An Attorney Protecting Your Rights Following A Serious Bicycle Accident
Every day, negligent or inconsiderate drivers put bicyclists at great risk. When a vehicle strikes someone on a bicycle, serious or fatal injuries often occur. In bicycle accident cases, it is important to enlist the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer who can skillfully present the facts about the crash and injuries and prove that the vehicle driver was at fault.
I am attorney Jason Holladay, founder of the Holladay Law Firm, PLLC. My firm is dedicated to fighting on behalf of injury victims, including those injured in bicycle accidents. As a former insurance defense attorney, I have a unique insider’s perspective on how the opposition will most likely defend themselves in a serious injury case. This gives my clients an advantage as I fight for maximum compensation on their behalf.
Contact me today if you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a bicycle accident. I offer free case evaluations and operate on a contingency fee basis. This means you will owe nothing unless I recover compensation for you.
Did You Suffer From One Of These Common Bicycle Accident Injuries?
There is an obvious difference in size, weight and travel speed between motor vehicles and bicycles. Riders also have no external crash protection. Due to all these factors, a bicyclist’s run-in with any sort of large vehicle can cause severe injuries, and in the worst cases, death. Injuries may include:
- Road rash
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Broken bones
- Brain injuries
- Fatal injuries
A serious or catastrophic injury can greatly impact your ability to work and earn money, not to mention your overall quality of life. It’s important to pursue compensation and assert your legal rights under Texas law. A successful recovery may relieve you of your medical expenses and allow you and your loved ones to weather financial hardships in the upcoming months and years.
What Should You Do After A Bicycle Accident?
After you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, take the following steps:
- Call the police: Even if you only sustained minor injuries, be sure to contact the police so they can investigate the accident and file a police report.
- Check for injuries: Be sure to examine yourself for any cuts, scrapes, broken bones or bruises.
- Document the accident scene: Take photographs of the accident scene and the damage to your bicycle to preserve evidence.
- Preserve other evidence: Take your protective gear such as a helmet with you as proof you were taking steps to protect yourself.
- Gather information about the driver: Get contact details, driver’s license and auto license tag number, and insurance information.
- Seek medical attention: Even if you feel fine following the accident, you should have a medical professional examine you.
Finally, contact a Texas bicycle injury lawyer, preferably before filing any claim paperwork or speaking to insurance companies.
How I Can Investigate Your Bicycle Accident
The circumstances of bicycle accident claims are unique. To increase your chances of a favorable outcome, work with a knowledgeable attorney who will know how to build a strong case for you.
Generally speaking, here are the various steps I might take when representing a bicycle accident client:
- Gathering reliable witness testimony – It’s important to know which witnesses to contact and how to use them effectively to present the strongest case in your favor.
- Speaking with the at-fault driver’s insurance company – I know how to negotiate with the driver’s insurance company to get you the best possible compensation for your injuries.
- Speaking with an accident reconstruction expert if needed
- Obtaining physical evidence – This may include traffic camera footage and any photographs taken at the accident scene.
- Collecting and organizing documentation – I will contact medical providers and facilities to obtain medical records, medical bills, lost income information and other documents that will support your case.
- Ensuring all deadlines are met – You should never be denied compensation for administrative mistakes. I will ensure that doesn’t happen.
As an experienced personal injury lawyer, I use these and other methods to give my clients the opportunity to maximize their financial recoveries.
Why Bicycle Accidents Are So Common
Every day, negligent drivers invade bike lanes and fail to keep a lookout. Bicyclists are put at great risk by their carelessness and, in some cases, aggressive driving tactics. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the most common hazards and bad habits of drivers that contribute to bicycle accidents include:
- Poor compliance with traffic laws and improper use of facilities: When traffic laws are not followed, either due to confusion or poor road design, bicyclists are more likely to be hit. A common noncompliance issue is drivers failing to respect bicyclists’ rights.
- Speeding: When drivers speed, they increase the risk of a collision with others on the road, including bicyclists. Pursue compensation from a driver who struck you while rushing to beat a red light.
- Inadequate separation: Bicyclists are safer when they are moving in the same direction and separated from motor vehicles by painted lines or physical barriers, such as grassy strips. When there is poor infrastructure, visibility is limited or there is heavy traffic, bicyclists are more likely to ride on a sidewalk or against the direction of traffic. These behaviors increase the chances of an accident.
- Crossing locations: The likelihood of a crash increases when a bicyclist crosses at a place not intended for crossing. About 30% of bicyclists that have been killed were struck at intersections.
- Inadequate conspicuity: When drivers cannot see a bicyclist adequately, due to light or dark conditions, it is more likely for them to strike bicyclists. In a recent year, 45% of bicyclists were struck in dark conditions.
- Impairment and distraction: Drivers who are impaired due to alcohol consumption, or are not paying attention, increase the likelihood of a bicycle crash.
Even if you follow all the rules of the road while on your bike, you cannot control the actions of motorists. A driver may be negligent, impaired, distracted or unable to judge their vehicle’s distance from a bicyclist.
Understand Your Compensation Options
If you were struck by a vehicle while riding your bike, you will most likely be able to make a claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You will have to answer questions posed by their insurance company and describe the details of the accident. To protect your rights, work with an attorney before doing so.
If you are injured in a bicycle accident, you may have coverage if you carry personal injury protection (PIP) under your car insurance policy. In Texas, PIP coverage is mandatory unless you sign a waiver declining the coverage. PIP insurance will cover (but is not limited to) the following:
- Reasonable medical costs
- Ambulance services
- Lost income
- Rehabilitation therapies
Texas requires that every driver carry at least $2,500 of PIP coverage. Additional coverage (up to $10,000) is available if you want additional financial security. Personal injury protection will only cover costs that were incurred within three years of the accident.
If neither the at-fault driver’s insurance nor your insurance company will cover the costs associated with the accident, then you may be able to recover by making a bicycle accident claim. You will need to prove that the accident was caused by the driver’s negligence, which is much easier to do with the help of a good attorney.
Types Of Damages You May Recover After A Bicycle Accident
Damages describe the injuries that you sustained and any losses resulting from the accident. If you were hit riding your bicycle and experienced any injuries and/or damage to your bike, then you are most likely entitled to recover compensation.
The two main categories of damages are general and special damages. General damages refer to any intangible injuries that cannot be given a specific monetary amount resulting from the accident. General damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish and verifiable deficits that may have lowered your quality of life. The difficult lifestyle changes for a bicyclist and their household members after a spinal cord injury are a good example of general damages.
On the other hand, special damages account for economic hardships experienced by the plaintiff that can be quantified. This includes anything that can be given a monetary value, such as lost wages, diminished earning capacity, medical bills, physical therapy and other specific costs that can be attributed to the accident.
In rare circumstances, you may also be able to collect punitive damages. In these cases, the plaintiff has to show that the defendant (the driver) acted with gross negligence or malice. Did a witness testify that a driver seemed to hit your bicycle on purpose? It is best to speak to an attorney about the details of your situation to determine if you are eligible for punitive damages.
Pay Attention To The Statute Of Limitations
In all civil suits, there is a procedural rule that gives time limits for litigation. In Texas, you are required to file a personal injury claim within two years from the date of the accident. The court has reasoned that valuable evidence will only be preserved for a limited amount of time after bike accidents. After an extended period of time, physical evidence will typically begin to deteriorate, and bystanders’ memories of the accident may become unclear. Because of the statute of limitations, you cannot normally recover damages if you bring a bicycle accident lawsuit after two years have gone by.
Contact Me For A Free Case Evaluation
When you work with the Holladay Law Firm, PLLC, you can expect honest communication and thorough representation. It is my policy to inform my clients about their rights and legal options throughout every step of their case so that they can make informed decisions about their futures. Contact my office through the website form or call 1-800-900-3319 to schedule a free case evaluation. I have office locations in Spring and The Woodlands, and I serve clients throughout the surrounding areas of Texas.