Whether you use a bicycle as means of transportation or you ride a bike for fitness and leisure, Georgia’s mild weather and beautiful scenery make bicycling a particularly enjoyable hobby for many residents and tourists. Unfortunately, cycling isn’t without its risks.
According to the CDC, there were nearly 467,000 bicycle-related injuries in the US and 1,000 deaths in 2015. Even with helmet use and other protective gear, the damages connected to bike accidents costs approximately $10 billion in medical bills and productivity losses each year.
Many cycling accidents are caused by negligent drivers who can be held liable for your injuries. If you or a loved one was injured in a bicycle accident, a personal injury lawsuit may be the best option to pursue to recover financial compensation.
Georgia is a modified comparative fault state, meaning a bicyclist must be less than 50% at fault for their accident in order to recover damages. Below are some cycling accident statistics:
It’s important to remember that bicycles are considered motor vehicles by law. A cyclist must follow the standard rules regarding driving and highway use. Thus, a bicyclist can be found at fault if they:
If you were in an accident and operated your bicycle in any manner that could place you at fault, don’t assume you are ineligible for a personal injury lawsuit. Any of the above actions may result in a judge or jury panel assigning you a percentage at fault. For example, riding too fast in the rain could put your fault level at 30%. As long as you are less than 50% at fault, you are still be eligible to recover damages.
Don’t try to calculate your percentage of fault on your own. A consultation with a personal injury attorney is the best option when trying to decide if you should pursue a lawsuit following your Georgia bicycle accident.
Like any other state, Georgia expects bicyclists to follow the same rules and regulation as any other motor vehicle. Specific laws for bicycle use, however, are outlined in §40-6 of the Georgia Code. Important laws to remember are:
As with any other traffic offense, violation of Georgia’s bicycle laws may result in a traffic citation and could limit your recovery in a personal injury case.
Most personal injury cases for bicycle accidents are negligence claims. Here, four criteria must be present in order for you be awarded damages. These criteria are:
1. The driver owed you a duty. This will automatically be satisfied as all motor vehicles owe each other a duty to share the road responsibly.
2. The driver breached that duty. This is satisfied by proving that the driver did anything that a reasonable driver wouldn’t have done. Texting while driving is an example of this.
3. The breach of the driver’s duty caused your accident. In short, the criteria is satisfied if the driver’s actions were the direct cause of the accident. Following the above example, if the driver wasn’t texting, they would have seen you on your bicycle and slowed down. Thus, their actions put them at fault.
4. You sustained injuries as a result of the driver’s actions. This criteria is also met easily as you are likely suing the driver to recover compensation for medical bills and lost wages.
Accident survivors could recover some or all of the following damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Compensation includes:
Though accident victims have the potential to receive all of the above damages, each case is different. The strength of your claim and the expertise of your attorney impact your compensation greatly.
Read our guide on how to pick the best attorney for you and then browse our directory of Georgia attorneys to get your case started on the right foot.