Visitor Question

Husband killed by a car while riding his bike to work…

Submitted By: Jane (Texas)

My husband was hit and killed by a car while he was riding his bike to work. He was moving out from the shoulder of the road to the left side of the lane so he could turn left at the incoming fork, when he was hit from behind by the car.

The driver has auto insurance, but cheap insurance, and no official report or document states who’s at fault. My husband is at age 60, and had a yearly income of about $100,000. No minor kids, all are now grown adults. I don’t know how to prove who was the at-fault party, or whether it’s worth it to file a lawsuit or not? Do I have a case? How much could a lawsuit result in?

Thank you for any information you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Jane,

You will need a copy of the police report. In the report should be the driver’s name and contact information. The police report will also have the name of the driver’s insurance company.

The police report may also have a diagram written by one of the investigating officers. The diagram will be a depiction of the scene at or about the time of the accident. The report should also note whether the driver received one or more traffic citations for Failure to Yield, Illegal Turn, Following too Closely, or other infraction.

If the driver was issued one or more traffic citations, that information can be used to support a finding of driver negligence. Driver negligence is the key to successfully proving your claim.

If the accident was entirely the driver’s fault, the driver’s insurance company should offer, or “tender” policy limits. That means the insurance company should pay your husband’s estate the full amount of the driver’s available insurance.

However, Texas is a Comparative Negligence State. Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 33.001, a victims’s compensation in a negligence claim will be reduced by the percentage of the victim’s own comparatve negligence. Learn more about 51% modified comparative negligence here.

In Texas, if the victim’s percentage of contribution to the collision is determined to be 51% or more, the victim is barred from recovering compensation for the collision. To read the Texas law regarding comparative negligence go to Section 33.001.

Presuming the driver was at fault, and your husband didn’t contribute to the collision, you may be able to receive the driver’s policy limits. Additionally, if you aren’t satisfied with the amount of compensation offered by the driver’s insurance company, you can pursue the driver personally for additional compensation.

This means if the driver has stocks or bonds, real estate not protected by Texas Homestead Exemption, or other assets, those assets may be subject to liquidation.

Wrongful death cases should always be handled by an experienced personal injury attorney. Fortunately, most reputable injury attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations.

Gather a copy of the police report, and any other documents related to the collision. Make several appointments with personal injury attorneys in your area. Bring the documents to the consultations. Once the attorneys review the facts surrounding the collision, you’ll have a better idea of the viability of a wrongful death claim.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: June 12, 2017

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