How Motorcycle Accidents Differ from Other Automobile Accidents
Most enclosed vehicles come with a variety of safety features designed to protect their occupants during and after a collision. Most motorcycles do not even have airbags, meaning motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable should they collide with another vehicle. The force of an impact will frequently throw a motorcyclist from their bike, sending them hurtling through the air and across the road (or against another object).
The result is often catastrophic injuries, which frequently include:
- Broken bones
- Friction burns and scarring
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
You need legal representatives who understand both why motorcycle accidents happen and how the scope of your injuries may differ drastically from those of victims in a more typical car accident. Our Georgia motorcycle accident attorneys recognize what is at stake and will fight to ensure your claim is appropriately valued.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents can result in severe injuries and fatalities due to the inherent risks associated with riding a motorcycle. Understanding the common causes of motorcycle accidents is crucial for both riders and other road users to take preventative measures and promote road safety. Here are some of the most prevalent causes:
- Distracted Driving: Distracted driving is a leading cause of motorcycle accidents. When drivers divert their attention from the road to use their smartphones, adjust the radio, or engage in other distractions, they may not notice motorcycles sharing the road, leading to collisions.
- Inadequate Training: Inexperienced or inadequately trained motorcyclists are at a higher risk of accidents. Proper training and education can help riders develop the skills needed to navigate safely through various road conditions and scenarios.
- Speeding: Excessive speed reduces a rider's ability to react to unexpected obstacles or changes in traffic conditions. Speeding also increases the severity of injuries in the event of an accident, making it a significant contributing factor.
- Impaired Riding: Riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs impairs a motorcyclist's judgment, coordination, and reaction times, increasing the likelihood of accidents. Impaired riding is a dangerous behavior that should always be avoided.
- Poor Weather Conditions: Adverse weather conditions, such as rain, fog, or snow, can reduce visibility and road traction, making it more challenging to control a motorcycle. Riders should adjust their speed and riding style accordingly when riding in poor weather.
- Left-Turning Vehicles: Many motorcycle accidents occur when other vehicles make left turns in front of oncoming motorcycles. These incidents typically happen when the car or truck driver fails to notice the motorcycle or misjudges its speed.
- Road Hazards: Potholes, gravel, debris, and uneven road surfaces can pose significant dangers to motorcyclists. These hazards can lead to loss of control, skidding, or accidents when riders are unable to avoid them.
- Inadequate Visibility: Motorcycles are smaller and less visible than other vehicles, especially in a driver's blind spots. Other motorists may fail to see motorcycles when changing lanes or making maneuvers, increasing the risk of collisions.
How Georgia’s Motorcycle Laws Can Affect Personal Injury Claims
Motorcyclists are expected to obey the rules of the road that apply to all drivers. Additionally, Georgia enforces several traffic laws that are specific to motorcycles and motorcyclists.
Though “lane splitting” – the practice of driving between two vehicles to pass them or sharing a single lane with a vehicle – is permitted in some states, it is illegal in Georgia. Furthermore, only two motorcyclists can ride parallel to one another in a single lane.
All motorcyclists in Georgia must wear a Department of Transportation-approved helmet when operating their bikes. Every motorcyclist must also use some form of eye protection: This may include a sufficiently large windshield, a visor on their helmet, or approved eyewear.
These and other laws governing the use of motorcycles in Georgia may be an important factor in an accident-related lawsuit. If you were breaking one or more of these rules at the time of the collision, the defendant may argue that you are partially to blame for your injuries. Fortunately, Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state, so even if you do share some of the fault. You can still recover damages so long as the court finds you are less than 50% responsible.
Types of Compensation You Can Recover after a Motorcycle Accident in Georgia
How Long Do I Have to File a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit in Georgia?
In Georgia, you generally have up to two years from the date of the motorcycle accident to bring a personal injury claim. If someone you love suffered fatal injuries in a motorcycle crash, you will have two years from the date of their passing, not the date of the accident itself, to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Missing the applicable deadline will prevent you from pursuing your claim and recovering any compensation, so do not wait to get legal advice.
I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet When My Motorcycle Crash Occurred. Can I Still Recover Compensation?
The short answer is, in many scenarios, yes, you can still recover partial compensation. If you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, you were breaking a Georgia traffic law. However, not wearing a helmet does not undo the negligence of the driver who caused your accident. The precise impacts will depend on the specific facts of your case. For example, if you suffered a traumatic brain injury because of the force of impact to your head – some of which arguably could have been mitigated by wearing a helmet – it may be tougher to get full compensation for that specific injury. With that said, we are skilled litigators who understand how to effectively approach cases involving partial fault. We can walk you through how the state’s modified comparative negligence laws may influence what you can recover. No matter your situation, we will work to secure as much compensation as possible.