South Georgia Bicycle Accident Attorney

Why Should I Hire a Bicycle Accident Lawyer?

bikeEvery year, more than 450,000 Americans are forced into the emergency room because of injuries suffered in a bike accident. Many of these injuries are extremely serious. Sadly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motor vehicle accidents take the lives of nearly 700 bicyclists annually. In 2013, alone 133 cyclists were killed in car accidents in the state of Florida, and another 28 were killed in the state of Georgia. To put these figures into perspective, that means that Georgia has a slightly above average rate of fatal bicycle accident, while Florida has, by far, the highest rate of fatal bike accidents in the entire country. Clearly, bicyclists face extreme risks from traffic and more needs to be done to protect their safety.

John and his team have grown up on bicycles and motorcycles and knows the rules and laws. He knows how dangerous it can be for cyclist to share the road with the distracted drivers of today’s world. If you or your loved one received bike injuries as the result of a bicycle accident, you will need a bike accident attorney to handle your case and get you the help you need to expedite recovery of physical, financial and emotional pain and suffering.



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Bicyclists Have a Right to the Road  

Many bicycle accidents occur simply because drivers fail to recognize them or because drivers do not give them adequate space. So many bicycle accidents are entirely preventable. Drivers must get better at sharing our roads with bikes. After all, cyclists have a legal right to use the roads too. This is true throughout the United States, including in Jacksonville and across Northern Florida and Southern Georgia. When it comes to sharing the road with bikes, there are three things that all drivers must keep in mind:


  • Bicyclists can control a lane: First, many drivers in our area fail to understand the fact that bikes are allowed to control a lane on the road. A bicycle is not a nuisance and cannot be treated as one. Consider the example of a standard two lane roadway where one lane is going in each direction. Many drivers think that bikes should be in the far corner of the lane. This is completely false. Bikes are allowed to ride in the center of their own lane. The fact is, bicycles have a legal right to control that space.
  • Bikes are allowed to be in the left lane: Similarly, some drivers get frustrated or confused when they see bikers in the far left lane on a multi-lane roadway. Though, once again, the biker has every right to be in the space. In fact, bikers are supposed to be in the far left lane when making a left hand turn. Bikes are obligated to follow all local traffic regulations, just the same as any automobile would. In return, bicyclists should be treated with care and respect.
  • Cyclists are exposed and at high risk: Finally, drivers need to consider the inherent risk that bicyclists face. If an accident does occur, it will be the cyclist that take the brunt of the impact. No one wants to see anyone else severely injured. It is critical that drivers proceed with caution around bikes.

Who is Liable for a Bike Accident?

In Florida and Georgia, liability for a bicycle accident is generally determined by using the negligence standard. In most cases, a negligent driver will bear liability for the accident. Though, that is certainly not always the case. In fact, in some cases, a cyclist may actually be fully or partially responsible for his or her own accident. Everyone needs to understand how negligence works. In simplified terms, it is the failure to take adequate care when performing an action. For example, when performing the action of driving, individuals have a legal responsibility  to ensure that they are not creating undue risk for other people. Your attorney must prove negligence in order to prove establish liability. This requires proving each of the following four elements:  

  • Duty: First, your attorney must articulate the extent to which the defendant had a legal responsibility to look out for your well-being. This duty is referred to as the standard of care.
  • Breach: Next, your attorney will need to prove that the defendant failed to live up to that duty.
  • Causation: You will also need to establish a direct causal link between the defendant’s actions and your injuries. If there is no link, you will not be able to hold the defendant liable.
  • Damages: Finally, in all personal injury cases, victims must be able to prove their damages. You will only be able to recover compensation for your injuries to the extent that you can prove that you sustained real physical, financial or mental harm.

Understanding the Comparative Fault Standard

Florida and Georgia are both comparative fault states. This can have a major impact on bicycle accident injury claims. Essentially, the comparative fault rules require that victims’ injury awards are reduced in proportion to their liability for their own accident. Obviously, if a bicyclist bears no liability for their own crash, then their reward will not be reduced at all. However, many bike accident cases are complex and insurance companies often try to pin some of the blame on the victim.

The Top Five Driver Mistakes that Lead to Bicycle Accidents

  1. Turning directly in front of a cyclist at an intersection.
  2. Making a right on red, without ensuring that no bikes are crossing.
  3. Backing out of parking space without checking for oncoming bikes.
  4. Speeding in areas where bicycles are common.
  5. Passing a cyclist without giving them an appropriate amount of space.

Do Not Be Stuck With the Blame

If you are stuck with an unfair percentage of the blame, money will be taken directly out of your wallet. In some cases, it could cost you thousands of dollars. For example, imagine that a driver hit you while you were biking. As a result, you sustained $10,000 in damages. You should be able to recover that full $10,000 in injury compensation. However, if the insurance company gets away with blaming you for 30 percent of the accident, your compensation would be reduced accordingly. In other words, it would be reduced by $3,000, down to $7,000. Do not get stuck with unfair blame. Please work with an experienced bike accident lawyer who can help protect your legal rights and financial interests.

You Can Afford a Bike Accident Attorney

Following a serious accident, many injured victims worry that they will not actually be able to afford legal representation. This is a common and understandable fear. However, it is also a completely false. In reality, you can always afford a Jacksonville bicycle accident attorney. In fact, at the Law Offices of John M. Phillips, our team never charges our personal injury clients anything upfront. We are not here to nickel and dime our clients. We want to put money into your pocket. Further, we will comprehensively review your bike accident claim for free, with no further obligations. If you were seriously injured in a bicycle accident, you owe it to yourself and to your family to learn more about what our firm can do for you.


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