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The first thing looked at in determining fault, sometimes called liability, is the evidence presented. In other words, what facts are there to show who is at fault? Having a police officer come to the scene can help with that process, but in some cases, the police can make mistakes, which makes the evidence inconclusive. The insurance company and the attorneys will look at the evidence available to determine who is at fault.
Bicycles are required to follow the same laws and regulations as vehicles, so if you’re on the roadway, we can look to see if you followed those standards as if you were in a vehicle. For example, bicycles at a stop sign have to treat it just like cars do. One example of determining fault in a bicycle accident is a stop sign situation. We would determine if the bicycle followed the laws of the road by stopping at the stop sign before proceeding into the intersection and being hit by another car. In that instance, the bicycle had the right of way.
Negligence means did you apply ordinary care under the circumstances, or did you do what a person of ordinary prudence would have done. This includes things like following traffic laws or what people who are using ordinary care do.
We also have to look at what’s called contributory negligence. That’s a consideration of what the bicycle rider may have done to cause the accident. For example, did the car run the light and pull out in front of you? Yes. But did you have an opportunity to stop and were you not paying attention? Were you holding something in your hands that prevented you from applying the brakes? Those sorts of things can be taken into consideration when assessing whether you bear any fault for the incident.
Responsible Third Party:
Another issue that often comes up is whether there is a responsible third party involved. A good example of this is if you were stopped at a light, there was a car behind you, and a car behind them, that rear-ends them and pushes them into you. You could turn around and blame the person behind you for running into the back of you, maybe not keeping a safe enough distance behind you. In almost every case like that, the care that ran into you, is going to turn around and blame the person behind them, for not stopping and running into them, which pushed them into you. In that case, the car that ran into the car behind you is what we would call a responsible third party. The consequences of that show up when we get to trial.
Responsible third parties, if there is sufficient evidence of fault, get submitted to the jury. The jury gets to determine who was more at fault. Of course, if you haven’t sued the responsible third party, then you can’t make any recovery against them. If the jury does apportion fault and say it’s 50 percent the fault of the person that hit you and then 50 percent of the person behind them that hit into them, then you’ve lost half of your recovery. It’s important to identify who those potential third parties may be upfront, in order to pursue claims against them in some cases.
If you or someone you know has questions regarding a bicycle accident, let the attorneys at Zinda Law Group help. Our Austin bicycle accident attorneys are knowledgeable in all aspects of personal injury, and have the resources and experience to help maximize your recovery. Call us today toll free at (800) 863-5312. No Recovery. No Fees.
Where Zinda Law Group Practices:
As we’ve grown we expanded out west to El Paso, Texas subsequently into Arizona adding Tucson Personal Injury Lawyers to the firm, as well as adding offices in Colorado including Denver Personal Injury Lawyers and the surrounding cities such as Colorado Springs.
Types of Cases We Handle:
We also have a team of attorneys that have experience serious injury cases such as car accidents, wrongful death and truck accidents. We also have experience handling more complex cases such as gas explosions and drug injury cases, such as the Taxotere® Lawsuits.