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Wrongful Death Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents

Pedestrians and bicyclists have just as much right to the road as motor vehicles. Sadly, some drivers don’t respect these rights, which sometimes results in fatal accidents. These tragic accidents happen more than we would like to believe, with 7,624 pedestrian fatalities in just 2021.

If you recently lost your loved one in a wrongful death pedestrian or bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation in a lawsuit. Nix Patterson’s wrongful death attorneys can review your case at no charge and inform you of your legal options for potential compensation.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of civil claim you can bring against a person whose negligent, reckless, or wrongful action caused the death of your loved one. Generally, you can file a wrongful death claim in a bicycle or pedestrian accident if your loved one could have recovered compensation if they had lived.

A wrongful death lawsuit can be based on any type of accident, but they are common in pedestrian accidents that involve cars, trucks, motorcycles, and people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If your loved one died in an accident, a Nix Patterson wrongful death attorney can investigate the incident and determine if another party’s negligence or recklessness was a factor. If so, we may retain you as a client and fight for compensation for you in a wrongful death claim.

Bicyclist vs. Pedestrian

Livable communities that are safe for pedestrians and bikers are a top priority of the U.S. government. Unfortunately, there are far too many bicyclists and pedestrian fatalities every year. Pedestrian and bicycle accidents make up about 19% of all traffic deaths, with approximately 6,000 pedestrian deaths vs 850 bicyclist deaths per year. Also, another 76,000 pedestrians and 47,000 bikers are injured on the roads yearly.

Most of these deaths involve motor vehicles striking bikers and pedestrians on the roads, who suffer fatal injuries because they are unprotected compared to someone riding in a car. There also are cases of bicyclist vs. pedestrian accidents, where the biker does not see and hits the pedestrian. While these cases are not usually fatal, serious injuries can still occur.

Right-of-Way Rules

The concept of right of way is critical to understand on the road, and it is especially vital when pedestrians and bikers are present. Failure to yield the right of way by any party can lead to a severe or fatal accident. However, motorists generally must yield right of way to pedestrians at intersections and crosswalks. Bikers, because they are vehicles, are subject to the same rules as motor vehicle drivers.

If you are driving and see a pedestrian or bicyclist in a crosswalk, you must stop and yield the right of way. Even when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk illegally, you still need to stop and allow them to cross.

Common Types of Bike Accidents

Many factors play a role in fatal bike and pedestrian accidents. First, cars are more challenging to see than bikers and pedestrians, so drivers must take special care and look for them. Also, many drivers may need to learn the road rules for bikes. Bikers have the same right to the road as car drivers do. Unfortunately, drivers may not know this and could cut off the biker, turn in front of them, or engage in other dangerous actions that could cause a fatal accident. Some of the most common reasons for bike accidents that lead to severe injury and death are:

  • Distracted driving. Far too many drivers are distracted by cell phones and may only see a biker or pedestrian in front of them once it is too late.
  • Low visibility. Bikers and pedestrians are challenging to see, but motorists are still liable for hitting them. Pedestrians and bikers can help to avoid fatal accidents by wearing bright-colored clothing.
  • Dangerous roads. Poorly maintained roads or road construction can contribute to bike and pedestrian accidents.
  • Failure to yield. The accident is often fatal if a driver doesn’t yield to a bicyclist or pedestrian.

Also, these types of accidents most often lead to fatal bicycle cases:

  • Right cross crash. This type of bicycle accident happens when the biker travels legally on the right side of the road. Then, a car pulls out from a driveway or store and slams into the bicyclist on the right side. Right-cross crashes comprise about 5% of all bike accidents and often happen in residential areas.
  • Left cross crash. This happens when the biker travels with the traffic flow on the right side, and a motorist makes a left turn in front of them. This type of accident happens in about 40% of motorcycle crashes and about 1.2% of bike accidents.
  • Right hook crash. This happens when the biker is riding on the right side of the road, and a car passes and makes a right turn into the biker’s path. The driver usually forgets the biker was there or they were in a blind spot.
  • Dooring. A dooring crash happens when a rider is going with traffic on the right side, and there are parked cars on the curb. A driver opens the driver’s door, and the biker slams into it. Dooring accidents comprise about 25% of biking accidents in large cities. Fortunately, most of these are not fatal accidents.
  • Road rage. Some motorists get angry at bikers for slowing them down and may drive aggressively, such as driving too close, throwing objects at them, or turning in front of them. The driver could face criminal and civil cases if this behavior leads to a fatal accident.
  • Pedestrian collision. Sometimes, a biker is at fault for hitting or sideswiping a pedestrian, which can happen more often when the cyclist uses the sidewalk instead of the road.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In most states, the deceased’s close family members, such as the parents, spouse, or children, can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person who caused or contributed to the death. In other states, domestic partners and financial dependents also can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Others only allow the personal representative of the deceased’s estate to file the claim. Talk to your attorney about the laws of your state so you understand who is eligible to file a lawsuit in your area.

Potential Damages You May Be Able to Recover

Under most state laws, surviving family suing negligent parties in a wrongful death lawsuit can recover compensation for some or all of the following:

  • Medical costs, including ambulance fees, hospital expenses, and related medical expenses before your loved one passed.
  • Burial expenses and funeral expenses.
  • Loss of earnings, income, support, and maintenance: A wrongful death attorney can seek compensation for your loved one’s lost earnings and expected future lost earnings.
  • Loss of companionship, love, and comfort: This compensation covers the emotional pain and loss you suffer when your loved one is taken from you.
  • Lost inheritance: This type of payment represents what your family would have received from the person in the estate if they had lived.
  • Pain and suffering for the victim: This is for the pain the deceased suffered before they died.

Wrongful death claims may result in a sizable settlement or award, but the amount of damages received depends on many factors, including:

  • The degree of negligence the defendant showed
  • The facts of the accident
  • The person filing the claim
  • The income the deceased made before they died and would have made if they had lived
  • The deceased’s health and age when they passed

Speak to Nix Patterson’s Wrongful Death Attorneys Today

If you were recently devastated by losing your loved one because of someone’s negligence or wrongful act, taking legal action may be the last thing you want to consider. However, the sudden loss of a loved one often brings financial concerns with an income gone, plus loss of future income and inheritance.

Also missing is the deceased’s guidance, care, and support for the family and children. With the help of a Nix Patterson wrongful death attorney, you can obtain financial justice and secure your family’s future. Please contact us today for a complimentary wrongful death claim consultation.


Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below. 

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