Unlike most states, Texas does not have specific statutes concerning motor vehicles and bicycles. For example, there are no legal, safe passing distance laws. It is expected that drivers will uphold a duty of care in being safe and courteous, mainly if bicyclists are sharing the road. If a driver breaches this duty of care and causes an accident with injuries, the cyclist may be entitled to compensation for damages. What are the guidelines if a bicyclist does not obey the rules of the road?
Bicycles Must Follow the Same Rules as Cars
Bicyclists are considered equal to motor vehicles when it comes to the rules of the road. There are specific regulations for bicycles that include:
- Ride in the designated bike lane or on the far right-hand side of the road.
- Use hand signals for turning and stopping.
- Use the required lights and reflectors for nighttime rides.
- Obey local ordinances that prohibit riding on sidewalks.
- Do not attach a wagon or trailer.
- Do not carry another person on your lap or back while cycling.
Cyclists May Still Qualify for Compensation Even if They Are Partly Responsible
Texas has a modified comparative negligence law that applies to personal injury cases. If you were injured by a car while riding a bicycle and want to pursue compensation for damages such as medical bills, you must be less than 51 percent responsible for the collision. Establishing liability in these cases can be complex. That is why you should contact a personal injury lawyer who knows how to handle bicycle accidents. You could qualify for compensation.
Determining Liability in a Bicycle Accident
Bicycle laws do not always affect personal injury cases in Texas if it is clear there is gross negligence by the driver. For example, if you were struck by a driver who was charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), it is clear who is liable. In other cases, responsibility for the accident may be shared. For example, if a cyclist did not use hand signals while turning. An attorney from D. Miller & Associates, PLLC will assess your case to determine which party bears the primary responsibility for the collision.
Please keep in mind that it is your legal right to pursue available compensation regardless of any criminal charges brought against the driver. Seeking recoverable compensation is a separate, civil action. Texas statutes allow you two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit.
How a Bicycle Accident Lawyer Determines Who Is Liable
There are a few indicators of liability in a bicycle accident with injuries:
- As mentioned earlier, the driver has a duty of care to take reasonable measures to avoid a collision.
- The driver did not take reasonable care and caused the accident.
- You suffered bodily injuries and property damage from the accident.
- You now have expenses in the form of medical bills, bicycle repair, and other financial losses.
Many Bicycle Accident Victims Seek Compensation from the Insurance Company
Motor vehicle drivers in Texas must carry automobile insurance that includes injury and liability coverage. D. Miller & Associates, PLLC has successfully recovered compensation for clients through a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance. While filing a personal injury lawsuit is a possibility (provided it is within two years), you may be awarded compensation in a settlement.
Please Do Not Deal with the Insurance Company by Yourself
It is our experience as a bicycle accident and personal injury lawyers that insurance companies try to pay as little as possible on legitimate claims. Their tactics include:
- Making an inadequate or rushed investigation of your injuries or damages.
- Delaying your claim for an unreasonable amount of time.
- Attempting to blame you for part or all of the accident.
You also may be recuperating from your injuries. Let a lawyer from D. Miller & Associates, PLLC deal with the insurance company for you. You will not pay attorney’s fees unless we are successful in our recovery efforts.
Types of Compensation Awarded in a Bicycle Accident Claim
If you qualify for compensation, you could receive compensation for accident-related damages, including:
- Medical bills
- Ongoing treatment and therapy
- Reduced earning ability (temporary or permanent)
- Lost pay
- Bicycle repair or replacement
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Bicycle Laws May Not Affect Potential Compensation in a Personal Injury Case
To learn more about if bicycle laws affect personal injury cases in Texas and if you qualify for compensation, please call D. Miller & Associates, PLLC for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Please call (713) 850-8600.
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