Bicycle Accident FAQs
Do I Need to Hire a Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
Answer: Yes. bicycle accident cases are challenging. If you try to settle your bicycle accident claim on your own, the insurance carrier will typically make a low-ball settlement offer. In fact, they may even try to blame you for causing the collision. An Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer will collect evidence to prove that you were not at fault. For instance, they may track down an eyewitness who can testify that you were driving safely when the other vehicle injured you. A bicycle accident lawyer also has the resources to hire an expert that can reconstruct the accident if there weren’t any eyewitnesses or surveillance footage.
Bicycle accidents frequently cause severe injuries such as: paralysis, broken bones, and, amputations. A bicycle accident lawyer will ensure that you receive medical treatment from the very best medical providers. Then, they will hire experts such as a life care planner and an economist to calculate the future cost of your medical care and your lost future income. That way, you can resolve your bicycle accident claim for top value.
What If I Only Suffered Minor Injuries from the Bicycle Accident?
Answer: It’s a good idea to hire an Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer – even if you think that the wreck didn’t seriously injure you.
Bicycle accidents often damage the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, and ligaments) that support your spine and your limbs. If you went to the emergency room after the bicycle wreck, the physician will typically only order x-rays, or CT scans of your spine. X-rays may reveal broken bones. CT scans may reveal internal bleeding. However, X-rays and CT scans usually won’t reveal muscle, tendon, or ligament injuries.
A bicycle accident lawyer will refer you to an orthopedic doctor, that will order MRI images of your spine. MRIs produce a clearer image of the soft tissues than X-ray machines or CT scans. The MRI scans may reveal that the bicycle accident significantly damaged your soft tissues. If so, your orthopedic doctor will create a treatment plan to help you heal those soft tissue injuries sooner rather than later.
If you don’t hire a bicycle accident lawyer, your soft tissue injuries may go untreated.
Can I Recover Compensation If I Was Partially At Fault For Causing a Georgia Bicycle Accident?
Answer: In some bicycle accident cases, the bicyclist is partially responsible for causing the collision. The injured bicyclist can still recover damages as long as they were not 50% (or more) at fault for causing the collision. However, the bicyclist’s damages will be reduced by their fault percentage. So, if the bicyclist suffered $100,000 damages and the bicyclist was 49% at fault, the bicyclist’s compensation will be reduced by $49,000.
How Much is My Bicycle Accident Claim Worth?
Answer: Many factors impact the value of your bicycle accident claim.
Your medical bills are known as “economic damages”. Economic damages also include lost income, property damage, and other out-of-pocket expenses caused by the bicycle accident.
You may also recover general damages for your pain and suffering that was caused by the bicycle crash. Most juries use what is known as a “medical bills multiplier” to calculate pain and suffering damages. Insurance adjusters use that same formula when they calculate personal injury settlement compensation. That method multiplies your economic damages (bicycle repairs, medical bills, lost wages, etc.) by a number between one and six. The multiplier is determined by the seriousness of your injuries.
For example, let’s say that your injuries resolve with conservative medical treatment and your bills only total $25,000. In that scenario, a jury might award somewhere in the range of 1-2 times your medical bills for pain and suffering which would bring your total recovery (economic damages plus general damages) to approximately $50,000 to $75,000. If you had to undergo orthopedic surgery and your total bills exceeded $100,000, a jury might award somewhere in the range of 3-6 times for your pain and suffering which would bring your recovery to approximately $400,000 to $700,000.
I Was in a Non-Contact Accident When a Car Forced My Bicycle Off the Road. How Can A Bicycle Accident Lawyer Help Me?
Answer: An Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer can help you even if the at-fault driver didn’t strike your bicycle.
Many bicycle accidents are caused by vehicles that improperly changed lanes. If a bicyclist senses that they are about to be cut-off, or sideswiped by another vehicle, they may take an evasive action that causes an injurious collision. A bicycle accident lawyer can help you sue the driver that initiated the collision sequence.
If the at fault motorist fled the scene of the collision, a bicycle accident lawyer can work with the police investigator to track down that motorist. If the at-fault motorist can’t be found, a motorcycle accident lawyer can help you file an uninsured motorist (UM) claim with your insurance carrier.
Can I Sue A Dog Owner If An Off-Leash Dog Caused My Bicycle Accident?
Answer: Yes, you can sue the dog owner if an off-leash dog caused your bicycle accident. Most counties in Georgia require dogs to be leashed when they are off of the owner’s property. If a dog escapes from the owner’s property and injures you, you can sue the dog owner for your injuries. If the dog was under the care of someone other than the owner (e.g., a dog walker), you can sue that individual if an off-leash dog injured you.
Can I Sue The City if A Road Defect Caused My Bike Accident?
Answer: Yes, you can potentially sue the city if a road defect caused your bike accident. Cities must design, construct, and maintain roads that are safe for motor vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
Some bicycle accidents occur when a bicyclist collides with a pothole. Other bicycle accidents occur because there is vegetation overgrowth on the road that blocks a bicyclist’s or motorist’s sight line.
If you were injured in a bicycle accident caused by a road defect, you must act quickly. In most cases, you must send the city an ante litem notice within 6 months after the collision. If you fail to timely serve that ante litem notice, you won’t be able to recover any compensation from the city.
Are Bicyclists Considered Pedestrians?
Answer: No, bicyclists are legally classified as “vehicles” in Georgia. Bicyclists generally must follow the same rules of the road as motor vehicles. For instance, bicyclists must obey traffic signals, yield to other vehicles that have the right of way, maintain a proper lookout, and control their speed. Bicyclists should also travel on the roadways, not sidewalks. If a bicyclist has to traverse a sidewalk due to dangerous roadway conditions, they should dismount from the bicycle and walk their bicycle along the sidewalk. That will reduce the risk that the bicyclist might injure a pedestrian, or themselves, if the bicyclist collides with an uneven portion of the sidewalk.
Do I Have To Wear A Helmet When I Ride A Bicycle in Georgia?
Answer: Adult bicyclists don’t have to wear helmets in Georgia. However, all bicyclists should wear helmets when possible. Helmets dramatically lower the risk that you’ll suffer a traumatic brain injury from a bicycle collision.
What if I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet When The Bicycle Crash Happened?
Answer: If you weren’t wearing a helmet when the bicycle accident happened, you can still recover compensation for your injuries. However, you will recover less compensation than you would have if you were wearing a helmet.
Bicyclists, like all injury victims, have a duty to mitigate their damages. The best way to mitigate your damages is to take proper safety precautions. If you suffered a head injury because you weren’t wearing a helmet, you didn’t mitigate your damages. As a result, you will receive reduced compensation.
Contact an Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer to discuss the potential value of your bicycle crash claim.
Does My Bike Need to Have Operable Lights When I Ride At Night?
Answer: Yes. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-296 requires bicycles to be equipped with a light on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of 300 feet to the front and a red reflector on the rear. A light emitting a red light visible from a distance of 300 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.
Can I Carry An Object In My Lap When I Ride My Bicycle in Georgia?
Answer: No. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-295 prohibits a bicyclist from carrying any package, bundle, or other object that prevents them from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.
Are Georgia Bicyclists Allowed to Ride Side-By-Side in A Single Traffic Lane?
Answer: Yes. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-294(c) permits two bicycles to ride side-by-side in a single traffic lane.
Can I Ride An Electric Bicycle on Bicycle Paths Like the Beltline and the Silver Comet?
Answer: Yes. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-294(e) permits electric assisted bicycles to be operated on all bicycle paths, such as the Beltline and the Silver Comet.
What Part of the Traffic Lane Can A Bicycle Occupy?
Answer: Bicyclists should ride as near to the right side of the roadway as possible, except when turning left, avoiding safety hazards, or when the traffic lane is too narrow to safely share with a motor vehicle. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-294(a). In turn, passing motorists must give bicyclists at least 3 feet of space.
Contact an Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer if a motorist injured you while they attempted to pass you.
Do I Have To Use Hand Signals While Riding My Bicycle in Georgia?
Answer: Yes. Bicyclists should fully extend their left arms out to the side when preparing to turn left. Bicyclists should fully extend their right arms out to the side when preparing to turn right. Alternatively, bicyclists can bend their left arm up at a right angle with a flat hand to signal a right-hand turn. Bicyclists should extend their left arms out at a right handle with an open hand when preparing to slow down or stop.