Athens residents are increasingly turning to cycling as a way to work, commute, or simply enjoy some fresh air. But while cyclists have many of the same rights and responsibilities as motorists under Alabama law, they lack the safety protections of a motor vehicle. Consequently, when the two collide, it’s almost always the bicyclist who suffers the greater harm.
If you were injured while riding your bike in Athens, Alabama, the knowledgeable bicycle accident lawyers of Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., can help. Contact us today to learn more about your options for pursuing fair compensation during a free initial consultation.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Athens, Alabama
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, many bicycle accidents could be prevented if cyclists and motorists obey the rules of the road and practice defensive driving and cycling techniques. Unfortunately, the following causes of bicycle accidents remain especially common in Athens, AL:
- Distracted driving – Drivers who are texting or otherwise distracted are more likely to overlook cyclists and cause serious bicycle accidents.
- Driving under the influence – When drivers are drunk or high, they tend to have trouble with depth perception and reaction time, which makes it difficult to spot and avoid cyclists in traffic.
- Drowsy driving – If a motorist is dangerously fatigued, they may collide with cyclists when they nod off at the wheel or drift into neighboring bicycle lanes.
- Driver errors – Drivers who are inexperienced, confused, or careless often commit driving errors such as failure to yield the right of way, check blind spots, or signal before turning. Each of these errors increases the risk of crashing into a nearby cyclist.
- Reckless driving – Reckless driving behaviors such as speeding, tailgating, and lane weaving leave drivers with less room for error, which can often be the difference between a near miss and a devastating collision.
Types of Bicycle Accidents
Here are some of the most common types of bicycle accidents we see in the personal injury cases we handle:
- Rear-end collisions – A rear-end collision occurs when a vehicle collides with the rear of a bicycle or vice versa. Many rear-end accidents occur as a result of following too closely or illegal “brake check” maneuvers.
- “Right hook” crashes – A right hook crash occurs when a motorist attempts to speed in front of a nearby cyclist and make a right-hand turn ahead of them, leading the cyclist to collide with the side of the turning vehicle.
- Backing up accidents – Backing up accidents occur when motorists back out of garages, driveways, or parking spots without checking behind the vehicle, subsequently colliding with passing cyclists.
- Intersection crashes – Many crashes occur because motorists run red lights or stop signs and collide with cyclists traveling through intersections legally. Others occur when motorists or cyclists fail to yield the right of way at uncontrolled intersections.
- Dooring accidents – A dooring accident occurs when a vehicle occupant opens their door directly into the path of an oncoming cyclist. Cyclists can be severely injured when they collide with open doors at speed.
Types of Injuries from Bike Accidents
Even when cyclists wear properly fitted helmets and protective gear, they are still much more likely than motor vehicle occupants to suffer serious injuries in traffic collisions. Common types of injuries in Athens bike accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Facial injuries and dental trauma
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Partial or total paralysis
- Traumatic amputation and loss of limbs
- Fractured or dislocated bones
- Soft tissue strains, sprains, and tears
- Abdominal injuries and internal bleeding
- Bruises, burns, lacerations, and puncture wounds
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Other emotional and psychological injuries
- Wrongful death
Can I Get Compensation for My Athens Bicycle Accident?
If you were injured in a bicycle accident in Athens, AL, you have the right to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation from the at-fault party. You may be entitled to money for the following bicycle accident-related losses:
- Medical expenses
- Incidental costs
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Lost quality of life
Time Limits for Filing a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit in Alabama
When you file a bicycle accident lawsuit in Alabama, you must do so within a specific timeframe. Under state law, you have just two years from the date on which you sustained your injuries to file most personal injury lawsuits, including those involving bike accidents.
If you wait to file your lawsuit until after the two-year deadline has passed, the court will most likely dismiss your case. If this occurs, you effectively lose your right to demand compensation for your losses, no matter how strong your case may be. Consequently, it’s important to consult with a bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible so as not to waste this precious time.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt in a Bicycle Accident in Athens, AL
In the aftermath of a serious bicycle accident, it’s common to feel shocked and disoriented. However, it’s important to take a few simple steps to protect your health and your legal rights:
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you don’t think you were hurt at first. A healthcare professional can make sure any injuries you sustained are diagnosed, treated, and added to your medical records.
- Follow your doctor’s care plan and attend all follow-up appointments to maximize the effectiveness of your treatment. This will also demonstrate to relevant insurers that you are taking your recovery seriously.
- Gather as much evidence as possible from the scene of the accident. This includes taking photos, collecting vehicle and insurance information from the motorist, and asking eyewitnesses for statements and contact details.
- Keep track of accident-related documents, such as medical records and bike repair estimates. You should also make copies of bank statements or pay stubs that show how much income you lost from missed time at work.
- Watch what you say to others about the crash. Avoid accepting blame or apologizing, since it could be misconstrued as an admission of guilt. Keep your statements brief if you have to speak to an insurance representative and never agree to provide a recorded statement.
- Avoid posting or sharing anything on social media while your claim is pending. Anything you say or share online could be taken out of context by others and used to undermine your case without the advice or your attorney.
- Contact a knowledgeable bike crash lawyer as soon as possible.
Talk to an Athens Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
The Athens bicycle crash lawyers of Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., have been standing up for injured victims throughout Alabama since 1966. Contact our firm to discuss the details of your case with a bike wreck lawyer in a free initial case review.