Austin Bike Accident Lawyers
Bike accident injuries can be significant. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a bicycle accident, and someone else was to blame, deciding to work with an Austin bike accident lawyer is a good idea.
Sometimes, bicycle accidents can change your life. For example, in March of 2016, a driver ran over an Austin bicyclist and dragged her nearly a half mile before her bike became entangled with the undercarriage of the pickup truck. The driver fled the scene, but thanks to eyewitness accounts, the police were able to locate and arrest the driver the next day. This horrific ordeal left the cyclist with severe injuries, and doctors had to amputate one of her legs.
Other recent hit-and-run crashes proved fatal for cyclists – a Fort Worth father who had just begun a new job was run down in a construction zone, and a Haltom City cyclist was struck by a drunk driver.
An increasing number of Texans have been commuting via bicycle, and that has also led to an increase in car-bicycle collisions – not just because there are more bicycles on the roads, but because of drivers who are inattentive, aggressive, or engaging in other irresponsible behavior.
Your injuries don’t need to be debilitating to impact your life. Medical treatment is costly, even for seemingly minor injuries.
Contact the bicycle accident lawyer at Evans & Herlihy today at (512) 732-2727 to request your free consultation.
The Facts About Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle Riding Can Be Dangerous
As more people in Texas ride bicycles, it stands to reason that there will be incidents. However, very few bicycle-car collisions are “accidents” – they’re crashes, usually caused by either cyclist or driver error. And, as one cyclist said, drivers who cause deadly bicycle crashes have a history of being hostile to cyclists. To raise awareness of this threat, he started a website called Close Call Database, where cyclists can report events such as being run off the road, yelled at, honked at, and other harassment.
On the Close Call website, its founder discusses a truck driver who was on trial for killing a cyclist. Police had cited the man years earlier for running two cyclists off the road, and he had also been previously charged with reckless endangerment for forcing a cyclist into oncoming traffic.
Road rage appears to be a factor in some Texas crashes, too. In 2015, a motorist in Austin was arrested after an incident that began with him honking at a cyclist, pulling up alongside the cyclist and yelling at him, then pulling in front of the cyclist and braking, causing the cyclist to crash into the back of his truck.
Bicycle Accident Injuries Can Be Serious
Most cyclists understand the importance of wearing a helmet in preventing severe and fatal head injuries. But other types of injuries may be harder to guard against. For example, direct blows to the shoulders, common in bicycle crashes, result in a host of injuries, including clavicle fractures, dislocated joints and torn rotator cuffs — all of which may result in long-term complications. Unfortunately, there is no protective gear for bicyclists that specifically protects the shoulders.
Other common bicycle injuries include, but are not limited to :
- Broken bones (simple and complex fractures)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Cuts, bruises, and road rash
- Back and neck injuries
- Strains and sprains
- Damage to internal organs.
Sadly, the most serious crashes can result in loss of life. If you have lost a family member in a bicycle accident due to the negligence of another party, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The bicycle accident lawyers at Evans & Herlihy can help you with this.
The Texas Bicycle Laws: The Right of Way
It’s no secret that major cities in Texas have plenty of frustrating traffic jams – conditions which could make motorists more intolerant of cyclists on the roadways. But in some parts of Austin, there are no bike lanes; and along some downtown streets, bicyclists are not allowed to travel on sidewalks.
As such they have the right to ride in the right-hand lane of a multi-lane road. If the right lane is a parking lane, cyclists may ride in the middle lane; and on a road with no lanes, cyclists are allowed to be on the roadway, staying close to the right edge of the road.
Even when cyclists follow traffic rules, drivers sometimes lose their temper, assuming bicycles should not be in the roadway. Some people say the key to reducing crashes between cars and bicycles is changing driver attitudes.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
The causes of bicycle accidents are broad-based and varied. They can occur on busy city streets just as easily as on quieter, residential roadways. Not all accidents involve a motor vehicle; road conditions, bicycle malfunctions and even inattentiveness can result in a crash. Some of the reasons accidents with cars occur include:
- Turning Issues: Bicycle riders are often hit by motor vehicles making turns into them. This can happen when turning either left or right.
- Passing: Quite often, drivers in motor vehicles try to pass cyclists, but they misjudge the amount of room they have and sideswipe them.
- Intersections: When those driving do not stop at red lights or they drive at excessive speeds through intersections, bicyclists traveling at the same time can be hit and injured.
- Distracted Driving: Distracted drivers (those who are texting, talking on cell phones, eating, etc.) can lose concentration and hit bicycle riders.
- DUIs: Unfortunately, those operating motor vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol may have impaired decision-making and can cause a crash that may injure someone driving a bicycle.
Contrary to what many believe, these accidents are often the fault of the automobile driver, not the bicyclist. That said, car insurance companies will likely try to shift the blame.
As your representative, this professional can answer questions on your behalf and protect you from saying something that could negatively impact your position.
Doing Your Best to Prevent Injury
“Control what you can.” While you cannot control the negligent actions of others, you can control your own behaviors. These sage words of advice can help mitigate injury in the case of bicycle accidents. There are a number of steps cyclists can take to protect themselves and prevent injury. These include:
- Wearing bright clothing
- Outfitting bicycles with lights and reflectors
- Knowing and observing local traffic rules
- Keeping at least one hand on the handlebars
- Maintaining the bicycle and making repairs when necessary.
The city of Austin provides additional bicycle safety tips that are incredibly valuable and can prove helpful when accidents occur.
A Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Austin Can Help You
What To Do Right After a Crash
Sometimes the steps you take when you have been in an accident can improve your chances of a positive outcome. If you have been in a bicycle accident and were involved in a crash, consider doing the following.
- Get Medical Help: Your health and well-being is and should always be a top priority. Even if you think you are okay, it is wise to see a doctor. Sometimes the adrenaline produced in an accident can mask pain, and, in many cases, injuries appear sometime after the incident.
- Gather Information: If you are able, collect information from the crash site. Photographs can be extremely helpful. You can use your cell phone to take pictures of your bicycle and the surrounding area.
- Collect Witness Information: If there were witnesses to the accident, make sure you get their names and telephone numbers. You want to be able to reach them should you need them to provide testimony as to what happened.
Once you have received necessary medical attention and have a moment to yourself, reach out to an experienced injury lawyer for a bike accident. Making contact sooner rather than later is critical. There are legal time frames (statutes of limitation) in place for filing lawsuits. Additionally, when you engage an attorney early in the process, that professional can assume responsibility for negotiating with the insurance companies, leaving you to focus on your recovery.
Damages You May Receive
“What type of compensation will I receive?” This question is one which we hear quite often. Understandably, if you have been involved in an accident, you are concerned about the financial repercussions. Medical and rehabilitative care is costly, and you may be unable to immediately return to work.
Economic damages have specific monetary value. These can include medical expenses (including hospital and physician bills, physical therapy, medication, and diagnostic services, and future medical costs, among other things), and lost wages (compensation for time you are unable to work, loss of earning potential and things like potential lost commissions, lost vacation and sick leave).
Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify. In general, pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of consortium fall under this category. Finally, in some cases when malicious or incredibly reckless behavior leads to the accident, punitive damages may be assessed. These are designed to punish the defendant and let others know that behaviors of this type are unacceptable. They hopefully will deter others from acting similarly.
Evans & Herlihy Bicycle Accident Lawyers Are Ready to Help You
If you have been involved in an accident while riding your bicycle, Attorney Chip Evans is ready to go to work on your behalf. He has worked tirelessly to help Texans who have been injured due to another person’s actions.
The combination of his knowledge and experience, combined with his reputation as a sympathetic and kind individual, is exactly what you need. Let Chip and his team manage your personal injury claim against the responsible parties while you focus on feeling better. Find out what we can do for you. Request your no-obligation consultation today by filling out our online form or calling the Evans & Herlihy Law Firm at (512) 732-2727.