We understand how important cycling is and how bad it can be to be struck by a vehicle and eventually lose the desire and capability to ride, which is why we use a different approach to handle cases. A Macon Bicycle Accident Lawyer is friendly and will do anything to help our clients to get back to riding within the shortest time possible.
At Calvin Smith Law, once we get a case on our desks, our personal injury attorneys in Atlanta work in conjunction with the authorities to establish liability and the facts. The next step is to ensure that you undergo the proper medical treatment and billing procedures, consult with your insurance provider, and if the situation demands it, we file a lawsuit and become your legal representative in court. Get in touch with a Macon bicycle accident attorney today to secure the compensation you are entitled to.
What Are the Leading Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Macon?
Bicycle riders in Georgia re protected by the law. Motorists are required to maintain a distance of at least 3 feet when going past a bicycle. Besides that, automobiles should always give way to bicycles in their lane. Bicycle accidents that happen because the driver goes past the bicycle at a distance less than specified or where they fail to give way directly makes the driver liable. Here are some of the leading causes of bicycle accidents in Macon:
- Failure to give in to bike riders
- Failure or drivers to see bicycles
- Automobiles being driven in dedicated bicycle lanes
- Driving under the influence
- Motorists opening vehicle doors when a rider is passing
Riders or passengers on bikes that are older than 16 years aren’t required to wear helmets in Macon. While a helmet might not be a necessity for adults, it’s still a good idea to put one on when riding on sidewalks, major roads, or areas where there are vehicles to ensure that you don’t suffer serious injuries in case of a fall or collision. People on bicycles tend to be susceptible to serious injuries in accidents because they don’t have a lot of protection around them.
What Are Some Common Bicycle Accident Injuries?
You can easily sustain serious injuries when riding a bicycle alongside motor vehicles. While other vehicles on the road are required to drive safely and keep distance according to the statutes, this doesn’t happen always. Some liable drivers can easily claim that they never saw you before or that there was little that they could do to avoid the collision.
A bicycle accident often leads to serious bodily injuries regardless of what caused it. Some of the common injuries that may happen due to a collision between a motor vehicle and biker include:
- Broken bones
- Spinal damage
- Muscle strains
- Soft tissue injuries
- Nerve damage
- Severe brain damage
Injuries suffered by a person that’s riding a bicycle will in most cases be catastrophic or severe. Wearing a helmet goes a long way towards saving lives, but riders usually don’t have any other form of protection, which means that the impact of the accident can be significant.
The Impact of Georgia Law on Dooring Accident
Georgia law states that drivers must be careful before opening a vehicle’s door in traffic. In particular, the Georgia code section 40-6-243 indicates:
Nobody should open the door or a vehicle on the side that’s used by passing traffic unless it’s completely safe to do that and can be done without getting in the way of other traffic. In addition, no individual should ever leave a door open on the side of a vehicle that’s being used by passing traffic for a time frame that’s longer than required to let passengers either in or out.
In personal injury cases presented by bikers that got injured after dooring accidents, the biker will need to ascertain that the motorist acted unreasonably or negligently by opening the door into traffic. If the police saw the driver going against the aforementioned code, the citation can actually be presented as evidence to the jury to prove negligence on the motorist’s part. A citation isn’t always needed since an experienced bicycle accident attorney can establish other methods of ascertaining that the defendant’s driver is liable for the victim’s injuries.
What Steps Should Be Taken After a Bicycle Accident?
The steps you need to take after being in a bicycle accident can be critical to your case. Keep the following tips in mind if you are ever involved in a bicycle accident:
- Don’t leave the accident scene before talking to the authorities even if you aren’t sure whether you have sustained injuries. In most instances, victims start to feel the pain after a few hours or days after the accident.
- Don’t negotiate with the car driver. Some drivers will admit liability only to later retract once they consult with their insurance providers. It is thus advisable to keep hold until the incident has been recorded by the authorities.
- Gather all the contact details from any available witnesses.
- Take photos of the accident scene, the bicycle, the vehicle, and any injuries sustained.
Is Riding of Bicycles on Georgia Sidewalks Allowed?
Bicycles should not be ridden on sidewalks in Georgia since the law states that they should ride in the street. The statute applies whether or not there’s a dedicated bicycle lane. Authorities will sometimes have exceptions for young riders. For instance, in Macon, children below 12 years are allowed to ride on the sidewalk.
Is it Possible for Bicycles to Cover a Full Traffic Lane?
Not always. The law in Macon, Georgia clearly states that bikers must ride as close as possible to the right, which allows vehicles to take up that lane when overtaking the bicycle. However, the rider may be forced by other circumstances to ride in the middle of the lane this taking up the entire space albeit temporarily. Here are some of these scenarios:
- The biker would like to turn left
- To allow the biker to steer clear of obstacles such as drain gates, debris on the road, and stopped vehicles
- When overtaking a vehicle with proper care
- When the bike is moving at the same velocity as other vehicles
- When the lane is too small to accommodate both bike and vehicle
- If the biker is going straight through an intersection and there’s just a single lane that allows motorists to turn right.
What Are the Instances When Drivers Should Yield to Bicycles and Vice Versa?
The vehicle driver is required to give in to a cyclist in their lane if there’s a dedicated lane for bicycles on the road. If there’s no dedicated lane for bicycles, the driver is required to leave a safe distance between the vehicle and bicycle when going past the cyclist. The distance, which is referred to as ‘safe distance’ varies considerably depending on the circumstances but motorists should maintain a distance of at least 3 feet from cyclists. This is one of the most prevalent issues handled by our Macon bicycle accident lawyers and requires a deep evaluation of happenings as well as witness testimonies.
What Damages Can You Receive Compensation for After a Macon Bicycle Accident?
Personal injury cases coming from traffic accidents can often be agreed on without the need to face a jury. In other instances, the settlement fails to come pout as a favorable option and the parties involved have to face trial. Regardless of how everything unfolds, a settlement or court-ordered damages can lead to the recovery of much of the damages suffered in bicycle accidents. If a settlement is reached or the court determines that the driver was liable, you will be compensated for the following damages:
Financial damages are used to cover the money that’s used for your treatment, which includes the costs of ambulance rides, hospitalization, ER visits, X-ray, prescription medication, post-treatment care, surgery, and the following:
- Cost of rehabilitation services such as visits to therapists along with other specialists.
- Cost of any anticipated treatment following up the initial treatment or the cost of treating injuries that require lengthy treatments.
- Cost of buying devices needed to help you walk such as artificial limbs and wheelchairs.
- Money lost after skipping work because of your injuries, treatment, and recovery.
- Income that will be lost in the future if the permanent disability prevents you from going back to your old job.
The non-financial damages essentially cover your physical and mental suffering:
- Disfigurement and scars
- Loss of consortium with your partner
- Other non-financial costs that might apply to unique cases include punitive damages in case of blatant negligence.
What Will Happen If a Driver Hits Me and Flees the Scene of the Accident?
It is always advisable to keep calm in case of a hit and run accident. It might not be the easiest thing to do because your adrenaline will be pumping, but you could have sustained injuries and angry too that the person responsible for hitting you would dare leave the scene of the accident like that.
Gather as much information as possible, such as the type, make, and color of the vehicle. Might someone have had a glimpse of the vehicle’s license plate? Did somebody witness the accident? All these facts may come in handy later.
In Georgia, hit and run is a criminal offense regardless of the type of accident. Get in touch with Macon police. You should also get in touch with Calvin Smith Law so that we can help you navigate the tough path that lies ahead.
What Should I Do If My Bicycle Accident Was Caused by a Road Hazard?
If your bicycle accident was the result of negligence or a violation of the rules by the local authorities, you might qualify for compensation. If you were injured on private premises, then the holder of the premises’ title will be the at-fault party.
Here are good examples of such flaws:
- Drains left exposed
- Traffic signs covered by plants
- Nonfunctional lights
Keep in mind that you should gather as much information as possible for these cases. Take photos of what you hit. If the light isn’t working properly, record a video of the lights sequence. Talk to the people around the area. If the accident happened in front of a company, the person running it may provide additional details regarding how long the matter has been going on. Your claim will automatically become more valid if other individuals were injured due to the same issue.
What Are the Instances When Negligence Leads to Bicycle Accidents?
Simply put, somebody that hurts a biker because they were engaged in negligent behavior can be held liable for the damages the bicycle accident causes. Negligence is a term that implies that the motorist’s behavior was below the threshold of how a responsible and reasonable person would be expected to act in such a situation.
In the vast majority of cases, bikers suffer from damages from a truck, vehicle, or bus drivers. Such accidents are typically caused by a few common and possible scenarios. Experienced bicycle accident attorneys can go through the facts of any case and clearly establish whether the accident was the result of an instance of the driver’s negligence.
Driving Under the Influence and poor Vision
Note that some drugs taken for treating medical conditions may impair the driver’s judgment thus making them negligent. According to Section 40-6-391 of Georgia law, a motorist is considered impaired if a substance he/she took makes him/her less safe to operate the vehicle. It doesn’t imply directly that they have a blood alcohol percentage higher than the recommended minimum of .08 for motorists over 21 years of age. If the driver failed to operate the vehicle safely due to the influence of drugs, they could be driving under the influence.
Disregard for Traffic Laws
According to section 40-6-291 of the law in Georgia, bikers are for the most part considered cars when it comes to the applicable laws in Macon. It implies that drivers must always maintain a safe distance between them and the cyclists cannot overtake them in the same lane. If the driver of a bus, truck, or vehicle fails to follow these laws thus causing an accident, they will be considered negligent and will be responsible for the damages caused as a result of their behavior.
Motorists in Georgia are regarded as distracted if their complete focus is not on the road. Distractions include conversing on a cell phone while driving, keying in an address into a navigation system, texting while driving, or even switching the radio station if it means getting their eyes off the road for some time.
Note that even if the cause of the distraction is considered legal according to the laws in Macon, it is still possible to be categorized below the threshold set for responsible drivers and they could be required to carry the blame for any damages caused in an accident.
If I Was Injured in a Bicycle Accident, Will a Car Policy Cover Me?
If another vehicle caused you harm, you are legally required to follow up with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider for compensation. If a hit and run driver hurt you on your bike, your uninsured car policy can be of great help. A bicycle accident is similar to a vehicle accident in several ways.
Always remember that insurance providers are yearning to settle and only agree to the deal that best favors them and not you. Never be in a hurry to engage with entities that represent the drivers of your insurance provider without the assistance of a lawyer. Don’t consent to have a recorded conversation without proper legal representation.
If the At-Fault Motorist Was Not Insured Can My Insurance Cover the Accident?
If you have an underinsured or uninsured car cover, it is possible to file an underinsured or uninsured motorist claim with your own insurance provider. Your policy cover should come in handy because you were in a vehicle when the accident happened.
An underinsured or uninsured car cover isn’t mandatory as specified by the insurance statutes in Georgia. You are only required to buy liability cover, which implies that the other entity is covered and that you are liable. We strongly advise you to get uninsured and underinsured coverage to ensure that you are covered by these motorists.
Is It Possible to Press Charges After a Loved One Suffers a Fatality in a Bicycle Accident?
If there’s an instance of wrongful death, you are allowed to sue on behalf of a loved one. Nothing can bring back your loved one from the dead, but the law can help you secure financial compensation. If another party was to blame for your loved one’s death, you are within your rights to get back, according to the laws in Georgia something dubbed as the total value of the life of the deceased and this implies to their education, age, as well as professional standing. Our target is to get back any accumulated medical costs, future finances the deceased might have earned, as well as compensation for the pain and suffering, endured because of the death.
Get in Touch with a Macon Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, get in touch with the Macon injury firm of Calvin Smith Law. Schedule your free consultation with one of our auto accident attorneys today, call (404) 383-7552.