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Atlanta Bike Accident Attorneys
If you have been injured as a bicyclist or you have lost a loved one while riding their bicycle, Georgia law permits injured victims the ability to recover from their responsible parties. When you consult with a lawyer, you will understand what your rights are. During your meeting, you will be able to ask questions and work on obtaining closure from this traumatic experience.
Common Injuries Sustained in Bicycle Accidents
The injuries that people can sustain in a bicycle accident can range from minor cuts and scrapes to more serious injuries that require long-term medical care. Some of the more common injuries that people can sustain in bicycle accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
Bike Accidents and Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal injuries are among the most serious injuries that a person can sustain. They occur when any part of the spinal column, cord, or vertebrae are damaged, and are categorized into two main types:
- Complete: Complete spinal cord injuries occur when a victim loses all feeling or mobility below the site of the injury.
- Incomplete: In an incomplete spinal cord injury, the victim may retain some feeling and mobility below the injury site.
Generally speaking, incomplete spinal injuries have a more favorable prognosis than complete spinal cord injuries.
Because the spinal cord is responsible for transmitting signals from the brain to the various parts of the body, serious spinal injuries can result in paralysis or loss of mobility. As a result, it is extremely important for bicyclists to do as much as possible to avoid spinal injuries and to seek medical attention immediately after an accident.
Bike Accidents and Brain Injuries
One of the more serious kinds of injury that can result from a bicycle accident is a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. TBIs occur when a blow or jolt to the head causes a disruption in normal brain function. The best thing that riders can do to protect themselves from sustaining a TBI in a bicycle accident is by wearing an appropriate helmet. TBIs can happen even when a rider is wearing a helmet, however, so it is important for cyclists to know the signs and symptoms so that they can seek appropriate medical attention when necessary. These include:
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Memory problems
- Varying levels of consciousness
- Ringing in the ears
- Sleep problems
It is important for anyone who suspects that they have sustained a TBI seek medical attention as soon as possible. Many statistics indicate that early intervention is the best way to ensure that your injury resolves to the best outcome possible.
Bicyclists and Motorists Should Share the Road
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as well as many other organizations, encourages bicycling as a fun, healthy, and environmentally friendly alternative method o driving a motor vehicle. However, along with the many benefits of riding a bicycle, there are many dangers to riding on the busy roads and streets because of the lack of protection from motor vehicles.
In order to preserve the practicality and realistic option of bicycling instead of driving to get around town, drivers of automobiles must have a respect for bicyclists and work to enhance safety for all users of the roads, no matter what form of transportation they use.
Common Causes of Bike Accidents
Some of the most common accidents occurred when:
- A driver pulled out from a side street onto a main road and does not notice the bicyclist
- A driver opens his car door and the bicyclist runs into it because he cannot stop in time
- A driver makes a right-hand turn and hits a bicyclist who is riding against traffic
- A driver fails to yield to a bicyclist crossing at a crosswalk
- A driver hits a bicyclists while trying to pass them on a narrow road
- Motorists emerging in the cyclist’s path
- Motorists turning across the cyclist’s path
- Motorists failing to see a cyclist in the lane next to them
- Drivers blocking cycling lanes
- Uneven roadways
- Motorists running into the back of a bicycle
- Road debris
These are only some of the countless scenarios that can cause bicycle crashes. Most of these situations are caused by carelessness or impatience on the part of the driver, and not mistakes made by the cyclist. Drivers should realize that bicyclists have just as much of a right to use the roads and should be respectful and willing to safely share the road.
What Should I Do after a Bicycle Accident?
After a bicycle accident, you may be shaken up, confused, and unsure of what to do next. Unfortunately, the steps that you take immediately after an accident may have a direct impact on whether you will be able to recover for you injuries.
Some of the steps to take include the following:
- Call law enforcement: An accident report generated by a law enforcement agency will act as an official record in the event that the facts of the accident come into dispute.
- Collect information: Obtain contact information from any drivers involved in the accident as well as from anyone who may have witnessed the accident.
- Seek medical attention: Bicycle accident victims often sustain serious injuries, some of which may not be readily apparent immediately after an accident happens. Not only will seeking medical attention ensure that your injuries are adequately treated, but it will also create a record of your injuries for the purposes of establishing damages.
- Contact an attorney: The assistance of an attorney will ensure that you get the compensation you deserve and that you do not inadvertently admit fault when making a statement to other parties.
Who is at fault if a car turned left in front of me?
The fault generally lies with the driver making the left turn. Bicycles and other vehicles crossing an intersection in the opposite direction often have the right of way, so the vehicle making the turn is more likely the one at fault for the bicycle accident.
However, if the bicyclist was going through the intersection and failed to stop for a red light or stop sign, then liability may shift to the cyclist. Bicycles are required to follow the rules of the road and failure to do so may put a bicyclist at fault if he or she is in an accident. Some cases of fault may not be clear and may require further investigation.
What is the impact on a bike accident claim if I wasn’t wearing a helmet?
Georgia bicycle helmet laws only require riders who are younger than 16 to wear one. Despite helmets not being mandatory for riders older than 15, failure to wear one could still impact a bike accident claim if wearing one may have prevented your injury or reduced its severity.
If the negligent actions of another party were found to be the cause of a bicycle crash, it then would need to be determined if the bicyclist was partially at fault. Failure to wear a helmet may lead to a reduction in available damages, especially if it can be proven that the injuries might have been less severe or even prevented.
Can I be determined to be "at fault" in a bicycling accident?
Yes. Georgia law treats bicycles as motor vehicles; bicyclists must follow the rules of the road. If you are injured in a bicycling accident and the accident occurred when you violated a traffic safety law, you may be considered wholly or partially at fault for your injuries. If you are partially at fault, you may still be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries and property damage. An experienced lawyer can determine fault and advise you of your rights.
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