Motorcycle Accidents in Georgia: Know Your Rights
There are a lot of reasons people love motorcycles. Motorcycles are gas-efficient, can quickly maneuver through traffic, and are easy to park. And, well, they’re just fun. When you ride a motorcycle, you feel the wind and the sunshine instead of the sensation of traveling encased in a box. However, giving up an automobile’s protective steel layer in favor of a two-wheeled ride comes with increases risks.
- Motorcycle accidents are more deadly than those that only involve cars or trucks. Per vehicle mile traveled, 29 times more motorcyclists die than passenger car occupants in traffic collisions.
- Motorcyclists are five times more likely to be injured that passenger car occupants.
- Approximately 5,000 motorcyclists are killed each year in traffic crashes, and approximately 90,000 are injured.
- In Georgia there were 146 motorcycle fatalities in 2015.
- Fixed objects are more of a danger to motorcyclists than automobile drivers. 24% percent of the motorcycles involved in fatal crashes collided with fixed objects, compared to 17% for passenger cars.
Motorcycle Road Risks
Some though not all of the factors that cause motorcycle accidents are the same as those for any motor vehicle accident. However, these factors can be magnified for motorcycle riders.
- Speed. Speed is a factor in 33% of fatal motorcycle crashes compared to 19% for passenger cars and 15% for light trucks.
- Unqualified drivers. There may be more people driving motorcycles who do not understand the rules of the road than those driving cars. 27% of motorcycle drivers involved in fatal crashes do not have valid motorcycle licenses compared with 13% of passenger vehicle drivers.
- Alcohol. Alcohol is a common factor in motor vehicle collisions, but it is a bigger factor in motorcycle accidents. Alcohol is involved in 27% of fatal motorcycle accidents compared to 21% for passenger cars and 20% for light trucks.
- Road defects. Roadway defects such as potholes and ridges in the pavement are likely to have a greater effect on motorcycles than cars.
- Left hand turns. Drivers of cars and trucks often just don’t see motorcycles until it’s too late to avoid collisions. 42% of motorcycle accidents are caused by a car making a left hand turn in front of a motorcycle.
- Lane splitting. It’s very tempting for a motorcyclist to driver between two lanes of stopped or slow-moving traffic. Unfortunately, car drivers often don’t see motorcycles in this situation. Trapped between cars, a motorcycle has very little room to get out of the way should a car make an unexpected move.
Helmets help reduce fatalities and the severity of injuries. NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,772 motorcyclists in 2015. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, an additional 740 lives could have been saved. The state of Georgia requires everyone to wear a motorcycle helmet.
Motorcycle Accident Cases
As we have seen, if you are in a motorcycle accident, you could suffer serious injuries that might affect you for the rest of your life. You may even lose a family member. After you are treated for your injuries, you may start to worry about paying your medical bills losing wages due to missed work. You have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit under Georgia law, so you may want to consult with a good Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney as soon as you are able. They can explain how you may be able to collect damages to help compensate you for your losses. You may be able to receive compensation for past, current and future medical expenses, interference with normal living, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, past, current and future pain and suffering, punitive damages and damage to your motorcycle and other property. Of course, you may be limited to collecting damages up to the amount of the guilty driver’s insurance policy if they have few assets, unless you have an insurance policy which protects you against underinsured drivers.
Before the judge will impose damages on the other party, your Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney will need to prove your case. The strength of your case will also impact the settlement an insurance company may offer. Your attorney will need to show
- The defendant had a duty of care. Anyone driving on the roads in Georgia has a duty to drive in a reasonable manner that will not put others in danger.
- The defendant breached their duty of care, perhaps by making a left turn in front of your motorcycle when you had the right of way.
- The breach caused your injuries.
- You can document the harm the other driver caused.
If you were partially at fault for the motorcycle accident, the court will reduce your compensation by the percentage you were at fault. So if a car turned left in front of you in an intersection, but you were driving well over the speed limit at the time, a jury might find that you were partially at fault. Therefore, if the Court finds you were 10% at fault, your compensation will be reduced by 10%.
Consult a Good Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
After a motorcycle accident, you may be injured and somewhat confused. However, once you look after your health, it is wise to seek the advice of a good Georgia personal injury lawyer. Your injuries could impact your life for many years to come, but for most personal injuries, you have only two years to file a lawsuit in Georgia. At Butler Tobin, we are happy to talk with you and advise you of your options. If we are unable to take your case, we can recommend other good attorneys to represent you. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, or should the unthinkable happen and you lose a family member to wrongful death in a motorcycle collision, you may be able to be compensated for your losses when the other driver is at fault. Of course, you can never be truly compensated for permanent injuries or losing a family member. But in addition to your pain and grief, you should not have to struggle to pay medical bills and other accident-related costs.