Most motorcycle riders in Atlanta understand that riding a bike comes with risks. Motorcyclists are less protected than other drivers if an accident happens, and many motorists fail to account for motorcyclists’ rights on the road. If you were injured on your bike or a loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident, it’s time to speak with an Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer.
Our attorneys have been helping motorcycle accident victims win what they deserve for more than 20 years. We have seen the toll an accident can have on your finances, physical health, and overall well-being. Our firm is dedicated to getting you compensation for the damages that were not your fault.
Time Limits for Your Atlanta Motorcycle Wreck Case
Georgia law has a statute of limitations for personal injury claims, but the specific deadline for your case can vary depending on a variety of factors. Typically, you have two years from the date of your motorcycle accident in Atlanta to file a claim.
However, there are some situations that give you a bit longer. For example, you can sue for loss of consortium with a spouse (as a result of your injuries) within four years. On the other hand, you’ll need to bring your case to court much sooner if the at-fault party is the government.
Speaking with a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer in Atlanta is the best way to determine exactly what your deadline is and ensure that your paperwork is filed on time.
Types of Cases We Take On
Our attorneys have plenty of experience handling cases just like yours. We have worked with clients who suffered a wide range of injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Road rash
- Neck, shoulder, or back injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Injuries that lead to death
Under Georgia law, drivers who cause your injuries can be held liable for the damages they inflict. Our Atlanta motorcycle crash lawyers understand how to get you the compensation you and your family need. We have a team of legal experts specialized in all areas of motorcycle accident injuries.
If you have suffered the loss of a limb, an Atlanta loss of limbs accident lawyer can help you file a claim to recover. Unlike typical motorcycle injuries, losing a limb is permanent. A legal expert can help you convey the physical and psychological impact of your injury.
Why Motorcycle Accidents Happen
The sad truth is that many motorcycle accidents are preventable. If drivers would exercise more caution and diligence on Atlanta roads, there would be far fewer accidents. Unfortunately, not everyone is as careful as they should be after getting behind the wheel.
Motorcycle accidents can occur because of:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Road rage or aggressive driving
- Poor road conditions
- Inclement weather
- Faulty vehicle parts
Even when a motorcycle accident does not directly involve another driver, a person or party may be responsible. For example, if an unsafe road condition causes a motorcyclist to be thrown from their bike or run off the road and hit a tree, the party responsible for road upkeep might be liable. This is often a local or state government entity.
If a motorcycle accident happens because of malfunctioning bike parts or poor maintenance, a manufacturer or mechanic may be to blame. Before making any assumptions about fault in your accident, it is best to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer who can look at the facts. Even if you think you were fully responsible for the accident, you might discover otherwise after talking to a legal professional.
Liability, Fault, and Compensation in an Atlanta Motorcycle Crash
To seek compensation for your damages, you will need to file a personal injury case against the at-fault party. To have a successful case, you’ll need to show:
- Who was responsible for the accident
- How the at-fault party caused your accident
- Your total damages from the accident
Even though you were the accident victim, legally, the burden is on you to prove the other party’s liability for the accident and your damages. This is very difficult to do alone, which is why we suggest working with an experienced and trusted motorcycle accident attorney in Atlanta.
Proving Culpability After a Motorcycle Accident in Atlanta
Establishing fault following a motorcycle accident is essential. Once your lawyer knows who is responsible for causing your accident, our next task will be gathering the evidence needed to prove liability in your case.
When your motorcycle accident case is heard in Atlanta, your attorney will need to introduce evidence that shows the defendant is more likely than not responsible for causing your injuries. This burden of proof is known as a preponderance of the evidence. Some common types of evidence that could be used to prove liability in a motorcycle accident claim include:
- Cell phone records
- Chemical blood alcohol test results
- Blackbox data
- Police reports
- Crash reports
- Accident reconstructionist reports
- Safety inspection logs
- Maintenance records
- Medical documentation
- Photos of the motorcycle accident scene
- CCTV or other video footage of the collision
These are only a few of the different types of evidence that could prove someone else’s liability in your motorcycle accident claim. The evidence must prove that the elements of negligence have been met as follows:
- The defendant must have owed the injury victim a duty of care
- The defendant needed to have breached this duty of care through action or inaction
- The defendant’s breach in the duty of care should be the cause of the injury victim’s damages or resulting injuries
- The injury victim must have suffered considerable emotional, financial, psychological, or physical damages due to their motorcycle accident
How You Can Seek Compensation for Your Damages
Common damages from a motorcycle accident in Atlanta include:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Vehicle damage
- Pain and suffering
However, those are not the only forms of damages for which you can seek compensation.
In some situations, you may be eligible for punitive damages, which are meant to punish the wrongdoer and discourage further wrongdoing. These damages are more common in cases involving incredibly careless or wanton behavior, such as drunk driving. Your lawyer can let you know your full compensation options based on your accident.
Wrongful Death Damages
If a loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident, you might be eligible to file a wrongful death claim on the deceased’s behalf. A wrongful death claim can include damages like:
- Medical costs
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral costs
- Burial costs
- Loss of consortium or companionship
Our team of wrongful death lawyers in Atlanta, GA, can help you file against the liable party and seek justice. Schedule a consultation to learn what type of damages you can claim. A legal expert can also help you review the available evidence and build a strong claim.
Talk to an Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer right away to know your options. They can help you navigate this tragic time so that you can focus on being with loved ones – but worrying about the legal side of things.
Settlement vs. Trial
There are two ways you can seek compensation for motorcycle accident damages:
- Through the settlement of an insurance claim
- Through an award at trial
Most accident claims are settled well before the case ever goes to trial. If you have a powerful lawyer helping you with your claim, you have a much higher chance of getting a fair settlement and moving on from the accident. However, some situations do warrant filing a lawsuit, and your lawyer will help you every step of the way if that is necessary.
How Insurance Settlements Work
How many motorcycle accident victims are quick to assume that they can file a claim with the liable party’s insurance provider and recover the compensation they need to cover their damages. However, this is rarely the case. Insurance settlements are not designed to cover your damages in full. Instead, the policyholder has purchased certain types of insurance coverage at certain levels.
For example, drivers might purchase $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage. This would cover up to $25,000 in an injury victim’s medical expenses. However, most insurance companies do not provide compensation for a variety of other types of economic damages or any non-economic damages. For example, you could not expect to file a claim with the insurance company and recover compensation for your emotional distress.
This is not something the insurance company or the policies they issue provide coverage for. This means the amount of compensation you can be awarded will be entirely dependent on the policyholder’s coverage limits. Do not be surprised if you file a claim with the insurance company and later learn that it is not going to cover your damages in full.
If you have remaining damages, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the liable party and recover your economic damages and non-economic damages in full.
Why You Should NOT Accept the Insurance Company’s First Offer
In most cases, insurance companies will attempt to contact you very quickly after your motorcycle wreck in Atlanta. Their goal is to offer you the absolute minimum amount as a settlement so that they save money.
If you accept their initial offer, you likely lose the opportunity to seek full compensation through a lawsuit. We recommend politely declining to discuss your case at all with insurance agents until after you have spoken with an experienced Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney.
Atlanta Motorcycle Accident FAQ
The motorcycle accident claims process is often complex. We understand that you may have many unanswered questions regarding the insurance process and what to expect when you file a civil lawsuit. In the hopes of helping ease your concerns, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding motorcycle accidents in Atlanta below.
Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you have additional questions we have not covered here. We can discuss them further during your free consultation.
What Happens if I Was Injured as a Motorcycle Passenger?
If you were a motorcycle passenger who suffered catastrophic injuries in a collision, you may be wondering how to go about recovering the compensation you need to get through these difficult times. As an injured motorcycle accident passenger, you have the same right to compensation for your damages as an injured motorcyclist would. If the motorcyclist in your case was responsible for causing the accident, you may be hesitant to pursue your case.
You likely have a close relationship with the motorcyclist and want to maintain one. Your attorney will handle your case delicately to preserve the relationship wherever possible. However, no matter what your relationship is to the motorcyclist, if they are at fault for causing your injuries, they should be ordered to compensate you for your losses.
Should I Give the Insurance Company a Statement?
It is never a good idea to give the insurance company a statement without first discussing the circumstances of your case with your attorney. Insurance companies have been known to manipulate statements given to them by well-intending claimants. They might attempt to place unwarranted blame on you or engage in other unscrupulous tactics, such as:
- Delaying the processing of your claim
- Attempting to offer you an insultingly low settlement
- Denying your claim in bad faith
Your attorney can help you by handling the insurance company on your behalf. We can ensure the insurance company has all of the facts they need to move forward with the processing of your claim. That way, you do not need to worry about being taken advantage of.
What if I Am Partially at Fault for the Accident?
If you are partially at fault for causing your motorcycle accident, your case could be significantly impacted. Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence system with a 50% threshold. This means if you are more than 49% responsible for causing your injuries, you will lose your right to have your case heard by the Atlanta civil courts.
Fortunately, as long as your portion of liability does not exceed 49%, you can still recover compensation for your damages. However, expect your injury settlement to reflect a shared fault deduction equal to the percentage of liability you carry. For example, if you were not wearing a motorcycle helmet when you were struck by a distracted driver, the judge might find you 15% responsible for causing your injuries.
If the jury awarded you $1 million for your damages, your million-dollar settlement would be reduced by 15%, leaving you with $850,000. Since sharing fault can have a substantial impact on the outcome of your case, make sure you have a dedicated Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney by your side ensuring liability is accurately evaluated.
Get a Free Consultation with an Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
Don’t wait to get help with your motorcycle accident claim. Our attorneys have more than 20 years of experience getting victims and their families the compensation they deserve. To learn more and get a free consultation, call us or contact us online today.