What you should know if you’ve been in a motorcycle wreck in Georgia
Georgia is home to numerous lakes, rivers, forests and mountains — all of which provide some amazing backdrops for motorcycle rides. Unfortunately, data from the Georgia Governor’s Safety Association reveals that there were 126 motorcycle fatalities in 2017. Thousands more were injured and face significant hardships when trying to recover damages.
Following an injury, many motorcyclists are shocked to discover that they encounter more serious obstacles than car accident victims. Motorcycle accidents are unique and therefore require a different approach than an automobile accident would.
What are some of the key differences in car accidents vs. motorcycle accidents?
Let’s take a look.
1. Motorcyclists often suffer more severe injuries.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle riders are 5 times more likely than automobile passengers to become injured during an accident. Even the best protective gear is no match for the steel panels found on an automobile, which is a big reason why bikers are also 26 times as likely to perish during a crash.
In addition to wrongful death, accident victims could also suffer traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis or the loss of a limb. Those who do suffer an injury are more likely to require a significant amount of time off from work or need extensive medical care in order to fully recover.
2. There are unique risks involved.
Motorcycle accidents often occur because drivers fail to see them. That’s because motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles on the road and can therefore blend in with them. This is especially true when traffic conditions are heavy.
Road hazards are more dangerous to bikers as well. For example, potholes and roadway debris can easily cause a motorcyclist to lose control. An automobile, on the other hand, might easily glide right over them.
The unique risks associated with motorcycles can sometimes make it more difficult to determine who is at fault. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help sift through the details so that others can understand them more clearly.
3. There is an inherent bias against motorcyclists.
A common misconception about bikers is that they are all reckless daredevils who like to take chances. As such, motorcycle riders must often overcome extreme bias when proving their case. The fact is that most motorcycle accidents result from responsible operators who just found themselves in an unfortunate situation.
A lawyer can help establish your reputation as a safe driver in order to overcome any bias. In the event that your case does make its way into court, an attorney will attempt to expose bias during the jury selection process.
4. Decision makers are unfamiliar with motorcycle operation.
Motorcycle bias is not the only thing bikers must overcome. They must also ensure that claims adjusters, judges, jurors and any others involved in the process understand how motorcycles operate. Without this basic understanding, people may jump to conclusions about how a driver should have reacted.
For example, speed can increase your stability, but anyone reviewing your accident may view increasing speed as reckless behavior. This is where having a lawyer can prove very useful, as they can educate others on why you reacted the way you did.
5. Insurance companies often pull dirty tricks.
Insurance companies are notorious for coming up with reasons not to pay. In particular, they tend to come up with even more loopholes when it comes to motorcycle accidents. They may even face more intense pressure to deny a claim because of the sheer amount of damages involved. You are probably not aware of their dirty tricks, but a knowledgeable Georgia motorcycle accident lawyer will be.
Having an attorney will help you protect yourself against any schemes the insurance company has planned for you. Many times, just knowing that a client is represented by legal counsel is enough to keep their unfair tactics at bay.
6. Georgia comparative fault laws are tricky.
Georgia follows the doctrine of comparative negligence when it comes to personal injury. What this means is that you may recover damages if you are partially at fault, provided you are less than 51 percent responsible. Navigating the percentages is often very cumbersome, particularly when you must also educate others and overcome any negative biases.
Just because the burden of proof is lower in civil cases does not mean that it is easy to meet. Proving that someone else other than yourself was responsible is often a difficult, time-consuming process. Again, this is where an experienced attorney comes in handy.
Have you been injured in a Georgia motorcycle accident?
If so, you have quite a bit riding on your case. Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone. The personal injury law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson is here to help.