The Georgia Bicycle Accident Guide was created by The Gunnels Law Firm to help injured residents obtain maximum compensation. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation.
There are a lot great reasons to ride a bicycle. It is good exercise, an alternative to owning a car, and you don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot. Unfortunately, like all forms of transportation, there can be accidents. It is not uncommon for a bicyclist to get seriously injured in an accident. Our Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer is here to guide you through your case to get you the best possible result. You can pursue compensation from the liable party’s insurance company. After you have learned more about your bicycle accident case, please do not hesitate to call our office today for a free consultation.
Georgia Bicycle Accident Statutes of Limitation
With any successful case, you need to keep in mind the statute of limitations. This is the amount of time you legally have to bring your case or to settle it in civil court. You have to do this within the given amount of time or you will no longer be eligible to bring your case. Georgia personal injury law allows two years from the date of the accident to bring or settle the claim in civil court. You should never wait to hire an attorney because you want to give them as much time as possible to build a strong case.
How Georgia Bicycle Accident Compensation Works
Georgia state follows the rules of modified comparative negligence which has to do with how much of your compensation award you are allowed to collect from the insurance company, if any. The way you would be barred from compensation is if you have been found mostly at fault for the accident. If you have been found less than 50 percent at fault for your accident, then you will receive a reduced compensation award. Ideally you want to bare no fault for the accident and be able to take home the full amount. That is what we aim for. However, if there is a percent of fault given to you, there will be a reduction. For example, if you were 10 percent at fault for the accident, and you have been awarded $10,000 for your injuries and damages, then you would be allowed to take $9,000 of that award.
First Step of a Successful Bicycle Accident Case
If you want to have a successful bicycle accident case, you have to get your injuries looked at as soon as you can. Your health is the most important factor in your case. You can let your case be our concern so you can primarily focus on your well-being. We take over all of the legal aspects so you don’t have to but we need you to take care of yourself. Your compensation is based around the severity of your injuries and your medical records serve as evidence for our case, so receiving medical care is necessary. If you do not receive timely medical attention, the insurance company for the liable party will say that you couldn’t have been all that injured or even that you lied about how you get the injuries so that they do not have to give you compensation.
Avoid Talking to Liable Party’s Insurance Company
When pursuing a bicycle accident case, you are going to run into some obstacles. The liable party’s insurance company is going to be aiming to reduce the amount of compensation that they owe you or be able to completely eliminate your case. They do this by asking you for a recorded statement. Very shortly after the accident, they will be reaching out to you to try to get you to answer a few questions on the record. While they encourage you to do this under the promise that it will help resolve the case sooner, they are not looking out for your best interest. They will be asking you loaded questions in hopes that you will slip up and give them a statement that can pin the blame of the accident on you. That way they will either owe you less or no compensation at all. The way to avoid this is by making sure you have a lawyer ready to take over communication with this insurance company to protect your rights.
Frequently Asked Bicycle Accident Questions
How Do I Pick the Right Attorney?
We are often asked by potential clients how to pick the right attorney for a bicycle injury case. The main consideration is that you must have an attorney who has experience handling bicycle accident claims. Bicyclists have their own rules of the road. It’s important to know what those rules are in order to successfully work up these cases. If an attorney does not handle these cases on a regular basis and does not know what to look for and what laws and pressure points to apply, they’re never going to be able to get the best compensation for your injury claim. At The Gunnels Law Firm, we have handled numerous bicycle injury cases. We have been able to achieve very successful results because we know how to work these cases up.
It is also important to have an attorney who knows how the insurance system works. All of these cases are insurance-based cases. Before switching sides and beginning to represent individuals who needed help receiving compensation for injuries, I spent many years working for these insurance companies. I know how the system works. I know what it takes to get cases through the system. I know what it takes to get the best offers possible. I also know how hard they are going to work to minimize the compensation you receive. Now, I can put my experience with these companies to work for you to help you achieve the best possible result.
Another thing to keep in mind when you’re looking for a personal injury attorney is that you always need to have an attorney who has demonstrated he or she will take a case to trial if an insurance company does not give you a reasonable offer. Most cases settle before trial, but in some instances, insurance companies take positions that are just not reasonable and they will not offering you fair compensation. You need an attorney who will take a case to trial and present it to a jury to help you get the best possible compensation.
Here at The Gunnels Law Firm, we spend a significant amount of our time at trial. We know how to take a case through trial and present it in a way that leads to effective results. We want to make sure that insurance companies always know we are not just going to take the best offer they give. They know that we will take a case to trial and make a jury hold them accountable when it is necessary.
What Are Common Mistakes I Can Avoid?
When we have people come to us after being injured in a bicycle accident, they’ve often done things that harm their case without even knowing it. It’s very important to make sure you avoid these problems. First, we frequently see people that have been injured on bikes destroying evidence that could be helpful to us. Make sure that clothing is preserved. Oftentimes, you’ll have bloody clothing, or maybe clothing that had to be cut off of you at the emergency room. Helmets, pads, shoes, and bicycles may have been destroyed or mangled during the accident, but you shouldn’t dispose of this crucial evidence.
Another thing that we see at times, although not as often in bike cases, is people who don’t do a good job of getting immediate medical attention. It’s important to go ahead and get medical treatment from the time that you begin to feel pain so that you can correlate your pain to the injuries you suffered in this collision. This is more prevalent in car wreck cases because the impact people get in bike wrecks is often so much more severe.
Always get treated immediately. Don’t let a long time pass before you have treatment if you’re experiencing pain. Another thing we see people do that can really harm their case is not following through with their treatment. We oftentimes see people who tell their physicians that their pain has resolved, when in fact, it hasn’t. They are just getting impatient with the treatment process. Make sure that you don’t underestimate your case. Don’t tell the doctors you are better when you’re not. Also, don’t allow gaps in your treatment to occur. When people don’t follow through and they go long periods of time where they haven’t gotten treatment, insurance companies will latch onto this and claim that they must not have been as injured as they say they are or they would have been getting that regular treatment. Don’t give them that opportunity.
Finally, make sure you immediately hire an attorney that is experienced in handling these types of cases. Attorneys are going to want to get out to the scene and preserve any evidence. There could be blood on the concrete that will eventually disappear. There could be scuff marks in the asphalt from where the bike hit. There could be remnants of the bike or the car that are still around. Make sure you hire someone that knows what they’re doing and has experience handling bicycle cases.
How Much is My Case Worth?
When we have people come into our office who have been injured because of a bicycle accident, one of the first things they want to know is the value of their case. That is something that, unfortunately, can be determined at the beginning of a case. The reason for that is that the value of your claim is dependent upon how you recover. If you have an injury that you never recover from, that is a more valuable claim than an injury that you fully recover from. The first thing that has to happen before value is determined is to have you get medical treatment and determine if you are going to make a full recovery.
The next step would be then evaluating what ways your life has been disrupted, and looking at what you’re entitled to recover in damages. Under Georgia law, you can first recover damages that are called special damages. These generally are lost wages and medical expenses that you’ve incurred as a result of your treatment. Those are pretty easy to determine. The harder category is what’s called non-economic damages. Those are things that you can’t get a receipt for, such as pain and suffering. They are things like the disruption and loss of enjoyment in your daily life.
Now, looking at those categories, that’s how they determine to some extent the value of your case, but you also have to take into consideration what the available insurance coverage may be because these cases all become about insurance money. How much liability coverage does the person that harmed you have? You have to look at that to determine value. Under Georgia law, a driver is only required to have at minimum $25,000 of liability coverage. That severely limits a case if you have several hundred thousand dollars of medical expenses and the at-fault driver only has $25,000 worth of coverage. That also significantly drives the value of your claim. Even though you’re on a bicycle, it is the liability insurance of the driver that is required to compensate you for your claim.
Do I Need to Have a Certain Amount of Medical Bills?
When we have clients come in who have been injured in bicycle collisions, one of the things they want to know is if there is a minimum amount of medical expenses they need to have incurred in order to file a personal injury claim. The answer to that is it really depends. We can’t get too caught up on the amount of medical expenses in evaluating a good personal injury claim. One example of a personal injury claim that would be a good claim that did not have a lot of medical expenses, especially in a bicycle matter, would be where someone had sustained a significant amount of road rash or cuts that required stitching. Scarring, especially substantial scarring, can be very valuable cases, but they don’t incur a lot of medical expenses because it doesn’t cost a lot of money to get medical treatment for road rash or stitches.
There are also other instances where you may have a million dollars in medical expenses, but it’s unclear who was responsible for the wreck. There’s dispute over liability. That case may have no value at all. It’s important not to get caught up on worrying about what the amount of the medical expenses incurred is and evaluate the injuries themselves, especially when those are permanent injuries. Even if they’re relatively minor, permanent injuries certainly have more compensable value than temporary injuries.
Should I Give the Insurance Company a Recorded Statement?
We are sometimes asked whether a person should give a recorded statement to an insurance company after they have been injured while riding a bicycle. The answer is always no. The insurance company for the at-fault party will often ask for a recorded statement from the injured party. The injured party often believes that it is good for their case to tell their story, but generally, the exact opposite is true. While you don’t know the process, the insurance company will utilize a trained claims examiner to ask questions in a way that will give you the opportunity to give misleading answers, and will harm your claim going forward. If you are not represented by an attorney and you’re asked to give a recorded statement by the insurance company, always decline to do so.
How Long Will My Case Take?
We have had many clients who have been injured when a motor vehicle hit them on their bicycle. One of the first things they always want to know is how long their case will take to resolve. The answer to that, as with any other personal injury case, is it’s really hard to tell. There are a lot of things that go into determining how long it will take to resolve a personal injury case.
Some of the most important details are how significant the injuries are and how much insurance coverage the at-fault driver has. If the insurance amount is relatively low and the medical expenses are relatively high, those cases will resolve pretty quickly. They can be resolved usually within a couple of months after the injured party has finished medical treatment. If there’s a lot of coverage and injuries are less significant, those are the type of cases that can draw on longer because the parties don’t agree on the value of the injuries, and a lawsuit may need to be filed.
In Georgia, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the incident, the date of the accident. At the point when you have to file the lawsuit, there’s a lot of work discovering information and presenting the claim, and it may actually have to be presented to a jury at the end. When you file one of those claims, it’s fair to assume that it’s probably going to take somewhere between one and three years after the filing of the lawsuit to resolve it.
Contact Our Georgia Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
If you have been seriously hurt in a bicycle accident and want dedicated, competent, and caring representation, please call our Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer today to set up a free consultation. We will get to work for you right away and ensure you have the best possible chance at a full and fair award. We will talk to your witnesses, collect and protect your evidence, and fight the insurance company to protect your rights. We have successfully handled many Georgia bicycle accident cases just like you’re your own and want to get you the same results. Call us today and see how we can help you.