BK logo

Bicycle Accident Attorney in Atlanta

Play Video

If you’re in need of a bicycle accident lawyer Atlanta residents trust, you want a seasoned Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer on your side. The kind of bicycle accident lawyer Atlanta residents is proud to have to serve their community can be found at Butler Kahn. Motorists injure and kill thousands of bicyclists every year in traffic accidents. Bicyclists don’t have a lot of protection.  Other than a helmet which reduces the risk of trauma to the head, even the most experienced bicyclist faces real risks when he takes to the road. The most recent federal statistics available show that bicycle fatalities have been rising year-over-year. Contact one of our bicycle accident attorneys in Atlanta today.

Statistics about bicycle accidents and bicycle crash fatalities.

Click on the graph to download a copy of the federal government report that it comes from.

At Butler Kahn, we know bicycle accidents. We have handled both cases in which motorists struck and injured bicyclists, and cases in which bicyclists struck and injured pedestrians, and we have the satisfied clients to prove it.

Bicycles and Cars: Sharing the Road

While bicyclists are entitled to share the roads, not all car drivers respect those cycling privileges. Too often, car drivers use aggressive maneuvers like speeding up behind a bicycle rider or driving to pass around the bicycle driver. Those poor decisions often sadly lead to catastrophic consequences. A car driver’s negligent or reckless driving makes him liable for the injuries he causes. A bicycle accident lawyer Atlanta cyclists know and trust will make sure to hold the right individuals accountable. Read about How to Prevent a Bicycle Accident.

Sometimes a bicycle accident is as straightforward as it seems—the driver was following too closely, or failed to yield the right of way resulting in the accident. Sometimes the accident is caused by something more than an impatient driver. An accident investigation and actual on-site inspection of the road may show that it was a poor road design or defective product that was the primary cause.  And sometimes an accident is caused by a drunk driver who recklessly strikes a bicyclist but flees the scene. In any of these situations, you will want a bicycle accident lawyer that Atlanta residents count on. Our results lead to happy clients.


Georgia Bicycle Laws

With experience, a bicycle accident lawyer gets a feel for which laws come up most often. Below is a list of the Georgia bicycle laws that we deal with most often.
  1. Cars must leave at least three feet of space when passing a bicycle under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-56.
  2. It is legal for a bicycle to ride on the paved shoulder of the road (although a bicyclist is not required to ride on a paved shoulder) under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-291.
  3. Cars must yield to bicyclists in bicycle lanes under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-55.
  4. In general, bicycles and cars are subject to the same rules of the road according to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-290.
  5. Generally, bicyclists must stay on the right side of the roadway under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-294(b).
  6. Sidewalks are for pedestrians, not bicyclists, under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-144.
  7. Certain safety equipment is required for bicycles under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-296.
  8. With certain exceptions for young children, bicycles can’t legally carry more people than they’re designed for, as established by O.C.G.A. § 40-6-292. That means no passengers on axle foot bars or handlebars.
There are other great resources available to cyclists as well. The Georgia Department of Highway Safety has published a “pocket guide” for bicyclists, as has Georgia Bikes!, a nonprofit organization.
Bicycle rider almost got hit by car

Risks Associated with Bicycle Accidents in Atlanta

Bicycle safety is a real issueAtlanta bicycle coalition logo.. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based in Atlanta, adolescents and young adults (15-19 years) and adults over 40 have the highest bicycle death rates. Also according to the CDC, male cyclists face a much higher likelihood of suffering an injury than females. And finally, the CDC credits the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with finding that most bicycle deaths occur in urban areas and at non-intersection locations. If you have suffered an injury because of a bicycle accident, you want to talk to an experienced bicycle accident lawyer Atlanta cyclists trust.

Bicycling does a lot of good for cities like Atlanta, Lawrenceville, Jonesboro, and Sandy Springs (where we have offices). First, bicyclists cut down on pollution, which has long been a problem in Georgia’s biggest metropolitan area. Second, bicycling keeps people healthy, which is a good thing for taxpayer-funded programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Third, bicyclists facilitate a sense of local community and tend to support local businesses, like the businesses that have sprung up along Atlanta’s Beltline and the rails-to-trails projects (like the Silver Comet Trail) in other parts of Georgia. Where bicyclists and pedestrians have a safe space to travel, pollution goes down, health goes up, and communities grow stronger.

Biker got injured by the car along the road in AtlantaFor all of the good that bicyclists do for the Georgia cities where they pedal, bicyclists face significant risks. All too often, a bicycle accident lawyer sees the results of those risks. Even if a bicyclist is wearing a helmet, the bicyclist has little protection if struck by a motor vehicle. The bicyclist can be injured from the impact of the car itself, or from the bicyclist’s impact with the ground or pavement when, after the collision, the bicyclist returns to earth. If drivers fail to obey the three-foot rule, truck or car mirrors can strike bicyclists, causing direct injuries or knocking the bicyclist down. Potholes or cracks in the pavement can also trip bicyclists, sending them flying over their handlebars and headed for a possible traumatic brain injury, neck injury. or spinal cord injury. We have a personal friend (a business lawyer in Atlanta) who suffered a serious injury in a bicycle accident caused by a roadway defect.

Hit-and-Run Bicycle Accidents

Hit-and-run accidents are more common with bicyclists than cars, unfortunately. In the course of our work as bicycle accident lawyers, we’ve come to believe that there are two reasons for that. First, drivers tend to believe that they can outrun a bicycle.  Sometimes an at-fault driver would not necessarily run from another car because he or she would be afraid of being chased. But a driver may run away from a collision with a bicyclist because the car driver thinks that he or she will be able to speed away. Second, drivers tend to be more afraid after colliding with a bicycle. The reason is that drivers know, as a matter of common sense, that there is a significant chance the the bicyclist is badly hurt. You would hope that, given this higher-than-usual risk of a severe injury, drivers could be counted on to stop and help. Of course, many do. But not all—some percentage of drivers become afraid of the consequences of the collision and drive off.

We have seen some really good police work in the context of bicycle accidents. In one of our cases, a hit-and-run driver was caught because a police officer picked up pieces of the car’s bumper from the scene of the collision, kept those pieces in his patrol car, and then waited at a nearby intersection for several mornings around the same time of day that the collision had occurred. Finally he saw a car matching the bicyclist’s description that had damage to the bumper. He stopped the car, matched up the pieces, and arrested the driver. When an at-fault hit-and-run driver gets caught, the driver is of course responsible for the consequences of his or her actions. The driver’s auto insurance company must pay for the bicyclists medical bills, pain and suffering, and interference with daily living.

Bike vs car accident in the middle of crosswalk in AtlantaOften, a hit-and-run driver will also be subject to punitive damages. Even if a hit-and-run driver escapes, there may still be insurance available to help an injured bicyclist. Although not everyone knows it, an experienced bicycle accident lawyer recognizes that a bicyclist’s auto insurance policy may be used to help the bicyclist even though he or she was not in an “auto.” The reason is that if the bicyclist has uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage (often called “UM” insurance), then that insurance company is usually required to make the insurance coverage available as long as the collision was “related to” an automobile (such as the automobile that hit the bicyclist). This UM insurance can be a huge help, and is often available not only in a hit-and-run bicycle accident, but even after bicycle collisions in which the at-fault driver stopped or was caught. We often find that clients have UM insurance that they didn’t even know about.

That can happen in three ways. First, and most simply, many people just aren’t sure what kind of insurance they have (being told you have “full coverage” doesn’t actually mean anything). Second, if your insurance company didn’t have you sign a written rejection of UM insurance coverage then, as a matter of Georgia law, you are deemed to have it. Third, even if you don’t have UM coverage yourself, you can use the UM policy of any relative who lives in the same household as you (we call this the “resident relative” rule). These paths to UM insurance coverage can be very helpful for a bicycle accident lawyer and his clients.

Play Video
Butler Kahn Law Firm Office Exterior
Contact Us Now For Legal Help
car fire
$150 Million Landmark Wrongful Death Verdict

Butler Kahn secured a $150 million jury verdict against Chrysler for the family of a 4-year-old boy who was killed in a devastating crash in Georgia. Our firm held the giant automaker accountable for Remington Walden’s death and for failing to warn the public about dangers associated with its Jeep Grand Cherokee. Learn More

Bicycle Accident Attorney in Atlanta

Atlanta Attorneys Celebrating after Hearing

How Long Is the Statute of Limitations for a Bicycle Accident in Georgia?

Drivers in Georgia can be held responsible when their careless driving causes a bicycle accident. Injured bicyclists are entitled to pursue compensation from the driver. In many cases, a bicycle rider’s injury lawyer will negotiate a settlement with the driver’s insurance company.

In some cases, however, insurers refuse to negotiate in good faith. Negotiations might also be delayed by the need to obtain further information about whether the bicyclist will recover from disabling injuries. When an injury claim will not settle quickly, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit to protect the injury victim’s rights. Talk to one of our Atlanta bicycle accident lawyers today.

Injured bicycle riders need to keep their eye on the calendar to avoid losing the right to seek compensation from a careless driver. If too much time passes after the accident, the injured bicyclist will lose the right to bring a lawsuit. Careless drivers and their insurance companies have no obligation to pay injury claims after that right is lost.

Play Video

Georgia Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accidents

The time limit for bringing a lawsuit is known as the “limitations period.” The Georgia legislature has enacted different limitations periods for different kinds of legal claims. The law that creates a limitations period is called a statute of limitations.

The limitations period for personal injury lawsuits in Georgia, including those arising from bicycle accidents, is usually two years. As we explain below, there are exceptions to that rule, but most injury claims are governed by a two-year limitations period.

The statute of limitations does not require every claim to be resolved within two years. Rather, it requires injury victims to file lawsuits within two years. If they do not settle their claims or file a lawsuit before the expiration of that two-year period, they lose their right to pursue the claim in court.

When injuries result from a collision between another vehicle and a bicycle, the two-year period nearly always begins to run on the day of the collision. If the accident occurred on May 25, the last day to file a lawsuit will be May 25, two years later.

Exceptions to Georgia’s Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accidents

There are only a few exceptions to the two-year limitations period. The one that most often applies to bicycle accidents involves the age of the bicycle rider.

When the bicycle rider is under the age of 18, the limitations period does not begin until the rider’s eighteenth birthday. That means a minor who is injured while riding a bicycle can usually bring a lawsuit at any time before reaching the age of 20.

A shorter limitations period applies when the claim is brought against a county for a bicycle accident caused by a county employee while the employee was working. In most cases, the limitations period for suing the county is one year from the date of the accident.

Another rule requires the injury victim to give notice of the claim to the state or local government before filing suit. While the “notice of claim” requirement does not shorten the limitations period, failing to provide a timely notice can bar the injury victim from filing suit.

Notice of a claim against the state must usually be given within one year after the accident. Notice must be given to local governments, including a city or county, within six months after the accident.

Complying with notice of claim statutes can be complicated. It is best to engage the services of a personal injury lawyer immediately after the accident, so that the responsible entity can be identified and appropriate notices can be served on time.

Bicycle Accident Limitations Periods in Other States

Each state sets its own limitations period for bringing a lawsuit. In personal injury cases, they generally range from one year to six years.

In most cases, if the accident occurred in Georgia, the lawsuit must be filed in Georgia and the two-year limitations period applies. In unusual cases, if the driver who caused the accident lives in a state with a longer limitations period, it might be possible to bring the lawsuit in that state. Since that isn’t always true, it is important to obtain legal advice before the Georgia limitations period expires.

Can I be Compensated for Pain and Suffering in a Bicycle Accident?

If you or someone you care about has been injured in a bicycle accident that was caused by another person’s negligent or careless actions, you will have questions about compensation. Most people know that there is compensation available for a bicycle accident in Atlanta, but they may not know that they could be entitled to receive pain and suffering damages as well.

When you get injured in a crash that was not your fault, there are various types of compensation you can receive through an insurance settlement. Generally, the at-fault driver is responsible for paying your pain and suffering damages. But, defining “pain and suffering” can be complicated.

What does “pain and suffering” mean?

‘Pain and suffering’ is a term used to describe various types of distress a person can experience after a crash. Typically, this involves both physical and mental components.

Physical pain and suffering deals with the pain a person experiences from their injuries. This type of pain typically involved both the pain a person experiences right after a crash and while recovering as well as the pain a crash victim is expected to experience in the future.

Mental pain and suffering has to do with the physical injuries as well as the event itself causing the following:

  • mental anguish
  • emotional distress
  • loss of enjoyment of life
  • fear
  • anger
  • anxiety
  • humiliation

When discussing pain and suffering, we want to understand that it is any negative reaction, pain, emotion or anguish a person endures as a result of the physical trauma of the initial incident. Studies have show that up to 9% of all car accident victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Significant mental suffering can lead to depression, mood swings, loss of appetite, and more.

Bicycle accidents tend to be much more traumatic for a bicyclist than a regular accident is for traditional vehicle passengers. A bicyclist has very little protection from the force of a vehicle slamming into them and they often suffer severe traumatic injuries, including:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Bone fractures
  • Loss of or damage to a bodily organ
  • Dismemberment or amputation
  • Significant disfigurement

Injuries of this magnitude are more likely to cause significant pain and suffering.

Is it easy to calculate pain and suffering?

Pain and suffering is harder to calculate than other types of damages after a bicycle accident. For the injuries listed above, economic damages can be calculated by gathering hospital bills and documenting lost wages. There are no bills associated with pain and suffering. When a case goes to trial, the judge will instruct the jurors to use good judgement when determining a fair and reasonable amount.

However, many cases do not go to trial, but are settled out of court with the insurance carriers. A skilled Georgia bicycle accident attorney will be ready to present testimony from medical and economic expert witnesses who can attest to the victim’s pain and suffering.

In Georgia, there is no limit to how much compensation a person can receive for pain and suffering damages. Sometimes a “multiplier” is used to help with calculations, meaning that the damages are calculated using a person’s total economic damages and multiplying them by a certain amount to get a number for pain and suffering.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that there were 783 bicyclists killed in the US during the latest reporting year and thousands were left dealing with serious injuries. Atlanta bicycle accidents are going to happen. If you or a loved one are injured, speak to a Georgia bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Contact an Atlanta Bicycle Accident Lawyer For Help, Today!

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident, Butler Kahn may be able to help you get compensation for your bicycle accident injuries. We can work to recover lost wages, medical bills, and even to get you compensated for your pain and suffering. We’ll talk with you for free. Call our Atlanta bike accident attorneys at (678) 400-6166 or click the button below.

We serve all areas of Atlanta, including Brookhaven, Druid Hills, Buckhead, Chastain Park, Garden Hills, Piedmont Heights, Midtown, Downtown Atlanta, Grove Pak, Inman Park, South Atlanta, East Atlanta Village, West End, and Atlantic Station.