Houston can be a great city for people who love gearing up and hopping on their bikes, whether they’re training for a race or just peddling around town. However, with so many vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians sharing our roadways every day, accidents are almost inevitable. Unfortunately, vulnerable cyclists are often killed or very seriously hurt in these accidents. This can leave cyclists and their families struggling to meet their daily needs and find the financial resources to pay for needed medical treatment.
However, cyclists can seek justice when they’ve been unfairly hurt someone else’s poor choices. When accidents are caused by people who are not paying attention or who fail to follow the rules, those responsible parties can be held accountable for the terrible injuries they caused. But how do injured cyclists find out who is legally responsible and if a financial recovery is possible?
Holding Negligent Parties Responsible for the Bike Accidents They Cause and Contribute To
Many different people have to follow the rules to make sure everyone is safe on the road, including cyclists. If it can be proven that an accident was caused by negligence, and that a cyclist was hurt as a result, then the cyclist or the surviving family members may be able to file a lawsuit seeking financial compensation. Unfortunately, in the aftermath of a serious accident, it can be hard to tell what exactly happened and why.
While every case of injury and negligence is different, here is an overview of the people and parties that are commonly held financially responsible in bike accident cases.
Most serious bicycle accidents involve larger passenger vehicles, like cars and trucks. In order to hold the driver responsible for a cyclist’s injury, it has to be proven that the cyclist was hurt because the driver was negligent or made a mistake. This may be the case when the driver was:
- Unfamiliar with bike laws
- Failing to adhere to traffic laws
- Driving recklessly
- Failing to look for oncoming cyclists before parking or opening a car door into a bike lane
However, drivers aren’t the only ones potentially responsible in a bike wreck. In some cases, the companies who employee commercial drivers could be liable—or even the person who served alcohol to someone who later caused a drunk-driving accident.
While cyclists are definitely sometimes at fault for these accidents, the truth is that they often take the blame regardless of what really happened. Around the country, police departments are consistently failing to properly investigate crashes involving cars and trucks. Every crash that has an injured person should be taken seriously and the responsible parties should be held accountable. Reckless or negligent drivers shouldn’t be given “free passes” for the harm they cause. If you have concerns, don’t be afraid to investigate your case further with the help of an experienced attorney.
While pedestrians usually suffer from many of the same risks as cyclists, there are occasions when pedestrians can actually cause serious bike accidents. This can happen when people walking in areas with bike traffic are:
- Ignoring traffic signals
Although pedestrians may not be operating a vehicle—or held to some of the traffic laws that go hand in hand with vehicles—they do have some responsibility to others and may be liable for cyclist injuries.
Those Responsible for Road Conditions, Maintenance, and Accessibility
At times, local governments and other public entities can be held responsible for bike accidents caused by poor maintenance of bike routes and other unsafe conditions. Cities and counties may be liable for cyclist deaths and injuries if bike routes are not safe due to:
- The way they were designed
- The way they were constructed
- The way they are maintained
- How cyclists are warned of potential dangers
- Other issues that make bike routes unsafe for cyclists
However, to successfully prove a case, cyclists have to be able to legally support their claims that a public entity owed a duty to cyclists and failed to follow through on that duty—and that isn’t an easy task for the average person. Many times, cities and counties are protected from potential lawsuits, so it’s important to consult with a legal guide who is familiar with how the laws pertaining to bike accidents work in your area.
Those Responsible for Defective or Dangerous Bike Equipment
At times, the real cause of a serious accident is a problem with the bike itself or the gear the cyclist is using. While it may seem like just “bad luck,” the truth is that the failure of bike parts or equipment may be the fault of the company that made or sold the product—and those companies could be held responsible under the law.
Bike companies and manufacturers should be making safety their number-one priority when producing bicycles, helmets, and accessories. Unfortunately, mistakes are sometimes made, and safety standards are ignored. If you believe your bike accident was caused by a manufacturing defect or faulty part, don’t be afraid to contact an attorney with your questions. Our law firm has handled numerous cases of dangerous products and devices, and we can help you find out the truth about what happened.
Don’t Wait Any Longer to Get Help With Your Bike Accident Questions
Ultimately, narrowing down who may be responsible for your injuries in a bike accident can be surprisingly complicated—but it can also be surprisingly easy to get answers. If you have any questions about responsibility for a bike wreck, talk with one of the experienced attorneys in our Houston office. While average cyclists may not have the knowledge, legal skill, and resources they need to prove that they should be compensated for their injuries, an attorney can be instrumental in helping victims protect their rights and make their voices heard.
Get free, no-obligation answers today! You can reach our law office simply by calling 1-877-724-7800 or filling out our short online contact form.