More and more Americans are riding bicycles for leisure or as their main transportation. In 2014, there were more than 67 million bicyclists in the United States. With the number of bicyclists rising, so too are the number of people injured or even killed while riding. A bike accident is no minor occurrence. It requires legal representation to get what is necessary for you to recover physically and financially.
Even a minor bicycle accident requires knowledge of a complicated obstacle course of insurance companies, liabilities and even medical care. That’s why it’s important to hire a bicycle accident specialist. John Foy & Associates has been practicing personal injury law in Atlanta for more than 20 years.
Speak to one of our bicycle accident attorneys today by calling 404-400-4000. Your call will be free and confidential.
What should I do if a car hit me on my bicycle while riding through the streets of Atlanta?
If a car has hit your bicycle, treat your accident as seriously as you would a car wreck. Document, as well as you can, what happened. If your phone is still working, call 911. The police will write a report, they’ll also help you get the necessary medical help. Get as many photos as possible of all the vehicles involved, the condition of your bike, the scene and anything that you think might be relevant to the accident. Photograph your bruises and scrapes. If there are witnesses, try to get their names and numbers. And of course, follow up on whatever medical care you need. Your next step should be to call a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
We’ll work with our own investigators and specialists to prove liability. We will communicate with insurance company so you don’t have to.
Do not sign any paperwork from the insurance company. Do not give a recorded statement. Remember that an insurance company’s first goal is to settle quickly and for as little money as possible. Our clients often say, “Well, you know, I’m just telling the truth.” Just because something is the truth, doesn’t mean that the insurance company has a right to that information. Legally in Georgia, no one has the right to know if you have health insurance. Your long-ago medical history can be unfairly held against you. That’s why it’s so important to have John Foy & Associates by your side.
Any accident has two types of claims:
- Property Damage Claim will help you reclaim the cost in replacing or repairing your damaged bicycle.
- Bodily Injury Claim will help you recover any medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
What if I was hit but the driver of the vehicle left the scene of the accident?
The key in a hit-and-run accident is to stay calm. That may be difficult because your adrenaline is flowing, you may be hurt and you’re probably very angry that anyone would leave an accident. Gather as much information as possible—for example, the make, model and color of the vehicle? Did anyone get a license number? Were there any witnesses? Any information may prove valuable later. Hit-and-runs in any type of vehicular accident is a criminal act in Georgia. Call the Atlanta police department. And call John Foy & Associates, we’ll help you maneuver the difficult road ahead.
What can I do if I was in a bicycle accident as a result of a street or road defect?
If your accident was a result of negligence or code violation by a city or municipality, you may be eligible for compensation. If you were hurt on private property, then the liable party would be the property owner or business owner.
These defects can include:
- Malfunctioning traffic lights
- Foliage obstructing traffic signs
- An uncovered drain or meter
The key, again, is to document as much of the information as possible. Take photos of what you hit. If a traffic light is malfunctioning, videotape the sequence and timing of the light. Talk to witnesses. If this happened in front of a business, the owner may be aware of how long this problem has been going on. If other people have been hurt because of the same problem, your case becomes stronger.
Will I be covered under an auto policy if I was hurt in a bike accident involving an automobile?
If another vehicle caused you injury, then you would be entitled to pursue the at fault drivers insurance policy. If a hit-and-run driver injured you or your bike, your uninsured motorist coverage may apply. A bicycle accident is, in many ways, similar to a car accident. Remember that insurance companies want to settle and they want to make the best deal for the insurance company—not you. Do not talk to any representative, including your own insurance company, without legal representation. Do not agree to a taped conversation without legal representation.
What if the driver doesn’t have insurance? Is there any recourse for medical bills, damages and injuries? Can I file a claim with my insurance company?
You may be able to file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim with your own insurance company if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Your auto policy coverage should apply because you were on a vehicle during the accident.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, or “UM coverage” as it is commonly called, is not required under Georgia law. You are only required to purchase liability coverage, which means if you are at fault, the other party is protected. We strongly recommend everyone to purchase “UM” coverage so that you will be protected from these drivers.
My bike cost me a few thousand dollars. Can I pursue a property damage claim against a negligent driver if my bike was damaged during an accident?
You can absolutely file a property damage claim if your bike was damaged due to a negligent driver, business or private owner, or municipality. That is considered a “property damage” claim. The goal is specifically to get your property–in this case a bicycle–repaired. If your bike is a total loss, Georgia law states that you are eligible to get the fair market value of that bicycle.
John Foy does not generally charge for property damages claims. Our goal is to help you get back in—or in this case back on—your vehicle.
I was riding my bicycle when a dog came out of nowhere and attacked me. What are my legal options? What steps do I need to take?
If an animal attacks you, you have the right to make a claim against that property owner or the dog’s owner. Dogs are covered under homeowner’s or renters insurance policies. However, to sue in Georgia, the dog must be considered a vicious dog; it is a breed that is known to be vicious; or there must be some sort of knowledge that this dog was vicious or aggressive in the past. The generic rule in Georgia is the “one-bite rule.” If a dog is not a known aggressive breed such as a pit bull or Rottweiler, the dog can get away with one bite before the owner is liable. Our investigators will research any prior complaints about the dog or dog owner.
What if a loved one was killed while riding their bicycle and getting struck by a moving vehicle? Can a family member sue on their behalf?
Absolutely you can sue on behalf of a family member if there is a wrongful death cause of action. Nothing can replace a loved one’s life, but the law allows you to be compensated financially. If another party is at fault for a relative’s death, you have the right to recover, under Georgia law, what is called the “full value of the life of the decedent”–this is based on your loved one’s age, education and professional status. Our goal is to recover any accrued medical expenses, any future income that we can prove that they would have earned, and for pain and suffering.
Has your law firm handled many bicycle accident cases?
Yes, as one of Atlanta’s largest and most notable personal injury law firm, we have seen an increase in bicycle accidents, as more and more serious and recreational bicyclists are sharing the road with cars and trucks. Your well-being is crucial to us whether you are injured in a car or a bike.
I don’t have a lot of money and can’t afford an attorney. Will you still take my case?
John Foy & Associates doesn’t take a payment until there is a recovery for you. Since we’re a bit larger, we can afford to take our time getting you the best recovery possible. We’ll help you get the best medical care and that your bicycle is repaired or replaced. In that rare case where there is no settlement, there will be no fee for you.
John Foy & Associates has someone available to talk to you 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas. Give us a call at 404-400-4000. The call is free and confidential.