Bicycling is a fun, affordable and eco-friendly way to travel or get fit. But bicyclists are often seriously injured in the Augusta area. Even a simple accident at low speed can leave you with broken bones, scrapes and a concussion. More serious accidents can be fatal or cause lifelong injuries. If you or someone you care about has been in a bicycle accident, an Augusta bicycle accident lawyer can help you.
At John Foy & Associates, our law firm was founded with a simple vision: that all accident victims deserve the best chance possible at a complete recovery. For the past 20 years, we have worked to make that vision a reality by putting money in the hands of people who have been injured. We’d like to help you with your bicycle accident claim, beginning with a free consultation to talk about how you were injured. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
Why are bicycle accidents so serious?
When you ride in a car, you are surrounded by protective features. Seat belts, air bags, reinforcements in the car body, and even a car’s size help guard against the effects of a collision. Bicycles don’t come with any protective gear to cushion the blow of an accident.
But there are other reasons bicycle accidents are serious:
- Bicycles are smaller and lighter than other vehicles. This means that in an accident they can easily be pushed around or become airborne.
- Bicycles must balance on two wheels. Even a minor impact can upset a bike’s delicate balance and send the rider to the ground.
- Many cyclists don’t wear helmets. Not wearing a helmet increases the risk of a head injury.
- Bicycles are vulnerable to tipping over because of potholes, debris or other hazards on the road.
- Bicycles are harder to see than cars, especially at dusk and in the dark. When other motorists can’t see a cyclist, they don’t slow down or maneuver to attempt to avoid an accident, hitting the cyclist at full speed.
- Bicyclists can be the victims of overly aggressive drivers who don’t think bicycles belong on the road.
What kinds of injuries are common in bicycle accidents?
In a typical bike accident, a cyclist may fall sideways, striking his or her shoulder, arm and/or head on the pavement. Or the cyclist may put a hand out in an attempt to break the fall. Often, the cyclist skids along the roadway. Some of the common injuries we see from bicycle accidents include:
- Broken wrist, hand, arm and elbow bones
- A broken clavicle, or collarbone
- Brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Dislocated joints
- Nerve damage and spinal cord injuries
- Scrapes and bruises
If you have been in a bicycle accident, see a doctor as soon as possible, especially if you have any pain or there is a chance you have hit your head. The shock of the accident can make it almost impossible to tell how badly you have been injured, and the safest course of action is always to get evaluated right away.
Who is liable for my bicycle accident?
Liability will depend on how your accident happened. Most of the time, the party who is liable in a bike accident is the one whose carelessness caused it. This is known as “negligence.” Common types of driver negligence that cause bike accidents include passing too closely, tailgating, turning into the path of a rider, drunk driving, or being distracted by a cell phone and not seeing a cyclist.
If someone else’s negligence caused your bike accident, their insurance company must pay you for your injuries, including your medical bills, physical therapy, the cost of fixing or replacing your bike, and potentially additional money for pain and other severe impacts on your life. We know that money won’t bring back your health, but we also know that it can make a big difference in the type of treatment you receive and your ability to recover and put your life back together after an accident.
Does it matter whether I was wearing a helmet?
Cyclists in Augusta-Richmond County and the rest of Georgia are expected to follow certain rules. For example, riders under 16 are required to wear helmets, and all riders must use front and rear lights when riding on the street at night. Riders are also expected to follow the rules of the road, including riding on the right (with traffic), stopping at stop signs and signaling when turning.
If you weren’t following the law when you had your accident, you may be considered negligent. However, this does not necessarily mean you don’t have a claim. Georgia uses a system of “comparative fault.” If you and another person were both negligent, the insurance company or the local courts will assign each of you a percentage of fault. If you were less than 50 percent at fault, you can still recover some money for your injuries.
You have to be careful not to sell yourself short, though. The insurance company will look for any excuse to avoid paying your claim, and that includes finding ways to unfairly blame you for the accident. For example, an insurance company may claim you are partly to blame for a nighttime accident because you didn’t have a rear light on your bike. But if the other driver ran a stop sign and hit you from the front, your rear light had nothing to do with causing of the accident, and you should not recover less money because of it. This is why you need to talk to a lawyer about your bicycle claim.
Talk to an August Bicycle Accident Lawyer
At John Foy & Associates, we want you to have the money you need to get back on your feet, and we know how to get it for you. We will never charge you a fee unless we win money for you. Let us give you a FREE consultation and explain what we can do for you. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.