Bicyclists have the right to share the road and travel alongside motor vehicles. Unfortunately, not all drivers use adequate caution. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident caused by a negligent driver you deserve compensation.
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, between 800 and 900 accidents involving bicycles occur in Georgia each year. Nearly 80 percent of these bicycle accidents result in injury. At Lamar Law Office, we understand the distress a bicycle accident can cause. Lamar Law Office, LLC represents victims of bicycle accidents to ensure the appropriate party is held responsible.
Bicycle vs. Vehicle Accidents
Even the most attentive cyclists who follow all safety precautions can suffer injuries following a bicycle accident due to no fault of their own. Collisions between bikes and motor vehicles are one of the most common types of accident involving bicycles. Drivers can cause significant injury and property damage when they fail to follow basic traffic laws.
Bicycle accidents may occur due to:
- Distracted drivers (e.g. texting, eating, fiddling with the stereo, etc.);
- Speeding drivers;
- Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Drivers who fail to obey traffic laws.
Most cyclists are highly aware of potential dangers on the road. Reflective gear, helmets, and hand signals are often utilized by cautious cyclists who want to avoid being a bicycle accident victim. However, all the precautions in the world cannot prevent accidents caused by negligent or reckless drivers.
Standard bikes weigh just 17 pounds, compared to the average American car which tops 3,000 pounds. Bicycles also lack the speed and safety features of motor vehicles, making them a riskier form of modern transportation.
Due to their size, speed, and force, collisions with motor vehicles can lead to serious injuries and possibly causalities. If the cyclist is lucky, he or she may walk away with a few cuts and bruises. Unfortunately, in many cases a cyclist is not so lucky. A driver’s negligent behavior on the road could result in broken bones, joint dislocations, or brain injuries.
Other Bicycling Risks
Inattentive drivers are not the only risks cyclists face. Faulty traffic and street designs are also common causes of bicycle accidents. From unexpected pot holes to ill-placed storm drains, hazardous roads could mean serious injury for unsuspecting riders. Cyclists must also be on the lookout for other street defects, such as malfunctioning traffic lights, improper lane or shoulder widths, narrow bridge abutments, obstructed stop signs, uncovered ditches, and construction site violations.
In some instances, the cause of a bicycle accident is not a negligent driver or hazardous road, but the bike itself. Each year, countless bikes are recalled due to problems like cracked frames and faulty chains. However, the most common bike defects include fork failure, defective brakes, improper frame welding, flawed wheels, poor design, and overall inadequate safety standards. If a defective bicycle is the cause of your accident, it may be possible to seek damages via a product liability lawsuit.
Bike Accident Liability
If you suffered personal injury in a bicycle accident, you have the right to sue the responsible party. However, all personal injury lawsuits are subject to a statute of limitations in the state of Georgia. These deadlines are in place to prevent parties from pursuing compensation after a set amount of time has elapsed. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury is two years from the date of your injury.
Many bicycle accident claims are related to driver carelessness. For a victim to be awarded damages following an incident, certain criteria must be present. In Georgia, you must prove that the at-fault driver who struck your bike was negligent in operating his or her vehicle. This criterion is satisfied by providing that the driver behaved in a way that a reasonable driver would not have. For example, the driver texted while driving.
In some instances, the bicyclist may be partly responsible for the accident. Just like motor vehicle drivers, bike riders have a duty to use reasonable care while using the roads for the safety of themselves and others. However, if a cyclist ignores a traffic light or fails to illuminate their bike with a light at night, they could be found partly or fully responsible for an accident. As Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state, it allows people to recover damages even if they are found partly at fault. If the person is found to be more than 50 percent at fault, he or she cannot recover any damages.
If you were involved in a bicycle accident, you may be able to recover damages. Bike accidents can result in severe injuries that require an extensive recovery period. Victims may need lengthy medical care, numerous treatments, and possibly rehabilitative healthcare services like physical therapy. In the meantime, they may suffer from a loss of income from an inability to work.
To compensate for personal injuries, victims of bicycle accidents can seek reparation for present and future medical bills, property damage, loss wages, and pain and suffering. If the injuries sustained during the accident were found to impair the victim’s cognitive or physical abilities, the consequences may be more profound. Traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, spinal cord injuries, and similar impairments may make it impossible to return to work. Due to the serious ramifications involved, these situations are often fully compensable under Georgia law.
Family members of bicycle accident victims who died as a result of their injuries may also be able to recover damages through a wrongful death claim. Depending on the circumstances at hand, recoverable damages may include loss of future earnings, loss of companionship, and funeral and burial expenses.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation
Being involved in a bicycle accident can be an overwhelming experience. You may feel like you have nowhere to turn and no one to stand up for you. At Lamar Law Office, we have represented numerous victims of negligence and know the difficulties people often face when filing an injury claim. Contact our bike accident lawyers today to schedule a free case evaluation and determine if you are entitled to compensation.