This is the next post in our series on the handling of bicycle accident cases in Austin, Texas. Our last article provided an overview of subjects we will be discussing and stressed the need to contact a personal injury attorney if you have been injured by the negligence of another. It is important to contact counsel immediately so that your injuries, treatment, and expenses are properly documented. In this post we will be discussing an important topic – how Texas’ comparative fault laws impact bicycle injury cases. These laws allow a rider to recover damages even if they were partially at fault for the accident. Contact our office today to discuss your situation with a lawyer.
We have previously discussed how comparative fault impacts motorcycle accidents. These same principles apply to a bicycle injury case. Under Texas law a victim can receive compensation for their damages if they were not more than fifty percent responsible for the accident. The extent to which a victim was responsible will be determined by the jury should the matter proceed to trial. Say, for example, if the jury decided that the victim was forty percent responsible for the accident. Now say the jury decided that the victim suffered $100,000 worth of damages. Under such a situation the jury would award the victim $60,000 ($100,000 minus forty percent). It must be understood that a partially liable Plaintiff can recover for their injuries only if they were not more than fifty percent responsible for the accident; if the jury finds that the victim was fifty-one percent responsible then the victim would recover nothing.
There are many instances in which comparative fault applies to a bicycle accident. Say, hypothetically, a rider was too far away from the side of the road and was closer to the flow of traffic than normal. Such conduct would typically be considered negligent. Now say a driver was texting while driving, hit the bike rider, and that the accident would not have happened if the driver had been paying attention. It is possible that a jury would say that the driver was more at fault than the bicyclist and that the rider would still be able to recover for their injuries.
One final issue to understand is how the failure to wear a helmet may impact the determination of comparative fault. Unlike many states, Texas does not require bicycle riders to wear a helmet. Austin residents, however, must wear a helmet if they are under the age of 18. In the context of an injury case this means that the defendant would not be able to argue that an adult rider was negligent for failing to wear a helmet. A younger rider, however, may be found partially negligent and the failure to wear a helmet may result in a reduction of damages.
When selecting a lawyer it is crucial that you choose someone who focuses on personal injury law and is familiar with issues of comparative fault. Dan Christensen is board certified in personal injury law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and devotes his practice to helping those who have been injured due to the fault of another. Our firm has taken many cases to trial and is familiar with handling such cases. Contact us today to speak with an Austin bicycle accident attorney.
We also service Travis County cities which include Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, the Williamson County cities of Georgetown, Cedar Park, and Leander, as well as other areas of Texas.