MOTORCYCLE CRASHES IN ATHENS, GEORGIA
Motorcycle-related crashes happen all the time in and around Athens. Unfortunately, motorcyclists make up a more significant percentage of traffic-related deaths than individuals in other types of vehicles.
Not only are motorcycles less equipped than larger vehicles to protect riders in the event of a collision, but drivers are also more likely to overlook these smaller vehicles. There are ways for motorcyclists to help protect themselves from collisions. Still, everyone on the road is at the mercy of other drivers, and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable.
Even minor crashes can lead to severe injuries and fatalities. If you or your loved one suffered injuries in Athens, Georgia, while riding a motorcycle, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer about your legal options.
Drivers’ Roles in Injuries to Motorcyclists
Motorcyclists can be extremely careful, skilled riders yet still be at risk because of careless drivers. One familiar theme that investigators notice following motorcycle accidents is that automobile drivers often fail to look for smaller vehicles such as motorcycles.
Drivers who are making left turns tend to be most likely to cause collisions with motorcycles. When a driver is waiting in a left-hand turn lane, they look out for oncoming traffic but tend to scan for larger vehicles, including other cars, SUVs, or trucks. Sadly, they often fail to notice motorcycles. Drivers will then begin to turn and unintentionally cut into the path of an oncoming biker. The results can be dangerous and even fatal.
Drivers also often overlook motorcyclists when they are changing lanes. Motorcycles can easily become trapped in a driver’s blind spot. When incidents occur, the person operating the larger vehicle might be at fault, but the person on the motorcycle is more likely to experience severe or life-threatening injuries.
Georgia’s Helmet Law and Motorcyclist Liability
Georgia has a universal helmet law that states that no one can operate or ride on a motorcycle unless they use protective headgear. The helmets must meet the standards set by the Georgia Department of Public Safety to comply with the law. Georgia’s law is one of the strictest motorcycle helmet laws in the country. Of course, motorcycle helmets are one of the best ways to stay safe when riding. Studies indicate that these pieces of safety equipment can reduce the risk of brain damage and death. Still, many of the worst motorcycle injuries involve the victim’s head.
In addition to wearing a helmet for your safety and to meet legal obligations, it is also important to note that you could put your personal injury claim in jeopardy if you fail to wear a helmet.
Individuals injured in Athens who are filing a lawsuit will need to prove that another driver negligently caused their injuries. The person being sued may be able to reduce what they have to pay in cases in which the victim is also partly at fault for the incident that caused their injuries.
Georgia’s comparative negligence rule may allow you to recover damages as long as you were less than 50 percent at fault for your injuries. If you are partially responsible for the accident but are less than 50% at fault, the court will still allow you to recover some costs from the defendant but may reduce your damages by your share of liability. For instance, if you suffer $100,000 in damages, and the court finds that you are 20 percent to blame for the accident, the court could reduce the award to $80,000.00.
Failing to wear a motorcycle helmet can be used against you to claim that you are partly at fault for your injuries. The court should only reduce your damages for failure to wear a helmet if your injuries involve your head or face, which could have been protected by a helmet. If another driver is 100 percent responsible for the cause of the crash, and you suffer a severe head injury while not wearing a helmet, the court may reduce the damages that you receive because you failed to wear a helmet. On the other hand, if you were not wearing a helmet but your only injury was a broken leg, you might be able to recover the full amount of damages because your failure to wear a motorcycle helmet most likely did not contribute to your broken leg.
Potential Damages Following a Motorcycle Crash
Injuries caused by motorcycle crashes are often severe because of the lack of protective features these vehicles offer their riders. If another driver caused your injuries, you could recover damages for the following:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitative care
- Lost earnings
- Future medical care
- Future lost earnings, from accident-related injuries that prevent you from working
- Pain and suffering
Damages that you can calculate, like your medical bills, fall into the category of economic damages. The court can reasonably estimate future medical costs and future lost earnings when calculating the entire award. In many cases, non-economic damages, such as those for pain and suffering, may exceed the economic damages. It will be essential to speak to a personal injury lawyer in Athens about what you could receive in damages following a motorcycle crash.
The Statute of Limitations
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash, you should not wait to speak to an attorney. Georgia law requires most people to file their claim within two years of the date of the accident. Waiting a long time to contact an attorney can make it more difficult for your lawyer to build a case strategy or negotiate terms with an insurer.
Also, it is possible to damage your claim in an attempt to handle the interactions with the insurance companies on your own. Hiring an attorney early in your case will require the companies to speak to your legal representative about your claim instead of contacting you directly.
Williams Elleby – Athens Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Are you the victim of a motorcycle accident in Athens, Georgia? If so, it is recommended that you discuss your situation with a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer. Backed by more than two decades of experience, Williams Elleby knows how to get motorcycle injury victims the compensation that they deserve. To learn more about how we can help you in your motorcycle accident case, call (833)-534-2542 or contact us online for a free consultation today.