If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident in Columbus, you may worry that your life will never again be the same. Serious injuries are unfortunately common in bike accidents, and you may have been told that you will need surgery or long-term physical therapy. If you have a head injury, the doctors may not yet be sure how fully you will recover. All of this is frightening – and expensive. But you don’t have to face the financial trauma of a serious accident on your own. A Columbus bicycle accident lawyer is ready to help.
John Foy & Associates knows bicycle law, and we have a 20-year history of getting money for people who have been hurt in bicycle accidents. We know how to get the people responsible for your injuries to pay. Let us give you a free consultation to explain how we work and answer your most important questions. There’s no obligation. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What rights and responsibilities do bicyclists have in Columbus?
In the City of Columbus, bicycles are considered “vehicles.” This means that in general, bicyclists are expected to follow the same rules of the road that apply to cars, including stopping at stop signs and stoplights and signaling before making turns. It also means bicyclists have the same right to use the road as other drivers.
Rules applying specifically to bicyclists in Georgia include:
- Bicyclists should travel in the same direction as other traffic.
- Bicyclists should travel as far to the right of the roadway as practicable (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, it may be safer to ride closer to the center of the lane.
- Bicyclists should not ride more than two abreast unless they are 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 age 16 must wear helmets.
Unfortunately, bicycle accidents are all too common, even among experienced cyclists who follow the rules. Tragically, many accidents involve children.
What are common causes of bicycle accidents?
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 at all, and they grow impatient when they have to slow down for a bicycle. This can lead drivers to make risky moves that vastly increase the chance of a bicycle accident.
Common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- A driver 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 lane of traffic, 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 it’s a good idea to wear bright, reflective clothing and use lights and reflectors at night.
- Distracted driving. A driver who isn’t keeping an eye on the road can come quickly up on a bicyclist who is traveling at a slower speed.
- Making a right turn and hitting a cyclist who is going straight.
- Hazards along the roadway. Bicycles can easily be put off balance by potholes, uneven pavement and debris along the side of the road.
- 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.
No matter what the case of your accident, if you were not at fault, you can recover every penny of your costs from whoever caused your wreck. In most cases, there will be insurance money available to pay for your losses.
How much money can I recover?
The damages you receive after a bicycle accident can free you from financial stress and help you plan for the future and get all the care you need. This money can pay your medical costs and make up for any wages you lost if your injuries caused you to miss time from your job. It can also pay for repairing or replacing your bike. In legal terms, these kinds of out-of-pocket expenses are referred to as “special damages.”
Many bicycle accidents cause much more serious losses, but they aren’t the kind of losses that can be proven by medical bills and pay stubs. For example, you may have to give up bicycling, or you may have developed chronic pain that makes it hard to even get out of bed in the morning. The accident changed your life for the worse, and the law tries to compensate for this by awarding “general damages.” These damages can be substantial – much greater than your medical bills and lost pay alone.
You should know, however, that the insurance company is working against you, trying to convince you to take less money than you are really entitled to. The insurance company may even blame you for what happened. This is how they make a profit, and it’s also why it is important to have an experienced lawyer on your side.
How long do I have to file a bicycle accident claim?
Your time is limited. You may have as much as two years after the date of the accident to get your claim filed. But in some situations the clock is ticking much faster, and you only have a few months. Once the deadline has passed, you will no longer be able to get money in an insurance claim or file a lawsuit in the local courts. To make sure you don’t miss this important deadline, talk to a bicycle accident lawyer right away after your accident.
Talk to a Columbus Bicycle Accident Lawyer
At John Foy & Associates, our lawyers know how to get you or your loved one the money you need after a bicycle accident. Let us give you a free consultation – we’ll never charge you for our services unless we win money for you. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.