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 bicycle accident attorney in San Antonio can help you determine fault.
The At-Fault Driver
Texas 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.
Liability insurance will pay for an injured bicyclist’s medical bills, property damage and other losses if the motor vehicle driver caused the accident. Under Texas’s tort-based system, however, it is the injured party’s responsibility to prove the driver’s fault. Proof of fault is often necessary before a driver’s insurance company will pay an injured cyclist a settlement.
In a no-fault state, on the other hand, you would not need to prove fault to obtain compensation as an injured victim; you would receive a settlement from your insurance provider, regardless of fault. The downside of a no-fault system is that less financial compensation is typically available in a first-party claim compared to a third-party claim.
The Injured Bicyclist
Even 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 Party
There 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 Antonio
Before 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.