A bicycle accident can be caused by impact from anything from a car to a motorcycle to a truck or a bus. Due to the size and weight difference between bikes and other vehicles, cyclists are vulnerable to severe injuries even when they have worn the right protective gear.
It isn’t fair for you to shoulder the costs after a bicycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence. Under Georgia law, you can pursue compensation to cover your medical bills and other expenses related to your injury, including the income you’ve lost if you’re unable to work.
The Macon bicycle accident lawyers at The Herro Law Firm are proud to represent cyclists who were injured by other motorists, and we help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Call us today at (404) 433-6876 for a free consultation with our Gwinnett auto accident lawyers.
What Are Georgia Bicycle Laws?
Georgia law essentially treats bicycles as vehicles. This means that just like cars, cyclists have to adhere to the same traffic rules, including following the stated speed limits, using signals, and stopping at stop signs.
Still, some additional rules apply only to bikes. These include:
- No riding on the sidewalk.
- Always ride in the same direction as the traffic.
- Always signal turns using arm signals.
- Always ride as close as possible to the right side, unless when avoiding a hazard, turning left, etc.
- Never ride more than two abreast, unless it’s a bike lane, path, or sharrow.
- Never have more people on the bike than it’s equipped for.
- Never allow someone else to ride the handlebars.
- Always wear a helmet (if the rider is 16 years old or younger).
- Never transport a child under one year as a passenger, unless they are properly secured in a bicycle trailer.
- Always have the required safety equipment, including working front and rear lights, brakes, etc.
Keep in mind that violating Georgia bicycle laws could be used as evidence that a cyclist was negligent.
There are also rules for other motorists sharing the road with bicycles.
- Cars should always yield to bicycles when there is a bike lane.
- When passing a bike going in the same direction, the driver should only do so when there’s a safe distance between their vehicle and the bike (at least 3 feet).
Just as with the rules for cyclists, failure to observe these rules could help to establish negligence on the driver’s part if the violation caused an accident.
How Is Fault Determined in Bike Accidents in Georgia?
In bicycle accident lawsuits, just as with any other personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff has to prove through the preponderance of the evidence that the defendant was negligent. Negligence in personal injury laws usually works on four elements – duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
You should prove that the defendant had a duty of care towards you, such as a duty to drive safely with care for nearby cyclists, and that they breached this duty of care towards you. You also need to show that this breach of duty was responsible for the accident and that you suffered compensable harm or damages.
In some cases, it’s enough for the victim to prove that the defendant violated a traffic law, such as running a red light, and that this violation caused injuries to the plaintiff. This legal standard is referred to as negligence per se.
It’s also worth noting that Georgia laws require that every driver should carry insurance, every driver is required to carry insurance, and every driver’s policy will be used to pay for the accidents they cause. Unfortunately, establishing who’s responsible for the accident is not always easy.
What Should I Do After a Bicycle Accident?
If you are involved in a bike accident in Gwinnett, GA, you should take the following steps.
Contact the Police
It’s important to call the authorities as soon as possible after the accident. When an officer comes to the scene of the accident, they will file a police report, which will record the stories of both parties and document your injuries.
You will also have to collect the names, phone numbers, addresses, license numbers, car tags, and insurance information of the other party following the accident. If there are any witnesses, get their contact information as well. It’s also wise to get the name and badge number of the responding officer as it may help when filing your claim later on.
Record the Scene
If possible for your condition, take photos and videos of the scene of the accident. Get clear, high-quality photos of the scene, damage to your bike and vehicle from different angles, any skid marks, road conditions, road signs, and the license plate of the vehicle involved.
Never Admit Fault
When dealing with these kinds of cases, it’s always wise to watch what you say. Keep any conversation about the accident to a minimum. Only talk to the police and your lawyer and stick to the facts about how the accident happened.
Seek Medical Attention
Following your bicycle accident, you should visit a medical professional as soon as you can. Even if you feel that your injuries are minor, you should still have them examined by a physician. It might reveal unknown internal injuries.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. An experienced lawyer will serve as your advocate and help you navigate this difficult situation. They can help you build a strong case and ensure you receive the full amount of compensation you need and deserve.
What Types of Damages Can You Recover From a Bicycle Accident Claim?
There are three main types of damages an injured bicyclist can receive compensation for:
- Economic damages: This includes quantifiable losses, including medical bills, the damaged bicycle, and any other property, and lost wages or income from time spent away from work.
- Non-economic damages: These are intangible damages that are difficult to quantify and may include pain and suffering, disfigurement and scarring, emotional distress, and others.
- Punitive damages: The court may choose to award punitive damages to punish a defendant for extremely reckless actions, such as drunk driving and street racing.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Claim?
In the state of Georgia, personal injury claims, including bicycle accident cases, have to be filed within two years from the date of the accident. Certain factors can lengthen this time allowance or shorten it.
For instance, if a case involves a government agency, such as a county or city, the amount of time allowed to file a case will be shortened. For a case involving a minor, the time allowed might be extended until the plaintiff reaches the age of 18.
How Much Will a Bike Accident Lawyer Cost?
Most Georgia personal injury lawyers are happy to work on a contingency fee basis. This means that it will cost you nothing upfront to hire a Gwinnett bicycle accident lawyer. When you choose to work with The Herro Law Firm, talking with us is also free. We charge our clients no retainers and we don’t charge by the hour.
The legal fee we receive will be a percentage of the money we collect as settlement at the end of your case. In case we don’t win the case, then you can walk away without paying us anything. Even if we do win the case, you won’t owe us anything until the case is over and we have collected the settlement money for you.
Why Do I Need a Gwinnett Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
Our bike accident lawyers in Gwinnett will help you at every step of the legal process, including:
Once you contact a Gwinnett bike accident lawyer, they will start by evaluating the details surrounding your case. They may ask you detailed questions about your accident to learn more about how the accident has affected your livelihood.
The next step will be conducting independent investigations of your case. Some of the investigations will be done by your lawyer and their team, though an expert may be retained if any additional expertise or information is required.
When the evidence is compiled and the claim filed, your lawyer will send a demand letter to the insurance company to start negotiations for your settlement. The demand letter will outline details of the accident and the number of damages you’re seeking. Your lawyer will handle negotiations with the insurance company to ensure you receive fair compensation.
Most insurance claims are settled out of court. However, if the insurance company is unwilling to reach a fair compensation amount, the legal team at The Herro Law Firm in Gwinnett, GA will not hesitate to take your case to trial.
Call Us Today for Help With Your Bike Accident Case!
If you or a loved one was injured in a bicycle accident in Gwinnett, Georgia, we are here to help. We are ready to go big for you and make sure that you receive the full compensation to cover the expenses and losses you suffered as a result of the other driver’s negligence.
We provide free case reviews for all accident victims at The Herro Law Firm. Call us at (404) 433-6876 to discuss your injuries and the accident that caused them with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer.