Who Is Responsible for a Car vs. Bicycle Accident?
An accident between a car and a bicycle often spells trouble for the person riding the bike. While cyclists should, and often wear helmets, their protective gear might not be enough to keep them from sustaining serious injuries after a car strikes them to the ground. In the case of a car vs. bicycle accident, it’s important to determine who may be at fault, and so that the proper party can be held accountable by the victim.
If you were hit by a car while riding your bike, you should speak to a bicycle accident lawyer about your options. The attorneys at Graham Scofield Injury Lawyers have considerable experience with a wide variety of bicycle and car accidents. We want to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve to recover from your injuries and care for your family.
When riding a bike, Official Code of Georgia Annotated 40-6-294 requires that bicyclists either use a bike path or, if one has not been provided, ride as close to the right side of the road as possible. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as when:
- A bicyclist is making a left-hand turn
- A bicyclist is going the same speed as the traffic
- A bicyclist is passing a stopped vehicle
- The road on which the bicyclist is traveling is too narrow to share with a vehicle
Cars are permitted to pass bicyclists, provided they only do so when they have enough room to safely get around the bike. Sometimes larger vehicles, such as trucks and SUVs, may have a difficult time judging the amount of space, causing them to bump into a bike rider and seriously injure the rider.
Common Car vs. Bicycle Accidents
Atlanta residents are required to follow the same rules of the road, whether they are driving a car or riding a bike. Despite these clear rules, bicyclists are often injured by careless drivers. The most common vehicle accidents involving bicyclists include:
- Failure to safely pass. As mentioned above, cars that don’t keep a safe amount of space between themselves and the bicyclist might run the bicyclist off the road or bump into them.
- Car door accidents. Drivers are required to ensure that it is safe to open their car doors before opening their doors onto a busy street. However, many people often forget to check, and those who are parked along a road and open their door onto the street can hit a passing bicyclist. Because it is the driver’s responsibility to look before opening his or her door, this type of accident is often the driver’s fault.
- Right-turn accidents. A motorist turning right should examine oncoming traffic to confirm it is safe to turn, but they frequently forget to look both ways for bikes. Often this results in a driver turning right directly into the bicyclist’s path, striking the bicyclist to the pavement. Since bikes must ride on a bike path or as close to the right side of the road as possible, they are likely not going to be cited for this type of accident. The driver, who is responsible for confirming it is safe to turn before doing so, will often be at fault for the wreck.
Don’t Be So Quick to Settle Your Case
Bicyclists who are hurt in accidents involving cars often seek immediate medical attention for their injuries. Unfortunately, some injuries don’t always show up right away, and you may find yourself scheduling a surgery or seeking some other medical treatment months, or even years, after the accident.
Insurance companies are aware that this is a possibility, so they attempt to settle your case right away. If you settle too soon, and later you have complications from your injuries, you can’t come back and ask them for additional money.
Were You Hurt in a Car vs. Bicycle Accident? Contact Us Today for Help
After a car vs. bicycle accident, you will likely be in immense pain while also wondering how you can possibly pay your bills when you can’t even work. In this state of mind, you may be tempted to accept the insurance company’s first offer and get your case resolved right away. But doing so could put you in the unfortunate position of having to pay out of pocket for additional medical expenses.
The Atlanta bike accident lawyers at Graham Scofield Injury Lawyers know how insurance companies prey on people in your unfortunate situation. We are willing to fight on your behalf to ensure you are compensated fairly for an accident that wasn’t your fault. To schedule a no-cost consultation if your case, call us at (404) 939-9470, or contact us through our online form.