Riding a bike is beneficial for both the biker and the environment. By circumventing the more conventional ways of travel like driving or carpooling, bike riders enjoy a safer alternative by avoiding the bustle of traffic. That is why few Rockdale County bikers imagine they may end up in the hospital or needing the services of a Conyers bike accident lawyer. Unfortunately, it does happen all too often.
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety reports that the number of bike accidents in Georgia is on the rise. The number of fatalities related to bicycle accidents grew by 21% from 2014 to 2015. At The Weinstein Firm, we have noticed the same trend as more and more residents of Rockdale County requesting the assistance of our bike accident lawyers.
Common Causes of Bike Accidents
Here is a list of the most common bike accident causes and factors that drive Rockdale County residents to consult a bike accident attorney:
Drivers talk on the phone, send text messages, or ignore street signs and fail to notice cyclists.
Failure to adjust speed to the traffic conditions
When drivers notice the biker, their speed is too high to allow them to stop safely and on time.
The lack of bicycle paths
In areas without dedicated paths, bikers have no other option but to try their luck on the roadway. This is extremely dangerous, especially in high traffic areas, and many of them end up needing a Conyers bike accident lawyer.
Bikers’ violation of traffic laws
Riding the bike on a sidewalk, taking another person on the bike’s handlebar, failing to signal turns in traffic, or failure to use proper equipment are just some of the traffic violations our bike accident lawyers have come across in Conyers.
Since bikers are the ones who incur the most damages and injuries in an accident, the public has embraced a stereotype that drivers are liable for most bike accidents. On the opposite end, the drivers’ insurance companies always try to blame the bikers in order to avoid compensating them or at least reduce the amount of compensation they receive.
In reality, as the above-mentioned causes suggest, both parties can be at fault and, sometimes, they can even share fault for the same accident. At The Weinstein Firm, our bike accident lawyers avoid assumptions and prefer to evaluate cases and tell our clients what to expect only after finding out how the accident took place and reviewing the evidence available in the context of Georgia laws.
Georgia Laws and Establishing Fault in Conyers Bike Accidents
As any bike accident lawyer may confirm, in Georgia, bicycles qualify as vehicles. This means that all laws referring to traditional vehicles apply to bikes, as well. Bikers have the right to use the roads and the obligation to obey traffic laws and comply with traffic signals and stop signs.
Only the sections of the law referring specifically to motor vehicles are irrelevant to bikers. The law sections using the term «bicycle» apply exclusively to bicycles and their operators. While it is best to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer in order to assess how these laws apply to your particular case, here is a summary of the Georgia law stipulations referring to bikes:
- Anyone propelling a bike has to ride upon or astride a regular seat and should not allow any other person to ride upon the handlebars.
- Bicycles should only be used for carrying the number of persons their design and equipment allow2. When they are not, the bike wreck lawyer will have to defend two clients which can be very difficult.
- In order to transport children with their vehicles, bikers over the age of 16 should always use dedicated seats or properly affixed trailers, and adequate restraints. They must also make sure the child wears a bicycle helmet.
- Persons riding a bike, roller skates, coasters, sleds, or toy vehicles should not attach themselves or their equipment to any vehicle upon a roadway. If they do, and they get into an accident, there is little a bike accident lawyer can do to help them.
- On roadways, Georgia bikers should stay as close to the right side of the road as possible, except for situations when they need to turn left, avoid hazards, or ride in a lane that is too narrow to allow safe sharing with a motor vehicle.
- On roadways, no more than two bikers can ride abreast. This limitation does not apply to paths designated for exclusive bicycle use.
- Bikers should never carry packages, bundles, or other items that could prevent them from keeping at least one of their hands on the handlebars and maneuvering the bike. If they do, and they get into an accident, their bike wreck lawyer will have to prove that even without the package, the bike accident would have still occurred.
- When riding their bike at night, all persons should have front lights visible from at least 300 feet and red rear reflectors approved by the Department of Public Safety or a rear-facing red light visible from 300 feet on their bikes.
- All bikes should have brakes to enable their rider to make the wheels skid on pavement. If they do not, and the biker gets into an accident they could have avoided by braking, their bike accident lawyer’s work will be much more difficult.
- The handlebars of the bikes cannot exceed the rider’s shoulder level.
- The bikes’ pedals, in their lowermost position, cannot exceed 12 inches from the ground.
- Bikers younger than sixteen have an obligation to wear a fitting, strapped helmet compliant with the American National Standards Institute or Snell Memorial Foundation requirements.
Common Injuries for which Conyers Bike Accident Lawyers Seek Compensation
Since most bike accidents occur when a car hits a biker in traffic, sometimes at high speeds, the biker is the most vulnerable and often ends up thrown off their bike and onto the pavement or against another car, leading to severe injuries. Here are some of the most common injuries for cases that Georgia car accident lawyers handle:
These range from mild concussions to skull fractures, intracranial hemorrhages, and even brain injuries. The most severe ones can irreversibly impact the life of the injured. Recovery after head injuries may take months or even years, so it is important for the victim to work with an experienced bike accident lawyer who can help them assess recovery costs and obtain adequate compensation.
The impact with the pavement or the windshield of a car can cause severe facial injuries to the biker. From bruises to deep cuts that leave scars, contusions, corneal foreign bodies, and even dental and nasal fractures. These types of injuries cause the most pain and suffering, as they often keep the victim disfigured for weeks, which can cause them to isolate themselves from the world, lose their self-confidence, and even develop depression. A bike accident lawyer can help the sufferer obtain compensation for the physical and emotional pain and suffering as well, not just for the medical treatment.
Sometimes bikers suffer from severe chest injuries from the handlebars. Other times, the impact throws them against curbs, benches, road signs or other cars. Unfortunately, chest injuries can lead to rib fractures and lung injuries, which are difficult to treat and heal. A dedicated bike wreck lawyer will do everything in their power to prove all injuries and obtain rightful compensation.
Just because an accident does not result in open wounds or broken bones, it does not mean it did not cause injuries. Many bike accident victims suffer severe internal injuries like traumatic hernia, spleen ruptures, pancreas trauma, renal contusions, vascular perforation, or bowel contusions. If these injuries are not diagnosed on time, they may jeopardize the patient’s life. That is why any experienced bike accident lawyer will tell you it is important to seek proper medical attention as soon after your accident as possible.
Everything the biker does immediately after the accident will affect their bike wreck lawyer’s ability to obtain consistent compensation. To protect their rights and avoid jeopardizing their interests, The Weinstein Firm, advises clients to follow a few simple steps.
Steps to Follow After an Accident When You Don’t Have a Bike Accident Attorney Present
Seek medical attention
As mentioned above, bike accidents can cause severe injuries, so it is better to identify and treat them immediately. Any proof of medical treatment will help your bike accident lawyer justify the compensation claim.
Clear the road
If your bike is still on the roadway, you should remove it to avoid causing other accidents. If you don’t, and the worst happens, your bike accident attorney may have to defend you in another case as well.
Identify the other parties involved
If a car hit you, it is important to get the car’s license number, the driver’s name, and their license and insurance information. Your bike wreck lawyer will need to know against whom to file the claim.
Call the Police
If you suffered any injuries or the damages involved exceed $500, you should call the police. If they come to the scene and prepare an accident report, the report will help your bike accident lawyer get you the compensation you deserve.
Until the police come or even with them at the scene, it helps to gather your own evidence. Take photos, get copies of any recordings available, and witness contact information. This evidence will enable your bike accident attorney to build a solid case.
Never apologize at the scene of the accident and never accept accusations. When talking to the police, only answer their questions. If any insurance company representatives try to talk to you, say you are in pain or in shock, and you will talk to them when you get better and have a bike accident lawyer present.
Anything you say or do after an accident may be used against you to show that you were at fault or the injuries and damages you suffered were milder than you claim. The only person who wants what is best for you is your bike accident attorney, so your priority should be to hire one as soon as possible.
Fault & Liability When it Comes to Conyers Bike Accidents
When a car hits a biker, the driver and the representative of their insurer will do everything in their power to show that the biker was negligent, did not employ reasonable care, broke some of the stipulations above, and was at least partially at fault for what happened. This is especially true if the latter does not have a bike wreck lawyer to defend their interests.
Even if the biker violated some of the stipulations above, an experienced bike accident lawyer may be able to prove that a client’s behavior did not cause the accident and the injuries and damages incurred were the results of the driver’s actions.
Negligence is very important when it comes to bike accidents, and everyone involved will try to attribute it to the other party. The reasons are easy to understand, and any bike accident attorney can explain them: Georgia is an «at-fault state,» which means that the party at fault for the accident will be responsible for any damages and injuries the accident may have caused.
However, Georgia laws accept shared liability, or, otherwise put, they accept the possibility for all the parties involved to be partially at fault for what happened. In order to assess liability and decide what damages and injuries each party have to cover, they consider the fault for the accident as 100%.
Depending on their role in the accident and on their bike accident lawyer’s skills, each party will have a fault percentage assigned. The fault percentage actually represents the percentage of the total damages, injuries, and losses the respective party has to cover.
Thus, someone found 15% at fault for an accident that caused $10,000 worth of damages will be responsible for $1,500. If they incurred losses of $2,500, they would still receive $1,000 as compensation. However, if they incurred damages of only $1,000, not only will they not receive compensation, but they still owe $500 to the other party.
While shared liability may not seem a big deal to a driver who has liability insurance and will not pay anything out of their pocket, it could ruin the life of the biker if they don’t hire a bike accident attorney to shift odds in their favor. This is all the more important since bikers usually suffer severe injuries.
Hire a The Weinstein Firm Bike Accident Lawyer Now!
At The Weinstein Firm, we know how devastating bike accidents are, and how difficult and costly recovering after them is. We are here to help you, and, to prove that, we provide free case evaluations.
All you have to do in order to find out how much your bike accident claim is worth and what your options are is to schedule a consultation with our Conyers bike accident attorney. If you are satisfied with how the consultation goes, our bike wreck lawyer can take over the claim filing process and seek compensation on your behalf.
The best part is that you will only pay for our assistance if you win your case. Therefore, you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain when you work with us. Win time, peace of mind, and higher compensation. Call The Weinstein Firm now and get an experienced Georgia bike accident lawyer on your side.