Bicycle Accident Attorney in Austin, TX
In a busy city like Austin, TX, motorists frequently share the road with bicycle riders. Riding a bicycle is a great way to exercise and enjoy the outdoors. You might ride your bike to and from work, and some cyclists make a living as interoffice couriers or pedicab operators. Whatever your reason for riding, it’s essential for cyclists to obey traffic rules, watch out for errant drivers and make safe decisions. Bike accidents have the potential to cause severe and possibly fatal injuries. The risk of severe injuries in a bicycle accident is exceptionally high because riders have little or no physical protection besides gloves and a helmet. The most common injuries associated with these accidents are road rash, closed head injuries, brain damage, contusions, lacerations, and broken bones.
Regardless of how severe the injuries are, the elements of proving a bicycle accident case are similar to any other auto accident. To recover compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost earnings, diminished earning capacity, and other damages, your bicycle accident lawyer must prove that the motorist was negligent. This can be a complex process. First, a professional personal injury lawyer will gather the facts, document the accident scene, and work with professionals to establish the conditions and situation that caused the collision. In a case like this, you might be fighting against a league of attorneys who work for the driver’s insurance company and who will try to blame you. At the Law Office of Joel A. Levine, we have been handling bicycle and pedestrian accident cases since 2008. We are committed to recovering the full compensation for your injuries.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
The statistics on bicycle collisions are shocking. Approximately 42 cyclists die yearly in Texas alone after collisions with cars and trucks. Nearly three-quarters of cyclists are concerned about safety and accidents. However, motorists are often oblivious to the bicycles on the road with them. In Austin, TX, the police department reports that the city experiences an average of 315 bike collisions annually, including some 280 with injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration acknowledges that accidents involving bicycles are under-reported, and it’s estimated that only 10 percent of injury cases are ever reported by law enforcement. Nevertheless, statistics are grave.
- Intoxicated motorists are responsible for 40 percent of fatal bike accidents.
- About half of all reported bike accidents involve motorized vehicles.
- Approximately 75 percent of accidents occur at or near intersections.
- Most fatal bicycle collisions take place between 4 a.m. and 8 p.m.
- One-fifth of fatal accidents occur between 8 p.m. and midnight.
- Cyclists account for 2 percent of all accident-related deaths.
Austin Bicycle Accidents and Negligence
To determine responsibility in an accident case, your attorney will review the facts to establish whether the driver’s negligence caused or contributed to the accident and subsequent injuries. The driver might be responsible if your attorney can prove that they cut into a designated bike lane, ran through a stop sign, was distracted, or failed to observe a cyclist. Your bicycle accident lawyer can secure phone records to see if the driver was talking on the phone or texting at the time of the accident. Violations related to speeding, drunk driving, and traffic signals are highly effective evidence when establishing the driver’s negligence.
Occasionally, cyclists are responsible for accidents. When bicycling in Austin or anywhere in central Texas, cyclists are expected to follow state and city laws. City ordinances and sections of the Texas Transportation Code require bicycles to have available reflectors and headlights. Under these laws, a bicycle is a vehicle. Therefore, all bikes must follow traffic signals and obey all traffic laws. For example, bicycles must use the right-most lane or shoulder and ride in the direction of traffic. A violation of any state or city rule permits law enforcement officers to initiate a traffic stop. Tickets are issued for violations and can become part of the cyclist’s permanent driving record. Frequent bicycle violations recorded by the Austin Police Department include missing reflectors, failing to use a headlight after dark, running red lights, failing to obey stop signs, cycling the wrong way on a one-way street, and cycling on sidewalks in business districts.
Hiring an Austin Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you have been involved in an accident, you need effective representation from a qualified personal injury attorney. Injuries sustained in a bike accident can be severe and have long-lasting implications. In extreme circumstances, an accident lawsuit can become a wrongful death case if the cyclist dies due to their injuries.
The Law Office of Joel A. Levine provides professional, competent representation and legal assistance to cyclists and other accident victims throughout central Texas. We offer free consultations and a contingency fee plan, so you don’t have to pay anything unless we win your case. If you cannot come to our office due to your injuries, our bicycle accident lawyer will come to you. Whether we provide legal advice or take your case to a jury trial, we aim to make the process clear, transparent, and as easy as possible for you and your family. Call us today to take the first step toward recovering the compensation that you deserve after a bicycle accident injury.
Preserving Evidence After a Bike Accident
From the moment you experience a bike accident, every action you take can significantly impact determining your rights and options in the days and months to come. If you have been involved in a bike accident, contact us to schedule a free consultation.
Austin Bicycle Accident Lawyers
The following will help you preserve evidence and protect yourself after a bike accident.
While most bicycle accidents do not involve cars, those that do can be scary and often seriously harmful to the cyclist. If you are on a bike and get into an accident with or because of a motor vehicle, it is essential to do your best to keep calm and follow these recommendations.
1. Wait for the Police. After a bike accident, waiting for the police at the scene is essential, even if you don’t think you are injured. Because of the adrenaline involved in such an accident, many cyclists do not know the extent of their injuries until after they have left the scene. Ensure the police file a report accurately reflecting what occurred in the accident. Make sure your statement is given to the officer on scene-sometimes they take information from the motor vehicle driver and not the bicyclist. Make sure to report all injuries.
2. Don’t try to negotiate or argue with the driver. Many drivers may initially accept blame and apologize, only rescind responsibility, denying they were responsible or even involved! (Another important reason to file a police report). Any statements you make to the other parties can impact your rights later to obtain compensation for your losses. In bike accidents, saying less is more.
3. Obtain Driver and Witness Contact Information. If possible, get the motor vehicle driver’s name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, vehicle license number, and insurance information. If witnesses are present, ask for their contact information as well. Don’t assume the police will remember to collect all of this information. If you have suffered injuries, see if a witness can collect this information.
4. Document the Accident and Your Injuries. Being involved in a severe accident can make it difficult for people to recall details of the accident later on. Do your best on-scene to note as many factors as you can about what happened-such as the time of day, location, weather, road and traffic conditions, how the accident occurred, and all other pertinent details.
Also, seek immediate medical attention for injuries, even seemingly minor ones. The medical report can later prove that you sought medical attention for your injuries.
If possible, take photos at the scene of the accident and take pictures of your injuries, the damage to your bicycle and other property, and the location of the incident.
5. Preserve Evidence. Be sure to leave your bicycle and other damaged property in the same condition after the bike accident. Don’t fix anything, wash anything, throw anything away, have anything inspected, or send your property to anyone other than your bicycle accident attorney.
6. Seek Advice from a Bicycle Accident Attorney. Bike accidents often involve complex legal issues. A qualified bicycle accident attorney can evaluate your claim-ideally soon after the accident- to determine how best to preserve and protect your legal rights and options. Your attorney can investigate the accident, advise you on how to proceed, negotiate with involved parties (including insurance companies), and represent you in a case to help you obtain compensation for your losses and suffering.
FAQ on Bike Accidents
What types of injuries can result from a bicycle accident?
You can sustain many injuries if you are involved in a bicycle accident. You can be thrown from your bicycle, which can cause everything from cuts, scratches, abrasions, and bruises to broken bones to severe head trauma. The extent of the injuries you sustain typically is influenced by what hit you, such as another bicyclist or a car, the speed at which you and the other vehicle were traveling, and whether you were wearing a helmet or any protective gear.
What should you do after a bicycle accident?
After a bicycle accident, you should exchange information with whoever hits you, such as another bicyclist or a driver. Get their full name, address, driver’s license, and insurance information. Another step you will want to take is to obtain the names, phone numbers, and addresses of all the witnesses who may have witnessed the accident. If possible, take pictures of the scene, showing anything that may have led to the accident, such as a driver running a red light or turning into a bike lane. Finally, obtain medical treatment. Bicycle accidents can cause internal injuries, so you should see a doctor if you feel pain.
Should I hire an attorney after a bicycle accident?
It is strongly recommended that you hire a personal injury attorney with experience with bicycle accident cases after a bicycle accident occurs. Many insurance companies try to place fault on the bicyclist for the accident, trying to reduce or eliminate their insured party’s responsibility. A lawyer can fight to show why the other party was at fault and why they should be responsible for your injuries. Additionally, an attorney can help you recover the maximum amount of money you may be entitled to by properly valuing your case and fighting for the money you deserve.
How long do you have to file a lawsuit after a bicycle accident?
Each state has a different timeline for filing a personal injury lawsuit. In Texas, you generally have two years to bring a lawsuit against another party for damages and injuries you sustained following a bicycle accident. If you fail to bring a lawsuit against the party within this timeframe, the statute of limitations expires, and you can no longer bring a case against the other party. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as when a minor is involved, so it is best to talk to a lawyer about the specific timeframe for filing after your bicycle accident.
What damages can you expect from a bicycle accident?
If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, you may wonder what damages you can collect as an injured bicyclist. There are different damages that you may be able to collect, depending on the circumstances. The most common types of damages that one collects following a bicycle accident as lost wages, money for past, current, and future medical expenses related to the injuries sustained in the accident, and money for pain and suffering.
Call us today at 512-982-1510 for a free consultation.