In any traffic incident, there may be people who do not accept full responsibility for the crash they caused and may instead blame the injured claimant filing suit. If a civil court agrees with the defendant’s argument for shared liability, the plaintiff may have their compensation reduced significantly or be barred from recovering any damages at all.
When it comes to refuting allegations of comparative negligence in Atlanta bicycle accident cases, there is no substitute for an experienced lawyer. Seasoned legal counsel could help you understand how comparative negligence may impact your recovery and work to contest any allegations of fault made against you.
How Does State Law Address Comparative Fault?
Atlanta is a modified comparative negligence jurisdiction, meaning that Georgia law allows plaintiffs to recover damages even if they bear some degree of fault for the accident that harmed them. However, claimants who bear 50 percent or more of the total fault in their case may not recover any damages in Atlanta, which is what makes Georgia a modified comparative negligence state.
Comparative negligence is important for determining who is liable in a bicycle accident, because attorneys look at the conduct of all parties involved and effectively assign liability among them. The question of who is responsible and the degree to which they are at fault is always at the heart of any civil injury case.
If comparative negligence is a factor in an Atlanta bicycle accident case, liability is often calculated by a jury in a trial. They do this by looking at the facts of the case, as well as the evidence that those facts are based on, to determine who is liable and what percentage of liability that person bears.
The Impact of Wearing a Helmet
Official Code of Georgia §40-60-296 requires anyone under the age of 16 to wear a helmet while riding a bike on public roadways. More specifically, no person under the age of 16 years old is allowed to operate or be a passenger on a bicycle without wearing protective head gear. That includes bicycle paths, bicycle lanes, and sidewalks in Atlanta.
State law establishes no such restrictions on adult cyclists. Furthermore, violation of Georgia’s helmet laws cannot constitute negligence per se, contributory negligence per se, or be considered evidence of negligence or liability, according to the aforementioned statutes.
The best practice for all bicycle riders is to always wear a fully functional helmet that is approved by the American National Standards Institute, to protect themselves from any catastrophic or fatal injury to the head. Additionally, if an adult allows someone under the age of 16 to ride a bicycle without a helmet in Atlanta, there may be some criminal implications for their failure to ensure that child complies with state law.
Learn More About Comparative Negligence in Atlanta from a Knowledgeable Bike Crash Attorney
The degree to which comparative fault can affect a civil plaintiff’s recoverable compensation largely depends on the circumstances of their case. Certain behaviors may not hold much weight with a jury, but other seemingly innocuous decisions could have major implications on the recovery an injured person can effectively seek.
If you have any questions about comparative negligence in Atlanta bicycle accident cases, a skilled lawyer is available to help. Call today to schedule an initial consultation.