Government reports estimate that motorcyclists are about 26 times more likely to die in a crash and five times more likely to be injured than car occupants. When it comes to motorcycle accidents, insurance companies tend to blame the biker.
You need a qualified and experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Atlanta from John Foy & Associates to fight for your right to recover damages. With knowledge and experience handling these types of cases, you want an attorney who will help you fight for every damage to which you are entitled.
What to Do After Being in a Motorcycle Accident in Atlanta
After being in an accident, you should gather as much information as possible. If another driver is involved, get their contact information. Look for witnesses and get their names and numbers. Photograph anything from the crash scene and any vehicles involved. Be sure to contact the police to make an official report. If you are injured, call 911 and get medical help immediately.
Remember to not give a recorded statement to any insurance company, including your own, without first contacting a personal injury attorney. It’s imperative to get in touch with all insurance companies. However, you have the right to legal representation while doing so.
Motorcycle injury lawyers in Atlanta will protect you from saying anything that might be held against you later.
Difference Between Motorcycle Accidents and Auto Accidents
When you’re on a motorcycle, it’s just you and the road. That’s the allure of the ride. Unfortunately, it’s also the reason why motorcycle accidents have a greater chance of injury. Almost 96% of every single-vehicle motorcycle accident results in some kind of injury.
Cars and trucks are built with more and more safety features, while motorcycles still depend upon clothing and helmets for protection from the road. Additionally, two-wheeled vehicles are more susceptible to losing control in hazardous conditions.
Because the rider or passenger is often thrown off the vehicle with such great force, motorcycle accidents frequently result in severe head and neck injuries.
Who Is at Fault for an Atlanta Motorcycle Accident?
After getting injured in a motorcycle accident, establishing fault is an essential step toward recovering compensation. You will not be able to pursue damages until you figure out who is to blame for your accident. An Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney can help investigate who is liable so that you can begin taking steps toward getting the money you deserve.
Common Causes of Atlanta Motorcycle Accidents
Just like in any vehicle accident, driver inattention or error is a big cause of motorcycle crashes. However, in motorcycle accidents, the results are often more tragic. Motorcycles are harder to see than cars or trucks, and riders have little protection in the event of a collision.
One out of four motorcycle accidents has no other vehicle involved. Instead, the motorcyclist hits a standing object or road obstacle. There may be many reasons for a crash, including:
- Road defects that lead to potholes or pooled water
- Intoxicated drivers
- Malfunctioning traffic lights
- Tree-covered stop signs
- Unsafe road design
- Distracted driving
- Failure to adhere to road signs and signals
- Other drivers swerve in front of a motorcycle
Comparative Negligence in Motorcycle Accident Claims
The state of Georgia utilizes the comparative negligence law, as per O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33. In this situation, if multiple parties are at fault in an accident, the amount of compensation you can ultimately receive depends heavily on how “at fault” you were for the accident.
What this means is that there is no set damages award you could receive even if you suffered an injury in the accident. Under this law, you can only seek compensation if you are less than 50% at fault for the accident. If the courts determine your fault to be 50% or higher, your entire claim could be denied.
It’s critical to prove which parties were liable in your accident and their level of liability. With an Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney by your side, the evidence that’s collected will determine your percentage of fault and give your legal team a better idea of how much to ask for in damages. This is true both during settlement negotiations and in court if your case gets that far.
How Much Is Your Atlanta Motorcycle Crash Claim Worth?
After investigating your accident and determining liability, our motorcycle injury lawyers can help you assess your damages and calculate the full value of your claim. Determining what your case is worth on your own can be tricky.
Future losses that result from your accident and non-economic damages like permanent disability can be very challenging to calculate if you are unfamiliar with the process.
Typical Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
In a two-vehicle accident, the at-fault driver and their insurance company are responsible for damages. However, this requires proof of who is at fault. Your motorcycle accident lawyer can hire expert investigators to work hard to solidify your case. You have the right to recover any or all of the following:
- Medical expenses
- Estimated future costs of medical care
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capability
- Repairs to your motorcycle
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
- Loss of consortium
- Decreased quality of life
- Mental anguish
The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the liable party for their negligence in an effort to prevent them from acting similarly in the future. You may be able to claim punitive damages if the other party’s negligence resulted in severe injuries or disabilities to you in the accident. However, punitive damages are only awarded in a small percentage of cases.
As you might expect, punitive damages can be more challenging to prove. Your Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney can help you gather evidence against the liable party to prove they were being criminally negligent or acting with malicious intent. The amount you could ultimately receive depends on the severity of your injuries and how deeply they affect your everyday life.
Wrongful Death in an Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Claim
The Insurance Information Institute reports roughly 8.4 million motorcycles on the road. According to 2019 fatality facts issued by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcycle deaths accounted for 13% of all motor vehicle crash deaths. In too many instances, motorcyclists pay the ultimate price for someone else’s negligence.
When you lose a loved one, you’re impacted in so many different ways. Atlanta wrongful death lawyers may be able to help you recover compensation to defer any unexpected costs, including:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of future income
- Grief and emotional damage
Filing a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit in Atlanta
Filing a motorcycle accident lawsuit will give you the possibility to recover greater compensation than you would receive from an insurance settlement. While taking on a legal battle can be a lot of work when you are trying to recover from an injury, a motorcycle accident lawyer can handle every aspect of your case and allow you to focus on getting healthy.
Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim for a One-Vehicle Accident
You should call an Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney if you get injured in a one-vehicle accident. There may be many reasons for a crash, including road defects that lead to potholes or pooled water, malfunctioning traffic lights, tree-covered stop signs, and unsafe road design. The individuals responsible for road maintenance can possibly be held liable in these cases.
Filing Separate Claims for the Motorcyclist and Passenger
If both the driver and passenger want to file a personal injury claim, they will have separate cases. Both individuals are eligible to make a claim if another driver is at fault. The same attorney can represent both individuals in some cases. However, there may be times when that is a conflict of interest.
Motorcycle Passengers Filing a Claim
If you were a passenger on a motorcycle at the time of an accident, it’s almost certain that you are neither at fault nor the cause of the accident. You have the right to file a personal injury claim, and a lawyer can help you hold the motorcyclist, other drivers, or another liable party accountable for your injuries.
Time Limits to File a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Atlanta
There is a deadline for filing a motorcycle accident claim. In general, Georgia Code § 9-3-33 states you have two years after an accident to file a claim. However, the statute of limitations can be shorter, specifically if you are filing a claim against a municipality or government entity.
There are a lot of urgent reasons why it’s essential to file a claim quickly. Witnesses tend to disappear, accounts change, and evidence can be lost. The sooner your motorcycle accident lawyer in Atlanta can start working on your claim, the more protected you will be.
What an Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Do for You
While you get the medical care necessary to heal from your injuries, a motorcycle accident lawyer can make sure your bike gets replaced or repaired and take on your legal responsibilities. They will take over every aspect of your legal case, which will allow you to focus your energy on getting healthy. Actions your attorney will take can include:
- Investigating the collision by visiting the crash site and analyzing evidence
- Determining who is at fault
- Acquiring the testimony of expert witnesses to prove negligence
- Calculating your total damages
- Negotiating with the insurance company to get you the compensation you deserve
- Representing you in all legal proceedings
- Managing the deadlines, legal requirements, and settlement for your claim
Attempting to recover fair compensation on your own can be a tall order. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney will be well aware of all the legal irregularities which could apply to your case. They will also be familiar with tactics used by insurance companies to devalue or deny a claim.
Your attorney can steer you through all these potential obstacles to getting the compensation you need and deserve after an accident. Since motorcycle accident lawyers tend to work on a contingency fee basis, you won’t have to worry about the cost of hiring an attorney. They will only get paid if you recover compensation.