experts to assist in the cases we take and have even offered clients loans to handle their personal expenses while they wait for case resolutions. Few law firms can offer both the personalized attention of a small hometown firm with the financial backing of a high-powered law office.
- Attorney Brian White is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Only about 3% of attorneys earn this distinction, and our firm focuses solely on personal injury cases.
- We offer contingency fee billing to ensure prospective clients can secure legal representation when they need it the most. The cost of legal representation often discourages people from seeking legal assistance when they need it, but we only collect legal fees when we win cases.
How Can an Attorney Help After a Bike Accident?
A bicycle accident may appear straightforward at first. Motor vehicle drivers generally have a higher duty of care on the roads than bicyclists, so if a vehicle hits a bicycle many would assume the car driver is automatically at fault. However, many possible factors could potentially complicate a bicycle accident case. Texas law essentially considers bicycles as vehicles in most situations, so bicyclists have a duty of care on the roads just like any other driver.
When bicycle accidents occur, drivers involved may cast blame on the cyclist or another party. The police could clear away valuable physical evidence before a victim has a chance to record or document it. Bicycle accidents also often lead to insurance claims, and an insurance adjuster will likely look for any reason possible to deny or delay a claim or offer the lowest settlement possible. The right Houston bike crash attorney can potentially help with all of these issues.
A bicycle accident lawyer can help a client gather evidence to build a strong case, contact expert witnesses who can weigh in on the claim in a professional capacity, and handle correspondence with difficult insurance adjusters. In many cases, simply hiring an attorney to manage your insurance claim can be enough to deter an adjuster from pushing back against a legitimate claim.
Brian White’s firm also offers contingency fee billing that ensures clients only pay legal fees for winning cases, which can help alleviate the financial stress typically faced at the onset of any type of personal injury claim.
When Do I Need to Hire A Lawyer?
After you handle your immediate medical issues following a bicycle accident it is a good idea to meet with a Houston bicycle crash attorney before dealing with any insurance claims or filing legal action against the other driver.
Hiring an bike collision lawyer will minimize the chance of pushback from an insurance carrier and can help encourage a speedier resolution to your claim. An attorney will review the details of your bicycle accident, gather additional evidence if necessary, contact witnesses who saw the crash occur, and connect with relevant experts who may be able to provide professional insights into different aspects of your claim.
If the other driver does not agree to a settlement and admit fault, he or she may attempt to avoid liability by claiming the accident was your fault or the fault of another party. A lawyer can help you navigate these situations and maximize recovery in the face of such counterclaims. Most bicycle accident claims never reach trial and successfully resolve during settlement negotiations.
Comparative Fault in Houston Bicycle Accidents
Texas follows a modified comparative negligence statute. This means a plaintiff may still recover damages in a lawsuit even if the plaintiff was partially responsible for the incident leading to the lawsuit. However, the plaintiff’s fault may not exceed the defendant’s, and the plaintiff’s fault percentage reduces his or her case award by an equivalent amount. For example, if a jury finds a plaintiff 10% at fault in a $20,000 claim, the plaintiff would still recover compensation but lose 10% of the case award to reflect his or her fault percentage, leaving him or her with a net award of $18,000 instead.
Hiring an attorney will help an injured bicyclist navigate the complex court system and increase the chances of securing compensation after a bicycle accident.
What Are Houston’s Bike Laws?
Texas generally considers bicyclists as having the same duty of care as drivers. Bicyclists should keep to the right whenever possible, just like cars, pass with care, and signal for turns using hand signals. Bicyclists have the right to “take the lane” just as a motor vehicle and nearby drivers should show them the same courtesy as vehicle drivers. Bicyclists must stop at red lights and stop signs, use bike lanes wherever available, and ensure their bikes have operational braking systems before riding.
The Houston Bicycle Ordinance requires all riders under the age of 18 to wear an appropriately-fitted helmet at all times when operating a bicycle or riding upon one as a passenger. The Houston Bicycle Ordinance also prohibits bicyclists from riding on sidewalks within business districts of Houston and yield the right of way to pedestrians when riding on other sidewalks.
If you’re looking for more extensive information on Houston bike laws, talk to a bicycle collision lawyer from Attorney Brian White & Associates today.
What You Should Do After a Bicycle Accident in Houston
The best first steps to take after a bicycle accident are generally the same as any other vehicle crash. Your first priority should be your personal safety and welfare. If you only sustained minor injuries and feel well enough to get up and move around, take photos of the accident scene including the damage to your bicycle, your injuries, the street around the crash site, and the other driver’s car. Call the police to report the accident as soon as possible if no one else nearby has done so already.
While you wait for police to arrive, record the other driver’s contact information and insurance details. Try to also record as many details as possible about the crash while they are still fresh in your mind. Be sure to record or photograph the driver’s license plate number. If you sustained injuries, it is likely that an ambulance will transport you to the hospital. If you feel like you only sustained minor injuries and an ambulance is not necessary, you should still visit a doctor as soon as possible just in case.
Some injuries do not show noticeable symptoms immediately and may manifest days or weeks after an accident. Additionally, the adrenaline in your system immediately following the accident will dull pain sensations. It is not uncommon for people who get into car accidents to feel fine the day of the crash and then feel unable to get out of bed the next day from aches and pains once the adrenaline dissipates. Visiting a doctor as soon as possible after a bike accident will help prevent this, and the doctor should be able to identify any injuries or internal damage you may not be able to immediately notice.
Once you feel well enough to do so, secure a copy of the police report from your accident. Your attorney can collect this as well, as it will be a crucial piece of evidence in your claim. The police will interview the drivers and other parties involved in a bicycle accident, collect witness statements, and conduct a preliminary investigation of the crash scene. They compile this information into a police report that your attorney will lean upon heavily when compiling your lawsuit.
Bicycle Accidents in Texas
Large cities in Texas are generally not bicycle-friendly, and the number of fatalities increased 7% from 2010 to 2011. In 2012 bicycle fatalities accounted for 1.6% of all traffic fatalities in Texas according to the US Department of Transportation Fact Sheet. This is an alarming statistic since there has been a push in major cities like Houston to promote bicycling within roadways and work to adapt the city’s roads to bicyclists.
Bicycle accidents are often the fault of the car driver who may not see the bicyclist, or is not paying attention to the road. Most bicyclists have been trained on road rules and often yield to cars to prevent injury, but drivers traveling at high rates of speed, or drivers otherwise distracted will not have the time to stop for a bicyclist who appears on the roadway. Bicycle accidents can have dire consequences for the bicyclist, who many times are not equipped with a helmet or any protective device.
Total Number of Pedalcyclist Fatalities 2007-2016
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the total number of pedalcyclist deaths have been on the rise since 2014. In 2016, pedalcyclists accounted for 2.2% of the total number of fatalities to occur from traffic crashes. The rise in bicyclist deaths could be a result of distracted driving, DUIs, and much more.
Bicyclist Rights After an Accident
If you or a member of your family was a victim of a bicycle accident, it is important to understand your rights and what you are entitled to. You can proceed with legal action against the driver of the vehicle which injured you and may receive compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and any further expenses that could be awarded as a resulting factor of your injuries.
Family members of a bicyclist hit and killed by the driver of a motor vehicle can additionally recover compensation under the Texas wrongful death statute. There is no amount of money that can replace a loved one, but adequate compensation for the loss of a family member can help administer justice.
Brian White | Houston Bike Accident Attorney
If you or a family member have been injured in a bicycle accident, contact Brian White today to determine your rights to compensation. Brian White is a Houston personal injury attorney with years of experience in fighting for his client’s rights after accidents.
Call us today for a free initial consultation so we can review your case and determine the best strategy to receive the maximum amount of compensation to cover your injuries based upon the specific facts of your case. Personal injury cases must be brought within a specific time period, so it is important to contact us as soon as possible so we can ensure your case gets settled.