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Wrongful Death Pedestrian and Bicycle Accident Lawyers

Research from Rice University shows that in the past ten years, the number of pedestrian-related accidents in the Houston area has more than doubled, spiking at 125%. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 828 pedestrians lost their lives in a fatal auto-related accident in 2022. And another 91 cyclists were also tragically killed.

Sadly, these types of accidents are steadily increasing in occurrence. The severity of the injuries and consequences for vulnerable cyclists and pedestrians are often severe and often end in a fatality. These fatalities burden bereaved families in dealing with not only the emotional loss of a loved one but financial costs as well.

Proving motor vehicle negligence in these cases can’t bring back a loved one, but it can provide relief and a recovery pathway forward via compensation. With 35 years of experience, our team of wrongful death lawyers is prepared to support Houston families in building strong, evidence-backed accident claims that hold negligent motorists financially, or even criminally liable, for the damages inflicted.

Wrongful Death Pedestrian and Bicycle Accident Lawyers

Call us today at 832-844-6700 for a free case evaluation with an experienced Houston work injury lawyer.

How Is a Bicyclist Different from a Pedestrian on the Road?

In Texas, the legal definitions and road use rules distinguish bicyclists from pedestrians, shaping how each is expected to navigate roadways and sidewalks.

Pedestrians are defined typically as individuals traveling on foot. Texas law requires pedestrians to use sidewalks where available and to obey pedestrian signals and crosswalks at intersections. When sidewalks are not available, pedestrians should walk on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder, facing traffic.

Bicyclists, on the other hand, are considered operators of vehicles under the Texas Transportation Code. This means they have the same rights and duties as motor vehicle drivers when on the road. Bicyclists are expected to ride in the same direction as traffic, obey all traffic signals and signs, and use bike lanes where available.

While bicyclists can ride on sidewalks in some Texas cities, local ordinances may restrict this, and when on sidewalks, they are generally expected to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, reflecting their status as vehicle operators when in roadways but acknowledging the pedestrian-like vulnerabilities when on sidewalks.

The distinction between bicyclists and pedestrians is crucial as it dictates their interaction with traffic. Bicyclists must follow vehicle rules, like signaling and stopping at signs, while pedestrians, more vulnerable and outside the traffic flow, receive protections like right-of-way in crosswalks but face restrictions against unsafe crossing.

Understanding these differences is crucial for ensuring the safety of both bicyclists and pedestrians on Texas roads and for navigating the legal implications of accidents involving these road users.

Who Has the Right of Way on the Road?

There are many rules governing how cars, cyclists, and pedestrians must behave on the road when it comes to the right of way. In Texas, the rules of the road are clearly defined to safeguard all users, including drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. These rules are set forth by the Texas Transportation Code. When these rules are overlooked or violated, the consequences can be severe, leading to accidents and, in tragic circumstances, wrongful death claims.

For Drivers

In Texas, drivers have a legal obligation to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks and at intersections, regardless of whether these crossings are marked or unmarked. This rule is particularly stringent in urban areas where pedestrian traffic is heavier. Additionally, when making turns at any intersection, drivers must yield to oncoming pedestrians and cyclists, ensuring their safety before proceeding.

For Cyclists

Cyclists in Texas are granted the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers when they are on the road. This means that, like cars, they must obey all traffic signals, signs, and lane markings. However, when riding on sidewalks (where legally permitted), cyclists must yield the right of way to pedestrians, acting with caution to avoid potential collisions. It’s important for cyclists to be aware of local ordinances that may restrict bicycle traffic on certain sidewalks or pathways.

For Pedestrians

Pedestrians have the right of way at all marked crosswalks and intersections in Texas. However, when crossing roads at any point other than a marked crosswalk or intersection, pedestrians must yield to all vehicular traffic. It’s crucial for pedestrians to remain vigilant and avoid entering the roadway suddenly or in a manner that doesn’t provide vehicles adequate time to stop.

What Are Common Types of Bike Accidents?

Common types of bike accidents on the road, particularly in busy urban areas like Houston, can result from a mix of visibility issues and negligence. Bikers, being smaller and less protected than motor vehicles, are at a higher risk of injury in these accidents. Here’s an overview of common bike accidents:

  • Right Hook Accidents. This occurs when a motorist turns right at an intersection or into a driveway, cutting off a cyclist traveling in the same direction. Often, the driver fails to see the cyclist or misjudges their speed, leading to a collision.
  • Left Cross Accidents. Left Cross Accidents occur when a vehicle turning left at an intersection collides with a cyclist going straight, often due to the driver overlooking the cyclist or misjudging their speed.
  • Dooring Accidents. Cyclists crash into a car door that is suddenly opened in their path.
  • Rear-End Collisions. Situations where a vehicle attempts to overtake a bicycle but misjudges the necessary clearance, hitting the cyclist from behind.
  • Sideswipe Accidents. This occurs when a motor vehicle doesn’t give a cyclist enough room on the road or attempts to pass them too closely, leading to a collision.
  • Intersection Crashes. A driver’s failure to yield, stop at signals, or observe a cyclist’s right of way can cause devastating intersection collisions.

Proving negligence in bike accidents is a complex challenge, particularly in urban settings where visibility and traffic dynamics complicate matters. Our Houston wrongful death lawyers at Johnson Garcia understand the profound impact these tragedies have on families and are dedicated to seeking justice for the deceased and are committed to securing the compensation and closure you deserve in the wake of a loved one’s loss.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in a Pedestrian or Bicycle Auto Accident?

In Texas, when a pedestrian or cyclist is fatally injured in an auto accident, the process for seeking compensation typically involves the at-fault motorist’s liability insurance. However, insurance companies often attempt to short-change payouts, prompting the need for a wrongful death claim.

In most cases, these types of claims are primarily filed by the immediate family members of the deceased, including spouses and children — both biological and adopted and, in some cases, stepchildren. And, in situations where the deceased was unmarried, without children, or both, the deceased’s surviving siblings or parents are entitled to bring forth a wrongful death suit.

If a claim hasn’t been filed by the spouse, children, or parents within three months following the death, the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate may proceed with the claim, provided no family members object.

The deceased’s spouse holds the initial right to file a wrongful death lawsuit, also representing minor children to ensure they receive at least one-third of the damages. This process involves compiling evidence and proving liability, tasks where a wrongful death attorney is essential, analyzing legal precedents, dealing with insurers, and advocating in court for the family.

Johnson Garcia’s experienced attorneys are equipped to handle these complexities, providing dedicated support throughout the legal journey.

What Are Some Potential Damages You May Be Able to Recover in a Wrong Death Bicycle or Pedestrian Claim?

In the aftermath of a tragic wrongful death bicycle or pedestrian accident, understanding the types of damages that may be recovered is crucial for families seeking justice and closure. Texas law allows for the recovery of a wide range of damages in wrongful death claims, reflecting the multifaceted impact of such a profound loss. Here are key areas where compensation can be sought:

Medical and Funeral Expenses

The immediate costs associated with the wrongful death, such as medical bills from the deceased’s final care and funeral expenses, are recoverable. These costs form the basis of most claims, providing tangible relief to families facing sudden financial burdens.

Loss of Future Earnings

One of the most significant impacts of wrongful death is the loss of the deceased’s future earnings. At Johnson Garcia, we work to accurately project what the deceased would have contributed financially over a lifetime, considering factors like age, career trajectory, and health at the time of death. This precise calculation quantifies what families can be compensated for in terms of economic support they have unjustly lost.

Loss of Companionship and Support

Beyond financial contributions, the loss of a loved one affects families on deeply personal and emotional levels. Compensation for loss of companionship, love, and moral support reflects the non-economic facets of wrongful death claims. While no amount of money can replace a loved one, this compensation acknowledges the emotional and relational void left behind.

Punitive Damages

In cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly reckless or egregious, punitive damages may also be awarded. These are not tied to the direct financial or emotional losses suffered by the family but serve as a punishment to the wrongdoer and a deterrent against future misconduct.

Given the two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Texas, timely action is imperative. At Johnson Garcia, we dedicate ourselves to guiding families through this complex process, employing our legal expertise to ensure that all potential damages are thoroughly evaluated and pursued. Our goal is to secure compensation for families that truly reflects the full extent of your loss so you can focus on healing and remembrance during this difficult time.

How Can the Wrongful Death Lawyers at Johnson Garcia Help?

Wrongful death claims in a bicycle or pedestrian accident require thorough proof that someone’s careless actions led to your loved one’s death. Winning your case means showing clearly that the person responsible wasn’t careful in a way they should have been, like if they were driving drunk, speeding, ignoring red lights, or texting while driving. Gathering proof, like photos from the crash or witnesses’ words, is crucial but can be tough to do on your own.

At Johnson Garcia, we know how hard this can be. Our wrongful death lawyers take the load off your shoulders by gathering all the necessary evidence for you, including the at-fault driver’s history, accident details, and what witnesses and police say happened.

We also help you collect and organize important documents to make sure you get the compensation you deserve, covering everything from medical expenses to lost wages. And if a commercial vehicle was involved, like a truck, the case can get even trickier. Trucking companies have strong legal teams aimed at protecting their interests, but we’re here to stand up for you. We have the experience and determination to go toe-to-toe with these companies and fight for your rights.

Letting Johnson Garcia help means you have a dedicated team working to make things right. Call us today at 832-844-6700 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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