It’s easy to assume that any accident involving the two is the car’s fault because a car is bigger and heavier than a bicycle. But that’s not always the case. There are situations in which the bicyclist is entirely or mainly at fault.
What Are Situations in Which the Bicyclist Could Be at Fault in a Car Accident?
Just as drivers have laws they must obey while driving, or they could be held responsible for an accident, bicyclists also have responsibilities on the road. Here are some of the laws that pertain to bicyclists in Texas, which, if they violate them, could cause an accident that will be partly or entirely their fault.
- Bicycles must stop at stop signs and red lights. Cars should still yield to them if they don’t stop, but if a bicyclist darts unexpectedly into an intersection on a red light, a driver coming into the intersection may have trouble stopping in time.
- Bicyclists must ride as far to the right side of the lane as possible except when changing lanes, preparing for a left turn, or passing another vehicle or bicycle. They must ride in the same direction as cars do.
- Bicyclists must use hand and arm signals to let others on the road know when they’re turning or changing lanes.
- They must keep at least one hand on the handlebars.
- There must be only one person riding a bike unless it’s a tandem. In other words, no passengers on a single-seat bike.
- Bikes must have a white light on the front and a red reflector or light on the back of the bike.
- Bicyclists should ride in a single file unless the road is clear enough that they can ride two side-by-side without impeding traffic.
Violating these laws could cause a bicyclist to be responsible for an accident.
What Could I Receive Damages for if a Bicycle Hits My Car?
If you’re injured because a bicycle hits your car and the bicyclist is largely responsible, there are several things you could receive damages for.
- Out-of-pocket medical bills for the amounts you had to pay.
- Repair or replacement costs for your vehicle.
- Lost wages due to losing time at work because of the injuries sustained in the accident.
- Psychological distress.
However, it’s essential to understand that regardless of the bicyclist being at fault, they’re the ones that are likely to incur the most significant damages. It’s not often that a driver is severely injured when a bicycle hits a car because the car is more significant and usually has more safety features, such as airbags. If the bicycle hits a car and causes it to crash into another car or a structure, such as a streetlight, there could be injuries. Damage to the car itself is more likely.
What Is Texas’ Comparative Negligence Law?
Each state in the U.S. has its own comparative negligence laws that vary from state to state. In Texas, the rule of modified comparative negligence is followed. That means that if the injured party was 50% or less at fault for the accident, they could claim damages. But if they were 51% or more at fault, they’re no longer eligible to make claims.
Many accidents are the result of fault for both or all parties. For example, a bicycle hits a car that’s turning right. The bicycle may have followed the car too closely, but the car may not have signaled the turn. Both parties might be assessed to have some fault in the accident. If the driver of the car is injured but is found to be 25% at fault for the accident, the damages they’re awarded would be reduced by 25%. That means that if they were awarded $10,000 in damages, they’d only receive $7,500.
Because of this type of negligence law, the bicyclist will want to shift as much blame as possible to the driver. That’s why it’s vital to have an experienced personal injury lawyer working on your side.
What Should I Do if I Was Hit by a Bicycle While Driving My Car?
First of all, call the police to file a report. That can be an essential piece of evidence if a lawsuit is eventually filed in the case. Be sure to get the name, contact information, and insurance details from the bicyclist. Beyond that, don’t discuss the accident with them (the reason for that is explained below). If there are any eyewitnesses, get their names and contact information as well.
Even if you feel fine, see a doctor as soon as possible. There are injuries that don’t always present symptoms right away. If left untreated, they can quickly worsen.
Then call DB Law 24/7 at 346-818-3311 to set up a free nationwide case review. Accidents involving cars and bicycles can be complex cases that benefit from having an experienced, knowledgeable car accident attorney review them. We can help you determine the best approach for your case and what the possible outcomes might be.
There is something you shouldn’t do after this type of accident, and that’s to communicate with the bicyclist’s attorney or insurance representative. Because they represent the bicyclist, their primary goal will be to shift as much fault for the accident as possible onto you. They might also want you to accept a much lower settlement than you could be eligible for. If they try to communicate with you, don’t respond, but forward the communications to your attorney.