Here at Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group, we regularly encounter unfortunate victims of bike accidents. The question on everyone's lips is, "Can I sue someone for hitting me on a bike?"
The short answer is "Yes." However, as with all things legal, the devil is in the details.
If you or someone you love was in an accident while cycling, you’ll likely need more than just a one-word answer. Our bicycle accident attorneys in Atlanta provide detailed answers, quality legal services, and straightforward, practical solutions to injured cyclists. You can count on our legal team to help you move forward after your accident and obtain maximum compensation for your losses.
Bicycle Safety in Atlanta, Georgia, and Surrounding Areas
Bicycles make up a fairly small percentage of collisions. However, they tend to sustain much more severe injuries, with bicyclists and pedestrians accounting for 19 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Bicycle accidents in Georgia tend to occur most frequently in Atlanta and metropolitan cities.
Distressingly, these accidents also affect younger riders more frequently. Children ages 10 to 14 constitute the largest group of injured bicyclists who receive trauma care after these accidents.
How Does The Law Protect Cyclists?
The law aims to protect all road users, including cyclists. If a negligent motorist causes an accident with a bicyclist, the injured party may seek damages.
According to Georgia law, negligence occurs when a person breaches a duty of care owed to another, leading to injury.
For instance, drivers owe a duty of care to other road users, including cyclists and pedestrians. If a driver fails to respect a cyclist's right to share the road, makes a reckless move, or drives under the influence, they've breached their duty of care. If this breach leads to a cyclist's injury, you can hold the driver accountable.
Understanding Personal Injury in Georgia
In Georgia, as in most states, a personal injury refers to any harm or damage caused to a person's body, mind, or emotions due to another person's negligence or intentional misconduct. It doesn't include property damage, which the law deals with separately, but rather focuses on the physical and psychological impact of an incident.
As in other states, injured parties must file personal injury lawsuits within a certain time frame, known as the statute of limitations. Georgia generally sets the deadline at two years from the accident or injury. However, your individual circumstances may influence this timeframe. For example, if your case involves liability on the part of a government entity, you may have much less time to file suit.
Given the complexity of personal injury law, consult an experienced accident injury attorney when taking legal action after a bicycle accident. They can evaluate your situation, determine if you have a valid claim, and guide you through the entire process to maximize your recovery.
Here at Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group, we are dedicated to helping you navigate the intricate legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.
The Role of Personal Injury Attorneys
Engaging an experienced personal injury attorney in Atlanta can make the difference between a successful claim and one that falls short. Injuries place their victims in no position to handle the detailed and complicated investigation that goes into a bicycle accident case, nor do they possess the legal knowledge required to represent themselves successfully.
In these situations, a bicycle accident attorney forms your first line of defense. They will gather critical evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you if the case goes to trial.
Moreover, an attorney familiar with Georgia's bicycle laws can identify all potential defendants. Sometimes, you can hold more than one party responsible for your accident. For example, if a poorly maintained road contributed to the accident, you can hold a local government entity partially liable.
How Do I Prove Negligence in a Bicycle Accident?
Although negligence may seem clear-cut, proving it requires navigating a complex legal process.
The injured party (plaintiff) and their lawyer must demonstrate that:
- The driver (defendant) owed them a duty of care.
- The defendant breached this duty.
- The breach directly caused the injury.
- They suffered damages due to this injury.
Under Georgia's modified comparative negligence law, if you, as a cyclist, contributed less than 50 percent of responsibility for the accident, you can still recover damages, albeit reduced by your percentage of fault.
A reputable attorney can help you maximize your potential recovery settlement or verdict by ensuring that a defendant or insurance adjuster does not assign you more than your share of blame.
Types of Damages You Can Claim
In Georgia, an injured bicyclist can recover medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. You may require assistance after an accident, including care from family members or medical professionals, physical therapy, and even modifications to your home should your injuries limit your mobility.
Additionally, your medical expenses may include current and future treatments and your mental health needs, such as counseling or medication to deal with the anxiety or post-traumatic stress that often accompanies motor vehicle accidents.
Furthermore, particularly egregious driver's actions could result in punitive damages to punish the at-fault party and discourage similar conduct.
Recovering Damages for Damage to Your Bicycle
When a devastating accident that results in serious injury combines with the loss of a vehicle, you’re likely concerned about transportation and the replacement of your vehicle.
Just as with any personal property, your bicycle holds value, which your lawyer can factor into your overall damages claim following an accident. The law recognizes the importance of your property and provides you with the right to seek compensation for damages to your bicycle, just as you would for a motor vehicle.
If an accident destroys your bike due to another party's negligence, you can recover those property damage costs. You can include the cost of your damaged safety gear, like helmets or padded clothing, as part of these property damages.
The insurance company may dispute the value of the bike. In such cases, you must provide proof of the bicycle's worth through receipts or an estimate for repair or replacement from a bike shop. Your attorney can amass detailed documentation and evidence that will strengthen your case and ensure you receive the appropriate compensation.
In addition to direct property damage, you might recover compensation for the loss of use of your bike. These expenses might include the cost of alternative transport arrangements or the rental cost of a replacement bike.
A local bicycle accident lawyer can accurately calculate and present all your damages, including those related to your bicycle, for compensation.
Contact our Atlanta Bicycle Accident Attorneys Today to Learn More
As a cyclist, you have rights. As an injured victim, you have needs. If a motorist's negligence injured you, you may seek compensation and may do so with a trusted legal representative by your side. Our law firm is dedicated to your best interests and defending them with every tool at our disposal.
Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group is here to help navigate the complex, daunting legal and insurance systems. Remember, focus on recovery—let us handle the rest.
Contact us online or call us today for your free consultation.