What Do I Do If My Car Accident Was Caused By A Bicyclist In Dallas?
One of the trends in modern travel methods is an uptick in bicycling as a way to promote fitness and reduce carbon emissions. While these are lofty goals, the addition of more bicyclists to the roadways may create hazards for drivers due to bikes moving much more slowly and sometimes being difficult to see. Though a bicyclist is more vulnerable to injury in many ways, this does not mean that fault for an accident and subsequent injuries is always on the shoulders of the vehicle driver. In some cases, a car crash with a bicycle is caused by a bicyclist.
If your car accident is caused by a Dallas bicyclist, the best choice is to seek counsel from skilled legal representatives. Often, juries have sympathy for bike riders in these situations, and that is a bias that can affect the court’s decision on whether or not to award you the compensation you deserve. Pintas & Mullins, a Dallas car accident law firm, has worked on several bicycle accident claims, and our attorneys have significant experience helping people recover compensation from the at-fault party.
Bicycle Rules of the Road
“Share the Road” is a common slogan geared toward increasing acceptance of bicycles on roadways. However, this does not mean that all of the responsibility for bicyclist safety lies with the drivers of motor vehicles. In fact, Texas has an entire chapter in its Transportation Code (Chapter 551) dedicated to the proper operation of bikes and other low-powered vehicles like golf carts and electric scooters.
If a bicyclist is not operating their bicycle in compliance with these rules, they may be found at least partially responsible for the accident. The situation is akin to a crash between two cars in which one vehicle disobeyed rules of the road by speeding or running a stop sign. What follows are just a few of the regulations that govern how bicyclists should operate their bikes.
Designated Riding Areas
A bicyclist must ride as far to the right of the road as possible. Essentially, they should be near the right curb. The only exceptions to this rule are when the bicyclist needs to make a left turn or when they pass another vehicle heading in the same direction.
Wearing a Helmet
As with most of Texas, Dallas does not require adults to wear helmets when riding bicycles. However, minors under the age of 18 are required by city safety ordinance to wear helmets.
Gone are the days of carrying a friend on your bicycle by having them sit on the handlebars. It is illegal for a bicyclist to carry more passengers on their bike than the number of passengers for which the bicycle is designed. If they do and that additional person is injured when the bicyclist wrecks into your vehicle, you may not be responsible for that person’s injuries.
Determining Responsibility in My Accident
It is important to find an experienced and knowledgeable bicycle accident lawyer who understands the specific regulations applicable to bicyclists because the determination of fault is a significant part of winning a car accident claim. Breaking the rules of the road can mean that the bicyclist is at fault for the accident, and it is also possible for both you and the bicyclist to share some of the blame. Luckily, Texas still allows you to sue for compensation in the latter situation as long as you are no more than 50% responsible for the accident. This system of proportionate responsibility or modified comparative fault reduces your compensation in accordance with your percentage of fault.
For example, you may suffer damages totaling $10,000 in your bicycle accident. After hearing the evidence, the court may determine that while the bicyclist was ultimately responsible for the accident, you share 10% of the blame. This means that your available compensation will be reduced by 10% as well, giving you recovery of $9,000 rather than the full value of your damages. For this reason, having a skilled Dallas bicycle accident attorney is crucial to evaluating the value of your claim.
What I Can Recover
In most crashes involving a bicyclist and a motor vehicle, the bicyclist will come off the worse for wear. Typically, the driver of the car does not suffer severe injuries, as the bike is much smaller and moves at a much slower pace than a motor vehicle. Still, you may be able to recover compensation for damages you do suffer. These forms of harm can include the following items.
- Medical bills for any injuries
- Wages lost due to the accident
- Property damage to your vehicle
- Psychological trauma
Importantly, economic harms like medical bills are limited in their recovery. You may receive up to the exact amount you paid or were charged for these damages, as dictated by Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §41.0105.
I Need a FREE Consultation Today
Dallas Car Accident Lawyers can help you win your claim against a bicyclist who caused your car accident. Going up against bicyclists can be difficult, as they often have sympathy from the jury. Still, it is crucial that justice is served and the person responsible for the accident gives compensation for the harms they caused.
To get a FREE consultation with our attorneys, call (214) 305-8277 or enter your information on our contact page. Our lawyers do not collect a fee unless we win your claim for you!