When bicyclists are involved in an accident with a larger vehicle, the driver of the larger vehicle may walk away without a scratch, but the injuries to the bicyclist may be catastrophic. Even at slow speeds, a larger vehicle can do significant damage to a bicyclist who has no protection against the force of the impact. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 743 "pedalcyclists" (bicyclists and others on non-motorized cycles) killed in 2013, and about 48,000 were injured. If you have been hurt by a careless driver in Atlanta or the surrounding cities, car accident lawyer Stephen M. Ozcomert may be able to help you seek compensation for your injuries.Holding a Careless Driver Accountable for a Bicycle Accident
Many drivers of passenger cars fail to look out for cyclists. If you are a bicyclist who is hurt due to a driver's negligence, you may be able to recover damages for both your economic and noneconomic losses. Damages can include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, out-of-pocket expenses, and pain and suffering. If there were activities you enjoyed doing before an accident that you can no longer do because of your injuries, or a disability was caused by the crash, you can recover for those.
The insurer for the driver who collided with you will investigate right away. This investigation may include taking recorded statements, having the bicycle and car examined, obtaining the police report and determining what injuries were suffered by the bicyclist. Their goal is to limit what you can recover as the accident victim. Accordingly, they will look for any way in which you are at fault or try to get you to make admissions. Georgia follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence.
Under this rule, a plaintiff who is 49% or less responsible for an accident can still recover damages, minus an amount equal to his percentage of fault. But a plaintiff who is 50% or more negligent is barred from recovering at all.
In some cases, insurers will try to quickly settle a case in order to avoid paying the full scope of damages that would be revealed with more time, such as the need for future medical procedures, wages lost while getting medical treatment, and other damages. Some bicyclists are permanently disabled by an accident. But this can only be assessed after a physician has had an adequate opportunity to assess the prognosis. You have two years within which to file a personal injury suit in most cases. It is important to consult an attorney right away, preferably before you give a statement to the at-fault driver's insurer.
Georgia drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance coverage. Specifically, they must have $25,000 per person for bodily injury and $50,000 per accident. However, these sums may not be enough to compensate a bicyclist in a case involving serious or catastrophic injuries. In some cases, it may be necessary to look to other sources and also consider pursuing the driver's personal assets.Consult a Knowledgeable Atlanta Lawyer for Your Motor Vehicle Collision Case
Atlanta residents who have been victims of a motor vehicle collision may want to enlist an experienced attorney to protect their rights. Call the Law Offices of Stephen M. Ozcomert at (404) 370-1000 or contact us via our online form to set up a free consultation. We also represent accident victims in Decatur as well as cities across DeKalb and Fulton Counties.