Bicycle accidents take place in a variety of circumstances. Some occur in busy downtown Atlanta, and others happen on quiet residential roadways. Bicycles cause a range of injuries, too. What is a bump and scrape for one rider could be a broken femur for another. This variability means there is no “average” settlement for bicycle accidents.
That said, a few factors will impact the valuation of most bicycle accident settlements. The type, outcome, and severity of these factors will ultimately decide the valuation of an insurance claim or judgment. Bicycle accident settlements can range from $10,000 to upwards of a million dollars.
Common Damages in Bicycle Accidents
Damages are losses you can receive compensation for after a bicycle accident. They include:
Most claimants consider pursuing settlements after bicycle accidents because they are injured. Common bicycling injuries include:
- Head trauma
- Broken bones
- Road rash
Some of these injuries can be severe and lead to exorbitant medical expenses. In addition, medical costs typically correlate with the valuation of a settlement. Therefore, the type and severity of your injuries can impact what you receive.
Settlements for bicycle accidents can take lost wages into account, too. This damage accounts for the time you were unable to work because of your injuries.
It is not uncommon for bicycles to be destroyed in accidents involving cars. This is because bikes are smaller and lighter than most other vehicles on the roadway. Just because bicycles are comparatively small does not mean they are cheap, though. Top-of-the-line road bikes can cost thousands of dollars.
Damages are the baseline of a bicycle accident settlement. A legal expert can review the damages involved in a case and estimate its valuation. Knowing the potential value of your case is essential, as it provides you with a goal to strive towards during negotiations.
Knowing your settlement estimation does not mean that you will receive the said estimate, though. Damages are not the only factor that impacts the value of a settlement.
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Typical Types of Bicycle Accident Settlements
The outcome of settlement negotiations will also alter the value of your final settlement. Bicycle accidents are typically settled in one of two ways:
- An insurance claim
- A lawsuit
Georgia mandates that all drivers carry liability insurance. Therefore, when you pursue a settlement against an at-fault driver, you typically need to deal with their insurer. If a driver is insured, their liability insurance will cover your losses, not their assets. As a result, insurance claims are more common than lawsuits after bicycle accidents.
Handling insurers is tricky, though. They will work to provide you with the lowest settlement possible. But, remember, they are a business, not a charity organization. They care more about their bottom line than your recovery.
To reduce the value of your claim, they can:
- Take advantage of the fact that you are in a compromised position and offer you a quick, low settlement
- Request a recorded statement and use it against you
- Encourage you to admit fault
The Involvement of Fault in Georgia
Few bicycle accidents are black and white, meaning one party was 100% responsible for the accident. Georgia law accounts for this fact with its comparative negligence precedent. This legal precedent divides settlements according to the negligence of each party.
For example, imagine you were bicycling down the street when you received a text. You quickly glanced down at your phone to respond, not noticing that a car was speeding through an intersection towards you. The vehicle, which was driving over the speed limit, struck you. Each party in this hypothetical accident was partially at-fault:
- The driver was 70% responsible for the crash because they were speeding
- You were 30% responsible because you checked your phone
In this case, because you were 30% responsible, you could only receive 70% of the total value of your claim.
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Meeting Legal Deadlines for Your Bicycle Accident Case
Bicycle accident claims are time-sensitive, too. In Georgia, you typically have two years after an accident to file a lawsuit, per O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33. This deadline only applies to lawsuits. However, it is still best to get started on your case as soon as possible.
Strong cases do not just instantly materialize. To dispute fault and fight for a fair settlement, you and your bicycle accident attorney will need to review evidence, including:
- Traffic camera footage
- Eyewitness statements
- Medical records
- Images of the accident site
- Expert testimony
- Any other pieces of evidence relevant to your case
This evidence collection takes time, as does organizing it, so it supports your claim. Filing early allows you to negotiate your settlement within Georgia’s personal injury statute of limitations. Proactiveness could increase your chances of receiving a higher settlement.
Consult with a Bicycle Accident Lawyer About Your Claim Today
Our team gets it, and we know that bicycle accidents are stressful. If you were recently in a crash, you are likely dealing with aggressive insurers and mounting medical bills. We can handle the trickier aspects of your case so you have time to recover. So let us make your life easier.
We have won millions of dollars in compensation for our clients at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers. We also work on contingency, so we do not get paid unless you win your case. Call our offices for a free case evaluation today.