While many motorcyclists enjoy the thrill of being out on the open road, they are also aware of the risks of being in a severe accident. The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety reported 3,948 motorcycle crashes in 2019.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may find it challenging to recover fair compensation for damages. Insurance companies often stand biased against motorcyclists and deny their claims outright. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer, though, can protect your legal rights and help you receive the compensation you deserve.
After being harmed in a motorcycle accident, do not hesitate to contact a skilled Atlanta personal injury attorney at Hoffspiegel Law. Let us handle your claim while you focus on your recovery. We offer all potential clients a free case evaluation – Click Contact Us below to schedule your session.
Leading Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle riders face many dangers on the roadway, some that are shared by passenger vehicles, and others that are unique to motorcyclists. With a smaller visual profile than cars and trucks, motorcyclists are simply more difficult to see, no matter how cautious they are.
The following are some leading causes of motorcycle crashes.
There are some motorcycles, such as sport and supersport bikes, designed to achieve high speeds quickly. In 2020, 34 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes had been speeding. High speeds can increase the chance of a rider losing control of his or her bike and getting injured.
In other situations, motorcycle accidents are not caused by riders speeding, but rather by drivers of passenger vehicles going over the posted speed limits or overdriving weather conditions. Speeding motorists may collide with a motorcycle rider in their path.
Distracted driving is a dangerous behavior that affects both motorcyclists and motorists. It continues to be a leading cause of all traffic accidents.
Common types of distracted driving are:
- Talking on the phone
- Eating or drinking
- Adjusting the stereo
- Programming the GPS
- Talking to passengers or other motorcyclists
A distracted driver may veer into a motorcyclist’s lane and sideswipe him, execute a turn without seeing the rider, rear-end a motorcyclist that is stopped at a traffic signal, or in some other way cause an accident.
In Georgia, it is illegal to operate a motorcycle or car if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or higher. Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is extremely dangerous.
Both motorists and motorcyclists should realize the effects that alcohol has on their ability to drive or ride safely.
Alcohol can impair a driver’s or motorcycle rider’s:
- Reasoning ability
- Depth perception
- Reflexes and more
In 2020, a higher percentage of motorcyclists were involved in fatal alcohol-related crashes than car and truck drivers.
A significant number of motorcycle accidents occur when a motorcycle or a car is making a left turn.
A motorist may fail to see a motorcyclist’s turn signal when a rider is turning left. In other cases, a motorist may unintentionally veer into a motorcycle while making a left turn.
Other left-hand turn collisions occur because a motorcyclist or driver fails to yield the right-of-way or miscalculates the time it takes to execute a turn.
Slow-moving Atlanta traffic during rush hour may be frustrating to motorcyclists, and they may be tempted to ride in the space between lanes of traffic, either “lane splitting” or “lane filtering.” Both of these practices are illegal in most states, including Georgia, since they can be very dangerous – especially while traveling at high speeds.
The following are just a few of the many scenarios that could cause or contribute to a lane-splitting motorcycle accident:
- A driver of a passenger vehicle is startled by a lane-filtering motorcyclist, causing him to momentarily lose focus on driving and get in an accident
- A car suddenly switches lanes and collides with a rider who is lane splitting
- A driver abruptly opens his or her door directly into the path of a lane-filtering motorcyclist, thereby causing a collision
Defective motorcycle parts
Sometimes a motorcycle accident is not caused by the rider or a driver but by a defective part or design flaw.
Equipment failures and defects that can result in motorcycle wrecks include the following:
- Brake failure
- Poor engine design
- Defective tires
- Stuck throttles
- Helmet defects
- Defective fuel system
If a defective motorcycle part or design caused your crash, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you hold the designer, manufacturer, or retailer liable for damages.
Steps to Take Immediately After a Georgia Motorcycle Accident
The moments immediately following a motorcycle crash can be overwhelming and confusing. The actions you take after a crash can have an impact on your physical health and your financial well-being.
Consider taking the following steps after being involved in a motorcycle accident:
- Call 911. Your top priority after an Atlanta motorcycle crash should be making sure you and the others involved in the accident are safe. Call 911 to have emergency services and a police officer dispatched to the scene.
- Exchange insurance and contact information. If possible, exchange contact information with everyone involved in the accident. This includes full names, phone numbers, addresses, insurance information, make and model of all vehicles, and license plate numbers.
- Speak to eyewitnesses. Eyewitness statements provide valuable evidence when it comes to determining fault and recovering compensation. Speak to any people who witnessed the accident. Record their statements while the incident is still fresh in their minds, and be sure to get their contact information.
- Do not admit fault. You may want to apologize to the other party without thinking. However, you must be careful what you say at the accident scene. Even a simple statement such as “I’m sorry” could be construed as an admission of fault.
- Take photos or videos. Evidence gathered at the accident scene can mean the difference between recovering compensation for your injuries and having to pay for damages out-of-pocket. Take photos and video footage of the debris from the crash, your injuries, vehicles involved, road markings, weather conditions, and anything else that seems pertinent.
- Alert your insurance company. As soon as possible, you should notify your insurer of the incident. You can do this by calling your agent or getting online – most insurance companies now have an app that you can use to complete an accident report.
- Avoid posting on social media. Social media posts may be allowed in court as evidence, so it is best to avoid posting anything about your accident or condition online until your case is settled. The other party’s insurer will be on the lookout for anything they can use to discredit your claim.
- Hire a motorcycle accident lawyer. The other party’s insurance company may try to blame you for the collision, delaying the payout of your motorcycle accident claim. When you have Hoffspiegel Law on your side, though, we will protect your legal rights and work hard to expedite your claim.
Atlanta Motorcycle Accidents Can Lead to Life-Altering Injuries
Even when traveling at low speeds, motorcycle accident victims are unlikely to walk away from a crash unharmed. Motorcycles simply do not offer the protection of a steel frame, seatbelts, airbags, or other standard safety features that cars have.
The Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyers at Hoffspiegel Law can help you pursue compensation for all types of physical injuries, such as:
- Neck injuries
- Head injuries
- Road rash
- Chest injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Lost limbs
Do not let your injuries prevent you from obtaining the legal representation you deserve. If your injuries prevent you from coming directly to our office for a consultation, we can arrange to meet at a time and location convenient for you.
Who is Liable for Your Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Injuries?
After the cause of your motorcycle wreck has been identified, you and your personal injury lawyer will be able to better determine who is at fault. In Georgia, you can potentially recover compensation from anyone who contributed to your motorcycle accident.
Potentially liable parties could be:
- Drivers of passenger vehicles
- Bus drivers
- Other motorcyclists
- Employers of at-fault parties (rideshare, trucking, transit, or delivery companies)
- Product manufacturers
- Government agencies
- Property owners
In some situations, multiple parties may have contributed to the accident. Your lawyer will file a claim against anyone who played a role in your crash and injuries.
What If the Other Driver is Trying to Blame You for the Atlanta Motorcycle Accident?
While most riders operate their bikes safely and obey the rules of the road, many insurance companies have an unfair bias against motorcyclists and often try to blame them when accidents occur.
For this reason, it is important to have an attorney from our law firm handling your motorcycle accident case. Our attorneys are familiar with the tactics that insurance companies use to try to avoid paying out a claim. You can recover the compensation you deserve with our help, because we know what evidence and information are needed to back up your claim.
Can You Still Recover Compensation When You Are Partially At Fault for the Motorcycle Accident?
If you are partially to blame for your motorcycle wreck, this does not necessarily mean that you cannot recover compensation. An Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney may still be able to help you file a personal injury claim for damages.
Georgia’s comparative negligence laws provide a way to divide financial liability in situations where multiple parties are at fault for an accident. Under the comparative negligence system, you can still recover compensation from the other party if you were less than 50 percent to blame for the collision.
The comparative negligence rule reduces your damages in proportion to your own degree of fault. For example, if you were awarded $100,000 in damages but were found to be 25 percent liable for the accident, your payout would likely be reduced to $75,000.
Looking for ways to place fault on the motorcycle accident victim is a common tactic used by defense attorneys and insurance companies. The more fault allocated to you, the less money the other party has to pay you for damages. At Hoffspiegel Law, we know how to protect your rights and minimize your alleged role in the accident.
Calculating the Value of Your Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Case
During their initial free consultation, one of the typical questions motorcycle accident victims ask is “How much is my claim worth?” In short, there are various factors a lawyer will take into consideration while calculating the value of motorcycle accident cases.
How much your personal injury claim is worth will be determined by evaluating how the motorcycle accident has impacted you physically, emotionally, and financially.
The following factors may determine the compensation you receive:
- The limits on your insurance policy
- Whether you were partially at fault for the accident
- The limits of the defendant’s insurance policy
- The amount of property damage you sustained
- The extent of your injuries
- The cost of your current medical bills and the cost of predicted future medical care
- The effect the accident had on your mental and emotional health
The compassionate Atlanta motorcycle lawyers at our law firm know that each individual and case is unique. We take time to get to talk to our clients to find out exactly how the accident and their serious injuries have affected their lives.
Types of Damages Available to Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Victims
Motorcycle accident victims often sustain severe injuries that leave them requiring extensive medical treatment. An Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer may be able to help you file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for medical bills and other losses.
Medical bills and treatment costs will typically be included as damages in your personal injury claim.
As a result of the motorcycle accident, you may incur these medical expenses:
- Ambulance rides
- Hospital stays
- Medical assistive devices
- Physical therapy
- In-home medical care
- Travel to and from appointments
A victim of a motorcycle accident may be left with a permanent injury that requires ongoing medical treatment. If this is your situation, your lawyer may consult with doctors and other experts to calculate the predicted cost of your future medical expenses.
It is likely that your motorcycle was damaged in the accident. If so, your Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney can help you pursue compensation to repair or replace your bike.
You should save all quotes, receipts, and invoices you receive as evidence of your vehicle’s repair costs. If your phone, watch, sunglasses, or other personal items were damaged in the crash, you can count the cost of these items as well.
If your injuries have prevented you from returning to work, you can include lost wages in your motorcycle accident claim.
Compensation for loss of income may cover:
- Wages and salaries
- Self-employment income
- Vacation time
- Bonuses and more
An accident may leave victims with motorcycle injuries that prevent him or her from working in the same capacity as before. If you are forced to change jobs or work at your original place of employment in a different capacity that pays less, you can be compensated for the difference in your wages. These types of damages are called “loss of earning capacity.”
Non-economic damages are awarded as compensation for the suffering and pain a victim has endured as a result of the accident.
Some examples of non-economic damages awarded for Atlanta motorcycle accidents are:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment
- Emotional distress
- Conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Loss of consortium
Sadly, some severe motorcycle accidents are fatal. If you suffered the tragic loss of a loved one in a motorcycle crash, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you file a wrongful death claim.
The compassionate lawyers at our law firm understand that no amount of money can compensate for the death of your loved one. However, it can provide some financial support and security for you and your family.
Wrongful death damages you may be able to pursue on behalf of your deceased loved one may cover:
- Medical bills from the deceased’s injuries
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of household services (child care, lawn care, etc.)
- Pain and suffering
Do Not Let the Insurance Company Pressure You to Settle for Less
You may be surprised how quickly the at-fault party’s insurance company contacts you after your motorcycle accident. While you may choose to briefly answer some questions asked about the accident, it is best to avoid giving an official statement without first contacting an Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer. This is because anything you say or sign could be used to discredit or reduce your compensation claim.
The insurance adjuster may try to pressure you into accepting a fast and low settlement offer. Remember – the other party’s insurer is not on your side. Their goal is to get you to settle for as low of an amount as possible.
So before you agree to a settlement, it is in your best interests to seek professional legal assistance from an experienced personal injury lawyer.
How Long Do You Have to File for Atlanta Motorcycle Accidents?
As with all personal injury cases in Georgia, there is a statute of limitations on filing motorcycle accident claims. The term “statute of limitations” refers to the length of time you have to file for compensation after being injured in an accident.
Georgia Code § 9-3-33 states that an accident victim has 2 years from the date of his or her accident to file a personal injury claim. Depending on the circumstances of your motorcycle accident case, the time you have could be even less.
Make sure to contact an Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible after your crash. He or she will act quickly to gather the evidence needed to prove fault and liability before it is lost or destroyed. Your lawyer will also ensure all necessary documents are filed correctly and on time.
Our Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Are Here to Help
After sustaining severe injuries in a motorcycle accident, it may seem that each day is full of challenges. The last thing you should have to worry about during your recovery is having lengthy negotiations with the at-fault party and their insurance company.
When you have our law firm on your side, we will handle every aspect of your case while you focus on healing and spending time with your family.
As your legal representatives, we will:
- Answer any question you have about your claim
- Investigate your motorcycle accident
- Determine what caused the accident
- Identify all liable parties
- Work with accident reconstructionists and other experts
- File all paperwork on time
- Negotiate with the insurance company
- Give you regular updates on the progress of your case
- Litigate your case in court if a fair settlement agreement cannot be reached
The legal process is much easier with an expert to guide you through each step. Let our Atlanta motorcycle accident attorneys handle your claim while you focus on your recovery.
Contact an Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
Motorcycle accidents can leave riders with catastrophic injuries. Were you involved in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence? If so, you deserve to be compensated for your financial losses and the physical and emotional harm you have suffered.
Our law firm handles motorcycle accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you do not have to pay us any upfront costs or fees for our services. We only get paid if you receive a settlement, and then our payment will be a predetermined percentage of what you are awarded.
Let our legal warriors go to work for you. With Hoffspiegel Law handling your case, you can trust we will utilize all of our experience, skill, and knowledge to secure full compensation for your injuries. You may be surprised by the peace of mind that comes with having a dedicated, knowledgeable advocate on your side.
Hoffspiegel Law offers all potential clients a free case consultation. Call us today at (404) 760-8600, or click the Contact Us button to get started.
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