Fatal Bicycle Accidents
It can be devastating to lose a loved one in a fatal bicycle accident. Often, grieving family members suffer tremendously. They may also have practical concerns about their financial wellbeing. The deceased bicyclist may have contributed income that went toward a mortgage, groceries, furniture, and childcare. Under Texas law, it is possible for family members who lose a loved one in a fatal bicycle accident to bring a wrongful death lawsuit to recover financial compensation. Fort Worth bicycle accident attorney Bill Berenson understands the challenges that families face and is dedicated to asserting their rights.Liability for Fatal Bicycle Accidents
There is no buffer between a bicyclist and the road or another vehicle. Although a bicyclist may be wearing a helmet, this is insufficient protection against significant high-speed collisions. Usually, a driver of a larger vehicle is at fault for a fatal bicycle accident.
To establish a driver’s liability, you would need to show that the driver caused the accident because they failed to drive safely and reasonably. For example, if a driver failed to check to see if any bicyclists were coming and opened a door in front of a bicyclist, such that the bicyclist was thrown from the bike and run over by a car, an attorney would likely be able to show that the driver opening the door failed to use reasonable care. For another example, if a drunk driver failed to pay attention and drove into a bike lane, where they ran over a bicyclist, this would suggest that the driver had failed to use reasonable care in staying out of the bike lane.Wrongful Death
Texas Statute section 71.001 provides that a wrongful death action can be brought if the default, unskillfulness, carelessness, neglect, or wrongful act of a party causes the death of another person. Most often, a wrongful death lawsuit involving a fatal bicycle accident is based on a driver’s negligence. A surviving spouse, child, or parent of the decedent can sue for wrongful death in Texas; they can sue as individuals or as a group.
A civil wrongful death lawsuit is distinct from a criminal homicide case. You can potentially recover monetary damages for wrongful death even if the defendant is acquitted or not tried on criminal charges. The burden of proof is lower for civil litigation than it is for criminal prosecution.Potential Damages
Damages in a Texas wrongful death lawsuit are intended to compensate the decedent’s estate and family members who survive the decedent for any losses that they suffered as a result of the decedent’s wrongful death. These losses can include mental and emotional anguish, pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, lost care that would have been provided to surviving family members, and lost inheritance.
There are certain situations in which exemplary damages may be available in a fatal bicycle accident case. Exemplary damages are also known as punitive damages, and they may be obtained if a wrongful death is caused by willful omissions or acts or by gross negligence. The purpose of exemplary damages is not to compensate a family but instead to punish a wrongdoer and deter future similar conduct. For example, if a bicyclist is killed by a drunk driver, it may be possible to obtain exemplary damages.
Generally, the damages recovered in a Texas wrongful death case are meant for family members who survive the decedent. They will be divided based on the court’s determination of the proportion of harm that they suffered.Seek Advice from a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in the Fort Worth Area
If a loved one was killed in a fatal bicycle accident, you may be able to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Attorney Bill Berenson represents families of victims in cities such as Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, Arlington, Addison, Irving, Richardson, San Antonio, Austin, Lubbock, and Frisco, as well as other areas of Tarrant, Dallas, Harris, Bexar, Collin, Denton, Hood, Lubbock, Parker, and Travis Counties. Call us at 888-801-8585 or complete our online form to find out about your possible next steps.