Accidents Caused by Road Defects
Riding your bike through the streets of Atlanta is an excellent way to get around. Not only is it a form of exercise, it is cheaper than driving and is environmental friendly. More and more people are now riding bicycles-for commuting, to run errands, and for pleasure. When riding through urban streets, there are a number of safety concerns a cyclist must navigate. Some of these may be foreseen, but other road defects can be unforeseen. All road defects have the potential to cause serious injury to you as a cyclist. Landowners and the city have a duty to maintain parking lots, streets, and other areas where bicyclists may ride in a reasonably safe condition. If you were injured by a street defect while riding your bicycle in an Atlanta street contact the experienced Atlanta injury attorneys at Slappey & Sadd today at 404-255-6677.Common Atlanta Bicycle Accident Injuries
Injuries sustained from a bicycle accident caused by a road defect can be severe. Some injuries might include:
- Concussions or other head injuries including Traumatic Brain Incident
- Spine or neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Life-threatening internal injuries
- Soft tissue injuries like torn ligaments
- Cuts, bruises, and abrasions
A road defect can be any road situation that creates a hazard. Specific road defects might include the following:
- Potholes: A pothole occurs when a layer of the road caves in. They can be caused by water, heat, or cold. They can also develop when repairs or temporary roadwork shifts.
- Sinkholes: A sinkhole or cave in occurs when the both the asphalt and underlying road base collapse. These usually occur with little warning and can be deep holes.
- Ditches: Ditches are located on the side of the road. They are usually used for drainage or to provide utility companies an area to run and work on underground lines. Ditches can provide numerous hazards.
- Construction site hazards: Road work is something that is constant in the Atlanta area. Laws require certain safeguards to be in place and these areas to be well marked. However, hazards can occur if the site is improperly maintained or unmarked.
- Improper road design: Road design incorporates a lot of variables. There is the design of the road itself, drainage, intersections, bridge abutments, shoulder placement, utility placement, etc. Sometimes poor planning and design itself can directly be a road defect. For example, if the design created poor drainage or an obstruction that makes traversing the road dangerous, this might be actionable as a design defect.
- Traffic light malfunctions: Municipalities have an obligation to make sure that all traffic signals are properly maintained and functioning. If you are in a bicycle accident caused by a traffic light malfunction that might be considered a road hazard.
- Improperly maintained vegetation: Overhanging foliage that obstructs the road or signs can be a hazard.
- Improper repairs: If road repairs are improperly completed and lead to your injury, victims may be able to recover compensation for their losses.
- Uneven surfaces: If the pavement is uneven, it can present a significant injury hazard to bicyclists.
Many different entities may be responsible for the condition of roadways in Georgia. These include the following:
- State of Georgia
- Local county
- Local municipality
- Construction company contracted to perform maintenance or construction on behalf of a government entity or private party
- A private party, such as an individual or a business owner
When a bicycle accident is suspected to be caused by a road defect the path to compensation for the accident must follow a particular legal course. In most cases, the injured party will need to assert a negligence claim. In order to prevail in a personal injury claim, a victim must typically establish the following:
- First, the plaintiff must prove that a road defect caused the bicycle accident. This will require a review of the facts and the scene.
- Second, the plaintiff must prove that the party responsible for maintaining the roadway (either government or private party) had a duty to maintain a safe roadway or otherwise maintain the road.
- Third, the plaintiff must prove that the entity actually breached that duty (this can be the hardest element here to prove).
- Finally, there must be actual damages to the plaintiff caused by the breach of the duty.
- Also, please note that any claim must be within the timeframes allowed to bring a claim. This is often referred to as the statute of limitations.
Under Georgia law, the statute of limitations for personal injury actions requires that file your claim within two years. However, if you are going to sue a government entity for your injuries or the wrongful death of a loved one, the timeline is much shorter.
Georgia law (O.C.G.A § 36-33-5) requires that a lawsuit against a municipality be brought within six months of the claim. This means that you must give actual notice of your injury within six months of the date the incident occurred. Only under unusual circumstances can this timeline be extended (e.g., mental incapacity).
In order to preserve your legal rights, it is advisable to contact a personal injury attorney quickly. Waiting can bar your right to bring a claim and to receive any recovery.Bicycle Injury Due to a Road Defect? Contact Us Today to Speak With an Atlanta Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident and believe that it was caused by a road defect, contact us today. At Slappey & Sadd, we are committed to representing the rights of the injured and will review the facts of your case at no cost to you. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, call us today at 404-255-6677 or contact us online.