While motorcycles provide freedoms that cars cannot they do have their own unique risks. Other drivers are often not as aware of motorcycles as they should be and motorcycle accidents can lead to more severe damage and have much higher fatality rates than car accidents. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident contact the personal injury lawyers at Calvin Smith Law. Call (404) 383-7552 today to schedule a free consultation with an Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer.
Motorcycle Accident Laws in Georgia
Motorcycles have similar rights, and responsibilities are any other vehicle on the road. Many of the motorcycle accidents happened because someone – the rider or another road user – broke a traffic rule. But given the nature of the motorcycle, which is based on how it is built, Georgia has specific laws in place that touch on the safety of motorcyclists. Failure to abide by these rules increases the risk of fatal crashes in Georgia, especially in metropolitan areas such as Atlanta.
- Some of the fundamental laws that every motorcyclist should know include:
- Every motorcyclist must have a special Class M drivers’ license after passing the motorcycle road sign and driving tests.
- All riders and passengers must wear the federally recommended safety helmets. The state laws also mandate the motorcycle operator to wear protective eyewear.
- The headlights and taillights must always be illuminated when operating the motorbike even during the day time.
- Motorcycles are prohibited from splitting lanes or driving between to lanes. They are not allowed to overtake vehicles in the same lane that the car being passed is on.
All motorcyclists must abide by these rules as well as other traffic laws when driving on the roads in Georgia. That means they must come to a complete stop when they are at stop signs, signal before turning, and avoid speeding, driving recklessly, and tailgating. Such reckless conduction has been the cause of many motorcycle accidents in Atlanta and the greater Georgia over the past years.
That is why something like not wearing the helmet might seem trivial, but it is a universal law that is taken seriously. Breaking this rule can hurt your chances of receiving compensation when you are involved in a motorcycle accident. The courts might argue that your injuries might have been less severe had you obeyed the state laws and exercised the recommended safety measures. It can also be a reason for the revocation or suspension of your driver’s license.
Understanding Georgia’s Comparative Negligence Rule
Georgia has a law known as the comparative negligence rule that is used in establishing how is at fault for an accident. It is one of the essential rules that you must know when seeking to file a claim. If multiple parties are found to be responsible for the accident, the compensation amount awarded to the injured will thus be directly proportional to the liability they shoulder for the crash.
Our motorcycle accident lawyers here at Calvin Smith Law will explain the nature of things to expect regarding your case. They will help you understand that getting hurt in an accident in Atlanta does not automatically guarantee you are entitled to get a specific compensation amount. As per the comparative negligence law, you can seek compensation if your liability or fault for the accident is less than 50% or you shoulder no blame for the crash. If your responsibility is higher than 50%, then your claim is likely to be rejected.
But you might be legible for compensation for your damage, depending on how your lawyer defends you in the settlement discussions or court hearings. That is when your attorney will try and discredit any said degree of negligence on your part. The lawyer does this by collecting and reviewing the evidence of the accident, which includes eyewitness statements, your account of what happened, the police reports, and relevant medical records.
Using the information gathered, your car accident attorney will be in a better position to fight for you, whether during a settlement discussion or the courtroom hearings.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics In Atlanta
According to the stats, as published in 2015 by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia, 10.6% of the people who died in road accidents in 2015 in the state of Georgia were motorcyclists. Based on those findings, it means that of the 10,000 registered motorcyclists in Georgia, approximately seven die in accidents, and this is a trend that remains unchanged since 2008.
How Many Fatalities In Georgia Involve Motorcyclists?
Based on data collected in 2014 and 2015 shows that there had been a slight increase in motorcycle accidents in Georgia in those two years. But that is a notable improvement for the number of fatalities reported back in 2010, which stood at 153 deaths. That means there has been a drop in the deaths by as much as 9.8% since 2010. Below are the motorcycle crash fatalities in the State of Georgia over a five-year period of 2010 – 2015, this is according to records from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia.
- 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?
Records from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) show that the number of motorcyclist deaths that happened in 2015 was 29 times more frequent compared to those of other vehicles. The fatalities in that year wear 4,976 across the United States of America.
Of those who died in the motorcycle crashes, 42% were intoxicated, which is a higher percentile compared to that of truck and vehicle operators. The number of motorcyclists that sustained injuries dropped by 3% to stand at approximately 88,000 down from 92,000 the previous year. In the recorded motorcycle accident deaths of 2015, 6% of those killed were passengers, and 94% were riders (operators).
What Should I Do After Being In A Motorcycle Accident?
The primary thing you should avoid after surviving a motorcycle collision is panicking and leaving the scene. You should stay put until the police and medical emergency personal arrive to collect information. While there, try to collect as many details as you can that can help determine who was at fault. Some of the information you should collect include:
- Names of the drivers, passengers, and potential eyewitnesses
- License plate and insurance number of the driver
- The make and model of the driver’s car
- Pictures of the accident, road signs, and any relevant landmarks
Avoid conversing a lot with the party at fault or admitting any guilt for the crash. You might not have or remember all the facts because you are still in shock after the incident. Also, do not assume any minor injuries that you might have sustained. You should seek immediate treatment and make sure you get a medical report from the visit.
Contact a personal injury lawyer at Calvin Smith Law immediately. Our team of legal experts will investigate the collision and gather all the evidence needed to put together a strong case that will see you get full compensation for your damages. They will get the eyewitness testimonies, analyze any photos and footage of the accident, review all reports (medical and police) to come up with a compelling case when filing for your compensation.
How Do Motorcycle Accidents Differ From Auto Accidents?
Riding a motorcycle means you are on a machine that exposes you to the road. It might be the allure of the ride, but it also poses a higher risk of injury and death when involved in an accident compared to when driving in a car or truck. Statistics show that of all the motorcycle collisions that occur, 96% result in some injury. Conversely, the fatalities of such accidents account for 13% of all traffic crash deaths. With more than 8.4 million motorcycles on the roads, then those numbers are worrisome, to say the least.
The safety of a ride on a motorbike depends on wearing helmets and protecting clothing, which is not much when compared to a driver in a truck or a car. Moreover, these two-wheeled machines are more likely to lose control in hazardous road conditions than other vehicles.
In a collision, the ride and the passenger are thrown off the motorbike onto the road with a force or intensity equivalent to the speeds traveled and the magnitude of the crash. That means the injuries can be severe, ranging from neck and head injuries, broken limbs, to crippling and life-changing injuries as well as death.
What Are The Common Causes Of Motorcycle Crash In Atlanta?
Most road collisions are complicated events that involve people, machines, environment elements, and other factors. That is why every accident is unique, and the most serious ones result in fatal injuries, especially in the case or motorcycles. The injuries are deaths happen because the rider or passenger was ejected from the bike, and they only have a protective helmet and clothing as their safety measure. Once ejected, the rider or passenger can strike the road or an object with great force, or be through underneath a vehicle.
Driver error, inexperience in riding a motorbike, failure to operate the bike safely, and lack of concentration when on the road are the lead causes of fatal motorcycle accidents in the State of Georgia. Regaining control of a speeding bike is very different from when trying the same thing with a car or truck. Confidence is an essential part of operating a motorcycle. Any incompetence on the rider can result in crashes on the roads. Statistics show that the fatal collisions that happened in 2015 attributed to motorbike collisions where due to rider that did not have valid licenses. That means the most likely did not have proper training and knowledge on how to safely operate a motorcycle.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is another major contributor to many motorbike accidents in the State of Georgia. Intoxicated riders easily lose control of their bikes and crash. Driving when impaired is a traffic offense that attracts stiff punished. You might not be in any trouble if your alcohol level is lower than 0.08%. Any blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher can result in a negligence per se case.
In some instances, the accident can be attributed to other factors such as dangerous road or weather conditions. Overall, nothing much can be said about the weather, but your attorney will blame the road safety authorities for the poor road maintenance the lead to your accident. In short, there is some level of negligence that might be involved in the crash, and this presents an opportunity for you to pursue a compensation case to recover your losses.
Types Of Motorcycle Injuries
In as much as every motorcycle accident is different, the injuries that can occur might not be that different. The nature of may motorbike collisions leads to certain bodily injuries because of the lack of enough protection around the rider or passenger. For instance, something can fly and hit the motorcyclist, unexpectedly causing harm and loss of control, thus leading to an accident.
At Calvin Smith Law, we have represented many clients with a wide range of injuries related to motorcycle collisions. In our well-over 40 years of legal services to Atlanta residents in need of personal injury lawyers, we have come across the following common motorbike accident injuries:
Legs are the lower extremities on a human body and thus face the highest risk of harm in a motorcycle crash. The treatment process can be extensive, costly, and so is the recovery time. The fractured or broken bones can result in temporary or permanent disabilities.
Coming into contact with the tough asphalt after being ejected from the bike can leave severe abrasions, especially if the ride or passenger did not have proper safety gear. The collision can also result in traumatic tattooing, which is scarring from the asphalt, rocks, and other debris that may get embedded into the skin.
Head and Brain Injuries
According to the NHTSA, helmets saved the lives of as many as 1,772 motorcyclists in 2015. However, putting on a headgear cannot prevent all head and brain injuries that can lead to cognitive impairment and other kinds of temporary or permanent mental damages.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A devasting motorcycle accident can result in significant spinal damage. Spinal injuries often have a permanent impact that can result in partial or complete paralysis. Because of this, the victims will be left entirely dependent on machines and the assistance of other people. They also might require lifelong medical care.
In the blinking of an eye, an unsuspecting rider can be in an accident and sustain life-changing injuries. The injuries can lead to the inability to work, loss of employment, physical and mental damage, among other issues. Even treating minor injuries can accumulate high medical costs and missed time from work hence lost wages. Speak to our motorbike collision lawyers near Atlanta and discover how they can help you recover your losses and damages.
What Compensation Can I Expect To Receive From The Motorcycle Crash Claim?
Putting in the approved headgear, eyewear, and protective garments might offer some degree of safety but will not be enough to safeguard motorcyclists from a range of injuries when involved in an accident. Car drivers have the benefit of being in an enclosed space with added safety features such as seatbelts and airbags that protect them in case of an impact. That is why they are more likely to walk away unharmed, with less severe injuries compared to motorcyclists.
However, all that are victims of any road accident that is attributed to the negligence of another person or party have the right to seek compensation for their injuries and losses. If you are a motorcyclist that has been in a crash caused by another driver, then you should consider working closely with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. The attorney will help you with the following kind of reparation:
It is compensation that we at Calvin Smith Law will for you to receive so that it can cover your medical expenses and the costs you incur during the recovery process. It also will be an amount that covers lost wages due to your inability to work. The claim that your attorney files will include your treatment records, medical reports, and receipts, and might also include your employment and wages records.
Financial losses might be common after being involved in an accident; however, there are intangible damages that you also might face because of the physical injuries you sustained in the crash. For instance, you might have been facially disfigured, lost a limb, went into a coma, or got paralyzed because of the reckless or negligent actions of another driver. The law gives you’re the right to seek compensations for such damages and losses. But pursuing non-economic compensation is not easy because quantifying these kinds of damages is a complicated process. That is why you should have a reliable and experienced attorney handling the matter for you.
You also can seek compensation for punitive damages if you believe the person or party at fault intended to harm or their negligence was the reason for the accident that results in the life-changing injuries and losses you sustained. You will need legal experts that have the necessary resources required for collecting enough evidence to support your case and see you get full compensation.
At Calvin Smith Law, we shall pursue a case in which we can claim one or more of the kind of damages mentioned above. It all depends on the nature and extent of your injuries, suffering, and losses. Keep in mind that we should start the process before the set deadlines as per the statute of limitations stipulated in the laws of Georgia.
Who Do I Sue For The Pain, Suffering Or Damages I Incurred?
If there is a party at fault for the motorcycle accident, then their insurance company will be liable for covering your losses and damages. You, however, must give proof of fault. That is why we recommend that you seek our services. Our legal experts will investigate the accident to determine who is to blame and their degree of fault. If you share the blame but have less than 50% liability for the crash, then the Georgia Law gives you the right to seek compensation for the following:
- Pain and suffering due to your injuries
- Treatment and medical Expenses
- Lost wages
- Cost of repairing your motorbike
Keep in might that under Georgia law, a motorcyclist has specific responsibilities to follow that include:
- All riders and passengers must wear helmets.
- Motorcyclists are not permitted to split lanes or squeeze themselves between two vehicles when trying to overtake.
- Rider must operate their motorbikes with the head and tail lights on at all times.
- Every motorbike rider on the road must have proper training and driver’s license.
Can My Motorcycle Accident Claim Be Denied And Why?
Taking on the insurance companies is not something that we can advise you to do when you are seeking compensation. They will put up a valiant effort to discredit your claim because having to pay out any amount is not a desirable outcome for them. That is why they will start by denying your claim pushing to appeal so that you can obtain compensation, and this might not always be what happens.
Some people will not appeal or consider the help of an attorney. Others will opt to settle for the minimal settlement the insurers offer after the initial denial. Some of the notable reasons why insurance companies might deny your motorcycle accident claim include:
- The insurance policy was void because it has lapsed or was canceled
- The insurer believes that you are to blame for the accident.
- The driver at fault was not insured under the right policy.
- The insurer does not believe you were hurt, or that crash was the reason for the injury.
When you reach out to our law offices, our Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyers can guide you on what you should do when filing a claim. The attorney will contact an insurance adjuster that will be willing to negotiate the settlement. If the adjust disapproves your claim, then your lawyer will then file a lawsuit to have the case taken to court for trial.
Can I Pursue A Personal Injury Claim If I Was In A Single-Vehicle Accident?
Yes, you should seek compensation if you are injured in a single-vehicle accident. The incident might have been caused by unsafe road design, missing or unmaintained road signs, malfunctioning traffic lights, potholes, or other road defects. We can help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Is There A Time Limit To Filing My Claim After The Motorcycle Accident?
The law places a time lime for when to file a claim in a motorbike accident in Atlanta, Georgia. You have two years from the time of the accident within which you are expected to file the claim. That period can, at times, be shorter, like when you are suing a municipality or government entity.
You should file the claim as soon as possible because witnesses’ accounts can change, or these individuals can disappear. You also need proper details about your injuries, treatment, and information regarding the accident, which include the police reports. The sooner your motorcycle accident lawyer starts the process, the better you are protected, and the better your chances of a quick win.
When Should I Get In Touch With A Motorcycle Attorney?
For you to have the best odds of getting the maximum compensation, you should consider having an experienced attorney representing your interests. Your treating your injuries and repairing your bile can be a considerable expense that you should not have to face with there is someone liable for your woes.
Georgia Code Section 51-11-7 states that the accused can still recover a percentage of the damages even when they are partially to blame for the accident. The awarded amount to the accused can be reduced based on his or her percentage of fault. And you should seek compensation even if you think that contributed to the crash. Talk to our attorneys and find out if your case is worth pursuing.
At Calvin Smith Law, your initial consultation is free as you discuss your case with highly knowledgeable and experienced lawyers. When you entrust us to represent your interests, we shall take over the process. We will oversee the settlement negotiations with the insurance companies and even file a lawsuit if it gets to that point.
How Can An Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help Me?
A motorbike crash is very different from the typical vehicle accident. Note that even your insurer might assume that you are at fault. The incident can have a traumatic impact on your life. The injuries can go beyond the physical level. You can incur a head injury that results in mental damage. You can sustain a neck or back injury that results in temporary or permanent paralysis.
At Calvin Smith Law, we are one of the most established and highly distinguished firms in Atlanta. We have a team of experienced and knowledgeable legal experts that will decide their expertise and company resources to helping people like you battle insurance companies and recover your losses and damages.
We can help ensure you get the right treatment and medical care for your injuries. Allowing us to handle your legal battles gives you the chance to focus more on healing. Call our law offices today to talk with our legal experts to discover what we can do for you.
Do I Have A Strong Motorcycle Crash Case?
The first thing we do when you come to us for help is to listen to you and evaluate your case to determine if it is worth pursuing. Our attorneys then investigate the incident, collect enough evidence that will be vital for building a strong case. The process we follow entails:
- Reviewing all the reports and other documents related to the accident
- Inspecting the incident, the motorbike and vehicle(s) involved
- Collecting evidence including broken parts, yaw marks, blood transfers, pavement scrapes, the scuff of clothes, and tire skids
- Collecting visual evidence of injuries and damages
- Interviewing all parties involved in the accident and eyewitnesses
We might also bring in accident reconstruction experts who can analyze the physical evidence from the scene and what is on record based on police reports and interviews, as well as photos and footage of the accident. They then reconstruct the event that transpired before, during, and after the collision to come up with conclusive data that we can use to build the best case.
While in the investigations are on-going, our lawyers will also come up with a strategy that will ensure you are fully compensated for your property damage. We cannot claim to have the best and most knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney in Atlanta, Georgia, if they cannot differentiate between a sportbike, touring bike, and a cruiser. Therefore, we guarantee that will give the most accurate street value for your bike, whether it is a Suzuki Hayabusa, Harley Davidson Sportster, Kawasaki Ninja, or any other make or model.
Contact an Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
You can sue for your losses and damages if the other driver is responsible for the accident. If you are looking for the best legal representation when you have filing a motorcycle accident claim, then call our law offices today. At Calvin Smith Law, we are committed to helping people get the maximum compensation for their losses and damages. We do not charge any fees for our services when helping you with the property damage claim. That means you will get the full settlement awarded to you for your property damage claim. Call us today at (404) 383-7552.