bicycle accident attorney in San Antonio can help you determine fault.Bicycle accidents in San Antonio can be devastating for bicyclists. Bikers do not have the protections offered to motor vehicle drivers in an accident, such as seat belts and airbags. A bicyclist could suffer bone fractures, muscle and soft-tissue injuries, lacerations, a traumatic brain injury, a spinal cord injury, or internal organ damage in an accident. If you get injured in a bicycle accident in Texas, it is important to understand who may be legally responsible for paying for your injuries. This could be a few different parties, depending on the circumstances of the accident. A
The At-Fault DriverTexas is a fault-based insurance state. This means in a bicycle accident claim, the party that caused the collision is financially responsible for damages. The driver or party guilty of breaching a duty of care (acting in a way that is careless) and causing the bicycle accident will have to pay for losses through his or her auto insurance carrier. Every driver in Texas must carry at least:
- $30,000 per person in medical or bodily injury insurance,
- $60,000 per auto accident in bodily injury liability insurance, and
- $25,000 in property damage coverage.
The Injured BicyclistEven with Texas’s fault-based law, you may need to seek financial compensation from your own insurance provider as the victim of a bicycle accident in San Antonio in certain situations. If you were hurt in a hit-and-run accident, for example, you would turn to your own insurance carrier for compensation through uninsured motorist coverage. This would also be the case if the driver did remain at the scene but was illegally driving without insurance. You may also need to rely on your own insurance company for coverage if you were partially at fault for the accident. Texas is a comparative negligence state, meaning you could still be eligible for some compensation from the other driver. However, your insurer may need to pay for a fraction of your costs based on your amount of fault. In general, your auto insurance policy will only cover your losses if you have medical pay or comprehensive insurance.
A Third PartyThere is the possibility of a third party, meaning neither you nor the driver who struck you, being financially responsible for your injuries. This could be the case if a road or bicycle defect contributed to the accident. If the road had a pothole you had to go around on your bike, for instance, the government entity in charge of roadway maintenance could be liable for a related bicycle accident. If a bicycle defect caused your accident, the manufacturer of the bicycle could be liable through Texas’s product liability laws.
When to Speak to a Bicycle Accident Attorney in San AntonioBefore you can financially recover from a bicycle accident in San Antonio, you or your lawyer will need to prove another party’s fault as more likely to be true than not true. This requires enough evidence to convince an insurance company, judge or jury that your bicycle accident would not have happened but for the defendant’s negligence. A personal injury lawyer in San Antonio can help you meet your burden of proof during a bicycle accident injury claim, as well as help you understand who will pay for your injuries and related losses. It is especially important to talk to an attorney if the bicycle accident gave you severe or catastrophic injuries. A lawyer can help you demand fair compensation from the correct party or parties.
Common Causes of Ridesharing Accidents in San AntonioRidesharing works by allowing users to request and schedule drivers to pick them up on demand at a certain location. Drivers connect to users and vice versa through an app on a smartphone. This is one of the hazards related to ridesharing: drivers have to constantly look at and interact with their cell phones while behind the wheel. Like standard auto accidents, ridesharing accidents in San Antonio can occur for many reasons:
- Distracted driving
- Texting and driving
- Eating and drinking
- Drunk driving
- Reckless driving
- Running a red light
- Making unsafe lane changes
Liability for an Uber or Lyft Accident in San AntonioIn a ridesharing accident case, you may be able to hold the individual driver financially responsible for your injuries and losses. Unlike other transportation services, such as using a taxi, Uber and Lyft drivers are not employees of the ridesharing companies. Instead, they are independent contractors. Generally speaking, this protects Uber and Lyft from vicarious liability for the mistakes and negligence of their drivers, meaning you will seek benefits from the driver’s private insurance carrier instead. In certain scenarios, however, you can file your claim directly with the insurance provider of the rideshare company. This might be the case if the individual driver does not have enough insurance to fully cover your losses.
Insurance Coverage AvailableBoth Uber and Lyft maintain $1 million insurance policies to cover victims’ injuries when their drivers cause car accidents. The exact amount of coverage available depends on the phase of the ride:
- Phase One. The driver is signed into the ridesharing app and searching for riders. If the driver causes a collision in this phase, the ridesharing company will provide up to $50,000 in bodily injury insurance per person, $100,000 per accident and $25,000 in property damage coverage.
- Phase Two. The ridesharing driver has accepted a ride and is on his or her way to pick up a passenger. In this scenario, both Uber and Lyft will provide up to $1 million in liability insurance coverage.
- Phase Three. The driver has picked up the user and the passenger is in the vehicle at the time of the accident. As in Phase Two, the company will provide up to $1 million in this scenario, as well as possible uninsured motorist coverage.
When to Contact a Ridesharing Accident Attorney in San AntonioIf you are injured in an accident involving a ridesharing vehicle, consult with a ridesharing accident attorney right away. An attorney can help you navigate your way through this complicated type of claim, holding the at-fault driver or ridesharing company financially responsible for your past and future losses. With an attorney as your legal advocate, you can rest assured the settlement you accept from Uber or Lyft is adequate for your injuries. Learn more about your accident by consulting with a lawyer today.
personal injury claim in San Antonio is “negligence.” A party’s negligence in Texas allows you to seek financial damages from that person for causing you harm. There is a difference, however, between ordinary negligence and gross negligence. While both can make you eligible for compensation, one may result in the defendant having to pay more.One of the most common words you will hear during a
4 Elements of Ordinary NegligenceOrdinary negligence refers to a party’s failure to use a reasonable degree of care, resulting in injury or harm to another person. Reasonable care describes what an ordinary person would do in the same or similar circumstances. If a driver was speeding in wet weather, for example, and caused a car accident, that driver is guilty of negligence. Ordinary negligence consists of four key elements:
- The defendant had a responsibility to treat the plaintiff with a reasonable amount of care. In personal injury law, this responsibility is referred to as the duty of care.
- The defendant’s actions – or failure to act – made the defendant breach his or her duty of care to the plaintiff.
- The defendant’s breach of duty was the direct and/or actual cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
- The plaintiff suffered losses because of the defendant’s actions, such as injuries, hospital bills, property damage and lost wages.
What Is Gross Negligence?Gross negligence is a more severe departure from the duty of care. Rather than a careless mistake or inattention, gross negligence is a willful or wanton disregard of the requirement to use reasonable care. Like ordinary negligence, it is not necessary to prove the defendant’s intent to harm for a gross negligence claim. However, a claim based on gross negligence must show the defendant’s conduct was willful, likely to cause foreseeable harm and done with an extreme disregard for the safety of others. An example illustrating the difference between ordinary and gross negligence is if a driver isn’t paying attention and fails to notice he or she is exceeding the speed limit by a few miles per hour, he or she is negligent. If, however, the driver knowingly drives at an excessive speed in an area with a lot of pedestrians because he or she is late, the driver is grossly negligent.
Why Is the Difference Relevant to Your Personal Injury Case?The difference between ordinary and gross negligence is important to understand as the plaintiff in a personal injury case due to the financial compensation that may be available. Although both types of negligence can cause serious injuries, gross negligence is more likely to lead to severe or catastrophic injuries. These injuries will, in general, be worth more in damages than minor injuries:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Ongoing treatments, such as rehabilitation and therapy
- Permanent disability costs
- Home and vehicle modifications
- Lost wages and future capacity to earn
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Lost quality or enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death benefits
What Are Punitive Damages?Punitive damages are a relatively uncommon type of award. Rather than making a victim whole again after an accident, punitive damages punish a defendant for especially egregious acts. In Texas, punitive damages may be available if a defendant exhibited behaviors that were grossly negligent, reckless, wanton, willful, malicious or intentional. Punitive damages are meant to penalize a defendant and deter him or her from making the same mistake in the future. For more information about ordinary vs. gross negligence and how it may apply to your case, consult with a personal injury attorney in San Antonio.
What Is Negligence?Negligence is the basis for most personal injury claims in Texas. In personal injury law, negligence is when someone unintentionally or carelessly causes someone else injury or harm. Cases involving auto accidents, dangerous premises, workplace accidents and most other accidents are generally founded on the legal theory of negligence. Proving a defendant’s negligence during an injury case requires evidence that the following four elements are more likely than not to be true:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. This is a legal obligation to act in a reasonable manner to avoid injury to others.
- The defendant breached a duty of care. The defendant committed an act or omission that went against his or her duty of care.
- The defendant’s breach of duty was the proximate or actual cause of the plaintiff’s injury. The injury would not have occurred but for the defendant’s mistake.
- The plaintiff suffered compensable losses. The accident gave the plaintiff real, specific damages, such as medical bills or property damage.
What Is Recklessness?Recklessness is a more serious type of tort than negligence. Under Texas law, it describes a situation in which a person knows the risks that will foreseeably arise from his or her actions but commits the act or omission anyway, regardless of the consequences to others. In other words, the reckless party had a wanton disregard for the safety of others. A reckless person has substantially departed from what a reasonable, law-abiding person would do in the same situation. For example, if a driver had 10 alcoholic beverages and then got behind the wheel, this driver has exhibited a reckless disregard for how his or her actions might injure others.
How Does the Difference Impact Your Personal Injury Case?Negligence is an unknowing departure from the duty of care, while recklessness is a knowing, willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others. The difference between these two types of torts can be important to distinguish during your personal injury case in Texas. Although both are acceptable grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, recklessness could result in punitive damages. Punitive damages, unlike compensatory damages, are not meant to make up for a victim’s financial losses. Instead, they are awarded to punish a defendant and deter others from making the same mistake. Punitive damages are not awarded in every personal injury case. Instead, a judge reserves them for cases in which a defendant was grossly negligent, reckless or malicious in causing the victim’s harm. If you have a case based on recklessness, you may be eligible for punitive damages.
Consult With an Experienced Car Accident Attorney for HelpIf you or a family member has suffered injuries in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, consult with a personal injury lawyer in San Antonio right away. An attorney can help you identify the grounds for your case, collect evidence against the defendant and pursue the financial compensation you deserve.
When to Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in San AntonioBefore you begin the legal process, you may wish to consult with a personal injury attorney in San Antonio. A personal injury lawyer will have the information and resources to help you fully protect your legal rights as a plaintiff. You may need to hire a lawyer to represent you during a claim, especially if you have severe or catastrophic personal injuries. With a life-changing injury, it is more likely that an insurance company will try to take advantage of you and devalue your claim. An attorney can help you file your lawsuit and obtain maximum financial compensation for your losses. Many personal injury lawyers offer free consultations, so you can discuss your case with a lawyer without any financial risk.
Understand the Statute of LimitationsNext, learn your deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit in Texas (known in legalese as the statute of limitations). The statute of limitations is two years for most personal injury cases in Texas. If you wait longer than two years after your accident to bring a claim to damages, expect the courts to deny your case. It is important to act quickly in the aftermath of an accident to make sure you file within the required window, as well as while important evidence is still available.
Gather Information and EvidenceStart building your personal injury claim in San Antonio by collecting as much information, evidence and documentation about your accident and injury as possible:
- Write down the at-fault party’s name, contact information and insurance carrier.
- Call the hospital where you sought treatment to obtain copies of your relevant medical records.
- If you were in an auto accident and called the police, contact the local police department for a copy of your police report.
- Gather any photographs and videos of your accident.
- If you have signed statements from eyewitnesses, put this in your case folder as well.