Bicyclists are considered motorist like any driver of a car, truck, or bus and are owed a duty of care from other drivers to ensure their safety. As one could imagine, where a bicyclist is hit by a car, severe injuries, broken bones, fractures, brain injuries, and death often occur. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bicyclists accounted for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities and 2 percent of all crash-related injuries in 2012. Statistically, male bicyclists and bicyclists riding in the evening or at night are killed the most often. Further, a significant number of bicycling fatalities involved the consumption of alcohol by a driver of a car or bicyclist.
When drivers fail to exercise caution by failing to look out for bicyclists, speeding, drinking and driving, or failing to yield to bicyclists, fatal accidents often occur. Just as in a vehicular accident involving cars or trucks, bicyclists who are injured by negligent drivers may recover compensation for their injuries under Georgia tort law. An injured bicyclist may recover by showing negligence on the part of the other driver; that the driver’s negligence caused the bicyclist’s injuries; and, that the bicyclist suffered damages as a result. If the elements are proven, then the at-fault driver’s automobile insurance should cover the driver for his negligence and pay for the injured bicyclist’s injuries.
An attorney who represents an injured bicyclist would conduct an investigation of the crash by obtaining the police report, talking to eye witnesses, evaluating the scene of the crash, finding available insurance coverage, and examining possible causes of the wreck.
Proving liability could involve examining whether the driver or the bicyclist was issued a ticket and pled guilty to the charge, obtaining statements from the parties and witnesses as to how the wreck occurred, obtaining photographs or videos, obtaining driving records, or even reconstructing how the wreck occurred.
Proving “damages” or the amount of loss for the victim involves compiling data regarding medical treatment, lost wages, and other pecuniary losses. If you are injured in a bicycling accident, then you need to seek medical treatment immediately. Like any person injured in an accident, medical treatment evidences and documents that an injury occurred and should be sought immediately to avoid any gaps between the date of the accident and treatment. Avoiding gaps decreases the possibility of the at-fault driver and his/her insurer from arguing that the wreck did not cause the injuries. If you have questions about how to pay for medical treatment, call us at 404-593-2620 or read here about paying for medical bills.
As with any car accident, most claims related to bicycling accidents begin with an insurance claim and are subject to a two-year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit. If a pre-suit settlement is unsuccessful, then a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the accident. The same process of filing a complaint, engaging in discovery, and going to trial applies; sometimes, settlement discussions and negotiations or mediation occur and enable to the parties to settle their dispute before trial.
As you can see, making a claim for injuries resulting from a bicycling accident in Georgia can be complicated. Thus, you should speak to a lawyer to ensure that you are able to show liability, find insurance coverage, and obtain reasonable and fair compensation for your injuries. The Davis Injury Firm offers consultations for victims of bicycling accidents. Call us today at 404-593-2620 to speak to an attorney.
About the Author Betty Nguyen Davis is an Atlanta attorney who solely focuses her practice on plaintiff’s personal injury work. Betty is consistently recognized by her peers as a top attorney in Georgia by Super Lawyers and Georgia Trend and is highly recommended by her clients as a aggressive and persistent, yet caring and accessible attorney.