Savannah, Georgia Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney
Bicycle accidents can cause devastating injuries, especially when a motor vehicle is on the other end. Usually, when a car collides with a bicyclist it is because the motor vehicle’s driver was careless which means the rider of the bicycle is entitled to some type of compensation to cover injury, property damage, and medical expenses.
Georgia law mandates that an owner of a vehicle carry insurance. The level of liability coverage must be, at minimum, $25,000 for both injury or death of one person as well as property damage and $50,000 for the injury or death of more than one person.
Therefore, assuming the driver that caused the bicycle accident maintains insurance coverage, their insurance company will immediately launch an investigation with the main purpose being to pay out as little as possible to the bicycle rider. The investigation will likely include:
- Obtaining statements from all involved parties as to what happened
- Taking pictures of both the vehicle and bicycle
- Obtaining a copy of the police report that was taken at the scene of the accident
Once the insurance company completes their investigation, they will likely try and stop you from going further with legal action by offering a settlement. However, agreeing to a settlement at this early of a stage in the process is dangerous for multiple reasons.
First, the insurance company wants to pay out as little money as possible. Therefore, their first offer is likely going to be the lowest they will make. Second, depending upon the severity of the accident, it is possible that you have yet to realize the full extent of your injuries at the time the insurance company will make their offer. If you accept a sum of money from the insurance company in exchange for agreeing to cease any and all legal action related to the accident, you will not be able to recover for any pain, suffering, or medical expenses associated with your injuries in the future. Therefore, it is best to wait, evaluate your options, and come to a sound decision regarding whether or not you should accept the insurance companies initial settlement offer. For these and many more reasons, hiring an attorney is the smart choice.
If you decide against taking the insurance companies settlement offer, you do not have to file a lawsuit right away. In fact, the law in Georgia allows victims of a bicycle accident up to two years to bring a suit for injuries caused by the accident. The idea is that you will know the full scope of any and all injuries associated with this type of incident within a two-year span.
If you ultimately decide against settlement and instead seek a legal remedy from the court, it is important to consider the part you played in the accident.
Georgia is considered to be a Comparative Fault state in that your damage award will be reduced or eliminated if you are found to be partly or mostly at fault for your injury. By law, your total monetary award is reduced by the percentage of blame assigned to you.
For example, the driver of a motor vehicle was driving 30 miles per hour over the speed limit at the time that he collided with you on your bicycle. However, just before impact, you swerved your bicycle into the driver’s lane which ultimately caused the collision to occur. Later, a court ultimately finds that you were 30% responsible for the accident and that the driver was 70% at fault and awards $100,000 in damages on your behalf to cover medical expenses. Even though the court awarded you $100,000, you will only be entitled to $70,000 due to you being found 30% liable for the accident.
If you have been involved in a bike wreck, contact our offices. We can help you get compensated for your injuries and losses.