Getting compensation after a bike accident often involves some complex legal issues. Who was at fault? Did anything you do contribute to the accident? How much are your damages worth? Handling these legal issues while focusing on your recovery often means working with an experienced injury attorney.
Our Georgia bicycle accident attorneys are available to take your case and work to get you the compensation you deserve from the at-fault driver who hit you. We will also look into other potential parties who might share liability, such as the employer of a commercial driver. Lastly, we will work to ensure that any settlement offers you accept are adequate and cover your needs.
For a free review of your potential injury case, call the bicycle accident lawyers at Howe Law today. For your free case evaluation, call (844) 876-4357 today.
Determining Fault in Georgia Bicycle Accident Cases
In any accident case, one of the first legal questions to address will be the question of fault. Georgia uses an at-fault/tort accident system. This means that drivers are required to carry insurance that can cover the damages for any accidents they cause. Put another way: after an accident, the at-fault driver is the one whose insurance pays.
Georgia drivers are required to carry a minimum of $25,000 per person for injuries ($50,000 per accident) and $25,000 per accident for property damage. These damages can be paid to bicycle riders as well as anyone else injured by the at-fault driver.
What Constitutes Fault?
For a driver to be found at fault for a bicycle accident, they must have done something your lawyer can identify as “negligent.” Often, negligence behind the wheel involves a specific violation of a traffic offense. Some of the most common examples include speeding, distracted driving, or drunk driving.
If someone crashed into your bike because they were committing a traffic violation, you can often hold them at fault.
However, they might try to reverse the claim and accuse you of also committing some kind of negligence.
Ultimately, courts can resolve issues of a victim’s shared fault through Georgia’s modified comparative fault rules. Under O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33, the court can assign partial blame to each party involved in the accident and reduce the victim’s damages by their own portion of the blame. For example, this could mean that a bicycle rider who failed to signal that they were slowing to a stop and was held 25% at fault could only receive 75% of their total damages from the other driver. In any case where the victim shares 50% or more of the fault, they are barred from recovery under subsection (g) of this statute.
Our bicycle accident lawyers will fight to not only show that the defendant was primarily at fault, but also to mitigate any claims that you contributed to your own accident.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Georgia
As mentioned, many bicycle accidents are caused by a driver’s traffic violations, such as speeding, distracted driving, or drunk driving. The scenarios that can cause these kinds of crashes are not difficult to imagine, especially if you were already injured in one of these types of bicycle accidents. However, many cyclists face injuries in situations that are much more specific to cycling accidents. Our bicycle accident attorneys can help with bike accident injuries from any traffic violation or unreasonable acts behind the wheel, especially in the following situations:
Bike riders are often injured by parked drivers that open their door into the biker’s lane of travel. Being suddenly struck by a door can instantly cause a crash, potentially even throwing you from your bike. Landing after being thrown can cause substantial injuries such as back and neck injuries, broken bones, and more. Being thrown into traffic could mean being crushed by a vehicle in a secondary accident that would never have occurred if the original vehicle occupant had more been more reasonable about checking for bikers before opening their door.
Bike riders often have difficulty turning left because it means leaving their usual place on the right side of traffic and moving toward the center of two lanes of travel. However, making right turns can be even more dangerous for cyclists if another driver has to hook right through the biker’s lane of travel.
Other cars are often reluctant to allow bike riders the space needed to move to the left to make turns, and many cyclists are hit while trying to do so. Even more commonly, drivers fail to check blind spots and bike lanes when making right turns, causing dangerous crashes as they turn without regard for cyclists coming up behind them.
Especially on narrow streets or backroads, cyclists often keep to the right side of the lane of travel rather than a dedicated bike lane. In this situation, cars are required under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-56 to pass cyclists by changing lanes and passing as they would pass another car. If there is only one lane, then they are required to drop to no more than 10 mph under the speed limit (or 25 mph if that is higher) and pass the cyclist without getting closer than 3 feet on any side.
If a driver failed to follow these rules and caused you to crash while they passed you, they could be held liable for that accident.
Most bike accidents are simply caused by a driver’s failure to watch out for cyclists on the road. Failing to check blind spots and failing to look out for vehicles smaller than a car is often the ultimate cause of a crash. Our bicycle accident lawyers can use this mistake when building your case.
Call Our Georgia Bicycle Accident Attorneys Today
For a free review of your potential injury case, contact the Georgia bicycle accident lawyers at Howe Law today by dialing (844) 876-4357.