Breaking Down A Fort Bend County Bicycle Accident Claim
In 2021, tens of thousands of bicyclists were killed or seriously injured in collisions. These collisions cost over $23 billion. These costs are so high because the injuries in these cases are usually so severe. They include head injuries, broken bones, and other wounds that, in many cases, never fully heal. Because of the high cost, insurance company lawyers do almost anything to reduce or deny compensation in these cases.
A Missouri City bicycle accident attorney, on the other hand, does almost anything to obtain maximum compensation for these victims, This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages may be available as well, in some extreme cases. Perhaps more importantly, only an attorney guides victims through the complex claims process, giving them solid legal advice all along the way.
Driver error causes over 98 percent of the bicycle wrecks in Texas. Usually, this error is negligence, or a lack of care. An ordinary negligence claim in Harris County has four basic components:
- Duty: Most vehicle operators have a duty of reasonable care. They must be at their best, mentally, physically, and otherwise, whenever they operate motor vehicles. Then, as they drive, they must obey the rules of the road and always drive defensively. Uber drivers and other commercial operators have a higher duty of care in Texas.
- Breach: We mentioned two common breaches of duty above. Many people are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs when they get behind the wheel. Others are dangerously distracted or fatigued. Driving defensively and obeying the rules of the road means avoiding aggressive driving, like tailgating or speeding.
- Cause: A Missouri City personal injury attorney must connect the breach with the damages. Adverse weather, like wet roads, may contribute to a wreck. However, driver error causes the wreck. Additionally, victim/plaintiffs must prove foreseeability (possibility) of injury. If an ambulance crashes on the way to a hospital, that’s not a foreseeable injury, as far as the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is concerned.
- Damages: Usually, victims must sustain a tangible injury to obtain the aforementioned compensation. There’s a difference between a tangible injury and a visible injury. Damages for pure emotional distress may be available as well. Frequently, an attorney must file a separate claim in these situations.
Victim/plaintiffs must prove every element in negligence cases by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).
Establishing a basic negligence case isn’t enough. Victim/plaintiffs must also refute comparative fault, the bicycle helmet defense, and other common insurance company defenses in bicycle wreck claims.
Comparative fault basically shifts blame from the tortfeasor to the victim. An insurance company lawyer might admit the tortfeasor turned unsafely and blame the wreck on the bicyclist’s alleged failure to keep a proper lookout.
Texas is a modified comparative fault state with a 51 percent threshold. If the victim is less than 49 percent responsible for the wreck, the tortfeasor must pay a proportionate share of compensation.
The bicycle helmet defense is quite complex. Texas doesn’t have a universal bicycle helmet law. However, under current law, insurance company lawyers might be able to use the victim’s failure to wear a helmet as evidence in court. If the judge allows this strategy, jurors must normally divide fault on a percentage basis, as they do with the comparative fault defense.
Insurance company lawyers must do more than cite safety statistics. They must prove that the victim’s failure to wear a helmet, and not the tortfeasor’s negligence, caused the victim’s damages.
Work With a Dedicated Fort Bend County 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. You have a limited amount of time to act.