Dallas Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Riding a bike is an excellent activity for city dwellers—cycling is healthy for the cyclist and the environment. At peak traffic hours, bicycling to work may even save time. Many people who do not commute by bicycle cycle for recreation, in part because the flat landscape around Dallas makes it enjoyable even for those who are not in top shape.
Cycling has a dark side, though, and it is motorists. Drivers frequently are inattentive to cyclists, and some are downright hostile. This can result in accidents and serious injuries.
If a cycling accident left you injured or damaged your bike or other property, you might have a valid claim for damages against anyone who was negligent. It is a good idea to consult with a personal injury lawyer soon after your accident to find out whether seeking money damages is an option that might be worthwhile in your case.
Proving Negligence in a Bike Accident
When an injured person seeks compensation for damages from the negative party, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent. This showing requires the plaintiff to establish that the defendant:
- Owed the plaintiff a duty
- Breached the duty
- The breach caused harm to the plaintiff
- There was actual harm, not potential harm or possible harm
When a cyclist and a vehicle collide, there is usually no question about proving a duty. All motorists must handle their vehicles responsibly, and the law requires them to watch for and avoid other road users like pedestrians and cyclists. If a motorized vehicle hits a cyclist, there was likely a breach of the duty to take reasonable care. Proving actual harm is a matter of showing that the plaintiff was injured or their property was damaged in the accident.
Sometimes the defendant is not a motorist, but a manufacturer of a mechanical part that failed, or a local government whose failure to properly mark or maintain a street or trail led to the accident. In those cases, proving negligence might be slightly more complicated, but negligence is a contributing factor in most bicycle accidents. An experienced personal injury attorney could analyze a specific accident and identify potential acts of negligence.
Cyclist’s Negligence May Limit Recovery
There may be more than one negligent party in a bicycle accident. If an injured cyclist’s negligence contributed to the accident or the severity of the injuries, they still may seek damages from other negligent parties. The Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §33.001 makes all parties responsible for the effects of their own actions.
In practice, a plaintiff who is more than 50 percent at fault for an accident has no opportunity to seek damages. However, a persuasive injury attorney could present evidence to convince a jury that the cyclist’s negligence was not as severe as the defendant’s negligence was. As long as a cyclist is not primarily to blame, they could collect damages from other, more negligent parties. A judge will reduce any award the cyclist receives by an amount proportionate to the plaintiff’s degree of fault.
Quick Decisions Lead to Better Results
A potential plaintiff has only two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit seeking damages. This is a relatively brief period, so persons who have suffered injuries in bicycle accidents must plot their future course expeditiously. Seeking advice from an attorney soon after an accident can help an injured cyclist clarify their options.
Speedy decision-making is even more critical if one of the defendants is the State of Texas or a local government. Texas law requires plaintiffs to notify the State or local government of their intent to bring a claim, and this notice of claim must be filed within six months of the accident. Failure to file the notice of claim on time can defeat any later lawsuit seeking damages.
Rely on a Legal Professional to Hold Others Accountable
Recovering from injuries is hard, and securing fair compensation from negligent parties is harder if you are not familiar with the legal system. Teaming up with a local advocate can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Call on a Dallas bicycle injury lawyer to negotiate aggressively on your behalf and file a lawsuit if necessary. Schedule a complimentary case review today.