Atlanta Bicycle Accident Attorney
Attorney Walter Gabriel has experience taking claims involving bicycle accidents to court and recovering hundreds of thousands of dollars on behalf of bicyclists alone in the Atlanta area. In Georgia, people hurt in a bicycle accident are often entitled to recover against negligent drivers.
Bicyclists on the roads and highways have the same general obligations and rights as any other motor vehicle. However, the unfortunate truth is that when a crash occurs between a motorist and a person riding a bicycle, the cyclist is the person most likely to sustain serious injuries. 857 bicyclists were killed in bicycle accidents in 2018, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Cities such as Atlanta, Decatur, Alpharetta, and Jonesboro are providing more bike path lanes and additional protections for bicyclists. However, riding a bicycle can impose an added risk to those who ride alongside traffic, especially in more populated areas.
For this reason, a number of state laws protect bicyclists from the numerous risks of harm faced while riding. These laws impose various responsibilities on motor vehicle drivers and on bicyclists. They also provide useful guidance with regard to fault and liability in the event of a bicycle accident. Most of the laws, however, regulate the conduct of bicyclists on the road because they are designed to promote self-protective behaviors against standard sedans and commercial motor vehicles. Click here for a list of Georgia statutes that are specific to bicycle riders in Georgia.
Case Study: Representation of Previous Client
The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel is proud to have represented a young man in the Atlanta area who was injured by a motorist while riding his bicycle on his way to work. The injuries he sustained forced him to miss work. Also, the young man did not have health insurance. So he didn’t have access to the physical therapy and rehabilitative treatment that he needed to recover from his bicycle accident caused by a motorist. Before he hired Attorney Gabriel, several law firms told him that his case was too difficult to win. Also before filing a lawsuit on his behalf, the offer to settle his case was $0. After he hired Attorney Gabriel, he got the medical attention – and surgery – that he needed, and a six-figure settlement.
Ready to speak to a qualified Atlanta bicycle accident attorney? Contact the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel so you can get the money that you deserve.
Roadway Hazards Expose Bicyclists to Substantial Risk of Harm
Like motorcyclists, bicyclists are often exposed to a greater risk of harm by virtue of minor road hazards. What might seem like a small pothole could actually cause a bicyclist to lose their balance and crash. And in cities where bicyclists do not have bike lanes or paths, navigating the roads can be increasingly challenging.
Perhaps worse for bicyclists, many municipalities do not properly maintain or clear their bike lanes, thus contributing to the danger. Unused signage, barriers, and other items are sometimes “stored” in bike lanes. This creates an enormous risk of harm for those using such lanes. Depending on the circumstances, there may not be time or space with which to safely come to a stop.
If you’ve been injured due to a road hazard, then you may have a claim for damages against the entity responsible for maintaining the roadway, the bike lane or the shoulder of the road on which you were injured.
Comparative Fault Can Be a Problem — Helmet Use and Circumstantial Dangers
When involving bicycle accidents, Georgia implements the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. This means that a bicyclist is entitled to recover damages resulting from a bicycle accident, even if partially at-fault. The only caveat in Georgia is that the plaintiff must be less than 50% at fault. If this criteria is met, such damages would simply be reduced in accordance with their own contribution of fault. The laws are slightly more Plaintiff-friendly in Louisiana, where the claimant only needs to prove some level of fault on the part of the defendant, irrespective of the Plaintiff’s percentage of fault.
Depending on the circumstances, however, the contribution of fault may be significant. For example, helmets are not required by law for bicyclists over the age of 12 in the state of Louisiana. Failure to wear a helmet — if you sustained head injuries — could be deemed an act of negligence, however. If the court finds that you are 50 percent at fault for your injuries due to not wearing a helmet, then your total damages might drop from, say, $100,000 to $50,000. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides guidance on how to fit your bike helmet.
Unfortunately, motorists will often attempt the bicycle riders for causing their own injuries. For example, if the collision occurred at night, the at-fault party often questions whether the bicyclist was following the law. Such challenges include whether the bicycle rider wore reflectors, wore a helmet, and was travelling inside the bike lane.
Let’s consider another example.
Motor vehicles are generally not entitled to occupy bike lanes except in very specific circumstances. Suppose you notice that the car in the next lane over is continuously moving in-and-out of the bike lane, illegally. If you move into the area of the bike lane into which the car is swerving, then you are readily exposing yourself to the anticipated danger. The court might find that you are partially at fault and will reduce your damages accordingly.
Contact an Experienced Atlanta Attorney for a Free Consultation
The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel is a personal injury firm with experience handling bicycle accident cases that have provided real results for those involved.
We are dedicated to providing our clients with aggressive, comprehensive advocacy. Though we work to negotiate a favorable settlement, we pursue cases all the way through to trial if necessary. This willingness to litigate ensures that we can exercise additional leverage during early negotiations.
Find out if you have a case. Call 404-549-6742 or submit a case evaluation form online to request a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Atlanta personal injury lawyer at the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC today.