One boy was biking in Austin on February 13 when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver, collapsing in a neighbor’s yard while dragging his damaged bicycle. Two days later, he died in hospital, without the driver ever being located. While leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, it is also worth noting that many bicyclists are unaware of their rights and the dangers they might face on the road.
Risk of Injury Is High
As one might expect, the risk of injury is greater for bicyclists and pedestrians on public roads than it is for drivers. Travis County is one of the top ten in Texas for both bicycle crashes and fatalities, and in general, more accidents will occur on urban roads. However, rural accidents are more likely to be fatal. The boy mentioned above was struck on Teri Road, in a relatively populated area of Austin, and walked away from the scene, which is in keeping with the statistics, even though he later died of his injuries. Urban areas tend to enforce a slower speed limit, and increased traffic also tends to impede cars from traveling as quickly as they do in rural areas.
Hit-and-run drivers are obviously not the only reason for bicycle accidents, but most of the common reasons do have to do with automobiles and drivers. The most common by far is inattentiveness, either on the part of a bicyclist or a driver or both – but other common reasons for crashes include bicyclists riding in lanes meant for automobiles, and failing to observe the rules of the road (missing lights or turn signals, for example), among others.
If You Are Hit
If you are hit by a car or truck while bicycling, you have options in terms of seeking compensation. Most cases of this nature will be decided under a theory of negligence law, meaning that you must be able to show that the driver’s conduct was negligent. There are four criteria that must be met – you must show that a duty of care exists between all users of public roads (which is established by law in Texas, in the Texas Transportation Code), and you must show that duty was breached by the driver’s conduct. You must also show that you sustained injuries as a result of that breach – and, importantly, that the breach was as a result of the defendant’s conduct, and not any other intervening cause.
Be advised that you may have the proverbial tables turned on you if there is reason to believe you were complicit in your own injuries being sustained. Texas’ civil code states that a plaintiff may not recover in a civil action if their percentage of fault is found to be greater than 50 percent. In other words, if a judge or jury finds that you were more than half responsible for your own injuries, you may not recover the other half from the defendant driver.
Call Our Bicycling Accident Attorneys Today
While the driver who hit this young boy has not been located as of this writing the outcome may be different if you or a loved one is the victim of a bicycle accident. Regardless, if you are involved in such an accident and have questions or concerns about your case, calling an attorney is always a good idea. The dedicated New Braunfels bicycle accident attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm are well versed in this area of law and are happy to try and assist you. Call our office today to set up an initial appointment.