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.
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.
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. 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.
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
- Failure to yield – turning left in front of a motorcycle
- Distraction – talking to passengers, using a mobile device, eating, playing with dash controls
Do I Have a Valid Motorcycle Accident Claim?
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.
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 disfunction – 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.
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.
Contact Atlanta motorcycle accident attorneys at 1-800-738-WE-WIN 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.