This is the next post in a series of articles discussing bicycle accident cases in Laredo, Texas. My previous post discussed what to expect at a bicycle accident trial. Attorneys who handle trials must understand and comply with the strict rules of evidence and procedure that govern the process. They must also have the skills necessary to explain complicated facts and legal theories to a jury, members of which may not be familiar with such matters. When selecting an attorney to represent you during a bicycle accident trial, it is important to retain counsel with litigation experience to handle such matters on your behalf. In this article, I will discuss how a victim’s damages are calculated in bike accident cases. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
When an accident is caused by the negligence or willful misconduct of another, victims are entitled to receive damages from the responsible party. To recover their losses after a bicycle accident, victims must first establish that the defendant was, in fact, responsible for the crash. Once liability is determined, victims must demonstrate what damages they have or will suffer and prove that their damage calculation is accurate. One’s damages include direct expenses incurred following the accident such as medical expenses, lost wages for time away from work, or property damage reimbursement. Damages will also include the anticipated costs of future medical treatments and the victim’s lost future earnings. Depending upon the seriousness of the victim’s injuries, the victim’s damages may be significant. For instance, if the victim requires long-term care, cannot return to work for a long period, or is permanently incapacitated and cannot work in any capacity in the future, their damages could easily reach into the six or seven figure range. In some cases, it may be possible to recover punitive damages and legal fees in addition to the direct and indirect damages listed above. It is important to note that the ability to recover damages may be impacted if the victim was partially at fault for the crash. Furthermore, in some Texas cities, riders may be prohibited from recovering damages if they were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Your attorney can review your case and explain how comparative fault or local helmet laws may apply.
When a victim has been seriously injured, calculating their actual and anticipated damages may be challenging. For example, if a victim suffers a traumatic brain injury in a bicycle accident, they may need years or a lifetime of ongoing medical treatments. It may be necessary to engage one or more specialists in the medical field, such as a neurosurgeon, physical therapist, vocational specialist, or others, to explain the future medical needs and associated costs of such procedures. Other experts, such as psychologists or emergency physicians may be asked to quantify the victim’s pain and suffering into estimated damage amounts. If the victim is unable to return to work on a long-term or permanent basis, it may be necessary to engage an economist or actuary to estimate their lost future earning potential. The calculations of lost earnings may involve factors such as the victim’s age, employment history, education level, likely career path, expected future salary levels, etc.
My office understands that no amount of money can fully compensate you after a life-changing injury. That said, recovering the damages you have incurred can help alleviate the financial burdens of medical care and lost wages. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bike crash, it is imperative to retain a lawyer as soon as possible to represent your interests. Doing so can help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. My office has experience representing bike accident clients in Laredo and in other areas of south Texas.