If you were injured in a bicycle accident due to the negligent actions of a distracted driver, contact the Austin bike accident lawyers of Loewy Law Firm right now. We could help you hold the driver accountable for their misconduct. You might be entitled to compensation for your expenses.
Bicycle accidents are often sudden, violent, and traumatic for the rider. Most people are in a state of shock in the immediate aftermath. Once you receive the necessary medical care, you realize the uphill battle you face. You have to go through a painful recovery process while filing an insurance claim or seeking legal action against the at-fault driver. This can cause significant physical, mental, and financial strain.
Distractions commonly cause accidents involving bicyclists. When motorists direct their attention to something other than driving, they can’t react quickly or appropriately to hazards that appear on the roadway. Distracted driving killed 3,142 people in 2019. Bike riders are more vulnerable to death during accidents than the occupants of vehicles. There isn’t a seatbelt to restrain them to their bicycle or an airbag to soften the blow of a collision.
You have a right to hold the negligent driver liable for the harm they caused. Call Loewy Law Firm at (512) 280-0800 today for a free consultation to learn about your legal options.
Types of Distracted Driving
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three types of distractions can lead to traffic accidents.
A manual distraction takes someone’s hands off the steering wheel. Whether one or both hands are off the wheel, the driver doesn’t have total control over the vehicle because they’re performing another task. Common examples of this type of distraction include:
- Sending a text
- Reaching for something in the car
- Changing the radio
Visual distractions involve a motorist looking at something besides the road ahead. Inattention prevents people from noticing hazards in the street or stopped traffic. They have a much slower reaction time and often don’t realize they have encountered dangerous conditions until it’s too late. Common visual distractions include:
- Looking at a GPS
- Reading an email or text
- Watching a video
- Turning towards a passenger in the car
A cognitive distraction redirects a person’s focus from the task of driving. Thinking about something other than operating the vehicle prevents their brain from registering what’s happening around them. The most common cognitive distractions include:
- Disciplining children in the back seat
- Experiencing significant stress
- Engaging in road rage
If any of these driver distractions resulted in your injuries during a bicycle accident, you should contact Loewy Law Firm. We will investigate the crash and determine who should be financially responsible for the losses you suffered. You should not be forced to pay out of pocket for your accident-related expenses if your actions didn’t contribute to your injuries.
Dangers of Distracted Driving
Everyone understands the importance of following the rules of the road. They know they shouldn’t drive under the influence, exceed the speed limit, or run red lights. However, many people don’t realize how dangerous it is to become distracted at the wheel.
Texting is one of the most common distractions, causing 1.6 million accidents and nearly 390,000 injuries each year in the United States. Although most states have banned this dangerous activity, 20 percent of motorists have admitted to sending a text or email while driving.
If you’re sending or reading a text message while traveling 55 miles per hour, you can cross the entire length of a football field. When you’re not looking at the road in front of you, it’s like driving with your eyes closed.
How Distracted Driving Leads to Bike Accidents
Bicycles are significantly smaller than most vehicles. That makes it much harder for drivers to see bikers on the road. A motorist could easily crash into you if they’re not paying attention to what they’re doing.
Common types of bike accidents involving distracted drivers include:
- Dooring – Someone in a rush to get to work isn’t focused on safety. They might worry about the ramifications if they’re late and forget to look behind them, opening their car door into the path of an approaching bicyclist.
- Passing accidents – Drivers must maneuver past bicyclists carefully. If they look down at their cell phone even for a couple of seconds, they could drift into the rider’s lane.
- Intersection accidents – Everyone should follow traffic signs and signals and yield to others when necessary. However, a distracted motorist won’t notice a red light ahead and could collide with a biker already in the intersection.
- Turning accidents – Turning right or left requires slowing down and proceeding when the road is clear. A driver reaching for an item in the backseat likely won’t have enough time to swerve to avoid hitting a biker crossing the adjacent street.
- Blindspot accidents – Sometimes, bicyclists must share the road with motorists when there isn’t a designated bike lane. A person talking to someone in their car could forget to check their blind spots before merging and sideswipe the rider traveling next to them.
Many of these types of bicycle accidents involve a distracted driver. Under normal circumstances, the motorist might have seen the rider. However, a distraction directed their attention to something else, preventing them from noticing the vulnerable cyclist in their vicinity.
Injuries Suffered in Bike and Vehicle Crashes
The victims of bike accidents often suffer severe and life-threatening injuries. The most common include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord damage
- Broken bones
- Loss of limb
- Internal bleeding
- Psychological trauma
- Deep lacerations
- Back injuries and paralysis
- Permanent scarring
- Road rash
Many bicyclists become disabled after an accident involving a motor vehicle. The unprotected body can’t withstand the extreme forces of a collision. The negligent driver should be liable for the ongoing treatment you need if they were entirely at fault for the crash.
Compensation for a Bike Accident
All drivers must purchase the liability coverage required by state law. You could file a claim with their liability insurance company to compensate for the losses you suffered, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Mental anguish
- Loss of household services
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Physical impairment or disfigurement
You also have the option of filing a lawsuit. There is a two-year statute of limitations you must follow if you want to sue the distracted driver. That means you have to initiate your lawsuit within two years of the accident date to pursue compensation in court.
How Loewy Law Firm Could Help
If a distracted motorist caused your injuries in a bike accident, call Loewy Law Firm immediately. We will advocate for your rights and fight by your side for the justice and compensation you deserve.
Call (512) 280-0800 today for your free initial consultation.