Riding a bicycle is a great way to exercise and reduce the use of motor vehicles. Unfortunately, bicycle accidents can sometimes happen despite the rider’s safety efforts. In some cases, these accidents can lead to serious injury or death. In 2016, there were 840 people killed in cycling accidents, the majority in urban areas like Atlanta. In fact, 29 of these fatalities occurred in Georgia, and many more bicyclists suffered serious injuries in accidents with motor vehicles.
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, the recovery process can be both grueling and expensive. Missing work due to your injuries doesn’t help with the financial implications. It can be hard to know where to turn when you’re dealing with pain and bills at the same time. For this reason, you need an experienced Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Their skills in negotiating with insurance companies and determining how and where to seek damages are essential to getting through your ordeal.
Ali Awad, the CEO lawyer, knows the best approach to getting your life back on track during these difficult situations. Filing an injury lawsuit isn’t something anyone plans to do, but when it happens, you need an experienced personal injury and accident attorney on your side.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, don’t wait to call Ali Awad for a no-obligation consultation of your case. The CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm team works on a contingency basis, and as a result, they don’t get paid unless you do. You have nothing to lose by calling (833) 254-2923 to discuss the details of your case and learn more about your options.
Who Is At Fault In a Bicycle Accident?
This is a complicated question, and it depends on many factors involved in the accident. First, it’s important to understand that Georgia is what’s called a “modified comparative fault” state. What does this mean? Essentially, it means that the court considers whether the plaintiff (in this case, the injured or killed bicyclist) contributed to the accident, even if the motor vehicle’s driver was also at fault. In order to recover any damages, the bicycle rider must be found to be less than 50% at fault for the accident. If this is the case, the plaintiff’s recovery will be diminished by the percentage of negligence assigned to the plaintiff.
Here are some common situations where the bicycle rider may be at fault:
If the biker ignored traffic signs or signals, like stop or yield signs or red lights.
If the biker rides against traffic.
When the biker fails to yield to traffic before moving onto a roadway.
Poor or insufficient lighting and/or reflective surfaces are used on the bike.
If the biker failed to signal before turning or failed to indicate a significant change in speed.
When the biker was riding while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Any situation where the biker wasn’t using an appropriate amount of caution, such as riding too fast in poor weather conditions or difficult road conditions.
Any other failure to obey traffic laws.
If One of These Situations Happened In Your Accident, Are You Out of Luck?
Not necessarily. People often have questions about whether they will be able to recover any damages if they were even partly at fault in an accident. Or they may want to know if they are more than 50% at fault. Ultimately it will be up to the jury to decide how fault is apportioned. Their decision will depend on many factors, and in some cases, they may find that the other driver was mostly at fault.
For example, let’s say that you put a rear red reflector on your bike as required by Georgia law, but over time it fell off somewhere. You’ve been planning to replace it the next time you go by the sporting goods store. Then a car runs a red light and crashes into you, even though you have the right of way. The defendant’s lawyer will likely argue that it’s not the defendant’s fault your bike wasn’t very visible. (Georgia law requires that the rear reflector or light should make the bike visible from 300 feet away.) However, the jury may decide that while you should have replaced the reflector sooner, that isn’t a very good excuse for the defendant disobeying the traffic laws and running a red light. After all, the law also requires drivers to stop at a red light even if they don’t see anyone coming. In this case, the jury may find the accident was only 20% your fault, and you will still be able to recover damages from the defendant reduced by this amount.
Each accident is different and may not be as simple as the above example. In some accidents, there may be multiple factors affecting fault on both sides. If you have questions about your bicycle accident, the best way to find clarity is to contact an Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer. They will be experienced with Georgia’s comparative negligence laws, and after learning the details of your crash, they can give you a better idea of how likely it is that your case will be successful.
Common Causes of Bicycle Versus Motor Vehicle Accidents
One basic “rule of the road” is that no one should make a turn if it’s unsafe to do so. If that means you wait longer to turn, or turn elsewhere then circle back, then that’s what you should do. Unfortunately, a situation we see frequently is when a car makes a right turn into the path of a bicyclist, who may be in the right lane or a bike lane. Sometimes the larger vehicle has already passed the biker, and then they slow down while making the turn, and the biker catches up and is unable to stop in time. In other situations, the driver may not see the biker, even if they have followed all regulations about making the bike visible. The driver may look in the rearview but forget to check the side mirrors. Or they may think they can make the turn before the biker reaches them. In any event, the motorist is usually at fault in this situation for making a turn when it wasn’t safe to do so.
We also see a lot of accidents where a motor vehicle was passing a bicycle and something went wrong. Motorists are supposed to maintain a safe space while passing a biker, but sometimes this doesn’t happen. Bikers should move to the right side of the lane but otherwise are not expected to get out of the larger vehicle’s way. Again, the motorist should wait until they can safely pass a bike. Failing to do so often leads to accidents.
An Open Door
Bicycle riders are expected to ride close to parked cars in many situations. It’s the responsibility of the person getting out of their car to look before they open their door, and wait if a bicycle is heading their way. For this reason, when bikers crash into an open car door, these cases are usually the fault of the person opening their door.
What Is Necessary to Prove Your Personal Injury Case After a Bicycle Accident?
In general, personal injury lawsuits require you to prove four things:
The defendant/driver owed you a duty. In this case, your attorney will argue that they owed you the duty of driving responsibly so as not to injure others.
The driver breached the duty. Your lawyer will work to prove that the defendant failed in this duty by not taking reasonable steps to drive safely, such as obeying all traffic laws and putting a reasonable effort into avoiding an accident.
This breach of duty led to your accident. At this point, your lawyer will outline exactly how the driver’s actions – or in some cases, their lack of action – led to the crash.
You suffered injuries or your loved one lost their life as a direct result of this breach of duty. Your attorney will describe the injuries suffered in detail, including how they have affected your life.
What Kind of Damages Can Be Recovered in a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit?
There are several types of damages you may be eligible for, depending on the accident and the kind of injuries you received:
Medical expenses. Most personal injury lawsuits ask for compensation for medical expenses. Sometimes people come to our office desperate to find a solution. They may have learned that their medical insurance won’t cover some or all of their bills. The driver’s insurance company may not want to pay either or may have made an offer that won’t cover future expenses. This is a common tactic of insurance companies, and we always recommend speaking with a bicycle accident lawyer in Atlanta before accepting any insurance settlement.
Effects on your daily life. If the accident has stopped you from doing normal activities and generally living your life as you did before, you may ask for damages for this disruption.
Lost earnings or loss of earning capacity. When a bicycle crash leaves you out of work for days or even causes you a permanent disability that prevents you from ever doing your job again, you may seek damages for your lost earnings. If you’ve recovered enough to return to work, you’ll want to figure out exactly how much work you missed and what you would have earned. If you are still unable to work, you and your attorney can discuss asking for compensation to cover your loss of earning potential. You might be able to seek this compensation even if you were not employed at the time of the accident.
Pain and suffering. Accidents can leave you in both physical and emotional pain, which may include chronic physical pain, like back or leg pain. You may also have long-term mental health issues caused by the crash, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, or PTSD. You may seek compensation for all of these.
Property damage. You may also ask for compensation if your bicycle or any possessions you were carrying suffered damage.
Punitive damages. These are rarely awarded, but in a few cases, the jury may award extra damages in an effort to punish the driver if their actions were especially egregious.
What Should I Do After My Bicycle Accident?
First, don’t agree to an insurance company’s proposal before speaking with an attorney. After you’ve reported your accident to the police and received medical attention for your injuries, as soon as you’re able, contact an Atlanta bicycle crash lawyer. Contact the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm online, or call (833) 254-2923 for a free consultation to learn more about your options.
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Frequently Asked Questions
After a personal injury, you're bound to have legal questions. The CEO Lawyer Ali Awad can provide you with answers to these questions, just as he's given answers to his millions of curious social media followers. Take a look at some of the most common personal injury law questions for general information, and then reach out to one of our seasoned attorneys for specific guidance on your case!
To quickly resolve matters following an accident, insurance companies will offer you less than you deserve in compensation for your injuries. Many victims feel pressured to accept these offers as the bills begin to pile up, but that is rarely a good idea. The insurance company is looking to protect its bottom line; and will offer injured victims less than they deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to negotiate with the insurance company and can look out for your best interests by getting you the compensation you deserve after an injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it is important to avoid negotiating or providing recorded statements to the insurance company without first seeking help from a qualified personal injury attorney.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?
The best way to determine if you have a personal injury case is to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Our legal professionals have the expertise to evaluate your case and determine a strong legal strategy so that you can obtain the greatest amount of compensation possible under the law. We will enlist investigators, assistants, and other specialists to collect accident reports, speak with witnesses to your accident, and put together a plan. While you focus on your physical recovery, we will remain committed to fighting for the compensation that you deserve.
Georgia's Personal Injury & Accident Firm
Accident victims have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit. This time period is referred to as the statute of limitations, and in Atlanta, it lasts only two years. This means that if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you have only two years to pursue a personal injury suit. If you wait too long to reach out to an experienced attorney, you might be forever barred from seeking the compensation you deserve.
What to Expect From Your Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney?
During your initial consultation with CEO Lawyer team, we will go over the important details of your personal injury accident, which include the nature and extent of your injuries, how your injuries have impacted your ability to earn a paycheck, the cost of your medical treatment, and whether further medical treatment will be required. We will answer any questions you might have, as well, in regards to our experience, our track record of success, and what to expect from the legal process.
Many personal injury victims wonder if they will be able to afford the legal fees required to pursue a lawsuit. CEO Lawyer injury and accident attorneys will not ask for any type of upfront fee unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for you. That means that if you have been harmed in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, defective product accident, or any other type of personal injury accident, you can absolutely afford to contact our law office today for assistance. In fact, you cannot afford to wait. Reach out today.
We understand that some accident victims might have already obtained the assistance of an attorney but may be dissatisfied with the services provided. We are standing by and prepared to help you change legal representation, regardless of where you are in the process.
Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of personal injury accident, you should not hesitate to speak with the experienced attorneys at CEO Lawyer personal injury law firm. Call, email, or fill out our online contact form today so that we can begin helping you pursue the compensation you deserve.