Although motorcycles give us certain freedoms that cars just can’t, they also do have their own unique risks. Many motorists are not often as aware of motorcycles as they need to be, and motorcycle accidents can often lead to more severe damage and lead to a much higher rate of fatalities compared to car accidents. An experienced Albany motorcycle accident lawyer will make sure you receive compensation for all damages you suffered.
In case you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, get in touch with the personal injury lawyers at Calvin Smith Law. Call us today at XXX-XXX-XXXX and schedule your free consultation with one of our Albany personal injury attorneys.
Motorcycle Accident Laws in Georgia
Motorcycles have the same rights and the riders have the same responsibilities as any other motorist on the road. Much of the motorcycle accidents happen because someone – a road user or the motorcyclist – broke a traffic rule. But considering the nature of the motorcycle, in terms of how it’s built, Georgia has some specific laws in place to improve on the safety of the riders. Failing to abide by these rules can increase the risk of fatalities in accidents around Georgia, especially within metropolitan areas like Albany.
Some of the laws that every motorcyclist has to abide by include:
- Every rider should have a special Class M driver’s license after passing the motorcycle driving and sign tests
- All passengers and riders should wear federally recommended safety helmets. Georgia law also mandates the motorcycle operator to wear safety or protective eyewear
- Motorcycles are prohibited from driving between two lanes or splitting lanes. They are also not allowed to overtake vehicles on the same lane that the vehicle is traveling on
- Both the taillights and headlights must always be illuminated while operating the motorcycles, even during the day
Every motorcyclist should adhere to these rules along with other traffic laws when driving on any road in Georgia. This means they must always come to a stop when they are at a stop sign avoid speeding, tailgating, and driving recklessness, and also signal before making a turn. Reckless driving has been one of the major causes of motorcycle accidents in Albany as well as the greater Georgia area over the years.
And while something like not wearing a helmet might seem trivial, it’s a universal law that should be taken seriously. Breaking this law could hurt your chances of being awarded compensation when you’re involved in a motorcycle accident. The courts could argue that your injuries might have been significantly less severe had you followed the state laws and obeyed the recommended safety measures. It can also be a reason for suspending or revoking your driver’s license.
What is Georgia’s Negligence Law?
Georgia follows the comparative negligence law, which is typically used to determine how negligence will be calculated for an accident. It’s actually one of the essential laws that you need to have in mind when pursuing a claim. If there are multiple parties found to be responsible for the accident, the amount of compensation to be awarded to the injured will be directly proportional to the percentage of liability they shoulder for the accident.
At Calvin Smith Law, our attorneys will explain the nature of things to expect about your case. They’ll help you understand that being hurt in an Albany accident doesn’t necessarily mean that you are entitled to compensation. Based on the comparative negligence law, you are only eligible to seek compensation if your fault or liability for the accident is less than 50%, or when you’re not in any way responsible for the accident. In case your fault is higher than 50%, then your claim will most likely be rejected.
However, you might still be eligible for compensation for your damages based on how your lawyer defends you in your settlement negotiations and court hearings. That is when your lawyer will try to discredit any of the claimed degree of fault or negligence on your part. They will do this by gathering and reviewing any available evidence, which includes your account of what happened, eyewitness statements, relevant medical records, and the police reports.
With the collected evidence, your motorcycle accident attorney will be armed to fight for your rights, whether in courtroom hearings or in the settlement discussions.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics In Albany
According to the official statistics, published by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in 2015, 10.6% of the people who lost their lives in road accidents in the state of Georgia in 2015 were motorcyclists. This means that of the 10,000 total registered motorcyclists in Georgia, about 7 lose their lives in accidents, and this trend has remained unchanged since 2008.
How Many Fatalities In Georgia Involve Motorcyclists?
According to the data collected in 2014 and 2015, there has been a small increase in the number of motorcycle accidents in Georgia. However, this is a considerable improvement of the number of fatalities that were reported way back in 2010, which were 153 deaths. This shows that there has been a considerable drop in the number of deaths by as much as 9.8% since 2010. Listed below are the number of motorcycle accident deaths in Georgia over a period of 5 years, between 2010 and 2015, based on the official records from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety:
- 2010: 153 deaths
- 2011: 152 deaths
- 2012: 146 deaths
- 2013: 134 deaths
- 2014: 133 deaths
- 2015: 138 deaths
What Are The National Figures For Motorcycle Accident Injuries?
According to the official records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of motorcyclist deaths from the year 2015 were 29 times more frequent in comparison to those from other vehicles. The deaths were 4,976 the same year across the entire country.
Of those who lost their lives in motorcycle accidents, 42% were intoxicated, which is a high percentage compared to those of vehicle and truck drivers. The number of motorcyclists who sustained injuries dropped by 3%, which translates to about 88,000 down from 92,000 the previous year. Of the recorded motorcycle accident deaths of 2015, 6% of those who died were passengers, and 94% were operators (riders).
What Should I Do After Being In A Motorcycle Accident?
The main thing you want to avoid doing after surviving a motorcycle collision is panicking or leaving the accident scene. Try staying put until the medical emergency personnel and the police arrive to collect information. While you’re there, try to collect as many details as possible that can help to determine who was at fault. Some of the information you should collect include:
- The names of the driver, the passengers, and any potential eyewitnesses
- The make and the model of the car involved
- The insurance number and license plate of the driver
- The pictures of the scene, nearby road signs, and any other relevant detail
Avoid talking too much with the other party or admitting any fault for the crash. You may still be in shock, so it’s possible your judgment will be clouded. Plus, don’t assume any minor injuries that you might have sustained. Also seek immediate medical attention and ensure that you get a medical report from the hospital or the ER.
Consult with a personal injury lawyer at Calvin Smith Law immediately. Our team of legal experts will evaluate the circumstances leading to the collision, and collect all the necessary evidence to put together a strong case on your behalf to ensure you get the maximum compensation possible for your damages. They will ideally analyze any footage or photos of the accident, get eyewitness testimonies, and review all reports (police and medical) to build a compelling case when filing for your compensation.
How Do Motorcycle Accidents Differ From Auto Accidents?
Riding a motorcycle carries a greater inherent risk since you’re riding on a machine with lesser protection. While riding a motorcycle certainly has its allure, it poses a greater risk of death and injury from an accident when compared to driving a car or a truck. According to statistics, of all the motorcycle accidents that occur, 96% result in some form of injury. The resulting fatalities of such accidents usually account for 13% of all deaths related to traffic crashes. With over 8.4 million motorbikes on the roads, these numbers are quite worrisome.
The safety of riding a motorcycle typically depends on wearing protective clothing and a helmet, which isn’t much compared to a driver in a car or truck. Furthermore, motorcycles are usually more likely to lose control in the hazardous road conditions compared to other vehicles.
During an accident, both the rider and the passenger are thrown off the two-wheeled machine onto the road, with intensity or force equivalent to the speed they were traveling at and the magnitude of the crash. This means that the injuries can be quite severe, ranging from broken limbs, head and neck injuries to life-changing injuries or even death.
What Are The Common Causes Of Motorcycle Crash In Albany?
Most road accidents tend to be complex events that involve machines, people, environmental elements, and other factors. That’s why every accident is unique, and the most serious ones will result in fatal injuries, especially in the case of motorbikes. Injury or death usually happens when the passenger or rider is thrown off the bike, with their clothing and helmet being their only protective measure. Once ejected, the passenger or rider can strike the road, another car, or other objects with a great force, or go through/underneath another vehicle.
Inexperience in riding a motorcycle, driver error, failure to ride the motorcycle safely, and lack of concentration while on the road are some of the leading causes of fatal motorcycle crashes in Georgia. When it comes to motorbikes, regaining control of a speeding one is much harder than trying the same with a car or truck. Confidence is a key element when operating a motorcycle. Any form of incompetence on the rider’s part could potentially result in an accident. Statistics show that many fatal accidents that occurred in 2015 involving motorcycles were due to the rider not having valid licenses. This means that they likely didn’t have the proper knowledge and training to safely ride a motorcycle.
Riding while intoxicated is also a major contributor to many motorcycle accidents in Georgia. Riders who are under the influence of alcohol tend to lose control of their bikes and crash. Riding while impaired is a major traffic offense, which by itself attracts stiff penalties. While you might not be in any trouble if the blood alcohol concentration is lower than 0.08%, any concentration of 0.08% or higher could result in a negligence case.
In some cases, the accident could be attributed to other factors, such as poor weather conditions or a dangerous road. Overall, there’s nothing much that could be said about the weather, though your lawyer can place the liability on the road safety authorities for poor road maintenance which led to the accident. All in all, there’s some level of negligence that might be involved in a crash, and this gives you an opportunity to pursue a compensation case to recover your losses.
Types Of Motorcycle Injuries
Although every motorcycle accident is different, the kind of injuries that might result might not be all that different. The nature of many motorbike collisions lead to common bodily injuries, mainly due to the lack of enough protection around the passenger or the rider. For example, something could fly and hit the motorcyclist, which can unexpectedly cause loss of control and injuries, and also cause an accident.
The attorneys at Calvin Smith Law have represented many clients with a wide range of injuries related to motorcycle accidents. In our four decades of offering legal services to Albany residents in need of personal injury lawyers, we’ve encountered the following common motorcycle accident injuries:
Legs usually face the highest risk of harm considering they’re located on the lower extremities of the body, which are typically more exposed during a crash. The treatment process can be costly and extensive, and so is the recovery time. Broken or fractured bones can result in permanent or temporary disabilities.
Once a person is ejected from a moving motorcycle (or any other vehicle), coming into contact with the tough asphalt could cause severe abrasions, especially if the person didn’t have the proper safety gear. The collision could also lead to traumatic tattooing, which relates to scarring from the rocks, asphalt, and other debris that might get embedded in the skin.
Brain and Head Injuries
According to the NHTSA, helmets helped save the lives of 1,772 motorcyclists in the year 2015. Nevertheless, wearing headgear can’t really help prevent brain and head injuries, which can easily lead to cognitive impairment and other forms of permanent or temporary mental damages.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Catastrophic motorcycle accidents can easily result in significant spinal cord injuries. Such spinal injuries can have a permanent impact on the victim’s life, often resulting in complete or partial paralysis. For this reason, the victims could be left entirely dependent on machines and the help of other people. Others might even require lifelong medical care.
In a blink of an eye, an unsuspecting rider could get in an accident and suffer such life-changing injuries. These injuries could lead to the inability to work, physical and mental damage, loss of employment, along with other issues. Treating even the minor injuries could accumulate high medical costs along with missed time from work and therefore lost wages. Consult with our motorcycle accident lawyers near Albany and learn more about how we can help you pursue compensation for your injuries and damages.
What Compensation Can I Expect To Receive From The Motorcycle Crash Claim?
Wearing the approved eyewear, headgear, and protective garments provide some level of safety, though it won’t be enough to safeguard the rider from a range of injuries when involved in an accident. Car drivers ideally have the benefit of being in an enclosed setup that includes extra safety features like airbags and seatbelts, all of which help protect them in the event of an accident. That’s why they’re generally more likely to walk unharmed, or with much less severe injuries compared to the motorcyclists.
Nonetheless, any victim of a road accident that can be attributed to the negligence of another party has the right of seeking compensation for their damages and losses. If you’re a motorcyclist that has been in an accident caused by another driver, you should consider working with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. Your lawyer will help you pursue the following kinds of compensation:
At Calvin Smith Law, we’ll pursue compensation for your economic damages, which generally cover things like your hospital and medical bills, along with the costs you incur during the entire recovery process. They also cover costs incurred due to property damage along with lost earnings due to your inability to work. Your attorney will ideally file a claim that will include your medical reports, treatment records, and receipts, and might also include your employment and wage records as evidence on the same.
While financial losses are quite common after being involved in an accident, there are other intangible damages that you could incur due to the physical injuries suffered in the crash. For example, you could have lost a limb, had your face disfigured, got paralyzed, or went into a coma because of the negligent actions of another motorist. The law allows you to pursue compensation for such losses and damages. However, pursuing non-economic compensation is not exactly easy because quantifying these kinds of damages can be quite complicated. That’s why you need to have a skilled, reliable, and experienced attorney to handle the matter on your behalf.
If you believe that the responsible party was actively seeking to harm you or their recklessness was the reason for the accident that resulted in the life-changing injuries and the damages you incurred, you can also pursue compensation for punitive damages. For this to work out well, you will need the help of legal experts who have the necessary resources to collect enough evidence to support your case and help you get the full compensation.
At Calvin Smith Law, we’ll only take up a case where we can pursue one or more of the damages listed above. It all depends on the extent and nature of your injuries, losses, and suffering. Don’t forget that you should ideally start the process before the set deadlines according to the statute of limitations outlined in Georgia laws.
Who Do I Sue For The Pain, Suffering Or Damages I Incurred?
The insurance company of the party who was responsible for the accident will be liable for covering your damages and losses. However, you have to provide enough proof of fault. That’s why it’s recommendable that you seek the services of an attorney. Our legal team will essentially investigate the accident to determine who was at fault for the crash. If you share less than 50% of the responsibility for the crash then Georgia Law allows you to seek compensation for the following:
- Treatment and medical expenses
- Pain and suffering caused by your injuries
- Cost of repairing your motorcycle
- Any lost wages or earnings
Keep in mind that according to Georgia Law, a motorcyclist has a few specific responsibilities to follow, including:
- The rider and any passengers must wear helmets
- The rider should always operate their motorbikes with the tail and headlights on
- The motorcyclists aren’t allowed to squeeze themselves between two vehicles or split lanes when trying to overtake
- Every motorcyclist on the road should have a driver’s license and proper training
Can My Motorcycle Accident Claim Be Denied And Why?
Taking on insurance companies on your own is not recommendable when pursuing compensation. This is because they tend to put in great effort to discredit your claim, with the intention of paying you as little as possible in compensation. That’s why they’ll start by denying your claim by pushing to appeal so that you can seek compensation, though this might not always be the case.
Some people choose not to appeal or consider getting the help of an attorney. Others choose to settle for the minimum settlement amount offered by the insurance company upon the initial denial. There are a few reasons why insurance companies might choose to deny your motorcycle claim, including:
- The insurer believes that you’re responsible for the accident
- The insurer claiming the policy was void because it was canceled or it has lapsed
- The responsible driver wasn’t insured under the right policy
- The insurance company doesn’t believe you were hurt, or that the accident was the reason for your injury
When you reach out to us, our personal injury lawyers will guide you on the right process to follow when filing a suit. Your attorney will also contact an insurance adjuster and see if they’d be willing to negotiate the settlement. If the adjuster disapproves of your claim, then your attorney will proceed to file a lawsuit and have your case taken to court for trial.
Can I Pursue A Personal Injury Claim If I Was In A Single-Vehicle Accident?
Yes. Go ahead and pursue compensation if you were injured in a single-vehicle accident. The accident might have been the result of missing or poorly maintained road signs, unsafe road design, potholes, malfunctioning traffic lights, or other forms of road defects. We will help you pursue the compensation you need and deserve.
Is There A Time Limit To Filing My Claim After The Motorcycle Accident?
The law has a time limit for filing a suit for a motorbike accident in Albany, Georgia. You ideally have two years from the time of the accident in which you’re allowed to file a claim. This period can be sometimes shorter, such as when you’re using a government entity.
Besides that, it’s advisable to file your claim as soon as possible, since witness accounts could easily change, and some of the individuals could disappear. Your also need the proper details about your damages, injuries, treatment, and specific information about the accident, which includes police reports. The sooner you contact your lawyer and start the process, the better you will be protected, and the better your chances of a quick win.
When Should I Get In Touch With A Motorcycle Attorney?
To have the best chances of getting the maximum possible compensation, consider hiring a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer to represent your interests. Treating the injuries and repairing the bike could be quite a significant expense, which you shouldn’t have to face when there’s someone who was responsible for your woes.
According to Georgia Code Section 51-11-7, the accused person can still recover a given percentage of their damages, even if they were partially responsible for the accident. The settlement amount can be reduced based on the percentage of fault. Still, you should seek compensation even if you think that you contributed to the accident. Call our lawyers now and see if your case is worth pursuing.
At Calvin Smith Law, we always offer our clients a free initial consultation with us, so that you can discuss your case with highly experienced and knowledgeable lawyers. If you do choose to work with us, we’ll take over the entire legal process. We’ll oversee the settlement negotiations with the relevant insurance companies, and proceed to file a suit where necessary.
How Can An Albany Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help Me?
A motorcycle accident is quite different from other vehicle accidents. Keep in mind that the insurance companies could assume that you were at fault for the incident, and totally disregard the traumatic impact of the crash on your life. In most cases, the injuries go beyond the physical level. You might sustain a head injury, which could result in mental damage. You might also incur a back or neck injury that leads to permanent or temporary paralysis.
We are one of the most reputable and highly recognized law firms in Albany, Georgia. The team at Calvin Smith Law is made up of knowledgeable and experienced legal experts, who will leave no stone unturned to help people like you navigate the complex process of recovering compensation for your injuries and damages.
We are always ready to help our clients receive the right medical care for their injuries. Let us handle your legal battles so that you can focus more on healing. Contact our law offices today and consult with our legal experts to see what we can do for you.
Do I Have A Strong Motorcycle Crash Case?
The first thing our car accident attorneys do when you come to us is listening to your case and assessing it to see whether it’s worth pursuing. Our lawyers will then start investigating the incident, and will gather enough evidence to build a strong case for you. The process usually involves:
- Reviewing the reports and documents related to your accident
- Gathering evidence such as blood transfers, scuff of clothes, yaw marks, broken parts, tire skids, and pavement scrapes
- Inspecting the vehicle(s) involved and the motorbike
- Interviewing the people present in the accident and any eyewitnesses
- Collecting visual evidence of damages and injuries
We may also have to bring in accident reconstruction experts to analyze the available evidence from the scene, along with police interviews and reports, as well as any footage or photos of the accident. They then reconstruct the events that transpired during, before, and after the collision to build conclusive data that can be used to build the best case.
While the investigations are underway, our lawyers will come up with a strategy to make sure you’re fully compensated for your damages. We can’t claim to have the most knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyers in Albany if they can’t tell between a cruiser, touring bike, and a sports bike. We guarantee that we’ll offer you the most accurate street value for your bike.
Contact an Albany Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
You can sue for your damages if the other motorist was responsible for the accident. In case you’re looking for the best legal representation while filing your motorcycle accident claim, get in touch with us today.
At Calvin Smith Law, we are always committed to helping our clients get the maximum compensation for their damages and losses. We won’t charge you any fees for your services when helping you with your claim. This means that you can get the full settlement amount awarded to you for your claim. Contact us today at XXX-XXX-XXXX.