Serious injuries are unfortunately common in bike accidents. But you don’t have to face the financial trauma of a bicycle accident alone. The Columbus, GA, bicycle accident attorneys at John Foy & Associates are ready to help.
Our Columbus personal injury attorneys know how to get the people responsible for your injuries to pay. So, let us give you a free consultation to explain how we work and answer your most important questions. There’s no obligation to pay us if we don’t win you a settlement.
Why You Need a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Columbus, GA
There are several reasons why you should hire one of our experienced bicycle accident lawyers in Columbus, GA, to help you. We can:
- Help you gather evidence and information related to your bicycle injuries.
- Consult with experts in various fields to provide supporting testimony for your personal injury claim.
- Talk to witnesses and get their statements to strengthen your case.
- Handle all your communications with third parties.
- Represent you and your best interests during trial or negotiations with the insurance company.
While you rest and recover from your bicycle accident, we will handle all the legal grunt work to get you a fair settlement. There are no upfront fees and no hidden costs. If we can’t win you fair compensation, you pay us absolutely nothing.
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Understanding Bicycling and Comparative Negligence
In Columbus, GA, bicycles are considered vehicles. This means that, as a vehicle on the road, bicyclists need to follow traffic laws just like automobile drivers do. Not following traffic laws can put you partially responsible for your accident. Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 51-12-33, Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence rule.
If you are more than 50% responsible for your accident, you won’t be able to file a bicycle accident claim. However, any percentage below 50% will get deducted from your final settlement total. Thus, it is crucial to follow the rules as a bicyclist. Rules applying specifically to cyclists in Georgia include:
- Cyclists should travel in the same direction as other traffic.
- Cyclists should travel as far to the right of the roadway as possible or safe. If the lane is not wide enough to be safely shared by a bicycle and another vehicle, or there is debris along the edge of the road, riding closer to the center of the lane may be safer.
- Cyclists should not ride more than two abreast unless on a bike path or at a special biking event.
- Riding on the sidewalk is illegal if you are older than 12.
- Front and rear lights are required when riding at night.
- Riders under the age of 16 must wear helmets.
Unfortunately, bicycle accidents are all too common, even among experienced cyclists who follow the rules and pay attention to Georgia biking laws. Tragically, many children become bicycle accident victims. However, if you followed the rules when you got into an accident on your bike, you can file a claim against the person responsible.
Why Are Bicycle Crashes Serious?
Bicycle accidents happen for many reasons, and the attitude of other drivers is a major one. Even though bicycles have the same rights as other vehicles, many motorists don’t see it that way.
They think bikes shouldn’t be on the road and grow impatient when they have to slow down for a bicycle. Unfortunately, this can lead drivers to make risky moves that vastly increase the chance of a severe bicycle accident. Common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- A driver was sideswiping a bike while passing: Passing drivers are supposed to allow three feet of space between themselves and a bicycle. When a driver tries to squeeze past a bicyclist in the same traffic lane, the cyclist can easily get knocked to the ground.
- Poor visibility: A bicycle’s slim shape makes it harder to see than other vehicles. This is why wearing bright, reflective clothing and using lights and reflectors at night is a good idea.
- Distracted driving: An at-fault driver who isn’t watching the road can come quickly upon a bicyclist traveling slower.
- Hazards along the roadway: Bicycles can easily be knocked off balance by potholes, uneven pavement, and debris along the side of the road.
- Making a right turn and hitting a cyclist who is going straight.
- An aggressive driver who “rides the bumper” of a bicycle doesn’t have time to react if the cyclist must slow down or stop quickly.
As you can see, the causes behind why bicycle accidents occur illustrate how severe and deadly they are. It is effortless for a driver to cause an accident with a cyclist. Also, consider how heavy and powerful a car is compared to a bicycle. As a result, you are extremely unprotected and likely to get hurt.
How Much Is the Average Bicycle Injury Settlement in Columbus, GA?
In Columbus, GA, the average bicycle crash will typically pay a settlement of between $20,000 to $80,000 in compensation. Depending on your accident’s context and unique circumstances, this amount can dramatically increase or decrease.
Remember, this is just a rough average. Since every case is different, it’s best to speak with one of our bicycle accident lawyers in Columbus, GA, to get an accurate approximation. We will make sure that all your damages are calculated accurately and that nothing is left out of the final total.
Types of Damages You Can Recover in a Bicycle Injury Case
There are three types of damages you can compensate for after a bicycle incident. Our bicycle accident lawyers in Columbus, GA, will make sure you get the maximum compensation possible for each of them.
Economic damages are damages that have a fixed monetary value. In other words, the amount they’re worth doesn’t change on a whim. Economic damages that our personal injury lawyers can help you recover include:
- Lost wages and reduced earning capability
- Medical bills and hospital costs such as emergency room visits, prescriptions, hospital visits, psychological services, physical therapy, and medical equipment
- Various damages to personal property
- Bicycle repairs or replacement
Always keep any receipts and invoices for your economic damages. This makes them easier for our lawyers to calculate.
Non-economic damages are the opposite of economic damages because they don’t have a fixed monetary value. Instead, the amount they’re worth fluctuates depending on the facts of your case and how much these damages have impacted your life. Non-economic damages usually consist of:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional trauma
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disability and disfigurement
- Diminished quality of life
- Wrongful death
These damages often get downplayed by the insurance company. Never let them convince you that these damages aren’t worth compensation. Our bicycle accident attorneys in Columbus, GA, use various formulas to make sure they are factored into your claim.
In Georgia law, OCGA § 51-12-5.1 states that punitive damages exist to punish the at-fault party in an accident for their actions. This punishment comes in the form of a penalty that gets rewarded to you. Keep in mind not every bicycle accident case will qualify for punitive damages. To qualify, your case must show that:
- The at-fault party was extremely negligent in their actions.
- The at-fault party was committing a crime when the accident happened.
- The at-fault party intended to harm you.
Our Columbus, GA, bicycle accident lawyers will help you recover an award for punitive damages if your case can qualify.
Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accidents in Columbus, GA
Your time is limited. You may only have two years after the accident date to file your claim. But in some situations, the clock is ticking much faster, and you could only have a few months.
Once the deadline has passed, you can no longer get money in an insurance claim or file a personal injury lawsuit in the local courts. So, to make sure you don’t miss this critical deadline, you should get a lawyer for your bicycle accident as soon as possible.
Talk to a Columbus Bicycle Accident Lawyer
At John Foy & Associates, our bicycle accident attorney in Columbus, GA, knows how to get you or your loved one the money you need after a bike wreck. Let us give you a free consultation, we’ll never charge you for our services unless we win you a settlement.