If you have been injured while riding your bike, the Texas Bicycle Accident Guide was created by Austin injury attorney Daniel R. Smith to help residents earn maximum compensation.
If you have been involved in a bike accident, you are probably feeling scared and frustrated about the injuries you have sustained. The medical bills can pile up and if you are missing time at work, paying those bills can be incredibly difficult. We want you to know that we are here for you during this particularly difficult time. We will fight tirelessly to get you the compensation that you deserve. After you read about your case, please call our office today for a free confidential consultation.
Types of Bike Accident Injuries
Bike accidents have the potential to be catastrophic. You have no protection from impact like you would have in a car. Because of that, the only real protection you may have had was from your helmet, which only lessens the chance of head injuries and does nothing for the rest of your body. It is so important to recognize what injuries you may have suffered so that you can get to the doctor and tell them exactly what you have wrong. Here are a few examples of common bike accident injuries:
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
These injuries can cause permanent damage and life-long grief. The amount of compensation that you can get rewarded will increase by the severity of the injuries and damages you have suffered so that you’re sufficiently covered for all of it.
Dealing with Insurance
The insurance company, at some point, is going to reach out to you to try to get a recorded statement from you. They are not interested in being helpful and while they may seem like they’re just trying to be polite, they certainly have an ulterior motive. The have a goal to cut down the costs and they will do that by trying to throw out your claim or reduce the amount of compensation that they owe you. When they call you, you should avoid telling them anything. You have no obligation to speak to them. They are trained to ask you questions about the accident that will make it seem like you were the at-fault party. You should never answer these questions if you want a successful claim. When they come calling you, you can tell them that they can take up communication with your attorney.
Tips for a Successful Claim
There are a few things that you should be aware of if you want to have a successful claim. The most important thing you can do after an accident is seek medical attention. You do not want to delay doing this as it could make your condition worse and it can give the insurance company a reason to throw your case away. Getting treatment is a documented way to show the insurance company the harm that their insured caused you.
You also need to be aware of the statute of limitations in Texas so that you don’t miss out on your chance for compensation altogether. For a bike accident in Texas, you only have two years to bring your claim or settle it in court. If you miss this time limit, you will be barred from getting compensation.
What is also important is to hire an experienced bike accident attorney to help you with every step of the process. They will make sure that you are completing everything on time and are on schedule to have a successful claim. You can be at ease knowing they will be taking over communication with the insurance company and protect you from their bullying tactics to make you feel at fault.
How to Get Full Compensation
In Texas, there are modified comparative negligence which means you will have a reduced award if you are deemed to be less than 50% at fault for the accident. If you are deemed more than 50% at fault, you will be barred from getting a compensation award. Let’s say you were awarded $10,000 for your damages, but you were deemed 10% for your part in the accident. You would then be allowed to collect $9,000 for the award to account for your percent of fault. That’s why it is so important for you to find a good, experienced, and supportive lawyer who cares about your case and getting you the best possible result.
Frequently Asked Questions | Texas Bicycle Accident Guide
What Do I Do After My Accident?
The first thing you should do after a bicycle accident is seek medical treatment immediately. It’s of critical importance for your full recovery to seek medical treatment and to follow the doctor’s orders. The next thing to do is to hire an attorney as quickly as possible. Evidence disappears over time. It’s important to do this quickly so that they can contact witnesses.
Next, it’s important to hire the right attorney. The right attorney is someone who practices personal injury law. If they don’t devote a significant portion of their practice to personal injury law, that person may not know all the ins and outs of a case and could miss something significant. Bicycle accidents are different than other accidents.
Lastly, that person needs to be a trial attorney. Trial attorneys work every case as if they are going to trial. That will add more value to your case, and if you’re unable to settle the case without going to trial, your attorney would be ready for it.
How Much is My Case Worth?
I was contacted by someone who was hit while they were riding their bicycle and one of the first things they asked me was, “How much is my bicycle accident claim worth?” Unfortunately, early on, the answer is unclear. The first thing that needs to happen is completing your medical treatment. We can’t value your case until we know the extent of your injuries. In Texas, there are a few different types of compensation that you can receive for your claims. This includes past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, and past and future pain and suffering. There are also some other types of damages you can receive compensation for, as well, but it all depends case by case.
How Long Will My Case Take?
You may be wondering, “How long is it going to take for my case to be resolved?” Unfortunately, the answer isn’t clear right away.
Firstly, we need to know the extent of your injuries, and we won’t know that until you’ve gone through a significant part of your medical treatment. Once we know the extent of your injuries, we will submit a letter to the insurance company asking for fair and just compensation, outlining your injuries. If we submit that letter prematurely, then we can’t ask for fair and just compensation.
Once we do that, we wait for the response. They have about three weeks to respond. If they respond with a fair number, we negotiate with them. Unfortunately, most of the time, we don’t get a fair response. In that case, we have to file a lawsuit. Once we do that, we have to serve the defendant. Normally, that isn’t a problem. However, occasionally, defendants will try to avoid service.
Once the defendant is served, they have 30 days to respond to the lawsuit. Normally, they’ll respond to the lawsuit and be represented by an attorney. Once we have an attorney on the other side, we call them and get a trial date on the calendar. Then there’s an end in sight. Hopefully, we’re able to resolve the case without going to trial. However, we are trial attorneys ready to go to trial, if need be.
How Do I Find the Right Attorney?
I had a client who was biking home from work when she was hit by a car that was pulling out of a parking lot. She asked me, “How do I choose the right bicycle accident attorney?” Some advice would be to establish a level of comfort with the attorney in the first meeting.
Next, you need to find an attorney who devotes a large part of their practice to personal injury law and has experience in bicycle accidents specifically. Bicycle accidents are different than other personal injury cases. If someone has that experience, they will understand what is unique about your case.
Next, you need to hire a trial attorney. Insurance companies, on the other side, know who the trial attorneys are and they treat trial attorneys differently. Also, trial attorneys work up a case from the beginning as if it is going to trial, and that gives you the best chance of not going to trial. If, in the rare instance the insurance company won’t ever make a fair offer, then you are ready to go to trial and get the best result possible.
Should I Comply with the Insurance Company?
Recently, I was contacted by someone who had been a victim of a bicycle accident, and they asked me, “What are some of the common mistakes that people make when dealing with insurance companies?” There are two mistakes that we see time and time again.
The first mistake is people give a recorded statement to insurance companies. They think that by giving a recorded statement, they’re cooperating with the insurance company and the insurance company will treat them fairly and compensate them well, but that’s wrong. What they’re doing is they’re trying to find a way to trap you, in any way, to try to find an excuse not to compensate you fairly for your claims. They’re trained specifically to offer as little money as possible.
The second mistake that we see is people taking the first offer, and at that point it’s too late for us to help. The first offer is almost always negotiable and almost always a lowball. Rarely do insurance companies come out offering a fair number.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid Making?
You may be asking yourself, “What are the most common mistakes that people make?” The first most common mistake that people make is they delay seeking medical treatment, and they also fail to follow the doctor’s orders. That’s the biggest mistake because that can hurt your chance at a full recovery. Beyond that, the insurance company is also going to look at it as if you didn’t seek medical treatment right away or you didn’t follow up with the doctors, then you must not have been hurt that badly.
Another mistake that people make is they give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster. The insurance adjuster is there not to fairly compensate you, but to limit the exposure of the insurance company and pay as little as possible.
Next, people delay in hiring an attorney to represent them. If someone delays in hiring an attorney, then it’s difficult for that attorney to fully investigate that claim. Witnesses will go missing or forget things. Related to that, people hire the wrong attorney. You need to hire an attorney who has a large part of their practice devoted to personal injury litigation and has experience in bicycle accidents. Also, that attorney needs to be a trial attorney. Insurance companies on the other side know who the trial attorneys are and, in turn, they’ll offer a more reasonable settlement. If, for whatever reason, you don’t get a reasonable settlement offer in your case, you’ll still be prepared to go to trial and get the best result possible.
What If I Had a Preexisting Condition?
Recently. I was contacted by someone who was in a bicycle accident and wanted to know how their preexisting condition would affect their case. The answer is complicated but can be boiled down to this; the third-party is responsible for any change in your condition. For example, if you had a back injury before your bike accident and, on average, your pain level was a two on a scale of ten before the accident but was a six after the accident, then the third-party would be responsible for any change in your condition.
However, preexisting conditions can be much more complicated than that, so it’s best to talk to an attorney about how your preexisting condition affects your case.
Will My Bicycle Accident Case Go to a Trial?
Recently, I was contacted by a client. He was injured in a bicycle accident, and he asked me if he thought his case would go to trial. Most cases do not go to trial, but some do. As the client, you will always be in control of whether or not we go to trial because you are the boss. You decide whether or not we get to take any settlement offer. I will always advise you if I think an offer is fair or not, but you are always welcome to disagree with my advice and take an offer if you so choose.
In the case that we do go to trial, I can assure you that you will be very well-prepared. Trial is an opportunity for you to tell your story to a jury of your peers and a judge.
Contact Our Office Today
If you are worried about your future after a bike accident, please call our office today for a free consultation. You don’t have to let this incident ruin your life. We will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve for all the injuries you have had to deal with. You shouldn’t be bullied by the insurance companies. We will make sure that your rights are protected. Call us today to find out how our experienced Austin bicycle accident lawyer Daniel Smith can help you through this difficult time.