When you’re involved in a bicycle or pedestrian accident, things can get confusing, fast: and if you’ve been hit by a car, you may be dealing with especially serious injuries. Your Navasota, TX or Rockville, TX personal injury lawsuit will go much more smoothly when you work with a highly experienced personal injury attorney who knows all about these types of cases.
How Do Personal Injury Attorneys Handle Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents?
Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation
The first step is an initial consultation, where your attorney will evaluate the specifics of your case. They will want to know the details of the accident, such as the location, time, and how the incident occurred. It’s imperative to provide as much information as possible, including any photos or witness contact information you have, as this will be crucial in building your case.
After the initial meeting, your attorney will begin an investigation to collect evidence. This can involve visiting the accident scene, gathering surveillance footage, talking to witnesses, and obtaining police reports. The evidence will help to construct a timeline of events and establish liability.
Determining who is at fault is a key component of your case. Your attorney will need to prove that the driver or another party acted negligently or failed to observe traffic laws, and that this led to the accident.
Understanding Texas Laws
Texas has laws regarding the rights and duties of bicyclists and pedestrians, and your attorney will explain how these laws apply to your case and how they will affect your legal strategy and personal injury lawsuit. For instance, if you were hit by a car while you were crossing the street at a crosswalk, Texas law generally favors the pedestrian, which would be a critical point in your case. If you were hit while jaywalking, things could be different.
Texas law has a concept of “comparative fault” or “proportionate responsibility,” outlined in the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. This means that a pedestrian or cyclist could share responsibility for an accident if they were found to be violating traffic laws at the time of the incident. For example, if a pedestrian was jaywalking or a cyclist was riding against traffic or not obeying traffic signs and lights, they may be deemed partially at fault.
How the Law and Liability Affect Your Case
Under Texas law, if a party is more than 51% responsible for an accident, they cannot recover any compensation at all. If they are 51% or less at fault, they can recover damages, but their compensation will be reduced by their percentage of their fault. For example, if a cyclist were to be found 20% at fault for an accident, and the total damages the cyclist was awarded were $100,000, the cyclist’s recovery would be reduced by 20%, so they would only receive $80,000.
Figuring out liability and comparative fault is crucial for your personal injury case. You need to prove the other party’s negligence but also minimize your fault to maximize the compensation you can recover: and often, you must do this while fighting the insurance company of the other party and its attempts to place more blame on you than you hold to reduce their liability. This is just one reason working with a skilled and experienced lawyer is so crucial.
Figuring Your Compensation
Your attorney will calculate not just current medical bills, but also future medical care, lost wages, and other damages like pain and suffering. Attorneys might also consider whether punitive damages are applicable, though these are only a possibility if the at-fault party’s actions were particularly reckless.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Your attorney will handle all communications with insurance companies to negotiate a settlement that covers the full extent of your damages. They know how to counter lowball offers and can leverage the evidence to strengthen your position. Never accept an initial settlement from an insurance company without your lawyer, as these settlements are often deliberately low and don’t calculate all the losses you’re entitled to recover.
Building a Strong Case
Getting Expert Testimony
Your attorney may call upon traffic accident reconstruction experts, medical experts, and economic experts to provide testimony that supports your claim. These experts can offer insights into how the accident occurred, the extent of your injuries, and the economic impact of those injuries on your life.
Demonstrative evidence, such as diagrams of the accident scene, models, or simulations, can be used to visually convey the details of the accident to the jury. This type of evidence can be particularly powerful in explaining complex scenarios in a comprehensible way.
Litigation and Trial Preparation
If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will proceed to file a lawsuit on your behalf. This legal complaint will outline your case against the defendant, including your injuries and how the defendant’s negligence caused the accident. During the discovery phase, both sides exchange information and evidence. Your attorney will send out requests for documents, submit interrogatories (questions that the other party must answer in writing), and take depositions of witnesses and experts. This phase is critical for uncovering additional evidence and solidifying your case.
Negotiations and Settlement
Before the case goes to trial, there may be an opportunity for mediation, where a neutral third party attempts to facilitate a settlement between you and the defendant. Your attorney will represent you during these discussions and fight for a settlement that covers all of your damages.
Your attorney will help you understand any settlement offers, advising you on whether they are fair and whether it is in your best interest to accept them. The decision to accept a settlement offer is always yours, but it should be an informed decision based on your attorney’s experience and understanding of Texas law.
Presenting Your Case in Court
If you aren’t able to get the insurance company to agree to a fair settlement, your case may go to court. If so, your attorney will call witnesses to support your case, which may include eyewitnesses, medical professionals, or accident reconstruction experts.
Evidence is presented to support your claim of the defendant’s negligence and your resulting injuries. This can include medical reports, expert testimony, and any physical evidence from the accident scene. After all the evidence has been presented, the closing arguments give your attorney a final chance to summarize your case. They will reinforce the key points of evidence, argue the extent of your damages, and advocate for fair compensation based on the facts presented.
Collection of Damages
If you are awarded compensation, your attorney will help you in the collection process. This may involve negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company or legal team to ensure timely payment of the judgment. Your attorney will also make sure that any entity that has a lien on your award, such as a hospital, gets paid promptly while also protecting you from paying out more of your award than you should.
Get Experienced Help With Your Personal Injury Lawsuit in Navasota, TX or Rockville, TX
There’s a lot that goes into pursuing justice in a personal injury lawsuit, and having a qualified attorney is absolutely necessary to ensure your rights are protected. If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian or cyclist accident, contact Brian Gutierrez, Personal Injury Trial Lawyer right away.