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 Atlanta 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.
- Lane Splitting: 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.
- Helmets: 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
Filing a personal injury claim can help you get the financial resources you need to cover the many mounting expenses you will likely be dealing with in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident. A successful claim can also compensate you for money lost from missed work as well as other, more difficult-to-quantify consequences of a crash.
Our Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyers will fight to get you full compensation for your damages, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Reduced earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Protect Your Rights After a Motorcycle Accident
Experiencing a motorcycle accident can be a distressing ordeal, and it's crucial to act promptly to safeguard your entitlements and pursue the recompense you're owed. At Morrison & Hughes, our proficient team of motorcycle accident lawyers is committed to delivering strategic representation for victims of motorcycle accidents across Georgia.
When you choose us to represent you, we will:
- Thoroughly investigate the accident and gather evidence to support your claim
- Handle all communication and negotiations with insurance companies on your behalf
- Work with accident reconstruction experts and medical professionals to build a strong case
- Fight for maximum compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages
- Guide you through the legal process and keep you informed every step of the way
Don't let the insurance companies take advantage of you. Take back control of your life and let our experienced attorneys fight for your rights.
You Deserve a Strong Legal Advocate!
At Morrison & Hughes, we have numerous resources at our disposal that we regularly leverage to help motorcycle accident victims. These resources include advanced technology – everything from drones to 3D accident reconstructions to 3D printing of injuries – to create dynamic pieces of evidence and prove cases. Beyond our technological capabilities and litigation prowess, we are also here to support you during this difficult time. You can expect responsive communication, personalized guidance, and aggressive advocacy from start to finish.
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.
How Much Is My Georgia Motorcycle Crash Claim Worth?
There are many factors that play into the value of your claim. Knowing how those factors come together and how to make an appropriate demand to the insurance company is the hallmark of an expert motorcycle crash attorney. You and your attorney will need to work together to maximize the fair value of your case, taking into consideration:
- Medical Bills: Almost all of your damages are based on how much medical care you get, including the total cost of your medical bills, and your attendance at medical appointments. In court, proof that you received care quickly and consistently is the key to a bigger verdict.
- Pain & Suffering: In addition to your medical bills, you are also entitled to compensation for loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, impairment of your activities of daily living, scarring or damage to tattoos, along with other types of benefits based on your pain and suffering. Our experienced Atlanta motorcycle wreck attorneys know exactly how to ask a jury to compensate you for the pain caused by a negligent or drunk driver.
- Who Hit You, and How Much Insurance Do They Have: In Georgia, most drivers carry the State minimum for auto insurance, which is $25,000.00 per person, with a $50,000.00 cap per accident. This means that the negligent driver’s insurance company could be obligated to pay out only $25,000.00 for your injuries, regardless of how hurt you are. By contrast, many commercial vehicles typically have at least $750,000.00 of auto insurance. Likewise, we highly recommend that you purchase “add on” underinsured motorist (UM) coverage. This insurance pays out when the negligent driver’s insurance is inadequate to cover your losses, and it is relatively inexpensive.
- Venue: Putting a value on your case, and what you have lost, is the job of a jury. Your lawsuit’s "venue” is the county where your lawsuit must be filed, and the county where your jury lives, so it can have a big impact on your recovery. A Cobb County, Marietta motorcycle accident may be worth more than a Cherokee County, Woodstock motorcycle accident, but less than a Fulton County, Alpharetta motorcycle accident. In general (but not always) rural juries pay out less than urban (city) juries. Understanding the venue, and how that plays into negotiations is one hallmark of a seasoned Georgia motorcycle accident lawyer.
- Punitive Damages: These are damages meant to punish the other driver. From reckless driving to intoxication to fleeing the scene of the accident, many factors can play into a punitive damages claim. Likewise, your experienced Marietta motorcycle crash attorney will have a deep understanding of insurance bad faith law.
- Death Claims: no amount of money can compensate for a death in the family. However, the law makes certain benefits available to the family or estate of a deceased cyclist in addition to the damages discussed above. These include benefits for funeral and burial costs, loss of companionship, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of future income, and the grief and emotional damage of the death.
- Other Damages: Depending upon your accident, and whether you are married, other damages may be available, such as loss of consortium. If you are unable to work due to your accident, you are entitled to lost wages and possibly a loss of future earning capacity. To get a fuller understanding of your potential recovery, contact one of our local motorcycle accident attorneys.
The passenger on a motorcycle at the time of an accident is almost never at fault for the wreck. If you were the passenger involved in a motorcycle or ATV collision, even if it was a single-vehicle collision, call us to discuss your rights.
What is Unique about Motorcycle and ATV Accidents?ATVs and two-wheeled motor vehicles involve risks that enclosed vehicles don’t face. The rider or passenger is often thrown off the vehicle with extreme force during a motorcycle accident, which can result in severe trauma, including brain injuries, spinal damage, and friction burns (road rash), amongst other things.
With few exceptions, there are no airbags on a motorcycle (unless you have a Honda Goldwing). Likewise, enclosed vehicles have a host of other safety features. Even ATVs with cages lack many of these advanced protections, so when an accident occurs, it is likely to be worse for the rider.
Finally, two-wheeled vehicles face challenges from the elements and road defects that other drivers can ignore without consequences. These are hazards that most drivers miss or don’t understand. In the same way, your average injury lawyer simply doesn’t understand the challenges of motorcycle litigation.
The top-rated motorcycle injury lawyers at Morrison & Hughes know how to keep their eyes on the road, to protect you from legal hazards. Call our experienced Atlanta motorcycle attorneys for your free legal consult at (404) 689-2734