If another party caused your bicycle accident, you can sue them for the damages. You will probably not have to go all the way to trial, but it’s essential to know your options.
A bicycle accident can be devastating. You might have severe injuries, property damage, and more. You need compensation for your costs so that you can move on with your life.
Bringing a personal injury case helps recover your accident damages. Before filing a lawsuit, you’ll need to know who can be sued — and if you need to sue at all.
Is Suing the Best Option?
Your legal options will depend on factors like:
- The at-fault party’s insurance coverage
- How the insurance company responds to your claim
- How your state handles personal injury accidents
In Georgia, the injured party can recover damages from the at-fault party in an accident (Georgia Code Section 51-1-6). If someone injures you in a bicycle accident, they are responsible for the costs. If you decide to sue, you will probably have a case.
Many times, you can seek compensation through a personal injury claim. You’ll file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. If you can reach a satisfactory settlement, you won’t need to sue.
Who Was at Fault in Your Bicycle Accident?
Before taking any legal action, you’ll need to determine who was at fault. If the fault is unclear, a bicycle accident lawyer can help. Your lawyer will investigate to show who caused the crash.
Most of the time, a driver is at fault for a bicycle accident. Motorists often fail to take cyclists seriously. Drivers might crowd bicyclists or fail to yield to them on the road. If the driver’s negligence causes an accident, they are at fault.
The at-fault party in an injury accident is responsible for the damages. Your damages can include losses like:
- Medical bills
- Prescription medications
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
Partial Fault in a Bicycle Accident
If more than one party is at fault, your case will be more complicated. You might be able to file a claim in more than one place. If you cannot settle, you might be able to sue more than one party.
If you were partially at fault for the crash, it will affect your compensation. Here is how comparative fault works in Georgia (Georgia Code Section 51-12-33):
- You can recover damages unless you were 50% or more at fault.
- Your percentage of fault will reduce how much you can recover.
- The other party is still responsible for their portion of responsibility, as well.
Not all states follow comparative negligence laws. Some places do not allow compensation if you’re partly at fault in any way. In other states, your own insurance company is responsible for costs.
Talk to a bicycle accident lawyer in your area if you’re unsure about local laws. Your lawyer can determine how was at fault for your accident and how to seek compensation.
How Can You Prepare to Sue the Other Party?
If a driver caused your accident, you can try filing a claim with the driver’s insurance company first. Before submitting your claim, you’ll need to:
- Gather evidence from the accident
- Complete all necessary medical treatment
- Compile proof of your accident damages
- Determine the total value of your losses
- Make sure your claim is as strong as possible
When the insurance company gets your claim, they will respond. Often, the insurer will offer a lowball settlement. It won’t come close to what you’re requesting, and it won’t cover much of your costs.
You and your lawyer can start negotiating. If all goes well, you can negotiate a fair settlement with the insurer. Thankfully, most bicycle accident cases resolve at this stage.
If you cannot settle from the insurance claim, you might need to directly sue the at-fault party. An experienced bicycle accident lawyer can help you do this. Your lawyer can also determine when suing is the best option for you.
What if the Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
If the driver who hit you doesn’t have insurance, it puts you in a tight spot. You won’t be able to file a claim since there is no insurance.
You can sue the uninsured driver to seek compensation. However, the driver might not have much money or assets in the first place. Even if you win your lawsuit, you might have trouble recovering the money.
You can also try filing a claim with your own insurance company. This is trickier since you were traveling on a bicycle. Talk to a bicycle accident lawyer about possible insurance recovery options for you.
What if Someone or Something Else Caused the Accident?
Sometimes, the cause of a bicycle accident is not a driver. You could get into an accident because of:
- Poor road conditions
- Road hazards
- Defective parts on your bicycle
If a road hazard causes your accident, a government entity could be at fault. Suing the government is complicated, and you can only bring a suit in specific situations. Talk to your lawyer about what to do if a government entity might be at fault.
If defective parts caused you to crash, a manufacturer could be at fault. In some situations, you might be able to bring a product liability lawsuit. This is another thing to discuss with your bicycle accident lawyer.
Talk to a Bicycle Accident Lawyer for Free Today
Bicycle accident cases are complicated. To know your best options for compensation, talk to a bicycle accident lawyer for help. John Foy & Associates can assist you.
With over 20 years of experience, we know how to handle bike accident cases. We can examine your crash details and let you know your options. Plus, we do not charge a fee unless we win you money.
To get a FREE, no-risk consultation, call (404) 400-4000, or contact us online.