Jason Stephens | May 16, 2020 | Car Accidents
If you hit a bike rider with your car, stop and assess the situation. Are you or the bike rider injured? If so, call 911 and request emergency medical services, in addition to a police officer.
Leaving the scene of the bicycle accident is an unwise choice. Treat a bicycle accident in the same manner as you would a traffic accident between two motor vehicles. If you leave the scene of the accident, you could be charged with a hit and run.
Instead, always remain at the accident scene and wait for police officers to arrive. While waiting for assistance, do not admit fault. Even though distracted driving, speeding, and other unsafe driving behaviors are the cause of bicycle accidents, a bicyclist could also be at fault for the accident.
You need to wait until the police officers investigate the crash and complete an accident report. You should also wait until you talk to an attorney before admitting fault or accepting liability for the accident. If the bicyclist shared responsibility for the crash, you might not be responsible for the full amount of the bicyclist’s damages.
You May Not Be Solely Responsible for the Accident
Bicyclists have the same responsibilities and duties that motorists have for operating their vehicle safely. However, cyclists have the same rights to use the road as motorists.
Therefore, both motorists and riders must obey traffic laws. Bicyclists must stop at red lights and stop signs. Riders must use proper signals when turning or stopping.
Because bicyclists and motorists may share responsibility for the cause of a collision, you want to conduct a thorough accident investigation to determine fault. A car accident attorney or bicycle accident lawyer can handle the investigation for you. Attorneys have resources and experience that most people do not possess.
Once your attorney completes the accident investigation, they will discuss your legal rights and options for filing a personal injury claim. If you caused the accident, you could be held liable for any damages caused by the crash. Your car insurance provider will likely handle the claim and pay the bicyclist compensation to settle the claim.
However, if your car insurance coverage does not pay the full amount of the rider’s injury claim, you might be personally liable for the amount not covered by insurance. An attorney can help you review property exemptions for personal judgments to help you protect your property. A lawyer can also help you determine how to proceed if the rider pursues a personal judgment against you.
Bicycle Accidents Can Result in Serious Injuries
A rider does not have protection from the impact of a collision. Bicycle helmets and protective gear may help reduce the severity of injuries, but being struck by a motor vehicle while riding a bicycle generally results in severe injuries.
Common bicycle accident injuries include:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Head and brain injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and back injuries
- Neck and shoulder injuries
- Scrapes, abrasions, scarring, and disfigurement
- Internal organ damage
The medical expenses, loss of income, and other damages from bicycle accidents can total hundreds of thousands of dollars. The value of a bicycle accident claim depends on numerous factors, including:
- The type and severity of the injury;
- The amount of financial losses; and,
- Whether the person sustained a permanent disability because of the accident.
Documenting damages and injuries increases the chance of recovering maximum compensation for an injury claim. See a doctor as soon as possible to document injuries caused by the bicycle accident. Take photographs of injuries right after the crash and throughout your recovery.
Keep copies of all bills, invoices, and receipts related to the accident. Also, keep a detailed list of all missed work and loss of income. It can also be helpful to begin a journal detailing your pain and suffering after the accident.
Preventing Texas Bicycle Accidents
In 2017, Texas had the third-highest rate of bicycle accident fatalities in the country. Fifty-nine people died in 2017 in bicycle accidents in Texas. During 2018, the number of bicycle accident deaths increased to 72.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), there were 8,110 bicycle accidents statewide during 2018. In addition to the fatalities, thousands of people were seriously injured in bicycle crashes.
One of the best ways to reduce the number of bicycle accidents in Texas is for bicycles and motorists to avoid distractions while driving and follow traffic laws. The TxDOT published a Texas Guide to Safe Bicycling that is available online.
Bicyclists and motorists can also visit the NHTSA website to learn more about bicycle safety and ways to prevent bicycle accidents. Learning and following safe bicycle practices can keep you and others on the road safe from injuries and life-threatening conditions.