Texas Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Fulgham Hampton Law Group is comprised of experienced injury lawyers devoted to helping bicycle accident victims and their families get maximum compensation and justice via lawsuits and insurance claims. Someone’s negligence could have caused you or a loved one to suffer devastating injuries on a bicycle. Our injury lawyers understand the pain and grief our clients and their families suffer in these cases. Fulgham Hampton Law Group is ready to carefully review your situation, advise you of your legal options, and prudently bring a claim or lawsuit on your behalf. Contact Fulgham Hampton Law Group today by calling (817) 697-4440 or contacting us online for a free case evaluation.
Bicycle Accidents On Texas Roads
According to the Texas Transportation Code, bicyclists are entitled to all the same rights and are held to the same responsibilities as motorists, with very few practical exceptions. Yet, repeated calls for motorists to “share the road” with cyclists and bike riders are too often ignored. When drivers do not treat bicyclists with equal respect and consideration, accidents happen.
Many circumstances can lead to bicycle accidents in Texas. Some of these accidents are nobody’s fault. However, blameless accidents are rare. If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, there’s a good chance that you have grounds to file a claim. Whether a motorist, the manufacturer of a defective bike part, or even a government agency in charge of safely maintaining roads was at fault for the harm you have suffered, you may be able to hold them financially accountable for your crash.
While some of the thousands of bike accidents that occur on Texas roads annually are not legally actionable, many are. It is a good idea to connect with an experienced attorney with our firm as soon as you possibly can after being injured in an accident. Speaking with our team in a risk-free consultation setting will empower you to make informed decisions about your legal and financial options moving forward.
If someone has caused you harm, you deserve to understand whether you are entitled to seek compensation from them. Our firm can provide this clarity and can serve as a source of experienced guidance and dedicated support during the stressful aftermath of your accident.
Immediate Priorities After A Bike Accident
If you’ve been injured in a bike crash, there is nothing more important than seeking medical attention as soon as possible. You want to know your legal options, of course, but everything can wait until you’ve been properly evaluated and treated medically. Also, know that even if your injuries seem superficial, you may have internal injuries, soft tissue injuries, and may have even suffered harm to your brain without knowing it. If you have not yet called for medical assistance, do so now.
There are a few things you can do to preserve your legal rights if you’re feeling well enough to take these steps.
- Connect with law enforcement to file a formal accident report. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking with law enforcement alone, for any reason, connect with our firm so that we can provide you with the necessary support.
- Take pictures and video of the crash scene. Capture these images from several angles, if possible.
- Jot down the names and contact information of any witnesses to the crash, as well as anyone else who may have been involved. Get the insurance information of whoever struck you if they have not fled the scene.
- Do not admit blame or partial blame for the accident to anyone. You may not yet know all the circumstances that led to your accident. Admitting blame now could compromise your ability to hold responsible parties financially and legally accountable later.
If any insurance representatives contact you in the wake of your accident, wait to speak with them until you’ve attended a risk-free consultation with our team. We explore this subject in detail below. For now, know that speaking with insurance representatives on your own could unintentionally lead to a weakened legal case. Also, know that anything you say about the accident on social media could harm your case as well. Before you tell anyone but your doctors and your closest family your story, speak with our firm so that we can help you preserve and protect your rights and options under the law.
Can You Sue Those That Caused You Harm?
Texas law broadly protects the rights of accident victims to pursue compensation against those that caused them harm. It is important to understand that you may be in a strong position to file a legal claim against those who harmed you, even if you have already accepted an insurance settlement from one or more insurance providers.
You’ll want to act quickly if you’re interested in filing a civil claim. Texas law only allows accident victims so much time to pursue compensation in court before they are barred from filing a new civil claim. Additionally, exploring your legal options as quickly as possible after an accident will help our firm to build the strongest possible case. Critical evidence can be compromised or even destroyed within minutes, hours, or days after an accident occurs. The sooner you contact our firm, the sooner we can begin advocating aggressively on your behalf.
The Personal Injury Process
When accident victims file a civil claim against those who harmed them, they file so-called personal injury cases. Certain conditions must be met for a personal injury case to be successful. With very few exceptions, the following four legal criteria must be met for your personal injury claim to succeed:
- The party that caused your accident owed you a duty of care under the law.
- That party breached their duty through negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful conduct.
- You suffered injury as a direct result of the responsible party’s conduct.
- You suffered damages from that harm.
Duty Of Care
This legal element isn’t usually too difficult to prove in bicycle accident cases involving motorists. Whenever motorists drive their vehicles, they are bound to adhere to the rules of the road and to operate their vehicles safely. While it is possible for a bicyclist to be totally at fault for an accident, most bicycle accidents occur when motorists fail to drive safely. Driving safely and adhering to the rules of the road is the duty of care that all motorists owe everyone else on the road—fellow motorists, road workers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bike riders alike.
Additionally, some non-travelers owe road travelers a duty of care under the law. For example, bike manufacturers and auto parts manufacturers are responsible for producing safe, effective products. Even government agencies responsible for safe road maintenance are required to exercise their duties per various regulations and standards. Virtually anyone (or any entity) who could be responsible for a bike accident owes road travelers a duty of care under the law.
Breach Of Duty
When a party behaves negligently, recklessly, or in intentionally harmful ways, they may breach their duty of care under the law. For example, a drunk driver breaches their duty of care both by breaking the law and by driving in a way that is widely understood to be unsafe. If the law requires that a person acts in a certain way towards a road traveler and—through negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful actions or inactions—the person fails to uphold that duty, that is considered a breach of duty.
Injuries Caused By Breach Of Duty
If the defendant’s negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful conduct directly caused your injuries, you’ll be able to prove this legal element of your case. Often, drivers breach their duty of care to others but are fortunate that they injure no one by their choices. Think, for example, of every time you’ve ever seen someone texting while they were driving. Texting while driving is a breach of a duty of care to fellow travelers. However, you can’t sue a motorist for engaging in this behavior unless that behavior leads to injury. If a motorist’s negligence, recklessness, or intentionally harmful conduct caused a crash that injured you, then you have a right to file legal action.
You must have both suffered injury and some financial loss related to your accident before you can sue the party or parties responsible for your harm. If you fell off your bike and suffered scrapes and bruises but did not lose any work, incur any medical bills, or suffer long-term trauma from your accident, you probably can’t sue the party responsible for your harm. Why? Financial awards in personal injury cases generally aim to reimburse victims for costs they’ve had to deal with due to the harm they suffered. If you incurred no financial losses from your accident, there are no expenses for the defendant to reimburse.
Special Considerations If You Were Working When Your Accident Occurred
Work-related bike accidents are relatively rare. But, especially during Texas summers, they are not unheard of. If you were injured while riding your bike for work-related purposes, you might be entitled to file for workers’ compensation benefits. If the party responsible for causing your crash was anyone but your employer, you may also file a personal injury claim even if you are entitled to a workers’ comp settlement. Connect with our firm to learn more about your legal options if your crash occurred while traveling for work-related reasons.
If You Were Partially To Blame For Your Crash
All too often, bicycle accident victims shy away from exploring their legal options because they either think that their claim will have little value—which is unlikely—or because they believe that they were to blame for the crash in question. It is critically important to understand that accident scenarios are notoriously complex and that you probably don’t know everything about your accident yet. Once our experienced team investigates the causes of your accident, you may be surprised to learn just who or what was at fault for the collision. You may be entitled to far more compensation than you’ve initially allowed yourself to consider.
Additionally, it is important to understand that Texas has a form of comparative negligence. This means that accident victims who are partially at fault for the cause of their injuries may still be able to hold those responsible parties legally and financially accountable for their actions. To recover personal injury compensation, your proportion of fault cannot be greater than the percentage of fault assigned to the party you’re suing. Once a compensation award has been determined, your share will be reduced by the amount of fault assigned to you. For example, suppose your compensation award is valued at $100,000, and it has been determined that the accident was 20 percent your fault and 80 percent the fault of the motorist who struck you. In that case, you’ll be able to recover $80,000 in compensation from that motorist.
In short, don’t hesitate to explore your legal options because you are concerned that you’re to blame for what happened to you. The accident may not have been your fault. Even if it was your fault, you might remain entitled to receive considerable compensation regardless.
Investigating What Caused Your Accident
Our firm does not make assumptions about the causation of bicycle accidents. Even if you believe that you were totally to blame for your crash, we will thoroughly investigate your case so that we can provide you with informed guidance about your rights and options.
Accident victims cannot make informed decisions about their legal options until they fully understand what has happened to them. Say, for example, that you were struck after you were momentarily distracted while adjusting one of your shoes. You may believe that you were entirely to blame for what happened to you. Upon investigation, it is revealed that the driver of the car that struck you was texting while driving, had been awake for 26 hours, and was wearing earbuds in both ears at the time of the crash. You couldn’t have known any of these things at first glance, as the driver had removed their earbuds after striking you and wasn’t texting or visibly exhausted when checking to see if you were okay.
Do not make assumptions—for better or worse—about the strength of your case until our team has the opportunity to investigate your crash thoroughly. You may be entitled to significant compensation even if you don’t initially believe that you have strong grounds upon which to file a lawsuit.
Common Bicycle Crash Injuries
If you’ve been injured because of a bike accident, it is important to understand that you are not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than 450,000 bicycle crash injuries occur in the U.S. annually. Many bike accidents result in serious—and even catastrophic—injuries. Some of the most common bike accident injuries that victims face include:
- Traumatic brain and head injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Neck injuries
- Bruises and abrasions
- Facial injuries
- Dental injuries
- Ocular injuries
- Bone fractures
- Soft tissue damage
- Dislocated or otherwise compromised joints
- Crush injuries
- Internal bleeding
It is important to understand that you may be entitled to significant compensation regardless of the severity of your injuries. The law protects the rights of accident victims. It is worth your time to explore those rights and seek compensation for the physical harm you have suffered due to another’s negligence, recklessness, or intentionally harmful conduct.
Bicycle Accident Compensation
Many accident victims understandably wonder whether pursuing compensation via insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits is “worth” the time, effort, and stress associated with these processes. It is true that not every bicycle accident case results in a significant compensation award. However, many accident victims have discovered that filing claims to pursue compensation helps to ensure that their challenging circumstances after a crash do not negatively impact their family finances.
Exploring your legal options now can help to ensure that you’re not left wondering “what if?” years into the future, after medical bills and lost wages have affected your family finances for the worse. Some of the financial damages that you may be compensated for via insurance or personal injury claim include:
- Past medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Past loss of income
- Future loss of income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Physical limitations
- Emotional distress
If you lost a loved one to a fatal bike accident, you might be entitled to additional forms of compensation, such as loss of consortium and loss of services.
Why It Is Important To Permit An Attorney To Speak With Insurers On Your Behalf
Insurance companies operate on a for-profit basis. This means that, like all other for-profit businesses, they try to hold onto their money. Therefore, if an insurance representative assigned to your case is given any excuse to devalue or reject your claim, they will likely do that.
Our firm has extensive experience successfully navigating the insurance claims process on behalf of our clients. We understand what to say—and avoid saying—to ensure that claims are properly valued and promptly paid. If you speak with an insurance representative on your own, you may unintentionally say something that could compromise the value of your settlement award. Allowing us to speak for you will help to preserve your rights as an accident victim and protect the overall value of your claim.
Legal Options For Surviving Loved Ones Following A Fatal Accident
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal bicycle accident, you may understandably be feeling so drained by your grief that you are uninterested in exploring your legal options. Please know that our firm has extensive experience with compassionately assisting the surviving loved ones of fatal personal injuries. You may—very understandably—be hesitant to explore your legal options right now. However, scheduling a short, risk-free consultation with our firm will help to ensure that you can make informed decisions about your legal options.
Surviving loved ones of fatal bicycle accidents are often entitled to file wrongful death lawsuits in addition to insurance claims. Wrongful death compensation can be significant. While there is no amount of money on Earth that can adequately compensate you for your loss, legal compensation can help to ensure that your family finances are not damaged by your loss. Even if you are not ready to move forward with legal action right now, exploring your options as soon as you can after your loss will help protect your rights and preserve your legal options. Also, it should be noted that Texas law only gives you so much time to file legal action. Waiting too long to explore your options may result in an inability to pursue rightful compensation.
FAQs About Bicycle Accidents And The Law
Personal injury is a complex area of law. It is important to avoid making assumptions about the strengths and weaknesses of your case before speaking with our legal team. No two bicycle accident cases are exactly alike. Once we learn about the unique circumstances you are facing, we’ll be able to clarify your rights under the law, explain your options, and help you make informed decisions.
How Long Can I Wait Before Speaking With An Attorney?
All bicycle accident lawsuits in Texas are subject to a legal standard known as a statute of limitations. Statutes of limitations specify the time by which victims must file their lawsuits. If accident victims try to file lawsuits after the statute of limitations in their case has run, their cases will be dismissed. This is one of the critically important reasons why you’ll want to speak with a member of our legal team as soon as you can following your accident. Acting quickly allows us to preserve important evidence and start building the strongest possible case on your behalf. More importantly, though, quick action will help you avoid the risk that the law may bar you from filing a case in the first place if you wait too long to exercise your legal options.
What Can I Do If Road Conditions Caused My Accident?
If your bicycle accident was caused by extreme weather conditions, the sudden appearance of a wild animal, or an act of God (such as lightning), you might not be able to hold anyone legally responsible for the harm that you have suffered. As noted above, the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit must owe the victim a duty of care under the law and have directly caused the victim physical and financial harm because of negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful action.
However, if your bicycle accident was caused by defective or dangerous road conditions, you may be able to hold the government entity in charge of roads responsible. Many accident victims are under the impression that only other travelers can be sued for road-related harm. In truth, though, businesses and government entities can also be named as defendants in personal injury lawsuits.
Can I File Legal Action Or An Insurance Claim If I Was Doored?
Motorists owe other travelers a duty of care even if their vehicles are not moving. If a motorist has caused you injury after flinging their door open without looking to see whether they could do so safely, you likely have strong grounds upon which to file a civil claim. Dooring a bicyclist is often considered just as negligent (or even reckless) under the law as hitting a bicyclist with a moving vehicle is.
Do I Need To Hire An Attorney?
If your bicycle accident resulted in a few minor bumps and bruises and didn’t require anything more than a day or two off work, you probably don’t need to speak with an attorney. However, if your bicycle accident resulted in moderate, severe, or catastrophic injury, it is important that you speak with an attorney about your rights and options. Scheduling a risk-free consultation with a lawyer does not obligate you to file legal action, nor does it obligate you to work with an attorney moving forward. However, making this small effort will help to ensure that you fully understand your rights and options under the law. At that point, you can make whatever informed decision is right for you at this time.
Preparing For Your Consultation With Our Firm
Meeting with an attorney can be an overwhelming experience for many accident victims. In the wake of an accident, many injured bicyclists understandably need to focus their energy and attention on recovering. Taking time to explore the legal side of recovery can feel like an unwelcome distraction. Our firm has extensive experience assisting accident victims, and we pride ourselves on doing so effectively and efficiently. Our team will treat you, your case, and your time with the utmost respect. Our goal is that our clients receive the best possible case results with as little stress as possible.
When preparing to meet with our firm, consider taking some time to write out a list of your questions and concerns. Too often, accident victims try to rely on their memory when expressing concerns and asking questions. By writing these issues out for easy reference, you’ll eliminate the stressor of trying to remember everything that you hoped to discuss on the spot.
Additionally, it will be helpful to gather any documentation and information that will help us to fully understand your situation. If you have pictures of the accident scene, the contact information of witnesses, insurance information from those involved in the accident, a copy of the accident report, medical records related to your injuries, or other relevant items, consider bringing this documentation to your consultation. Detailed information about your situation will help us provide you with truly personalized legal guidance.
Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Bicycle accidents cases are often surprisingly complex. If you have not yet scheduled a risk-free consultation with our firm, please do so now. It isn’t always easy to know what caused a bicycle accident or who may be held accountable legally and financially for the harm caused by a collision. Fulgham Hampton Law Group’s reputable and dedicated legal team can provide you with clarity about your rights and options under the law.
You may not yet know whether you’re entitled to compensation for the harm that you’ve suffered. By sharing your experience with our firm, you’ll place yourself in a position to receive a thorough, objective legal assessment of your situation. At that point, you’ll be empowered to make whatever informed decision is best for you and your family at this time. Fulgham Hampton Law Group would be honored to provide you with the support that you and your family need as you navigate the aftermath of your accident. We look forward to speaking with you. Contact Fulgham Hampton Law Group today by calling (817) 697-4440 or contacting us online for a free case evaluation.