According to a recent article in the San Antonio Express-News, a forty-four-year-old bicyclist was killed when a Ford Explorer struck him from behind and caused him to roll over the vehicle. The man was riding his bike at approximately 10:30 p.m. on Basse Road near Treeline Park on San Antonio’s north side when the accident occurred. Witnesses reported that the bicyclist was riding along the right side of the road when he suddenly swerved left into traffic. The bicycle allegedly had no lights, and the man was balancing bags of groceries on his handlebars. Some have speculated that the weight of the bags caused the man to lose his balance and veer into traffic just prior to the accident.
This case may be a good example of the legal concept of comparative negligence. While many people assume that one party in a personal injury action is at fault, and the other party is not at fault, it is often not the case. In many cases, both parties bear some fault for the accident in question.
In the state of Texas, comparative negligence is also known as proportionate responsibility. Under Texas law, if a person who is injured in an accident brings a personal injury lawsuit, and he or she is partially at fault for the accident, then a jury will have to decide what percentage of fault is attributable to the injured person. If the injured person is more than 50% at fault for the accident, then the injured person will not be able to recover damages for negligence, even if the other party also was at fault to some degree. The same principle would apply in a wrongful death lawsuit; if a jury determines, for example, in this case, that the bicyclist who was killed was more than 50% at fault for the accident, perhaps by not using lights and randomly swerving into traffic, then his surviving family members may be unable to recover in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Whether you believe that your case involves the legal doctrine of comparative negligence or not, you will need the assistance of experienced New Braunfels, Texas personal injury attorneys to sort out the specifics of your case. Contact our office today, and see what we can do to help you through this difficult and stressful time.