Bourne Law firm represents individuals who are injured in bicycle accidents. Bicycling is more popular than ever, resulting in an ever-increasing chance of collisions and injuries. The most severe bicycle injuries typically involve crashes with motor vehicles. It is very important to consult with a lawyer if you have a bicycle accident because these cases can have complicated legal and factual issues.
In order for the injured bicyclist to recover compensation, they need to show that the other party was negligent. Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning a bicyclist must be less than 50% at fault for their accident in order to recover damages.
A cyclist has all of the rights to the roadway applicable to any driver, except as to the special regulations for bicycles. Under Georgia law, bicycles are “vehicles.” Bicyclists must obey the rules of the road like any other vehicle. This includes rules like the duty to yield right of way or the duty not to ride too fast for conditions. Bicycle law is similar to other types of simple negligence cases in Georgia. In order for a bicyclist to recover compensation for injuries, they need to prove the elements of negligence. They need to show that the at-fault party (usually the driver of a car) violated a “duty” and as a result caused the bicyclist’s injuries.
If you are involved in a bicycle accident, the at fault part may also try to blame the bicyclist for violating the rules of the road. These cases often involve complicated facts, and the injured bicyclist should always consult with an attorney right away.
As mentioned, Georgia has specific laws that apply to bicyclists. Georgia does have a bicycle helmet law. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-296 requires all riders and passengers under 16 to wear a helmet while on a bicycle. In the case of a head injury, the insurance company lawyers will argue that damages should be reduced by the extent a helmet would prevent injury. An experienced bicycle injury lawyer will be able to counter these arguments used by the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Whenever an injured bicyclist attempts to recover damages from a motor vehicle’s insurance carrier, they will likely to be dealing with multiple “rules of the road”.
For example, bicycle accidents frequently happen when a driver tries to pass a cyclist on the left. Under O.C.G.A. 40-6-294: (a) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, except when turning left or avoiding hazards to safe cycling […]. This is an issue that often comes up in bicyclist insurance claims. Cyclists can— take the whole travel lane where there are poor road conditions, such as debris or potholes, or if the road is too narrow to share safely.
The driver a duty to scan ahead of traffic and anticipate if the bicyclist is going to encounter an obstruction that's going to cause them to have to move into their lane of traffic. Likewise, the bicyclist has to scan traffic ahead and plan prudently to avoid obstructions or parked cars pedestrians that may impede their travel ahead.
Bicyclists are also under an obligation to signal a turn either by means of the hand and arm or by signal lights [§40-6-124(a)]. If a cyclist needs both hands for control, the signal need not be given continuously.
Because these bicycle injuries often involve disputes about fault, our firm always advises doing an investigation early on in the case.
One of the first things we look for is the 911 call. If the caller is actually the defendant, it may contain admissions that are helpful to your case so you want to get that right away. We will also investigate whether there is any camera footage of the accident. Many sources of video can be from nearby businesses’ security cameras, electronic video doorbells, dash cameras, etc. If a commercial vehicle is involved there may often be dashcam footage of the accident. If you do not look for video footage early in the case, it will often get erased. This can be a problem for your case if the at-fault party disputes your version of events.
If a motor vehicle is involved, we always want to to preserve the “black box data” from the car. This data shows things such as speed and whether brakes were applied. This data can be easily lost if it is not requested early. The data is written over if the vehicle is driven and the data is not downloaded.
If a bicyclist is injured by a motor vehicle, then the driver of the vehicle is required to carry at least $25,000 of liability insurance. If the medical bills will exceed this amount, it is important to seek other potential sources of insurance. UM/UIM insurance covers you if you are involved in a car accident even if you are not in a car at the time -- it applies to pedestrians and cyclists as well as motorists. Other types of insurance that may cover a bicycle accident include homeowners’ insurance, renters insurance, and umbrella policies.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, our Cumming, Georgia injury lawyers provide free no obligation consultations.
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We only represent people for injury or death that happened in Georgia. However, if you live in Georgia and the incident happened in another state, we may be able to represent you.
Our office is located in Cumming. Serving all of Georgia.