As the weather warms up in the spring and summer, people tend to spend more time outdoors on their bikes. In the state of Georgia, just like in many other states, a bicycle is legally considered a “vehicle.” This means that bicyclists have the right to use the road just like any other motorist.
Cyclists injured in biking accidents can sustain severe and sometimes permanent injuries. A bicyclist is more susceptible to serious injuries than a car driver, given the lack of structural protection that a bicycle offers. The National Highway Safety Traffic Association reports that the proportion of motor vehicle fatalities involving bicyclists and other cyclists increased by nine percent from 2010 to 2011. At Miller Legal Services, Marietta vehicle collision attorney Norman Miller provides skilled representation to bicycle accident victims who have suffered injuries that have long-lasting physical and financial consequences.Injured Cyclists Can Pursue Negligence Claims
An accident victim has legal options to pursue compensation for his or her injuries. If a bicyclist has been injured due to the carelessness or recklessness of another person, the bicyclist may have a legal claim under the theory of negligence. To prevail in a negligence claim, the victim must show that he or she was owed a duty by the defendant, that the defendant breached the duty, that the victim suffered injuries as a result, and that those injuries led to actual damages.
A legal duty can be viewed as a standard of care owed to others in society. Put another way, it is the obligation to exercise reasonable care in one’s actions. Reasonable care is defined as how a reasonably prudent person would act under similar circumstances. The underlying rationale of this standard is to prevent foreseeable harm to others.
For example, drivers have a duty to safely share the road with bicyclists. This includes maintaining a safe distance from bicyclists, not running them off the road, and generally being vigilant with regard to designated bicycle-specific lanes or areas. Thus, a driver who disregards a bike lane on the road and ends up hitting a cyclist may be liable for the accident and any injuries that arise from it.Seeking Compensation for Your Bicycle Accident Injuries
Unfortunately, an accident can sometimes be the beginning of a long and expensive road to recovery. This is why the law allows an injured person to obtain compensation for his or her injuries. Once the victim establishes liability, he or she can recover damages that include medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and any other costs associated with the accident. In certain cases, you may be entitled to compensation for your reduced ability to earn money as well as your decreased quality of life.
If a bicyclist is killed on the road due to another person’s carelessness, then certain surviving family members may have a valid wrongful death claim against the wrongdoer. If this claim succeeds, the surviving family members may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, funeral expenses, loss of companionship or consortium, emotional distress, and any other costs associated with the accident.
In Georgia, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for personal injury and four years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for property damage, including any damage to your bicycle. If you are thinking of pursuing legal action, it is best to consult an attorney sooner rather than later to ensure filing on time. Filing after the deadline has passed likely means that you will not be able to recover any compensation.Seasoned Marietta Attorney Helping Injured Cyclists
If you or someone you know has been injured in a Georgia bicycle accident, it is advisable to contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney who can help evaluate your claim, fight for your rights, and pursue the compensation that you deserve. While no amount of money can take away the harm you have suffered, getting damages from those responsible for your injuries can ease the financial burdens that often accompany such an accident. Call us at 770-284-3727 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation today.