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Sugar Land Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Bicycle Accident > A How-To Guide for Compensation in a Bicycle Accident Claim

A How-To Guide for Compensation in a Bicycle Accident Claim


In most cases, legal theories in bicycle accident claims center on the concept of negligence, which is basically a lack of care. Negligence, in turn, rests on two basic principles. One is the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) which school children once memorized.

The other is a basic “you break it, you buy it” responsibility. The Legalese version of you break it, you buy it if you cause injury, you must compensate the injury victim. This compensation normally includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Compensation is usually high in bicycle accident claims. These victims normally sustain very serious injuries which are usually permanent. During the settlement process, a Sugar Land bicycle accident lawyer must take care to ensure that the settlement adequately compensates victims for all their past and probable future losses.

Ordinary Negligence

Bicycle claims have the same basic elements as all other negligence claims, But a bicycle accident claim, especially in Texas, involves some twists and turns. These basic elements are:

  • Duty: The duty of reasonable care, which is the foundation of a negligence claim, is usually the same for everyone. However, some victims need special legal protection. Children on bicycles are a good example. These victims are inherently vulnerable. Furthermore, they have nothing but thin bicycle helmets to protect them in collisions.
  • Breach: Continuing this theme, small and slow bicycles are hard to see among large, fast-moving motor vehicles. That environment doesn’t justify driver inattention, the most common underlying cause of bicycle crashes. Operator impairment, aggressive driving, or some combination of the two could cause driver inattention.
  • Cause: In Texas, a Missouri City personal injury lawyer must prove the tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) conduct, or misconduct, substantially caused the victim’s damages. Some things, like bad weather or even the victim’s own negligence, might contribute to a bicycle wreck. But in most cases, driver inattention (tortfeasor negligence) substantially causes bicycle crashes.
  • Damages: In some states, victims can obtain compensation for near-miss bicycle accidents. But in Texas, negligent infliction of emotional distress is hard to prove. Therefore, in most cases, the victim must sustain a personal injury and/or property damage to obtain the aforementioned compensation.

Texas doesn’t have a universal bicycle helmet law. Since most riders don’t wear helmets, the bicycle helmet defense is very common in these cases.

To prove this defense, insurance company lawyers cannot simply cite safety statistics. Instead, they must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the victim’s failure to wear a helmet, as opposed to the tortfeasor’s negligence, substantially caused the victim’s injuries, as outlined above.

Negligence Per Se

The time-saving negligence per se shortcut is available in a few bicycle accident claims. Tortfeasors might be liable for damages as a matter of law if they violate a safety law, like the illegal turning law, and that violation substantially causes injury.

Many police officers never issue citations in these cases, even if the tortfeasor clearly broke the law and the victim was critically injured or killed. Frequently, to a police officer, a bicycle accident is a civil matter. In the olden days, police officers often got involved in civil matters. They did things like track down runaway husbands. But the old days are over.

Work With a Diligent Attorney

Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Missouri City, contact the Henrietta Ezeoke Law Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.

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