Helping Motorcycle Accident Victims Receive Fair Compensation for Their Injuries
In any personal injury lawsuit, the other driver’s insurance company will try to lay the blame at your feet (at least partly) for causing the accident. In Georgia, this is a very effective method of reducing the insurance company’s liability to the extent of nullifying it entirely. In cases where the other driver’s insurance adjuster proves that you are at least 50% at fault for an accident, that is a bar to you recovering any damages whatsoever.
With motorcycle accidents, there is an added dimension to this. Motorcyclists are not necessarily known for their defensive driving. Insurance adjusters therefore often exploit this prejudice when there is an accident. They will claim that you were speeding, which added to your injuries. They may also claim that you were “lane splitting” or passing between two cars. These claims often puts an added burden on you, the plaintiff, to prove your case.
For that reason, you need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who will present a fully researched and complete complaint to the insurance company and the court. We can help you build a case that takes into account potential defenses that rely on unfair prejudices against motorcycle riders. Don’t let the insurance company get away with placing the blame on you. At The George McCranie Law Firm we can prepare your case to be trial-ready, and help you increase your chances of receiving a fair settlement.
Motorcycle Accidents Often Result in Severe Injuries
If you were in a motorcycle accident, chances are you didn’t walk away from it unscathed. In many cases, victims have to be taken to the emergency room, face an extended period of medical treatment or are prescribed orthopedic care to rehabilitate.
Broken bones, concussions, and road rash are the most common injuries associated with motorcycle injuries. Meanwhile, you have medical expenses, are missing time from work, and bills are piling up. You need a settlement from the insurance company that is going to compensate you for your injuries and reimburse your lost wages. A good motorcycle accident attorney can help you accomplish that.
What Is Georgia’s Comparative Fault Rule?
In Georgia, if you are 50% responsible (or more) for an accident, you are barred from recovering damages. Even in cases where the other driver is 51% at fault, your settlement is reduced by the percentage of blame the insurance company can lay at your feet.
In other words, if you are entitled to $100,000 in damages, and you are 25% to blame for the accident, your damages will be reduced by $25,000 entitling you to only $75,000. That’s why it’s imperative to preserve the integrity of your claim and ensure that a skilled motorcycle accident attorney is preparing your claim.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
The most common cause of motorcycle accidents is also the most common cause of all car accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents: Distracted driving. Today, there is more incentive than ever to split your attention between the road and your cell phone, infotainment system, or whatever else is available.
In addition, motorcycles, being smaller than other vehicles on the road, are more difficult to see. It’s common for drivers to move into lanes occupied by motorcycle without checking their blind spots or signaling properly. What happens then? The other driver’s insurance adjuster accuses the motorcyclist of “lane splitting” even though they weren’t trying to change lanes.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, there are nearly 5000 deaths annually related to motorcycles and motorcycle accidents:
- 78% of these accidents involved motorcycles that were struck in the front (not the rear);
- 25% of these accidents involved collisions with fixed objects (and not other vehicles);
- 40% of these crashes involved blind-spot collisions in which the motorcycle was attempting to pass a vehicle on the left while the other driver was attempting to move into the left-hand lane or otherwise turn left; and
- 36% of these accidents involved speed violations by the motorcyclist.
However, the driver who is pulling into the left lane is expected to ensure that lane is clear before moving into it.
What If I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet or Was Splitting Lanes?
Georgia also has specific rules regarding motorcyclists. These include:
- You and your passenger are required to wear helmets;
- You must not attempt to “lane split”;
- Your head and tail lights must be on at all times;
- And you must have a motorcycle license.
Since failing to abide by these requirements puts yourself and others at risk, they can be a bar to recovering damages for an accident, even when the other driver was partly at fault.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Motorcycle Accident?
If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, you can recover damages related to your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. All Georgia drivers are required to carry at least $25,000 in personal injury liability per person, $50,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage (25/50/25).
In cases where your injuries exceed the policy limit, you can sue the at-fault driver directly for any damages in excess of the policy limit. In cases where the other driver fled the scene of the accident or did not have insurance coverage, you would then file a claim against your own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.
If you have elected to reject that coverage in writing, then you can either sue the driver directly (if they can be found) or you’re simply out of luck. Since most drivers who are driving without insurance aren’t exactly swimming in dough, you will have a difficult time collecting anything from them. You can sue them and gain a verdict in the amount of their damages, but they can simply turn around and file for bankruptcy which would effectively discharge their entire debt (unless they were drunk at the time of the accident).
How Can a Georgia Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help?
We know the stakes are high. We also know that not all motorcyclists are reckless drivers. If you’ve sustained injuries in an accident, speak to the motorcycle accident attorneys at The George McCranie Law Firm. We may be able to help you maximize your chances of receiving a fair compensation for your injuries.