Bicyclists enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles on the road. When a negligent driver forces a bicycle off the road, slams into it, or opens a door onto it and then leaves the scene, he or she commits a hit and run crime. After a hit and run accident, a bicyclist can take steps to protect his or her rights to justice and compensation.
Hit and Run Accidents in Texas
A hit and run incident can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the severity of the accident. Under civil laws, a bicyclist may also file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to obtain compensation for associated losses. If a bicyclist cannot identify the at-fault driver, he or she may file a claim against a personal automotive insurance policy containing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage or a medical insurance policy.
The challenge in hit and run accidents involving bicycles lies in identification. To hold the wrongdoer accountable, investigators must first identify the individual.
Take These Steps After a Bicycle Hit and Run Incident
After an accident, take as many of the following steps as possible to catch the responsible driver and protect your ability to file a claim:
- Record the scene. If you can, take pictures of your injuries, the bike, the accident scene, and weather conditions at the scene. Take down witness information. Witnesses often play a crucial role in tracking down hit and run drivers.
- Contact the police. If you do not file an accident report, you may lose your right to compensation from your own auto insurance provider and from the at-fault driver. Even if you believe you will never find the hit and run driver, file a police report with the local authorities. Call the police as soon as possible after the incident.
- Accept medical support. Always go to the doctor after any motor vehicle accident. Tell your physician you were involved in an accident and outline any minor pain you experience. You need to create a medical record after the incident to protect your right to medical expense compensation.
- Notify insurance providers. Auto insurance policies often cover bicyclists who travel on the roadways. Let your own provider know about the incident if you think you may need to file a claim against your own policy to cover your losses. Learn as much as possible about your right to compensation through your own auto and health insurance policies. If you do not catch the hit and run driver, these may offer your only opportunity for financial support in the aftermath of an incident.
Other Ways to Protect Your Rights in Hit and Run Accidents
Hit and run accidents involving bicycles can lead to catastrophic injuries. Some bicyclists may lose consciousness at the time of the incident, which may make witness and driver identification more difficult. On the roadways, bicyclists can take additional steps to protect their rights to compensation in the event of a dangerous hit and run incident:
- Always use mirrors. Add rearview mirrors to your bicycle and look into them frequently. If you cannot avoid an accident, a mirror may help you identify the vehicle involved.
- Consider a handlebar camera. Mount a camera on your handlebars to record your travels. In the event on an accident, the footage may show witnesses, license plate information, and other crucial information. A recording may also show safe bicycle riding habits and support your right to recovery.
- Wear safety gear. Texas does not require that bicyclists wear helmets. However, failing to do so may constitute an act of negligence and reduce your claim to compensation.
After a serious bicycle hit and run accident, reach out to a Houston personal injury attorney for more information about filing a claim. Attorneys provide investigation, insurance, and lawsuit support to aid their clients’ recoveries.