Bicycles provide an important source of transportation, enjoyment, and exercise for the people of Alpharetta. But sharing public roads with cars can be a dangerous prospect. Drivers are not always attentive around cyclists and can cause devastating injuries if an accident occurs.
Recovering compensation after a bicycle accident can be difficult, but an Alpharetta bicycle accident lawyer could be helpful. Cyclists have every right to be on the road, but insurance companies will often try to shift the blame to you or treat you unfairly during settlement negotiations for the simple fact that you were on a bike. A lawsuit might be the best option to recover the full amount for your damages.
If you were injured while riding your bike, our Alpharetta bicycle accident lawyers can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 for a free case review.
What Rights and Duties Cyclists Have in Alpharetta, GA
Georgia law gives cyclists the same rights on the roads that car drivers have. However, many drivers might not be aware that cyclists have equal rights on the roads or that certain laws are in place to protect cyclists from car accidents.
To protect cyclists, Georgia passed the Three-Foot Passing Law, which requires drivers to maintain at least three feet distance from a cyclist riding in the same lane. Under Ga. Code § 40-6-56, the driver must maintain the three-foot distance until they can safely pass the cyclist. If the driver cannot safely pass at that moment, they must maintain a speed limit of at least ten miles per hour less than the posted limit or 25 miles per hour, whichever is more, until they can safely pass the cyclist.
While it is a wise choice to wear a helmet while riding your bike, it is not required for most people in Georgia. Under Ga. Code § 40-6-296(d), only children under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. However, cyclists riding at night must have lights fixed to the front of their bicycle that emits a white light visible from 300 feet away. Night cyclists must also have a rear light that emits a red light that must be visible from 300 feet away. Our Alpharetta bicycle accident lawyers can help you determine if a driver violated your rights as a cyclist when they injured you.
Receiving Compensation After a Bicycle Accident in Alpharetta, GA
Georgia is an at-fault state, meaning that when a car accident occurs, an injured party can pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance provider or file a lawsuit against the negligent driver to recover damages. The same rules apply to car accidents involving cyclists. If you are injured in a car accident, you could attempt to recover damages by filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. However, insurance companies do not always treat cyclists fairly during settlement negotiations. Even if it is clear the driver was at fault, insurance companies will likely argue that you contributed to the accident somehow and offer you a lower settlement amount than you deserve. Also, insurance will typically only compensate you for economic damages associated with your injuries, like medical costs and lost wages.
The benefit of Georgia being an at-fault insurance state is that you are not restricted from filing a lawsuit against a negligent driver if your insurance claim is denied or an insufficient settlement amount was offered. Filing a bicycle accident lawsuit in Alpharetta is usually your best option to recover both economic damages and non-economic damages, like pain and emotional suffering, that insurance does not provide.
Even if you were the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you might still be able to recover compensation. If you also possess car insurance, you could file a claim for benefits with your provider if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. It could be possible to investigate the accident to determine if witnesses, surveillance footage, or other evidence can help identify the driver. If a hit-and-run driver can be brought to justice, you could be awarded punitive damages, which are not meant to compensate you but punish the driver for their criminal behavior. Our Alpharetta bicycle accident lawyers can help you by negotiating with difficult insurance companies and filing a lawsuit if the settlement amount offered falls short of what you are owed.
Comparative Negligence in an Alpharetta, GA Bicycle Accident Lawsuit
In car accident lawsuits in Alpharetta, a plaintiff’s award can be reduced by the percentage they contributed to causing an accident. This is a legal concept known as comparative negligence. For instance, if you prevailed in your bicycle accident lawsuit and were awarded $100,000, but the court found that you were 10% responsible for causing the accident, your award would be reduced to $90,000. You will be accountable for the remaining $10,000 of your damages.
Fortunately, it is not considered contributory negligence when a cyclist fails to wear a helmet at the time of an accident unless they are 16 years old or younger. However, a helmet should be worn while riding for obvious safety reasons. It also has practical purposes that can impact your case later. Insurance companies will likely consider that you were not wearing a helmet when it reviews your settlement demand as a factor in the amount you are demanding and make only a modest offer.
Also, jurors in a trial might not be sympathetic to a cyclist that failed to protect themselves reasonably. While the law states that those older than 16 need not wear a helmet, and jurors are instructed to follow the law, their emotions might still affect their decisions during the trial. Our Alpharetta bicycle accident lawyers can review the facts of your case to determine if your actions might impact the compensation you could recover.
Our Alpharetta Bicycle Accident Lawyers Can Help
If you are a cyclist injured in a recent bike accident, our Alpharetta bicycle accident lawyers can help you hold the responsible party accountable. For a free case evaluation, call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 today.