While bicycling can be a handy and environmentally friendly way of getting around town, it can also be significantly more dangerous than driving in the event of an accident. Whereas motor vehicle operators are fully enclosed within their cars, bike riders have no external protection from impacts other than potentially a helmet and pads—which unfortunately can do little to prevent bone fractures, lacerations, and other severe injuries.
Any bicyclist who was hit by a negligent driver should consider speaking with an Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer about their legal options. Working with a seasoned personal injury attorney could help you prove legal negligence and increase your chances of a favorable case result.
Just because bicyclists have a greater risk of injury than drivers does not mean that any driver who hits a bicyclist is automatically at fault. In order to hold a civil defendant financially liable for a plaintiff’s injuries and losses, an experienced Atlanta bike accident attorney must establish that the defendant was legally negligent, which in turns means proving all the following facts:
Drivers and bicyclists automatically owe a duty of care others on the road to operate their respective machines carefully and within the boundaries set by state law. While this does allow injured bicyclists to hold negligent drivers accountable for accidents, it also allows drivers to allege that bicyclists are partially or primarily to blame for their own injuries in such an incident.
If a bicyclist over 16 years of age fails to wear a helmet, rides against the flow of traffic, or fails to keep to the right side of the road, a civil court may deem them partially at fault for an ensuing accident. Under Official Code of Georgia §51-12-33, that court could then reduce that plaintiff’s damage award by whatever percentage of fault they bear, or bar them from recovery entirely if they are 50 percent or more at fault.
Recoverable economic damages following a bike wreck typically center around expenses for emergency and rehabilitative medical care, but a case may also include objective losses like missed work wages, loss of earning capacity, and costs associated with repairing or replacing damaged personal property. Non-economic damages applicable to this type of case may include loss of enjoyment of life, permanent disability or disfigurement, loss of consortium, and other subjective damages associated with the plaintiff’s general pain and suffering.
In order to recover compensation for damages, the plaintiff and their attorney must file their claim within the deadline set by the statute of limitations. According to O.C.G.A. §9-3-33, plaintiffs seeking restitution for personal injuries usually only have two years after their injuries occur in which to file suit.
Car-on-bicycle accidents can often result in devastating injuries, and it can be incredibly difficult for victims to recover both physically and financially from these kinds of incidents alone. Fortunately, just as medical professionals could help ensure your physical recovery proceeds smoothly, legal professionals could work tirelessly to hold a negligent party financially accountable for the harm they caused you to suffer.
During an initial consultation, an Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer could answer any questions you have about your case and set you on the right path towards a favorable outcome in or out of court. Call today to schedule a meeting and see what may be possible in your situation.