Teenager Kills Six Cyclists After Colliding With Them in His Truck

A teenager in Texas has been charged with felony-level crimes after driving his truck into a group of cyclists who were bicycling on the side of the road. Witnesses had stated that before he slammed into the group of cyclists, he was trying to agitate them by blowing exhaust smoke into their faces as they traveled. Doing so is a harassment practice called rolling coal. The victims who survived suffered numerous injuries, ranging from bone fractures to traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Two victims were taken to the hospital via ambulance and two via a life flight. The driver has been charged with aggravated assault with six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — one charge per injured cyclist.

Bringing a Lawsuit Against a Negligent Driver After a Bicycle Accident

When a negligent or reckless driver causes serious injuries, the driver may face criminal charges, as seen in the case discussed above. In this case, the driver allegedly intended to scare the cyclists by getting close to them and blowing exhaust in their faces. There is a difference between criminal charges and a civil lawsuit in cases like these. Criminal charges involve the state choosing to prosecute the driver for a crime. The driver will either be convicted or declared not guilty.

Bringing a lawsuit against someone who injures you due to their negligence is separate from the criminal process. Whether or not the individual mentioned above is convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, the victims have a right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against him. In a civil personal injury lawsuit, the injured person needs to show that the defendant's actions or inactions caused the accident that resulted in his or her injuries.

In cases involving a defendant who intentionally acted recklessly or threateningly, the plaintiff may be entitled to additional damages called punitive damages. Punitive damages are available when the defendant acted in a willful, wanton, or egregious manner, causing the defendant's injuries. Those who have been injured in bicycle accidents do not need to wait for the defendant to be convicted of a crime to pursue damages in a civil court. They can pursue damages whether or not the defendant has been convicted. If the defendant is convicted of a crime, it will help the plaintiff's case. The plaintiff may be able to establish negligence per se, making it somewhat easier to succeed in his or her case.

What to Do After a Serious Bicycle Accident

Being involved in a serious bicycle accident can be devastating. It can be challenging to know what to do after the accident, but your actions will greatly impact whether you obtain the total amount of compensation you deserve. Taking the following steps after a bicycle accident can help you protect yourself and your legal compensation claim:

  • Call for help and request medical attention immediately
  • Assess the damage to yourself and your bicycle
  • If you can safely do so, move out of the way of oncoming traffic
  • When the police officer arrives at the scene, tell him or her your side of the story so it can be included in the police report being careful not to admit fault
  • Write down the driver's name, license plate number, insurance information, and contact information
  • If there are witnesses at the scene, gather their contact information
  • If you can safely do so, take pictures of the accident scene, your bicycle, your helmet, other equipment, the motor vehicle, and any other conditions that could show how the bicycle accident occurred
  • Keep all the medical records related to your accident
  • Keep a journal detailing all the pain and symptoms you experience and the days you have had to take off work
Make an Insurance Claim

In North Carolina, the driver who causes a bicycle accident is responsible for covering the injured person's expenses through his or her insurance coverage. You will have a right to file a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance called a third-party claim. You will need to show that the driver was at fault and the amount of damages you've incurred, otherwise called the compensation you would get.

If the driver does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance, you may need to file an underinsured driver claim with your own insurance company. Whatever method you use, it is essential to reach out to an attorney to help you hold the insurance company accountable and negotiate with them for a fair settlement. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, today to schedule your free initial consultation.

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