The things that make motorcycle riding enjoyable are the same things that make it dangerous. Experiencing the fresh air, feeling the wind, and not being contained in a car makes the whole motorcycle riding experience freeing, thrilling, and enjoyable.
However, it also puts you at a greater risk than other motorists, as you don’t have the safety protections that car drivers have. Plus, the size and weight of motorcycles, combined with their high speeds can make accidents a major disaster. Still, drivers of cars and trucks should always be on the lookout for motorcycles to avoid unnecessary harm.
If you or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to contact a Macon motorcycle accident lawyer right away. At The Herro Law Firm, we strive to protect the rights of motorcycle accident victims, and we can help you prove that your motorcycle accident was caused by the negligence of another driver so that you can recover compensation for your damages.
How Can a Macon Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help Me?
Motorcycle accident cases can be quite complex, and the injuries and damages that the victims suffer are severe. The time following the crash can be stressful and painful, and an experienced lawyer in Macon can serve as your voice and help take some pressure off of you.
Some of the main ways a lawyer can help you include:
- Conducting an independent investigation on the wreck and working with experts to understand how the accident happened
- Obtaining and preserving important evidence, including photos and videos of the accident scene, police reports, medical records, and witness statements
- Using the available evidence and details to build a strong claim seeking the maximum compensation you deserve, including the future, anticipated damages
- Handling all of the paperwork and communication related to your accident claim
- Answering any questions you might have, addressing all your concerns, and keeping you posted on the progress of the case
- Negotiating with insurance companies for the full settlement amount
- Filing a lawsuit where necessary, especially if the defendant and their insurer won’t reach a fair settlement figure
Being involved in a motorcycle accident doesn’t mean that you have to handle the case on your own. At The Herro Law Firm, we are not afraid to take your case to trial in case the insurance company doesn’t want to make a fair offer. Call us today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Many motorcycle accidents are completely avoidable if other road users take the necessary precautions. There are lots of different factors that may contribute to a motorcycle accident on Georgia roads.
From our experience, the leading cause of motorcycle crashes is larger vehicles failing to give the right of way. This could happen as a result of driver distraction, lower visibility of motorcycles, aggressive driving, or other forms of negligence.
Below is a list of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents:
- Distracted driving, including texting and driving
- Drunk driving, drugged driving, and other forms of impaired driving
- Not paying attention to motorcycles
- Faulty brakes, mirrors, or lighting
- Unexpected pedestrians on the road
- Making improper turns
- Unsafe lane changes
- Failure to follow traffic rules
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to a report by the National Safety Council, 3% of all registered vehicles in the US are motorcycles. But motorcycles accounted for 14% of fatalities in vehicle crashes in 2017. In Georgia, motorcycles represent 2% of the total number of registered vehicles but account for a significantly greater number of fatalities every year.
In 2019, the NHTSA reported a total of 154 motorcycle fatalities in Georgia. This represents 11% of the total traffic fatalities in the same year. Fatalities have been increasing steadily in recent years – 139 in 2017, 154 in 2018, 170 in 2019, and 179 in 2020.
What Are the Motorcycle-Specific Laws in Georgia?
Motorcyclists are required to adhere to all the traffic laws that other motorists follow on Georgia roads. However, there are a few laws that are on that only apply to motorcycles:
No Lane Splitting
Since motorcycles are smaller than cars, motorcyclists often split lanes to zip through traffic. This usually means riding the white line dividing lanes of traffic. Georgia law does not allow lane splitting.
A Limit of Two Bikes on a Single Lane
Motorcycles are small enough to travel side by side on one lane, and motorcyclists are therefore allowed to share lanes. This practice can sometimes increase the safety of motorcyclists, for instance by providing greater visibility at night. Georgia laws allow two motorcyclists to ride in one lane side by side.
Mandatory Helmet Requirement
While it might feel nice to let your hair flow in the wind, this experience isn’t exactly safe. Georgia laws require that you must wear a helmet while riding on its roadways.
Eyewear or Windshield Requirement
A motorcyclist’s eyesight is crucial for their safety and the safety of other drivers. Georgia requires that you must wear protective eyewear or have a windshield on your bike.
What Are the Most Common Injuries Seen in Motorcycle Accidents?
As mentioned before, motorcyclists are fully exposed to the elements. This is part of the thrill and freedom of riding a motorcycle. However, this can expose the rider to more hazards in the event of an accident. Sadly, many motorcycle accidents result in death.
When motorcyclists are not killed in a serious crash, they can suffer injuries such as:
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Internal injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Road rash and other external injuries
- Amputation injuries
- Bone fractures
A motorcycle accident can also result in psychological injuries as well. A motorcyclist that is involved in a serious crash can easily develop depression, anxiety, or PTSD. It’s important to think beyond the immediate bills, as you may be facing years of ongoing medical and psychological treatments for your injuries.
If the accident results in death, our lawyers can help you file a wrongful death claim on behalf of your family and seek justice for your loved one.
How Is Fault Determined in a Macon Motorcycle Accident?
In Georgia, motorcycle accident liability is based on fault. To hold someone liable, you need to prove that they were at fault in the accident. Fault is usually based on the concept of negligence, which is defined as the failure to take adequate care in the context of a specific situation.
In most motorcycle accident cases, another motorist is usually the negligent defendant. Standard-sized cars are more likely to cause accidents than motorcycles. When a motorcycle accident involves another vehicle, it’s more likely that the other driver was to blame for the collision.
Some common examples of driver negligence that could lead to motorcycle accidents include:
- Tailgating or following too closely
- Going too fast for the road conditions
- Making unsafe lane changes
- Distracted driving
- Making a left turn in front of a motorcycle
When it comes to proving negligence, the following elements have to be established:
- Duty of Care: The defendant owed you a duty of care, in this case, all motorists have to be careful on the road.
- Breach of Duty of Care: The defendant breached this duty by not following traffic rules or by driving recklessly, while intoxicated, etc.
- Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty directly resulted in the motorcycle accident and your injuries.
- Damages: You suffered compensable damages as a result of your injuries, such as extensive medical bills and substantial lost wages.
Establishing negligence following a motorcycle accident can be challenging and will usually require compelling evidence to back it up. For this reason, it’s recommended that you work with a knowledgeable and experienced Macon motorcycle accident lawyer following your crash.
It’s worth noting that Georgia follows the comparative negligence rule, which prohibits you from recovering compensation if you’re found to be 50% or more at fault. If you’re partially at fault, it might reduce your recoverable damages considerably. You must therefore work to fight any allegations that you had any fault in the crash.
What Type of Compensation Can I Receive for My Motorcycle Accident?
In personal injury cases, including motorcycle accident claims, there are two main kinds of damages – economic and non-economic damages. Your lawyer will add the value of your damages together to get the full sum of damages and work to demand the full recovery for you.
Insurance companies are notoriously resistant to paying the victims what they are owed, and it’s up to you and your lawyer to negotiate and litigate if necessary to demand the payment you deserve. The damages you may be eligible for in a motorcycle accident include the following:
These are the damages that can be assigned a dollar amount. They have exact numbers that can be proven objectively. They include:
- Medical bills, including prescriptions, hospitalization, ER, surgical costs, etc.
- Lost wages from time spent away from work
- Property damage (cost to repair or replace the bike, cost to replace gear, etc.)
- Rehabilitation cost
These cannot be calculated to an exact dollar amount. They are the unseen or intangible damages that the rider suffered, and typically include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent or temporary disability
While punitive damages are rarely awarded, the court may decide to award them in case the defendant is deemed to have shown willful misconduct, malice, or indifference to the wellbeing of others. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant and serve as an example to the members of the public to refrain from such behavior.
Why Was My Motorcycle Accident Claim Denied?
In case your accident was caused by a negligent or reckless driver, you might expect that the insurance company will automatically compensate you for the losses and damages you incurred. However, many claims end up being denied. The insurance companies may use different excuses to deny victims compensation. While some of their reasons might be valid, others are just wrong.
Some of the most common reasons why your claim might be denied include:
- A lapsed or canceled insurance policy
- The insurance company doesn’t believe your injuries were sustained in the accident
- The driver was not insured under the policy
- The insurer believes that the accident was your fault
- The insurance company doesn’t believe you got hurt
- The insurance policy is not adequate to fully compensate you
If your claim was denied for any of these reasons, all is not lost. Consider working with an experienced Macon motorcycle accident lawyer to review your policy to explore all the avenues of compensation available to you.
Are There Time Limits to Filing a Claim in Georgia?
Yes. There are deadlines for filing motorcycle accident claims. In Georgia motorcycle accident cases, you have two years from the time of the accident to file a personal injury claim. However, you should try to file your claim as quickly as possible.
Evidence tends to disappear inexplicably, witnesses’ accounts change, and some records can be lost. The sooner your lawyer starts working on your claim, the more protected your rights will be.
Have You Been Injured in a Macon, GA Motorcycle Accident?
The Herro Law Firm has a team of motorcycle accident lawyers with extensive knowledge of the Georgia laws that specifically apply to motorcyclists and motorcycle accident cases. These laws are different from those governing normal car and truck accidents, and our extensive experience with them is an advantage for all of our clients.
We also have thriving relationships with experts in different areas, and we can build you a strong case to deliver a favorable outcome. But before you hire our lawyers or decide on an attorney, we always encourage scheduling a free case evaluation with us. We can discuss your case in detail, and you can understand what it’s like to work with our compassionate legal team.