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Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

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Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Motorcycle accidents are less common than passenger vehicle accidents, but they have a much higher chance of resulting in great bodily harm or death. If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident that another party caused, an Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer can help you hold them accountable for your damages. It’s crucial that you contact an attorney immediately following any motorcycle accident in Atlanta.

The team at the Merritt & Merritt Law Firm has the experience needed to address your unique legal concerns for your impending motorcycle accident case. From helping you prove fault for the accident to guiding you through the insurance claim filing process and obtaining compensation with a personal injury suit, you can rely on our team for comprehensive legal support through all of your recovery efforts.

Motorcycle Crash Leave You Injured? We Can Help

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, call our Atlanta motorcycle accident attorneys for a free consultation. A traffic accident of any kind is a traumatic experience and it is important to speak to a legal professional before you speak to anyone else. Saying the wrong thing, such as “I feel okay,” or “I didn’t see the car” could jeopardize your compensation claim. We can advise you of what you should and should not say to avoid such complications.

The Merritt & Merritt Law Firm has successfully represented many motorcycle accident victims, so we know the various legal challenges you might encounter as you attempt to recover from your recent accident. We also understand the severity of the injuries you may have suffered, and you can expect compassion and close attention to detail as we investigate every detail of your claim, determining your optimal path to recovery.

Our firm has years of experience helping clients recover from all types of serious accidents, and we know the various challenges you might encounter in the aftermath of your recent motorcycle accident in Atlanta. You’re likely to have a lot of questions in this challenging situation, and we are ready to provide the answers you need to feel more confident about your impending proceedings.

Filing an Auto Insurance Claim for a Motorcycle Accident in Atlanta

Every driver in Georgia is legally obligated to have auto insurance that meets minimum coverage requirements for bodily injury liability and property damage liability. When a driver causes an accident harming another motorist, their insurance will pay for the damages they caused. However, while filing an auto insurance claim may be your primary method of recovering compensation, your settlement may not pay for all of your damages.

Those injured in a motorcycle crash sometimes try to negotiate directly with the insurance company, which may result in a significantly reduced settlement amount. Before talking to the insurance company, it is important to learn and understand what your rights are. We explain how the law applies to your case and help you make the right choices for you and your family.

Insurance carriers will generally look for all the ways they can fight back against claims for compensation. It’s possible for an insurance company representative to even engage in bad-faith tactics in their efforts to coerce a claimant into accepting a lowball settlement offer. However, an insurance company is far less likely to attempt any such bad-faith handling of a claim when they see that the claimant has legal representation.

Your Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer can guide you through the claim filing process and ensure you are treated fairly. They can handle correspondence with the insurance company on your behalf and address any unexpected disputes that might be raised against your claim. Once you receive your settlement, your attorney can then determine whether further legal recourse is necessary to secure full compensation for your damages.

Understanding the Risks of Riding a Motorcycle

Motorcycles have grown in popularity over the years for a wide number of reasons. Some find them a more economical means of travel, some love the feel of the open road and others just ride them to have fun with friends. They also leave riders and passengers exposed to their surroundings and that can result in lifelong injuries at the hands of others. Even the most experienced riders need to acknowledge that their bikes offer no physical protection in a crash.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports there was a 5.1 increase in the number of motorcycle fatalities in 2016; 5,286 people lost their lives while riding motorcycles. Further information revealed that while injury numbers for 2016 are not available, in 2015, 88,000 motorcyclists suffered injuries in traffic accidents.

Ultimately, the risk of catastrophic or fatal injury is much greater from a motorcycle accident than it is from most other types of vehicle accidents. This means that those injured by motorcycle accidents often suffer severe injuries, and their damages may eclipse the insurance coverage available from at-fault drivers’ auto insurance policies.

Common Causes of Motorcycle-Vehicle Accidents

Motorcycles are significantly smaller than many of the vehicles on the road today and this can make it hard for motorists to see them. It is the responsibility of motorists, however, to stay alert to the presence of these two-wheeled vehicles, but many are negligent. As a result, some motorcyclists are hit when a vehicle pulls into their lane. Other factors contributing to crashes involving cars and motorcycles include the following:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is illegal in Georgia, and a driver who causes an accident while intoxicated faces severe criminal penalties along with civil liability for any damages they inflict on others. Your Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer can advise you concerning how a criminal case against the at-fault driver may influence the outcome of your civil claim for compensation.
  • Speeding. While it is relatively common to see drivers slightly exceeding posted speed limits, any level of speeding is inherently dangerous and can increase not only the chance of an accident happening but also the severity of resulting damages. Speeding is a leading contributing cause of fatal motorcycle crashes throughout the Atlanta area each year.
  • Failure to yield – turning left in front of a motorcycle. Moving violations that disrupt the flow of traffic can easily result in serious accidents. Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable because they are smaller and easier to overlook than most other vehicles.
  • Distraction – talking to passengers, using a mobile device, eating, playing with dash controls. Distracted driving of any kind is inherently dangerous for the distracted driver, the other passengers of their vehicle, and everyone around them on the road.

Most of the vehicle accidents reported throughout Georgia each year are the result of driver negligence. Proving negligence means establishing that the defendant had a duty of care that they breached in some way, consequently causing the plaintiff’s claimed damages. For example, a driver has a duty of care to operate their vehicle attentively, and texting while driving or other distracted driving is a clear breach of this duty of care.

Additionally, the victim must prove they suffered actual harm, meaning the accident resulted in measurable damages. They will also need to prove that the defendant’s actions directly caused these damages and that they did not result from any other cause. This is causation, and it is vital to have an attorney who can help you disprove any allegations from a defendant that you caused your claimed losses.

Do I Have a Valid Motorcycle Accident Claim?

In Altanta, Georgia, you may have a valid claim if you:

  • Were struck by another vehicle
  • Were operating the motorcycle
  • Were a passenger on the motorcycle

You may also have a claim even if your motorcycle was the only vehicle involved. Perhaps you didn’t see a pothole in the road or a traffic light wasn’t working correctly? Maybe your accident was caused by a poorly designed road or a livestock animal that had gotten loose? You might be able to prove another party was negligent and is therefore, responsible for your injuries.

An experienced Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer can assess the details of how your accident happened and help gather the evidence you need to firmly establish fault for your damages. When you choose Merritt & Merritt to represent you, we can immediately begin gathering whatever evidence you will need to establish liability and hold the at-fault party accountable for the damages they inflicted.

Georgia follows the fault rule for vehicle accident claims, so it will be necessary to prove fault before you will be able to recover any compensation for your damages. Once you have determined who is at fault for the accident, you must gather evidence to show exactly how they caused the accident. Your Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer can be invaluable when it comes to gathering evidence to support your claim for compensation.

Why Should I File a Motorcycle Accident Claim?

Motorists have a duty to operate their vehicle in a safe manner. When they fail to do so, motorcyclists are left to pay the price. Injuries from a motorcycle accident are often severe, even if the biker is wearing protective clothing. These can include broken bones, partial/permanent paralysis, road rash and spinal injuries.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are commonplace with motorcycle accidents and are especially risky because there is no known treatment for them. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke points out that the only steps doctors can take is to stabilize the patient to prevent further brain damage from occurring. The effects of a TBI include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Motor skill dysfunction – inability to walk, use arms or hands
  • Problems with sensory processing – hearing, smell, taste, touch
  • Personality changes – may become difficult, anger issues
  • Cognitive issues – unable to reason, memory loss, thinking disruption)
  • Communication disruption – trouble with understanding, speech is slow or non-existent

Further complicating things, each TBI is unique, making it nearly impossible for doctors to predict long-term outcomes. In severe cases, patients may even develop further problems weeks, months or years later, such as Parkinson’s disease. According to a recent study conducted on military veterans, those who experienced a severe or mild TBI had a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s, states the American Parkinson Disease Association.

Adding to the physical challenges stated above, medical bills quickly add up and this can make it difficult for the victim and the victim’s family, especially if the victim can’t work for a significant period of time. Filing a motorcycle accident claim may provide the victim with the compensation they need to recover as well as a sense of personal justice in holding the other party/parties financially accountable.

What Damages May I Be Able to Recover?

Compensation is intended to reimburse you financially for the damages caused by the accident you were in. Damages can be monetary, such as medical bills and lost wages; or non-monetary like emotional/mental pain and anguish. Remember that if you suffered serious injuries causing permanent disabilities and/or medical complications, the defendant is also responsible for future economic losses resulting from their actions.

Beyond your economic damages, you also have the right to seek compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced. While you might find it hard to determine a suitable value for non-economic damages, your attorney can help with this aspect of your case, taking the severity of your injuries and the extent of long-term damages you are likely to experience into account. There is no set formula a plaintiff must use to calculate pain and suffering in their case.

Another form of compensation is punitive damages, which may be granted if the other party acted in an especially negligent manner. Perhaps the other driver was already speeding and weaving around other cars before they hit you. Maybe they were driving with a suspended license. Punitive damages awarded can be substantial because they are intended to punish the other party, and warn them and others of the possible consequences of such reckless behavior.

Georgia’s Comparative Damage Rule

In Georgia, even if you are partially responsible for the accident, you are still allowed to file a claim against the other party/parties if it is determined your fault is less than 50 percent. This is known as the comparative fault rule and means if you are found 35 percent at fault, you will only be awarded compensation damages of 65 percent of the total losses you have suffered. If a plaintiff is found 50% or more at fault, they cannot claim compensation from the defendant.

This is just one example of the complicating factors you might encounter in the aftermath of your recent motorcycle accident. Having an experienced Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer on your side will mean that you are prepared to face such challenges and reach optimal results for your recovery efforts. The attorneys at Merritt & Merritt approach every personal injury case we accept with the goal of helping our client recover fully, and we’re ready to help with your claim.

Benefits of Hiring Legal Counsel You Can Trust

You are not legally obligated to hire an attorney to help you recover from a motorcycle accident or from any other personal injury in Georgia. You have the right to pursue compensation on your own, but do not assume this would simply be a means of saving money on attorneys’ fees. You are significantly less likely to achieve a positive outcome on your own than you would be if you had experienced legal counsel on your side.

Even when accounting for the cost of hiring legal counsel, you are more likely to maximize your total compensation when you have an experienced Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer representing you. They will know what evidence you will need to prove fault, how to secure it as swiftly as possible, and how to accurately determine the full scope of the damages you are legally able to claim from the defendant who caused your accident.

Your first recovery option following a motorcycle accident is likely to be an auto insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s policy. This may seem like a straightforward process, but it is prudent to expect pushback from the insurance company. They will likely try to find any reasons they can to deny your claim or justify the lowest possible settlement offer. Your attorney can deal with the insurance company on your behalf and ensure you receive a fair settlement.

When it comes to pursuing a personal injury claim for a motorcycle accident, the fault for your accident may seem clear at first, but it is possible that you could encounter various legal challenges that you will not know how to overcome on your own. Filing a personal injury claim also requires meeting strict procedural deadlines with the court, and this can be very challenging for anyone struggling with injuries in the aftermath of a serious accident.

Hiring an Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer to represent you is one of the most effective ways you can increase your likelihood of success with your case and increase the total amount of compensation you win from the at-fault driver. The team at Merritt & Merritt Law Firm develops an individualized legal strategy for each client we represent, so you can expect our team to take your unique needs and concerns into account as we develop your case.

FAQs

Q: How Do I Prove Fault for a Motorcycle Accident in Atlanta?

A: You can prove fault for a motorcycle accident in Atlanta with various forms of evidence. Physical evidence from the scene of the crash, such as tire marks and the damage to your vehicle, is often vital. Digital evidence can also come into play, such as cell phone records, recordings from traffic cameras, and vehicle computer data. Eyewitness testimony may also prove invaluable, and your attorney can help secure witness statements to support your case.

Q: What Is the Value of My Motorcycle Accident Claim?

A: The value of your motorcycle accident claim in Atlanta depends on the extent of the damages you suffered and the severity of your injuries. While the average person may be able to account for their immediately recognizable damages, they may struggle when it comes to assessing the long-term impact of their accident and/or calculating pain and suffering. Your Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer can help maximize your case award.

Q: Can I File an Auto Insurance Claim for a Motorcycle Accident?

A: Yes, you can file an auto insurance claim for a motorcycle accident. Georgia’s fault rule requires every driver to have auto insurance, and this insurance can apply to any motor vehicle accident the policyholder causes. Your Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer can help you file your claim and resolve any problems you encounter with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, you should expect any insurer to push back against a claim.

Q: Why Should I Hire an Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?

A: You should hire an Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer to increase your chance of success with your recovery efforts and maximize your total compensation. While you have the option of attempting to handle your case on your own, it is unlikely to yield the same level of results you could expect from a seasoned Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer. The right attorney increases your chances of success with any civil suit you need to file.

Q: What Are Attorneys’ Fees for an Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?

A: Attorneys’ fees for an Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer will depend on their billing policy. Every attorney uses a different policy, and it’s vital to understand the details of your chosen attorneys’ billing practices so there are no surprises when it comes to your legal expenses. Merritt & Merritt uses a contingency fee policy, so our client only pays a percentage of their total case award as our fee, and they only pay this fee if we win their case.

The attorneys at Merritt & Merritt are ready to provide the comprehensive legal support you need for your impending case. It’s vital to work quickly after your accident to maximize your chances of success with all the legal efforts you make to recover your damages. Contact Atlanta motorcycle accident attorneys at 404-975-1775 or through our online free case review form. The consultation is free, there are no upfront costs and we only bill you if we win your case.

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