Bicycle accidents can cause some of the most serious injuries, resulting in over 19,000 serious injuries in the state of Georgia during 2015, according to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Sadly, many bicyclists are also fatally injured in the state – over 1,400 Atlanta and Georgia residents die each year in bicycle accidents.
When these accidents are due to the reckless or negligent behavior of another person, such as a car or bus driver, Atlanta law provides an opportunity for those victims to seek compensation for their injuries. An Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer can answer any questions you have about your injuries and the law surrounding bicycle accidents. Speak with an experienced personal injury attorney that could pursue a positive outcome for you.
When Are Bicycle Accidents Caused by Negligence?
In simplest terms, a person who injures a bicyclist because they were behaving in a negligent manner may be responsible for the damages caused by the bicycle accident. Negligence is a legal term that means the driver’s behavior was below the standard of how a reasonably prudent person would have acted in similar circumstances. Most commonly, bicyclists suffer injuries from car, bus, or truck drivers. There are several common scenarios that lead to these accidents. A skilled cycling accident attorney could examine the facts of a person’s case to determine whether a driver’s negligence caused the accident.
Impairment or Intoxication by Drugs or Alcohol
Even prescription drugs can impair a driver to the point that they are negligent when driving. Under Section 40-6-391 of the Georgia Code, a driver is impaired if a drug makes them less safe… to drive. That does not necessarily mean their blood alcohol content exceeded the state maximum (.08 for drivers over 21). If the driver was less safe because of drug or alcohol influence, the driver may be driving under the influence.
Failure to Follow the Traffic Laws
Under Section 40-6-291 of the Georgia Code, bicyclists are, for the most part, treated as vehicles under the laws applicable to Atlanta. This means that a driver must keep a safe distance behind the bicyclists and may not pass a bicyclist in the same lane. When the driver of a car, bus, or truck violates causes a bicycle accident by violating these laws then they may be negligent, and therefore, liable for the damages caused by their careless and illegal behavior.
In Georgia, a driver is distracted when their full attention is not focused on the road. Common distractions include talking on the cell phone while driving, texting while driving, inputting an address into a navigation system, or even changing the radio if it requires the driver to move their eyes off the road.
Even if the behavior that distracted the driver is not illegal under Atlanta laws, it can still fall below the standard of a reasonably prudent person and when it does, the driver could be liable for the damages caused in a bicycle accident.
What is Comparative Negligence?
In some instances, a bicycle accident may be due to the negligent behavior of multiple drivers, or even the bicyclist themselves. Under Section 51-12-33 of the Georgia Code, Georgia’s modified comparative negligence law applies in these circumstances.
In this situation, the jury will assign a percentage of fault for the bicycle accident to each negligent party. If the bicyclist is 50 percent or more at fault for the accident, they will not be able to recover any of their damages from the other negligent parties.
Talking to an Atlanta Bicycle Accident Attorney
Because bicycles do not provide a structure of protection, bicycle accidents can cause serious, and even fatal, accidents. Even in the best-case scenario, a person may have medical bills they must pay. However, if your accident was the result of another’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation.
If you suffered an injury in a bicycle accident, then an Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer may be able to help you recover for your damages. Contact an experienced biking accident attorney today to discuss your injuries and rights to compensation.