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Sugar Land Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Bicycle Accident > Obstacles to Settlements in Bicycle Crash Claims

Obstacles to Settlements in Bicycle Crash Claims


Since 1997, the average medical bill in a bicycle collision matter has increased 137 percent. These wrecks also cause other economic damages, mostly lost wages and lost future earning power. Additionally, bicycle accidents cause a tremendous amount of emotional distress. Unfortunately, even though these costs are staggering, a settlement is not guaranteed. Several defenses are available, two of which are outlined below.

If a Sugar Land personal injury lawyer uses solid evidence to build a strong case, the insurance company usually gives in and agrees to pay maximum compensation without going to trial. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are available as well, in some extreme situations.

Comparative Fault

This defense might be the most common defense in vehicle collision claims. Basically, comparative fault shifts the blame for an accident from the tortfeasor (negligent driver) to the victim.

Assumption of the risk, an offshoot of comparative fault, could apply in fall, dog bite, and other premises liability claims, if the owner displayed a warning sign, like “Beware of Dog.” Incidentally, a sign, by itself, doesn’t excuse negligence, like the failure to control a vicious dog. But that’s the subject of another blog.

This defense could reduce or eliminate compensation. Fortunately, a Missouri City personal injury lawyer has two chances to refute it.

First, insurance company lawyers must convince judges that the victim’s negligence substantially contributed to the wreck.

Weaving wrecks are a good example. When a vehicle driver doesn’t stay in one lane, other drivers must usually swerve to avoid that wayward vehicle. But a weaving bicycle rider isn’t a threat. Even if the cycle strikes a vehicle, the collision probably would only cause minimal property damage. Since the risk is minimal, evasive maneuvers are unnecessary, and the defense arguably doesn’t apply.

If a lawyer manages to convince a judge otherwise, a lawyer must convince jurors as well. Jurors usually don’t side with out-of-town insurance companies against local victims, especially if the victim was seriously injured.

If the jury concludes otherwise, the jury must divide responsibility on a percentage basis (e.g. 60-40). Texas is a modified comparative fault state with a 51 percent threshold. So, if the victim is less than 49 percent responsible for the wreck, the tortfeasor must pay a proportionate share of compensation.

A third party, like an employer or bar, may be financially responsible for damages, under a legal theory like respondeat superior or dram shop liability.

Helmet Defense

The law in this area recently changed. Now, if a bicyclist doesn’t wear a helmet, the insurance company can try to shift blame away from the tortfeasor.

The same two-part process applies. In both cases, a lawyer must convince a judge, and then a jury, that a failure to wear a helmet, as opposed to the tortfeasor’s negligence, substantially caused the victim’s injuries.

Motion, as opposed to a trauma impact, often causes collision-related head injuries. When victims fall, their brains slam against the insides of their skulls. In other words, most victims already have head injuries before their heads hit the ground. No helmet, no matter how strong, can prevent such injuries.

 Connect With a Tenacious 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. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start working for you.



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