With the heavy Atlanta traffic, it is no surprise when accidents happen. Bicycle accidents can be particularly dangerous as bikes share the road with cars, trucks, buses, vans, commercial vehicles, and pedestrians. Suppose you have been injured in a bicycle accident. In that case, it is imperative that you contact an Atlanta bicycle accident attorney with Joel Thrift, Law LLC, so that they can review and begin working on your case as soon as possible.

Common Causes of Atlanta Bicycle Accidents

Bikers are required to follow the rules of the road like drivers of motor vehicles. When bike lanes are available, they are provided with an option that is much safer for them. But, often, they simply are not available, and motorists are not educated about how to share the road with bicycles. The following factors commonly cause accidents for bicyclists in Atlanta.

  • Distracted driving is the top cause of all vehicle accidents. So, it is no surprise that it is also the leading cause of bicycle accidents. Distractions are often caused by mobile phone use, reading and sending texts, using the phone to dial or talk, and social media can cause drivers to be unaware of their surroundings.
  • No Adequate Buffer can cause bicycle accidents by putting the bikers in unnecessary danger. There should be three feet or more of space left beside the cyclist and the vehicle. Pushing in too closely leaves everyone with far less room to make choices to avoid accidents.
  • Speeding makes it more challenging for drivers to stop their vehicles. Speeds do not have to be extreme to cause fatalities or life-threatening injuries to cyclists.
  • Abrupt lane changes or weaving through traffic can mean that the vehicle’s driver is unaware of the cyclist they are sharing the road with. Often these drivers move into the bike lanes and cause accidents for those riding bikes.
  • Turning without checking for cyclists can be fatal or cause severe injuries. Sometimes, drivers take the green light at intersections as a sign to go without looking for people on foot or bikes. This frequently causes bike accidents at intersections.
  • Running red lights and stop signs happens often and causes intersection accidents often. Accidents happen when cyclists have the right of way and the motorist fails to look for them.
  • Failure to yield is a reckless action that can seriously injure bicycle riders. This can happen at intersections when merging into traffic or at roundabouts. 
  • Impaired driving reduces the driver’s reflexes and ability to make quick, smart choices that are necessary to avoid accidents. Many accidents are the result of impaired driving, and all of them are avoidable.
  • Fatigued Driving results in accidents similar to the ones that impaired drivers cause. If the driver is tired, their driving may be unsafe. Bicyclists can suffer the consequences of this.

No matter the cause of the accident, if you were injured, you will need representation. Joel Thrift Law, LLC is ready to schedule a consultation and review your case with you. You do not have to navigate this alone. 

Avoiding a Bicycle Accident in Atlanta

When planning to ride a bicycle, it is best to consider ways to avoid accidents before you are on the road and trying to think for yourself. Here are some ways that may help you avoid trouble once your ride begins:

  • The right bike is essential to staying safe. Ride the bicycle that fits you. It is easier to control a bike that is the right size for the rider.
  • Ride only well-maintained bikes. If the bike you intend to ride needs maintenance, do it. It is crucial to have a bicycle that works properly. This means brakes, reflectors, gears, and beyond are serviceable.
  • Helmets and protective gear are crucial to protecting the cyclist. Your gear should be brightly colored and feature reflectors so that the driver is easily seen.
  • Reflectors and bike lights can ensure that motorists see you. White front lights, red rear lights, and reflectors on your wheels give you the best hope of being seen by those you share the road with.
  • Use hand signals to let drivers around you know that you are turning.
  • Keep items in a backpack or strapped into a bag on the rear of the back.
  • Tie your shoes so that nothing gets stuck in your tires or bike chain.
  • Have a plan for your route. Choose routes that are slower and have less traffic. Bike paths are best if they are available in your area. 

What Should You Do After a Bicycle Accident?

If you are in a bicycle accident, there are steps you can begin taking immediately to ensure your safety and secure your insurance claim. These steps can ensure that you have documentation of the scene while providing for your own safety and that of others involved in the accident as well. 

Call 911 immediately after the accident. If you are injured, stay put. You do not want to take a chance of worsening your injuries.  Go to the hospital and get checked out. Sometimes, injuries do not show up right away. Leave your bike where it is so law enforcement can assess the accident. 

At the Scene

While it’s essential to keep communication to a minimum, if possible, exchange contact information and license plate numbers of those involved in the accident as well as any witnesses, do not apologize or accept blame and when questioned by law enforcement about the accident, keep your answer to a minimum, anything you say can be misconstrued and used against you later. You should cooperate and answer questions, but keep your answers brief.

If you are able, or if you have someone with you who is, take photographs and videos of the scene. Include the vehicles, the road conditions, the weather, and all those involved. All of these factors can impact your future insurance claim. You should also photograph your bike and keep a record of any damage and costs to repair or replace it. 

Seek Medical Care

Go to the hospital and get checked out. Injuries do not always show up immediately. You may be in shock or experiencing a spike in adrenaline. This could cause you not to recognize the severity of injuries you may have sustained. Keep up with all the medical bills, treatments, and costs incurred due to the accident. 

Request a copy of your medical records and photographs of your injuries. Attend all follow-up visits, adhere to suggested treatment plans, and keep a record of missed work. You may need to prove to the insurance companies that you took your condition seriously.

Pursue Legal Counsel

Search for “bicycle accident lawyers near me” to get in touch with a capable and knowledgeable law firm such as Joel Thrift Law to help you navigate this challenging time. It is best to record information as soon as possible after the accident. 

When traumatic accidents happen, it is easy to forget pertinent information. A digital or paper journal is a good way to record all the necessary information. This will help your bicycle accident attorney build the most complete and thorough case possible for you.

Common Injuries Sustained in Bicycle Accidents in Atlanta

Some injuries are immediately noticeable after a bicycle accident. But others may not appear immediately. After a time, some symptoms will begin to emerge. A bicycle accident can range from fatal to very minor. 

Listed below are some common injuries:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) includes concussions, brain contusions, hemorrhaging and more.
  • Traumatic injuries to the face and eyes include cuts and bruises, facial fractures, broken teeth, and foreign bodies found in the eyes.
  • Musculoskeletal injuries such as fractures, dislocations, sprains, and strains can be expected after a bicycle crash.
  • Injuries to the chest can include rib fractures and parenchymal lung injuries. 
  • Abdominal injuries like ruptured spleen, hepatic lacerations, and renal, pancreatic, and vascular trauma could also include small or large bowel contusions, ruptures, and traumatic hernias.
  • Genitourinary issues such as rectal, urethral, and vulva trauma are often paired with pelvic fractures. 
  • Skin abrasions such as “road rash,” lacerations, and contusions.

This list is far from complete, but an Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer will be able to assess your injuries and help you determine the damages you should seek. 

Can a Bicycle Accident Attorney Near Me Aid me in Determining  Liability After a Bicycle Accident?

If the accident involved multiple parties, the insurance company would most likely want to engage in a game of Hot Potato. Nobody wants to assume the responsibility of paying your medical bills and other damages, so they will try to pass it to the following insurance company. This is where the bicycle accident attorney nearby can help. 

Georgia allows you to seek compensation if your assigned fault for the accident is 49% or less. So, investigating the accident is crucial to determining liability. An Atlanta bicycle accident attorney understands what to look for and how to ensure you get the settlement to which you are entitled. Having an experienced set of eyes on your case can be the difference that ensures you get paid for your suffering.

Often, one driver is clearly the liable party, but their insurance company will still work to show that you or someone else involved in the accident is at least partially at fault. In Atlanta, with all of the heavy traffic, it is rare that an accident only involves two people. With more drivers, there are more people that the insurance companies may want to blame. Before it becomes a jumble of confusion, your bicycle accident lawyer will proceed with an investigation.

Investigating the Accident

You must have a knowledgeable team looking over your case. They will gather evidence of the negligence of other drivers, poorly marked roads, and other conditions that point to the responsible party. Insurance companies have their people investigating to prove that their client is in the right, so it only makes sense that you have someone doing the investigative work on your side.

Proving Fault in an Atlanta Bicycle Accident

The insurance companies begin working to prove their client is not at fault almost as soon as the accident happens. In Atlanta, due to Georgia law, you will be required to file a police report. Hiring an attorney is critical, especially if you are partially to blame for the collision. The vehicle driver’s insurance company wants to avoid big payouts, or payouts at all, really. So, they will try hard to blame others. 

To avoid this, you need an Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer to help you put the blame where it actually lies. The insurance adjusters, who are employed by the insurance company, even when behaving in a way that seems fair to you, work for the insurance company. This is to be remembered. 

You need someone who is employed to look out for your best interest. And protecting your best interests is what a bicycle accident attorney is there to do, to protect your rights. Atlanta, GA, bicycle accident attorneys will gather evidence on your behalf from a variety of sources, such as:

  • Beginning with your accounting of events
  • Accident reports from the police
  • Witness statements
  • Photos and videos obtained from the scene
  • Statements from everyone involved in the accident
  • Information about the weather and road conditions at the time of the collision
  • Independent accident investigator reports
  • Photographic evidence of the injuries suffered
  • Photos and videos of property damage caused by the wreck
  • Driving records of those involved
  • Mobile phone records to demonstrate any distracting behaviors due to phone use
  • Cellular records indicating distracted driving
  • Repair records on the involved cars

A bicycle accident lawyer will take this evidence and skillfully reconstruct the details of the accident as accurately as possible to identify who is to blame. The insurance companies will want your percentage to be higher, so they lose less money in the end. Finding a bicycle accident attorney who knows how to outwit the insurance companies is crucial to receiving the damages you are entitled to. 

What Damages am I entitled to After a Bicycle Accident?

You may wonder, “What will a bicycle accident attorney near me help me achieve?”  Compensation for your injuries and all the ways you may not have considered that your bicycle accident has changed your life. 

Some of the economic damages that your bicycle accident lawyer may seek are as follows:

  • Medical bills add up fast and can become overwhelming seemingly overnight. Your attorney will seek reimbursement for ambulance rides, ER visits, hospital stays, tests, scans, X-rays, prescriptions, and treatment for injuries such as stitches, casts, and surgeries.
  • Loss of wages if you miss work because of an accident is out of your control. The wages you lose are among the damages you will seek.
  • Loss of future wages, if your injuries prevent you from being able to do work in the future, is another damage that you may be entitled to.
  • Bicycle repair and any gear that may have been damaged in the accident are items for which you may seek damages.
  • Rehabilitative costs can be extensive and long-term. They may include physical therapy, cognitive therapy, and occupational therapy.

There are also non-economic damages that your bicycle accident lawyer may seek. These damages are harder to put a dollar figure on, but your attorney will know how to best do that. Some of these include the following:

  • Pain and suffering can affect the way you relate to the entire world. It is hard to maintain a positive outlook and do the things you must do at the expected level if you are in pain often.
  • Emotional distress can result from a bicycle accident. You may be depressed, fearful, and have anxiety.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life stems from not being able to enjoy the things you usually enjoy due to the accident. 
  • Loss of consortium may be available to your spouse if there is a loss of enjoyment and support because of the accident.
  • Scarring and disfigurement resulting from an Atlanta bicycle accident can be very traumatic. Victims may lose confidence in themselves and struggle with the surgeries they face and the intense emotions that accompany these types of injuries.
  • Loss of educational opportunities happens after serious accidents. For instance, if you were studying to be a welder, but because of an accident, you lost the use of your hand and are no longer able to study that trade.

To determine which economic and non-economic damages you may be entitled to, contact a nearby bicycle accident lawyer for help. Each case will be evaluated on its specific qualities and injuries. 

Strategies Bicycle Accident Attorneys May Use to Secure Your Damages Claim

If you searched your phone for “Bicycle Accident Attorneys Near Me,” and found Joel Thrift Law, LLC, we’re happy you are here. While you wait for your free consultation, you may want to read about how things typically work in bicycle accident cases. Here are a few actions that may help you to understand what your attorney can do for you.

Investigation and Negotiation

Your bicycle accident attorney will begin building a strong case for you upon gathering evidence. Witness statements, police reports, and evidence will be reviewed, analyzed, and presented so your best interests will prevail. After becoming familiar with your case, your attorney will prepare for negotiations. 

Your attorney will negotiate with the other involved parties and their insurance companies. Hopefully, these negotiations will produce positive results, and the process can end there. If negotiations fail, your attorney will file a lawsuit and hope to get the retribution you deserve through the legal system.

When Negotiations are not Successful

Sometimes, negotiations are difficult, and insurance companies may hope that if they make the process long and arduous, you may give up. To secure a settlement for you, your attorney will represent you in court if it comes to that. 

There will be free-flowing communication throughout the process. Your attorney will keep you abreast of anything that is happening with your case. You will be informed of your legal options throughout your case so that you can make wise, informed decisions when the time comes.

Seeking the Maximum in Damages

When you have been injured in a bicycle accident, your attorney’s main job is to secure the maximum amount of damages you are owed. To build your case, your lawyer may call in experts. These experts will look over the case, and if they can testify to the evidence presented, they will do so in court to strengthen their client’s case.

While your attorney will work hard so that you can receive the damages you are owed, they may also ask for additional compensation through punitive damages. These are not guaranteed but can be awarded as a punishment to the liable party. 

Having an attorney who understands how to work with insurance companies is crucial to being compensated for all you are owed. Whether you sustained physical, emotional, or economic damages, you must have an attorney who thoroughly understands your case and how to navigate the complex negotiations and litigations that accompany it.

An Atlanta, GA, Bicycle Accident Attorney is Ready to Fight for You Today

You deserve representation as qualified and knowledgeable as Joel Thrift Law. We will investigate your claim and work hard to negotiate the maximum rewards for you. Contact us today. We have an online form and will get back to you as soon as possible to arrange a consultation.