Atlanta, Georgia Motorcycle Accident Attorney
According to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, there were an estimated 173 motorcycle fatalities in 2016. The number of motorcycle fatalities increased by 26% in 2016 compared to 2014. And the predictions for 2017 and beyond don’t show steadying or decreasing numbers. If anything, they show significant increases.
Fortunately, our motorcycle accident lawyers at William C. Head, PC have been providing aggressive legal representation to motorcycle accident victims in and around metro Atlanta for over four decades. As experienced Georgia trial lawyers, we fight hard for anyone who has endured physical, financial and emotional burdens after a collision because of someone else’s negligence. With many years of practicing law, the litigation attorneys associated with our firm are known statewide and nationally for setting the bar high among area law firms representing victims of motorcycle accidents.
There were more than 100,000 motorcycle accidents last year in America and Georgia recorded around 3,000 of these. This statistic includes nearly 200 motorcycle accident deaths in Georgia for 2016. With federal numbers reporting nearly a 30-times greater risk of fatality in a motorcycle crash than in a motor vehicle, the inherent risk of death for a motorcycle rider is patently obvious. In a place like Atlanta traffic is bumper to bumper, and traveling at high speeds is a recipe for danger.
The outcome of these types of accidents can be severe. This includes steep medical and hospital bills, grueling physical therapy and dealing with the insurance company. That is why having a mediator to handle conversations with the insurance company can ease needless stress. Therefore, our motorcycle accident attorneys are eager to work on your behalf from the get-go.
If you retain our personal injury law firm, it is vital to know that our Atlanta legal counsel will take care of your case fully in-house, or by collaborating with another area law firm we trust. The other alternative only occurs in some cases, but you’d only need to pay a single contingency fee, instead of two lawyers’ fees. A contingency fee means that you do not owe any fees unless our lawyers recover compensation for you.
Fortunately, we have the utmost confidence in the level of our civil litigation team’s legal expertise, so you can rest easy knowing that we will represent you in your case successfully. We are well-equipped to help you with your motorcycle accident – whether it was a minor or major one.
Before you contact us though, it is important to seek immediate medical attention after your motorcycle accident. The most common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Road rash (due to concrete and gravel)
- Facial fractures and disfigurement
- Broken bones and burns
- Limb amputations
- Spinal cord injuries
- Paralysis and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
What to Do Right After a Motorcycle Accident
Following a motorcycle accident, it’s important to know what you should do immediately after you wreck. If you’ve never been in a motorcycle accident, you must be aware of what steps you have to take. Per the Department of Motor Vehicles’ website, we have provided as much information as we can for what to do in any type of traffic accident. These steps apply to all motorists:
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1). Call the police immediately. While you wait for police, help anyone in the accident scene if you can. When the police arrive, be sure they write up a police report of your accident that may include statements from the other drivers and witnesses. The more evidence you have, the better it is for your case, especially if your accident was caused by somebody else’s recklessness or negligence.
2). Gather information. Exchange insurance information with all the other drivers. Get the full names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses. Take pictures and write down as many details as possible about the accident scene. This includes your surroundings, such as if there was a stop sign and if it was raining. If the other driver admits fault, be sure to write down what that person says and ask that the other driver give a statement to the police officer.
3). Seek medical attention. Even if you think you feel okay, you may have injuries that might not become obvious until days, weeks, or even months following your accident. It’s better to be sure so visit a doctor or emergency room immediately and make sure to continue with follow-up appointments.
4). Contact an experienced personal injury attorney. When it comes to motorcycle laws in Georgia, applicants under the age of 17 must successfully complete a certified “Georgia Behind the Wheel Program.”
Anyone under the age of 18 who wants to acquire a motorcycle license is required to have a Parent/Guardian, Responsible Adult or Authorized Driver Training Instructor sign the application for the driver’s license. Also, there are some other laws to consider that only apply to motorcycle accidents such as lane splitting. Under Georgia law, lane splitting or the act of motorcycles traveling in between lanes and/or vehicles is illegal. This is important for all motorcyclists to understand since all state laws are different and some states might not prohibit lane splitting. For this and other laws, it is beneficial to speak with a motorcycle accident attorney that knows the motorcycle laws like the back of their hand and who would also fervently represent motorcycle accident clients with relevant resources to find out what occurred in the serious crash.
Keep in mind that the insurance company’s job is to minimize the amount of money that is paid out to you in claims. Some insurance companies may even assure the victim that an attorney is not necessary but it’s important to have your own attorney represent you to avoid being taken advantage of.
If you have been in an accident, even if you suffered minor injuries, the person who hit you may request that you not call the police. For certain, a motorcycle accident with no police report filed is a terrible idea. The at-fault party may also try to convince you to have your insurance companies settle it and even offer you their insurance company’s information so that you may contact them directly.
If you take any advice from us even if you don’t have us represent you it is that you always need to get a police report for a couple of reasons. It would be in your favor to have a law enforcement officer at the scene to be able to describe the accident scene and talk to all parties involved. This way an insurance company or a jury, if your case goes to court, will have a credible witness available to confirm what occurred at the scene. Choosing not to do a police report will have others believe that the case was not at all serious.
No matter if it was an accident with little damage to the motorcycle or minor injuries to you, if there is no police report, it’s going to be considered in court. For that reason alone, having a police report is valuable. The more documentation you have, the better chances you have of winning your case and compensation you justly deserve.
Motorcycle Accident Claims
If you were injured in a Georgia motorcycle accident that was someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to compensation to pay for the following:
- Past, current, and future medical bills for treatment related to your motorcycle accident injuries.
- The repair or replacement of your motorcycle and any property that was damaged or destroyed in the accident.
- Lost wages for time off from work including time spent going to doctor’s appointments and physical therapy.
- The cost of hiring someone to help you with typical day-to-day duties that you’re unable to do because of your injury .
- Permanent disability and disfigurement as a result of the motorcycle crash.
- Emotional distress coming from the motorcycle accident.
- Any lost future earning ability due to your motorcycle accident injury.
- Any other costs you’ve incurred because of the accident.
If anyone was killed in the motorcycle accident or if either driver was intoxicated, the state of Georgia will prosecute the driver at fault and/or the intoxicated driver. In the case of other motorcycle accidents, -you may ultimately have to file a motorcycle accident personal injury lawsuit in Georgia courts.
Now, to collect monetary compensation from a motorcycle crash injury claim, Georgia law requires you to prove that the other driver was negligent. In order to do that, you must show:
- The driver who caused your injuries had a responsibility not to injure you and failed to live up to that duty.
- There is a connection between the other driver’s responsibility and your injury.
- You suffered damages or a financial loss as a result of the accident Georgia law will decrease the total amount you can recover if it’s discovered that your carelessness contributed to your motorcycle accident injuries.
How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?
Georgia’s statute of limitations to file a claim is two years from the date of your motorcycle accident to file a claim against the driver at fault in the accident. It is four years if you are claiming loss of consortium. If your motorcycle injury lawyer is unable to negotiate a settlement with the other driver or the driver’s insurance company, you should consider filing a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires.
As for Georgia motorcycle insurance requirements, Georgia laws require all drivers to have liability insurance coverage with the following minimum limits:
- Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per crash
- Property damage liability: $25,000 per crash
Frequently Asked Questions
The most common injury from motorcycle accidents is a head injury, which includes a concussion and even brain damage. Though a concussion can range anywhere between mild to severe, brain damage is incapacitating and can also be fatal. Any type of contact to the head should be closely monitored, especially if the victim was not wearing a helmet. Neck injuries are also just as common to motorcycle accidents as head injuries are. A neck injury can be so severe as to paralyze someone or cause death.
Motorcyclists are 16 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a traffic crash and about four times as likely to be injured, per miles traveled. Although only 20 percent of car crashes result in injury or death, that percentage shoots up to a shocking 80 percent for motorcycle crashes.
The most common and single most dangerous cause for motorcycle accidents is when cars are making left-hand turns and don’t see the motorcyclist. These types of collisions make up 42% of all accidents involving a motorcycle and car. Typically, the turning car strikes the motorcycle when the motorcycle is driving straight through an intersection.
- Check yourself and others for injuries
- Take photos of the scene
- Move your bike off of the road
- Gather pertinent information
- Call Your Insurance Agent
- Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Unfortunately, motorcyclists have to be 10 times more vigilant when sharing the road with passenger vehicles and semi-trucks. There are several ways to prevent such accidents, including:
-Be careful of cars turning left at intersections. To avoid getting hit, keep an eye on approaching car’s blinkers and give them enough room to turn. If a car turns left near you without using their indicator, you may need to speed up or swerve to avoid them.
-Position your hands over your front and rear brakes when stopping. This decreases your reaction time as you’ll need to be able to brake at a moment’s notice.
-Avoid getting rear ended at stop lights. You can do this by pulling in front of the car that is ahead of you. Also, be sure to give the car a friendly wave as you maneuver around them.
-Resist the temptation to ride between cars in traffic. Why? There may be a car door opening, blocking your way, a car unexpectedly merging into another lane to escape traffic or a driver cutting in front of you to merge, blocking your way.
-Avoid speeding through tight turns. This may cause you to fly off the road. To avoid this from happening, try not to drive too quickly to correct a bad turn.
-Don’t drink and drive. This should go without saying, but did you know that half of the motorcycle accidents in the U.S. involve alcohol? Call a transportation service and have a friend help you pick up your motorcycle the following day.
-Follow any speed limits. This may sound obvious, but how often do drivers still speed? The consequences of speeding include not being able to turn properly because you’re going too fast, running into a car, person, or animal and hitting a patch of water and hydroplaning.
The median “average” motorcycle injury verdict and related settlement and court verdicts, according to Jury Verdict Research from 1999 to 2006 was $73,700. A $1,600,000 settlement was awarded to a plaintiff who slid on loose gravel and suffered crushed vertebrae and nerve damage. A $355,000 settlement was granted after plaintiff was killed when the defendant’s truck, pulling a small trailer, turned left in front of the motorcycle at high speed. These are just some examples of settlements your lawyer would have access to in order to better estimate how much of a settlement you could receive for your injuries.