Bicycle Accident Attorneys in Douglasville
Douglasville has many roads and paths that are ideal for bicycles. Georgia law also recognizes bicycles as vehicles, which means that cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of cars, trucks and motorcycles. Unfortunately, not all motor vehicle drivers respect those rights.
When a negligent motorist collides with a bicyclist, the rider of the smaller, lighter vehicle is almost always the one who must deal with injuries and property damage. The seriousness of these accidents cannot be overstated. Cyclists can be severely or fatally hurt if a car strikes them or backs into them, or if a driver or passenger of a car opens a door into their path (also known as “dooring).
Fortunately, Georgia law protects the rights of those who are hurt due to someone else’s recklessness or carelessness. If a driver was distracted, aggressive, intoxicated or otherwise negligent behind the wheel when they injured a cyclist, the driver can be held liable.
If you or someone you love was hurt in a bike accident in Douglasville, the attorneys of Sherrod & Bernard, P.C., can help. We have the experience, dedicated support staff and resources necessary to pursue the compensation you deserve. Our consultations are always free and confidential. So, contact us to talk about your case today.
Common Types of Bicycle Accidents in Georgia
Every accident is different. However, some of the most common kinds of crashes involving cyclists in Georgia include:
- Right-turn or Left-turn accidents
- Intersection accidents
- Head-on collisions
- Distracted driving accidents
- Failure to yield accidents
- Sideswipe accidents
- Drunk or drugged driving accidents
- Rear-end collisions.
A bicyclist could also be severely injured due to a faulty part or improper repairs. In such cases, the manufacturer of a defective part or the maintenance company may be held liable for damages. It is also possible that a road was particularly dangerous because of a government agency’s failure to maintain or repair known hazards.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-296(e)(1), no person under 16 years of age can operate or be a passenger on a bicycle without wearing a bicycle helmet. The law defines a helmet as a piece of protective headgear that meets or exceeds the impact standards set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the Snell Memorial Foundation.
Helmets can prevent serious head injuries. Still, they do not provide any protection for the person’s body. Even with the proper headgear and clothing, cyclists are susceptible to severe injuries if they are involved in a collision with a motor vehicle. Some commonly reported bike accident injuries are:
- Internal organ injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Muscle strains
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
When another party’s negligence causes a bicyclist to suffer fatal injuries, it is considered a wrongful death. Certain family members can be entitled to compensation in these cases, including compensation for their loved one’s final medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, and other damages that can help the family avoid financial ruin on top of their grief.
Determining Fault in Bicycle Wrecks
Keep in mind that bicyclists are just as responsible for obeying Georgia traffic laws as motor vehicles. You can be sure that the insurance company for the responsible party is going to argue that you were at least partially at fault for the accident to avoid paying you the compensation you have demanded.
Even if you were partially responsible for the crash, you should know that Georgia uses a modified comparative fault system. Under the law, a person can recover damages for a bicycle accident so long as he or she was not 50 percent or more at fault. Total liability is reduced by a plaintiff’s percentage of fault. So, a person who is awarded $100,000 in a bicycle accident case but found to have been 25 percent at fault would have his or her award reduced by $25,000 and ultimately receive $75,000.
Proving a driver’s negligence involves different types of evidence. For example, a distracted driving case could involve seeking a driver’s phone records. A drunk driving case could consist of evidence such as a police report, traffic citations or chemical test results.
You should seek legal representation as soon as possible after your bike crash. A lawyer from Sherrod & Bernard can immediately begin an independent investigation of your accident. Your attorney will be able to preserve the most valuable evidence needed in order to demonstrate another party’s negligence.
Compensation Available for Bicycle Accident Claims
Determining the compensation that you are eligible to recover after a serious bike accident is a complex process. Each case is different. Your attorney at Sherrod & Bernard will evaluate the financial and non-financial harm that you have suffered due to the crash. The purpose of an injury claim is to make you whole again. In other words, the goal is to restore your life to the way it was before the crash – or as much as possible.
Along those lines, the types of economic damages that you could be eligible to recover include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of ability to provide household services
- Repair or replacement costs of personal property.
It is a good idea to keep careful track of the expenses you incur after an accident. Bills, receipts, pay stubs and any other documentation you can provide will help us to make a strong case to recover what you are owed.
Non-economic damages you could recover include:
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium.
Much like the economic damages, you can do things to assist your lawyer in building your case. For instance, you can keep a journal of how the accident has impacted you emotionally and how it has affected your relationships with your loved ones. Family members, friends and co-workers can also provide statements which describe the changes they have noticed in you.
Contact Our Douglasville Bicycle Accident Attorneys Today
If you suffered severe injuries in a bicycle accident in the greater Douglasville area, you should know that you are not alone. Help is just a phone call away. The bike accident lawyers of Sherrod & Bernard, P.C., have been helping people across Georgia since 1992. Contact us today for a free consultation with our team.