The Georgia traffic laws are designed so that all motorists share the road and get to their destinations safely. However, this does not always happen as some drivers don’t pay enough attention to motorcycle riders or simply don’t see them. The number of motorcycle accidents in Georgia has been increasing in the past couple of years. If you are a motorbike enthusiast and ride one on the Georgia highways, it is paramount to understand your rights and know the steps to take if you are involved in an accident.
When such things happen, you might be heavily injured and need an expert to take you through your legal options when pursuing rightful compensation for your damages. If you were hurt in a motorcycle crash, reach out to the personal injury attorneys at Joe Durham Jr., P.C. Our Columbus motorcycle accident lawyers have what it takes to face off with the other parties and get you the compensation you deserve.
How Can a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help With My Compensation Claim?
A Columbus motorcycle accident lawyer at our firm will help you from the moment you get involved in an accident to the point you get the compensation you deserve.
Review Your Case
First, they will give you all the facts surrounding such claims and help you understand your chances from the word go. This will help to tame any unreal expectations you had regarding the claims, as there are a couple of things that come into play to determine how much you are eligible for. Your lawyer is your go-to resource if you need any clarification about the matter since they are experienced in such cases.
Here at Joe Durham Jr., P.C., we offer free case evaluations.
Your Joe Durham motorcycle accident attorney will move to gather all the evidence needed to support your claim. They work with other experts such as independent investigators, doctors, police, and insurance companies to establish the facts. They are careful in approaching the matter and will do it so that they do not jeopardize your chances of getting the compensation.
Negotiate a Settlement
Next, they will engage the faulty party and see if they can agree to a favorable out-of-court settlement. This is usually the first step they take as a lawsuit can be lengthy and cumbersome for both parties. They will haggle with the other party and present the facts to try and convince them to a specific out of court agreement amount. They will keep you updated on these proceedings and ensure that you are in the loop regarding the amount at stake.
Represent You in Court
If the other parties do not agree on a favorable out-of-court settlement, your lawyer will represent you in court. They will process the information into evidence and present it before a jury to convince them to award you a certain amount. They will give the justifications for this amount to persuade the jury and see that you are duly compensated.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Motorcycle accidents are caused by a combination of both avoidable and unavoidable circumstances. Some of them include;
- Unsafe lane changes
- Drivers opening car doors without checking their side mirrors
- Driving or riding under the influence
- Lane splitting
- Sudden stops by other drivers and motorists
- Inexperienced drivers who do not understand traffic laws and cannot make a proper decision
- Left-turn accidents
- Improper road conditions
- Unroadworthy motorcycles
- Unexpected pedestrians on the road
Motorcycle Accident Statistics in Georgia
Since motorcycles offer less protection, the chances of a rider getting injured in a motorbike accident is very high. On average, the United States records over 80,000 injuries by riders who get involved in accidents. Out of these, over 5,000 riders succumb to their injuries. While motorbikes only constitute close to 3% of registered vehicles, the chances of the riders and passengers succumbing to the accidents make up 14% of all traffic fatalities.
Statistically, motorcyclists are more likely to be involved in an accident when riding in an urban area or high capacity road during the weekends or when the road is clear. This is because most riders prefer to ride on their days off when the weather is clear.
In Georgia, most of the accidents are head-on collisions when the rider crashes with another vehicle. Most of these accidents are devastating and will more likely lead to a fatality. On top of the list, left turn accidents account for over 40%, with sideswipe and lane splitting accidents following closely.
What Are the Motorcycle-Specific Laws in Georgia?
Georgia has a couple of laws that apply to all motorists, but riders should pay extra attention to a few clauses we will mention here.
Georgia riders should understand the difference between lane splitting, lane sharing, and lane filtering. Georgia does not allow lane splitting, and if you get involved in an accident while doing this, consider yourself in trouble. The laws also prohibit lane filtering, which is similar to lane splitting with subtle differences. The rules do not allow more than two motorcycles to travel side by side on one lane.
Besides, they specify that riders should operate their bikes safely and take all the safety measures by wearing the correct gear and ensure that their bikes have all the necessary lights. The law is particular that all riders should wear helmets approved by the safety standards enforced by the Georgia Board of Public Safety.
What Are the Most Common Injuries Seen in Motorcycle Accidents?
As mentioned, riders are more likely to suffer from fatal injuries when involved in an accident due to how their bodies are exposed and take most of the impact. Some common injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Lower extremity injuries
- Internal injuries
- Road rash
How is Fault Determined in a Georgia Motorcycle Accident?
Determining fault in a Georgia motorcycle accident is not straightforward as several factors come into play. Besides, these issues will determine the liability and amount of compensation awarded.
Note that Georgia is a comparative negligence state. Here, liability is divided based on how responsible each party was in the accident. This way, the motorcycle rider can still get compensation even if they were partly responsible for the accident. The court assigns a percentage to each party’s fault, and as long as the rider is not responsible for more than 50%, they are still eligible for compensation. The compensation amount will be reduced to the tune of the percentage they were at fault for the accident. For instance, if they were 10% responsible, the amount will be reduced by this amount.
The evidence gathered goes a long way to determine the faulty party. This way, your lawyer should gather as much evidence as possible and try to recreate the accident scene for the jury for you to get the rightful compensation. This is helped by reports submitted by professionals such as doctors and independent investigators.
What Type of Compensation Can I Receive for My Motorcycle Accident?
The total compensation you can receive from a motorcycle accident is a sum of three types.
Economic damages are awarded to cater for all the losses that have a definite monetary value. These damages are objective and can be proved by receipts and reports from assessments done by professionals. They include medical costs, damages to the motorbike, lost wages, cost of care, and rehabilitation costs, among others.
Non-economic damages are subjective and have no definite monetary value attached to them. The losses they cover have no actual value, and here is where you will find the bone of contention. They cover things such as loss of consortium, stress, depression, and reduced quality of life.
Punitive damages are awarded to punish the offender. It is awarded if the faulty party was extraordinarily negligent and needs to be sanctioned to teach them a lesson.
Why Could My Motorcycle Accident Claim Be Denied?
Your motorcycle accident claim can be denied due to a couple of reasons. Some of these reasons include;
- The policy of the faulty party was canceled or had lapsed
- The driver was not covered by the policy
- The comparative liability analysis found that you were responsible for more than 50% of the fault
- You did not prove that you were hurt after the accident
- There is a suspicion that the injuries you suffered from were caused by another event and not the accident
Are There Time Limits to Filing a Claim in Georgia?
The statute of limitations in Georgia states that you must file a personal injury claim within two years. If the claim is against a city or county, you have to file the claim within six months. Family members who lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident have two years to file a wrongful death claim.
Get Help From A Skilled Columbus Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident, you need the services of an experienced Columbus motorcycle accident lawyer to help you carry on the steps required to get compensation as you recuperate from the injuries. Working with an experienced and skilled attorney can go a long way to determine whether you get the compensation you deserve or not.
Contact Joe Durham Jr., P.C., today at (229) 351-5320 for a free case review. There are no upfront costs, and if we don’t win your case, you owe us nothing!