Bicycle accidents can be dangerous events, whether the accident involves another cyclist or a car. The reason bicycle accidents are so dangerous is because riders do not have much, if anything, protecting them from injury in a collision. Even riders wearing a helmet can sustain a traumatic brain injury in a bicycle accident. Cycling is very popular in Atlanta. As cyclists and motorists share the roadways, accidents are bound to happen. The Atlanta metro area also has a number of cycling trails. The most popular trail is the Silver Comet Trail, which starts in Smyrna and goes 61.5 miles all the way to Alabama. While cycling trails are generally safer for motorists than congested roadways, accidents still happen. If you are injured in an Atlanta cycling accident, it is important that you know your rights so that you can ensure you are fully compensated for all medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Investigating Bicycle Accidents
The first step in any accident is determining who was at fault. If you are struck by another car while cycling, this will involve determining whether the motorist or cyclist was to blame. For example, did the motorist fail to maintain his or her lane and strike the cyclist? Did the motorist fail to yield the right of way or disobey a traffic control device? Determining who was at fault requires an analysis of all the facts surrounding the accident. Any investigation should include interviewing witnesses and inspecting the accident scene. Some bicycle accident investigations may require the assistance of an accident reconstructionist.
What Insurance is Available for a Georgia Bicycle Accident?
Once liability has been determined, the next question is what insurance is available to cover your damages? If you are injured in a car v. bicycle collision, then you can pursue all liability insurance available to the driver who negligently caused the accident. Additionally—and this is very important—you are also entitled to your own uninsured motorist coverage if that driver does not have any insurance or not enough insurance to pay all of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
You may be wondering how your car insurance could possibly apply if you were not in a car at the time of the accident. If you have this thought, you are not alone because many people, including some lawyers, do not know that you may be entitled to uninsured motorist coverage if you are not in a car at the time of the accident. The reason your uninsured motorist coverage applies is because Georgia law says it is available to you whether you are in a car, on a bike, walking, or anywhere else for that matter, when you are involved in a car accident. The question is simply whether the driver who caused the accident has enough insurance to pay all of your damages. If he or she does not, then that driver is considered an “uninsured motorist,” and you can pursue all available sources of uninsured motorist coverage.
Under Georgia law, you would be entitled to uninsured motorist coverage under your own insurance policy, as well as any policies issued to any resident relatives. Because of the different insurance policies that may apply, it is very important that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney if you are involved in a Georgia bicycle accident. If you fail to notify all potential insurance companies in a timely manner, you may lose out on a valuable source of insurance.
Accidents Between Cyclists
While car accidents with cyclists are what most people think of when they think of bicycle accidents, a cyclist can also be injured in a collision with another cyclist. If another cyclist negligently causes a collision with your bike, then that cyclist may be liable for paying your damages, including your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, because a bicycle is not a motor vehicle under Georgia law, neither the cyclist’s car insurance, nor your own uninsured motorist insurance, will be available. The negligent cyclist may have additional sources of insurance available to pay your damages though, including homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance.
If you are injured in a bicycle accident in Georgia, it is important that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible so you will know your rights. The Atlanta personal injury lawyers at The Champion Firm, P.C. will give you a free consultation about your bicycle accident. Call The Champion Firm, P.C. if you were in a bicycle accident so you can learn what needs to be done to protect your rights.