According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, each year hundreds of individuals are killed in bicycle crashes and tens of thousands are injured. Many of these collisions result from the carelessness or negligence of drivers, such as failing to pay proper attention or failing to look for bicyclists on the roads.
Bicyclists are often injured and killed due to distracted driving of other motorists. Distracted driving is engaging in any activity that takes your attention away from driving. Examples of distracted driving include the following:
- Talking on or Using a cellphone
- Using Radio or Navigation System
- Putting on Makeup
- Eating or drinking
- Talking to passengers
In particular, texting while driving is one of the most dangerous acts of distracted driving. It has been reported that texting while driving is about 6 times more likely to cause a collision than driving while intoxicated.
DROWSY OR FATIGUED DRIVING
Many collisions involving bicyclists also result from drowsy or tired drivers of automobiles, buses, trucks and other motor vehicles.
Driving while tired is extremely dangerous and significantly increases the risk of a collision with a bicyclist. Driver drowsiness or fatigue decreases awareness and slows reaction times, thereby impairing the driver’s ability to timely and safely respond to bicyclists on the road. Fatigued driving also impairs the driver’s judgment. According to research, not sleeping for more than 18 hours has the same effect on driving ability as a Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.08, which constitutes being intoxicated in Texas. Not sleeping for 24 hours has the same effect on driving ability as a Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.10.
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED
Driving while intoxicated is a menace on U.S. highways and results in injuries and death of bicyclists.
A driver of automobiles, buses, trucks and other motor vehicles may be intoxicated from alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs or a combination of the above.
Drunk drivers are often uninsured, underinsured, or judgment proof—meaning that don’t have the means to pay for the harms and losses they caused. Fortunately, another avenue of recovery for drunk driving injuries exists under the Texas Dram Shop statute (Texas Alcoholic Beverages Code §§2.01—2.03). This law makes sellers and licensed providers of alcoholic beverages liable for injuries caused by the intoxication of persons to whom they provided alcoholic beverages. Alcohol sellers and providers may be liable if they served alcohol to a customer who was obviously intoxicated, and the customer’s intoxication resulted in injuries or death.
Alcohol sellers and providers may also be held responsible for any injuries that result from providing alcohol to minors (persons under age 18). Although non-commercial social hosts generally have little liability in Texas with regard to damages caused by adult guests who become intoxicated, social hosts can be statutorily liable when they supply alcohol to under-age drinkers who then cause injuries (Tex. Alc. Bev. Code § 2.02).
LIABILITY OF OTHERS
In certain cases, factors unrelated to a driver’s conduct can cause a bicycle accident. Under the law of product liability, a bicycle manufacturer, supplier, or dealer may be responsible for injuries caused by a defective or unsafe part in the bicycle. Also, if a bicycle mechanic fails to properly repair a bicycle, and the failure causes an accident, the negligent mechanic and the repair shop may be liable for injuries sustained in the bicycle accident.
The law may also impose punitive or exemplary damages against the at-fault driver for malicious or grossly negligent conduct. To be liable for gross negligence, the driver must have disregarded a high risk of causing substantial harm to others. Although excessive speed by itself may not show gross negligence, excessive speed combined with other factors—such as speeding in heavy road congestion, with brakes known to be defective, or on a narrow residential street, or driving while intoxicated may be sufficient to prove gross negligence.
We will investigate every contributing cause of a bicycle accident to ensure that you receive full compensation for your injuries. We will also deal with the insurance company, so that you can concentrate on your medical treatment and the recovery from your injuries. If necessary, we can also help you find appropriate medical specialists to provide treatment. We may be able to arrange for your medical care providers to wait for payment until your case is resolved.
INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR BICYCLE ACCIDENTS
If your bicycle accident involved an automobile, bus, truck or any other motor vehicle, you should be aware that in the State of Texas, motorists are required to be covered by insurance or other proof of financial responsibility, which can provide compensation for your injuries and other damages.
Texas law requires motor vehicles in the state to be covered by insurance or other proof of financial responsibility. Effective January 1, 2011, the required minimum amounts of motor vehicle liability insurance coverage required by Tex. Transp. Code §601.072 were raised to:
- $30,000 for bodily injury to or death of one person in one auto accident
- $60,000 for bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in one auto accident
- $25,000 for damage to or destruction of property of others in one auto accident
Applicable insurance coverage may include:
Liability Insurance: The liability portion of an insurance policy pays for defending and settling negligence claims made against the insured.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Benefits: Two related types of voluntary coverage are uninsured and underinsured motorist benefits. We will make claims against these types of coverage if you are hurt by a negligent driver who illegally fails to carry liability insurance coverage or has coverage that is inadequate to compensate you for your harms and losses.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage: You can purchase optional automobile insurance that provides coverage if you or your passengers are hurt in an accident, regardless of whose fault caused the collision. If you or your passengers are hurt in an auto accident, you could also look to your PIP coverage for the payment of your medical bills, lost wages, and other economic loss caused by your injury.
Making the claim for a bicycle accident can be difficult, especially since the driver of the motor vehicle often claims that they did nothing wrong. We will investigate the legal route to recovering the compensation injured bicyclists deserve.
COMPENSATION FOR BICYCLE ACCIDENTS
In Texas, the person at fault for causing an bicycle accident is liable for:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses;
- Lost income or wages due to time away from work;
- Any property damage, such as damage to your bicycle;
- The cost of hiring someone to do household chores while you are unable to do them;
- Any permanent disfigurement and disability;
- Emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, and any interference with family relationships;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Any other costs that were a direct result of your injury.
Evidence used to prove your bicycle injury claim often include:
- The bicycle and other vehicles involved in the accident
- Photographs and video tapes of the accident scene and the vehicles
- Police report
- Investigative reports containing, among other things, measurements and documentation of skid marks and other evidence at the accident scene
- Medical reports documenting injuries
- Testimony of drivers, passengers, witnesses, police and emergency personnel with knowledge of the accident
- Testimony from accident reconstructionists, investigators, engineers, mechanics, and other technical experts regarding the cause, mechanics, and effects of the accident
- Testimony from doctors and other medical caregivers, medical specialists, rehabilitation and occupational therapists, mental health professionals and others experts regarding the cause and extent of physical and mental injuries
Call for a Free Consultation
If you are bicyclist who has been involved in an accident, call the Law Offices of Alexander M. Gurevich at (713) 224-9600. We can take over the investigation of your case, so that you can concentrate on your physical recovery. We can even help you find an appropriate medical specialist to provide treatment. We may be able to arrange for your medical care providers to wait for payment until your case is resolved through settlement or trial.
Your initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we work on a contingent fee basis. This means you pay for our services only if you receive a monetary award or recovery of funds.