Austin Bicycle Accident Lawyer
With picturesque bike trails and warm weather, Austin residents love to joyride on their bicycles, and many commute to work. Yet injuries and fatalities caused by bicycle accidents present a major concern. Whether a road hazard or a motor vehicle causes an accident, cyclists have a greater risk of injury, and are more likely to die upon impact or as a result of their injuries.
Since Austin’s recent construction of new bike lanes in the last five years, bicycling accidents in Austin have drastically decreased. Yet injuries and fatalities still occur.
The bicycle advocacy group Share the Road Texas reports that between 2010 and 2016, 16,807 crashes involving bicycles occurred on our roads, causing 9,769 injuries, 5,646 possible injuries, and 362 deaths. The Texas Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates that more than 400 people died in bicycle accidents on Texas roads from 2010 through 2017. Travis County alone saw almost 2,000 serious bike crashes from 2010 to 2016, including 16 that resulted in fatalities. In fact, Guadalupe Street still remains one of the most dangerous areas in the city to ride a bike and overall safety remains a concern for bicyclists in Austin, especially when sharing the road with motor vehicle drivers, who are at fault for the vast majority of bicycle accidents. The worst of these accidents left behind emotionally devastated families and battered, financially strapped victims.
If you live in the Austin area and enjoy bicycling, take special care to follow traffic regulations, wear your helmet, and remain aware of your surroundings. If you or your child were injured in a bicycle accident, call an attorney as soon as possible after seeking medical attention.
If someone you love died in a bicycle accident, your family is going through a difficult time. Although no amount of money will bring back your loved one, recovering compensation can help ease the financial burden and recover the economic costs of your loss. Coping with sudden death is not easy, especially if another person's negligence led to the death of your loved one. In these cases, you might have the right to file a wrongful death claim to receive compensation for the death of your family member. Texas has a two-year statute of limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit, so you must contact an attorney as soon as possible.
The Law Offices of George Salinas in Austin may help. Call us today at (512) 851-1004, or contact us online, to discuss the details of your case and determine your eligibility for compensation related to your injuries.
Our Dedication to Our Clients
The legal team The Law Offices of George Salinas has helped clients recover millions of dollars in damages from settlements and verdicts in personal injury cases, including those that involve bicycling accidents. Past results in terms of awards vary based on individual cases. With individual attention, and the diligent pursuit of the facts surrounding your bicycling accident, the bicycling accident lawyers at The Law Offices of George Salinas will advocate that you get the best possible outcome for your case.
Handling Bicycle Accident Cases
The committed team at the Law Offices of George Salinas understands how a bicycle accident can wreak havoc in the life of a victim and the victim’s family. One of our priorities is to have clear and open communication with our clients, so that we can uncover important facts of their particular case, and help decide what legal strategies will best suit their recovery. Our Testimonials page reflects our commitment to client service.
What Kinds of Injuries Might Result from a Bicycle Accident?
Bicycle accidents lead to a wide variety of injuries based on the facts of the case, such as the speed at which one was riding and the circumstances of the accident. The lack of bodily protection on bicycle leads to severe injuries, especially when children are involved in an accident. Some of the most common bicycle accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Dislocated joints
- Internal and soft tissue injuries
- Deep cuts and lacerations
- Road rash
- Neck injuries
- Crushed or amputated limbs
- Back and spinal cord injuries that might result in paralysis
- Head trauma, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries, especially in those not wearing helmets
- Crushed or amputated limbs
- Long-term detrimental emotional effects
- Wrongful death
What Is Wrongful Death?
According to Texas law (Statute 71.002), a cause of action for wrongful death occurs "if the injury was caused by the person's or his agent's or servant's wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default." The law also states that the victim must have been able to recover damages if he or she had not died. Texas law states that only a victim's surviving spouse, children, or parents may file a wrongful death suit on the behalf of the victim. They have three months from the date of death to do so, or the victim's executor may do so on their behalf.
Who Might Be Liable for an Austin Bicycle Accident?
Identifying the parties responsible for causing a bicycle accident can be straightforward...until it isn’t. At the Law Offices of George Salinas, we have represented clients whose loved one was killed in a bicycle accident, and clients who suffered severe injuries in a bike accident.
Establishing fault in an accident is often challenging for the court, especially when motor vehicles are involved. Unfortunately, motor vehicle drivers are most often at fault for bicycle accidents. Drivers have a duty of care to others on the road and are held to an even higher standard when children are present. Drivers who violate traffic regulations such as driving under the influence of controlled substances, speeding, or driving while distracted put bicyclists at risk when they share the road.
In rare cases, bicycle manufacturers, distributors, and retailers might also be liable for injuries from a bicycle accident. Texas law does not require proof of negligence in these cases, but proof that the bike or helmet had a dangerous defect that caused the accident or injury will result in the court holding responsible parties strictly liable for damages. Finally, in the case of poor road design or hazardous roads, the city, county, or state may be held liable.
An experienced bicycle accident attorney can work with a bike accident victim, or the victim’s family, to identify all of the parties who may bear responsibility for causing the accident. Once those parties have been identified, the attorney can identify the appropriate legal course of action to achieve the best possible outcome for the client, whether that means negotiating a lump-sum settlement or pursuing responsible parties all the way through a trial.
Can I Recover Damages After a Bicycle Accident?
It would be nice if insurance covered all of the injuries a bike accident can cause, but unfortunately that’s rarely the case. More often, victims of bicycle accidents and their families face mountains of unexpected, uninsured expenses. But, that doesn’t mean their situations are hopeless. We work with our clients to recover compensation from insurers and responsible parties for all of the damages we can collect for our clients.
What Kinds of Damages Might Be Recovered from a Bicycle Accident Injury?
Here are some of the most common damages that the court awards victims of bicycle accident injuries:
- Medical expenses including ambulance and emergency services, hospitalization, X-rays, doctor visits, surgery, and medications
- Rehabilitation costs including physical therapy and assistive devices such as canes, walkers, and wheelchairs
- Future medical costs in the event of a permanent disability or if your court date or settlement occurs prior to full recovery
- Lost wages for time missed from work, which also applies to parents caring for a child who sustained injuries in a bicycle accident
- Lost earning capacity in extreme cases where the victim’s injury won’t allow a return to work
- Pain and suffering for the emotional trauma and non-economic losses incurred from an injury
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium, companionship, protection, and/or guidance
- Funeral expenses and service or support that the deceased had provided to a surviving family member, especially a dependent, in the case of wrongful death
If appropriate, we may also determine that a client’s case is suitable for seeking punitive damages under Texas law. Punitive damages aim to punish the party responsible for the accident and deter other reckless conduct that could injure other bicyclists.
Of course, every bicycle accident case is different and there are never any guarantees. The range of damages a victim may be entitled to recover depend on the facts of the particular accident and needs. The timing of when a victim seeks damages can also affect the outcome. This is why you should work with an experienced bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
How Do Responsible Parties Try to Avoid Paying Damages in Bike Accidents?
Texas law gives victims the right to seek compensation for their losses, and the Texas Wrongful Death Act gives surviving family members the right to sue.
When a motor vehicle driver causes a bicycle accident in Texas, the driver’s auto insurance carrier, unless one is uninsured, will be included in the lawsuit. Expect the insurance company to deny your claim or suggest that some or all of your injuries were sustained at a previous time or in different circumstances.
Texas applies modified comparative negligence to most personal injury cases. The court determines who is at fault in an accident and assigns a percentage to each party.
The court must find the defendant is 51 percent at fault or more for the bicycle accident injuries for you to collect damages. This motivates the defense to attempt to shift fault to you or your child. The defense may use a variety of tactics to shift some or all of the fault to the victim, including claiming that the cyclist was inattentive, under the influence, or violating traffic regulations such as running a stop light, not using hand signals, or turning into traffic.
One difficult feature of the typical severe bicycle accident is that the victim has either been killed or so badly injured that he or she cannot help lawyers understand the accident. When this happens, the parties who caused the accident may try to seize the opportunity to blame the bicyclist, or to point the finger at each other.
Bicyclists have every right to share the road with cars and trucks. But, even though it’s no excuse, the parties who caused a bicycle accident do often try to argue that a bicyclist “came out of nowhere” or somehow at fault. When insurance companies hear these arguments, they may try to use them to justify denying or limiting claims payments. That is why it can be important for bicycle accident victims and their families to connect with an experienced bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will fight these counterclaims and strive for the best possible outcome.
In cases that include defective bicycles or bicycle parts, including helmets, products liability law comes into play. The 51 percent modified comparative negligence threshold does not apply, and who caused the accident does not matter to the court. Texas law dictates that manufacturers are strictly liable in products liability cases. In this case, the defense will attempt to prove that the bicycle was not defective or if it was defective, the defect did not cause the accident. You must prove that the bicycle was defective, dangerous, and led to the injury or death of your loved one.
Hire a Skilled Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Austin
When expenses associated with a bicycle accident begin to mount, the last thing a victim or the victim’s family wants to worry about is the cost of a lawyer. At the Law Offices of George Salinas, we offer free initial case consultations, and in appropriate cases, we may agree to represent a client on a contingency fee basis in which we only collect fees out of money we recover on our client’s behalf. Under a contingency fee arrangement, we may cover the court costs associated with pursuing a case, if appropriate. Please do not be afraid to tell us about your situation and ask us if you or your loved one’s bicycle accident case may be appropriate for a contingency fee arrangement.
A qualified bike accident lawyer will advocate for you and fight against counterclaims from liable parties. If you or your child has been involved in a bicycle accident in Austin, contact an experienced Austin bicycle attorney as soon as possible within Texas’s two-year statute of limitations. During your free consultation, your potential attorney will review your case.
The skilled legal team at The Law Offices of George Salinas can handle the details of your case, investigate your accident, interview potential witnesses, and guide you through the legal process while you focus on healing and recovery.
If you were injured in a bicycle accident in the Austin, Texas area, or have a loved one who has died in a biking accident, contact us today at (512) 851-1004, or online, for your free consultation to discuss your legal options.