How Does a Crash Helmet Affect My Bicycle Accident Claim?
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the complexion of bicycle crash-related head injuries. In 2020, bicycle crash head injuries for riders over 40 increased 21 percent. According to this same report, bicycle helmets reduce head injuries by between 20 and 55 percent. This large and uncertain distribution reflects the uncertain science of bicycle helmets. One thing is clear. Thin bicycle helmets offer little or no protection in high-speed crashes.
These wounds cause serious physical and emotional damages. Therefore, a Sugar Land bicycle accident attorney can obtain compensation for medical bills and other economic losses, as well as pain and suffering and other noneconomic losses. If a lawyer diligently builds a strong, evidence-based case, the claim usually settles out of court, and on victim-friendly terms.
Bicycle Helmets and Cause
At first, a bicycle helmet might appear to have little to do with the cause of a bicycle wreck. But appearances can be deceiving.
Bicycle helmets, which are usually optional in Greater Houston, could increase the possibility of a serious accident. When a driver sees a bicyclist wearing a helmet, the driver subconsciously thinks the rider could survive a crash. Therefore, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) takes more chances as s/he approaches the bicyclist. These risky chances include turning suddenly and following too closely.
This effect is just one example of a common issue in bicycle crash claims. Safety measures intended to keep cyclists safer often make the road more dangerous.
Concrete dividing pillars are a good example. Assume Bill the bicyclist and Tom the tortfeasor arrive at an intersection simultaneously. Tom turns right on green. Because of the concrete divider, he doesn’t see Bill and turns directly into Bill’s path.
Legal defenses, like comparative fault, complicate these matters. Bill violates his duty of care if keeps pedaling forward even though Tom is turning in front of him. Likewise, Tom violates his duty of care if he turns without looking.
Because of such complications, there’s no such thing as a “simple” bicycle wreck claim. So, only the most experienced Missouri City personal injury lawyer should handle such matters.
Bicycle Helmets and Damages
Texas law recently changed radically in this area. For many years, Texas courts didn’t recognize the seatbelt/helmet defense. This doctrine blames these victims for their own head injuries and other injuries if they weren’t wearing a helmet or seatbelt, as the case may be.
But the Texas Supreme Court has now embraced the seat belt defense. However, insurance company lawyers must still prove this defense in court. This proof has several stages.
First, the insurance company must prove the seat belt was in good, working order. Safety recalls are direct evidence of a nonfunctioning seat belt. Circumstantial evidence, usually from previous passengers who testify that the buckle was broken or whatever, is also admissible.
Second, the insurance company must prove that the failure to wear a seatbelt or helmet, as opposed to the tortfeasor’s negligence, substantially caused the victim’s damages. Usually, the lack of a helmet or seat belt only contributes to injury. A doctor can testify as to the difference.
Connect With a Tough-Minded Harris 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. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.