Atlanta Fatal Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Losing a loved one in a bicycle accident is incredibly traumatic. According to the Federal Highway Administration, almost 9,000 people died from bicycle accidents between 2007 and 2018 in the United States. Bicycle fatalities occur often in the United States, in large part because many cities aren’t adequately set up for bike safety. Additionally, many automobile and truck drivers in Atlanta still don’t understand the laws and rules surrounding bicyclists on the road, or they simply don’t like that they have to share the road with them. In Atlanta, bicycles are designated as vehicles and they have the same rights as any other vehicle on the road.
- Do You Need to Hire a Lawyer?
- Who Can You File a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit Against?
- Compensation You May be Entitled to
- What are Punitive Damages?
Why Hire a Lawyer for Your Atlanta Bicycle Accident Case
Non-motorist accidents, including pedestrians and bicyclists, can be extremely dangerous, and even result in death. In Georgia in 2019, there were 236 pedestrians injured, and 60 percent of them were in the Atlanta region. If you endure injuries in an accident at the fault of a driver, you will need to get in contact with a lawyer.
At Williams Oinonen LLC, we understand how devastating a serious bicycle accident can be. We will do everything we can to assist you through this trying time. In many cases, this means holding someone legally accountable. Contact us today by filling out our online form or calling (404) 654-0288.
Georgia Bicycle Accidents
In the United States, a total of 843 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2019, and most of these deaths occured among people over the age of 20. 1.4% of these fatalities occured in the state of Georgia. 34% of all fatal bike crashes involved alcohol, either for the motor vehicle driver or the bicyclist.
In 2018, Georgia launched a state-wide initiative for bicycle safety in response to the rising rates of bicycle accidents.
In Georgia from 2005 to 2015:
- 5834 bicycle crashes occured in Georgia, 63 were fatal.
- 77% of crashes resulted in injures and 1.4% resulted in death.
- 72% of bicyclists were male
The state-wide effort to decrease the number of fatalities and injuries is focused on increasing bicyle friendly roads in urban areas and promoting bicycle tourism around the state. Georgia hopes to lower their rates to 15 fatalities and 32 major injuries per year by 2025.
How a Bicycle Accident Attorney Can Help
If you find yourself in the traumatic situation of losing a loved one in a fatal bicycle accident, it’s essential to contact an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can help you take the following steps:
When you lose someone in a bicycle accident, an attorney will help you thoroughly investigate the situation. This often includes taking photos of the scene of the accident, interviewing witnesses, and obtaining video footage from nearby stores or pedestrians who witnessed the accident.
2. Collect Evidence
In these types of accident cases, collecting evidence is crucial. Your attorney can help you obtain the insurance information from the negligent party who caused the accident and death. An experienced attorney can also help you obtain medical records for your loved one to show that the cause of death was due to the fatal bicycle crash.
In many car accidents and bicycle accident deaths, the other party and their insurance company will attempt to settle the case quickly through their insurance policy. While this can be a tempting solution because you might receive monetary compensation more quickly than if you went to trial, this is usually not a good idea.
When you hire a dedicated and experienced bicycle accident attorney, they can help make sure that you take all the necessary and correct actions. This will lead to collecting the largest compensation for the damages that were inflicted by the accident. A smart attorney knows when to negotiate with the insurance company, or when going to court might be the better solution. Very often a quick settlement benefits the insurance company.
4. Expert Witnesses
If you decide to file a wrongful death claim as a result of a bicycle accident death, you’ll likely need an expert witness. This expert will be qualified and prepared to testify on your behalf when the case goes to trial. You’ll likely need an expert witness who is highly trained and experienced in bicycle function and safety. They will be able to testify that the bicycle your loved one was riding was functioning properly and abided by all safety and road requirements. An experienced attorney will have experts they can call upon to help you when required.
Many Atlanta wrongful death and personal injury claims settle before they get to trial, but you always want to hire a lawyer who isn’t afraid to go to court in the event that the settlement offer isn’t acceptable. One of the most important things you can do is find an attorney who has a proven track record of successful trial outcomes.
Who Can You File a Lawsuit Against?
Who you file the lawsuit against depends on the circumstances. Was the bicycle accident a result of a negligent driver? A careless pedestrian? Another bicyclist who was on their phone and riding too fast? Or did the bike malfunction because the manufacturer built the bike improperly, and it failed to conform to the current safety standards? Depending on what caused the accident, you could have a viable claim against multiple people, as well as companies too.
Damages Available in a Fatal Bicycle Accident Case
If you lost a loved one to a bicycle accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death suit and recover monetary compensation. This includes damages that relate to the expenses you incur from losing a loved one, as well as those damages that are paid out as a way to compensate you for the value of your loved one’s life. While there’s no way to truly value a person’s life, the courts have determined that there are specific ways in which a surviving spouse or child should be compensated.
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical expenses leading up to the death of your loved one
- Pain and suffering that your loved one experienced before they passed
- Any other expenses arising out of the accident
- Lost future wages that your loved one would have earned and contributed to the family
- Lost future benefits, such as health insurance
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of care
Calculating lost future wages and lost benefits can be difficult because it requires a determination to be made about a person’s earnings and life expectancy. It’s very common for an expert witness, an actuary, to testify to how much they believe this amount would be. However, ultimately, it’s the jury’s decision.
Clearly, some of the other damages relating to a person’s value are even more difficult to quantify as a monetary amount. For the intangible value of a person’s life, the jury has complete discretion and can award any amount they wish.
Punitive Damages in Georgia Bike Accident Cases
It’s important to note that punitive damages may not be awarded in a wrongful death suit in Georgia. However, the decedent’s estate can attempt to recover punitive damages through a survival action. Punitive damages will only be awarded if the defendant’s actions were intentional, malicious, or showed a conscious disregard for the decedent’s well-being and safety. Additionally, a survival action can only be brought if there is proof that the decedent lived, even for a couple of seconds after the injury, before passing away. If the death was immediate, a survival action is impermissible and punitive damages cannot be sought.
Williams Oinonen LLC Can Help
If you recently lost a loved one due to a fatal bike accident, it’s important to contact an attorney right away. There are deadlines that need to be met in order to allow you to file a lawsuit and recover the monetary compensation that you are entitled to. Williams Oinonen LLC is a boutique plaintiffs trial practice firm. When we agree to take a case, it’s because we genuinely believe we can provide you with a successful outcome. Our selectivity allows us to treat all of our clients with the dedication and compassion they deserve. Contact an Atlanta fatal bicycle accident attorney today by filling out our online form or calling (404) 654-0288.