Smyrna Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Motorcycle Accident Attorney Serving Smyrna, GA Injured Victims
Motorcycles have become more popular over the past several years as baby boomers return to their old riding days, and younger people discover the freedom of riding in the open air. Although some accidents are the fault of the motorcycle rider, many bike accidents are caused by inattentive or reckless drivers. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident in Georgia, speak with an experienced Smyrna motorcycle accident lawyer about your claim.
State Laws on Motorcycle Riding
You will need certain equipment before riding to ensure your safety and protect you from serious injury. You also need to know the state laws to avoid being held responsible or comparatively at fault in an accident. These laws include:
- Wear a helmet at all times. O.C.G.A.§ 40-6-315. Only a full-faced helmet will adequately protect you from facial fractures. A helmet reduces your risk of serious head injury by 69%, and of death by 42% according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- Wear eye protection or have a windshield. O.C.G.A.§ 40-6-315.
- Your headlight must be on at all times of the day and evening. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-310 through 40-6-310-316.
- Have at least one rear-view mirror.
- Lane-splitting or filtering is prohibited. O.C.G.A.§ 40-6-312.
- Two riders may share a lane or ride abreast
Protect Yourself from Injury
Along with following these laws, having the proper protective clothing is essential to preventing serious injuries:
- Wear pants and a leather jacket, boots, and gloves when riding. Although the hot, humid Georgia weather may be motivation enough to wear shorts and a T-shirt, you risk serious road burns, and permanent disfigurement if you are ejected in an accident.
- Check your equipment before each ride. This includes checking the tire treads, gas level, lights and turn signals, wheel rims, throttle and clutch cables, side and center stands, and mirrors.
- Be cautious in poor weather. Wait for at least 30-minutes after a rainfall for roads to be free of the oil and dust that has built up.
- Never take drugs or drink before riding. Even a simple misjudgment that would not result in harm to a driver of a passenger car can cause you to lose control or collide with another vehicle.
- Always drive defensively and with the mindset that other motorists do not see you. Do not tailgate since a minor fender bender with a passenger vehicle can send you flying over the front of your bike into the car in front of you or to the pavement.
- Finally, take a bike training class before you get a license or take an advanced one if you do have one to learn how to safely maneuver your bike and to avoid or escape from hazardous situations.
Common Factors in Motorcycle Accidents
If you ride defensively, are sober, and otherwise obey the traffic laws, then you can avoid most accidents. However, accidents do happen in Smyrna, GA despite all precautions. If you are aware of the following causes of most motorcycle accidents, then you can take steps to avoid becoming a statistic:
- Intersections—most accidents happen when a car turns in front of an approaching motorcycle
- Unsafe lane changes by a motorist on the freeway
- Vehicles entering the roadway from side road or driveway
- Adverse weather
- Roadway defects or obstacles such as potholes, debris, sand, objects falling off of trucks or being thrown from vehicles
- Rear-end accidents at stop lights and stop signs
- Motorcycle design and manufacturing defects (fuel system leaks)
- Poor service or inadequate maintenance
- Alcohol or drug impairment
- Distracted motorist on a cell phone
Police, insurance adjusters, and juries are notorious for blaming motorcycle riders for their own injuries from tired assumptions that most riders are reckless. The truth is that most riders are experienced riders and practice safe driving. Despite the facts, you are usually at a disadvantage in an injury claim because you were on a motorcycle.
To recover compensation in any injury claim in Georgia, you must have been less than 50% at fault. If you were found comparatively liable for speeding, lane splitting, or unsafely changing lanes, then the damages awarded to you are decreased by your degree of causal responsibility. For example, an award of $1,000,000 will be reduced to $510,000 if you were 49% at fault. O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33; O.C.G.A §51-11-7.
In disputed cases, an accident reconstruction expert may be retained to visit the scene, analyze the vehicles, and look for factors that were at play. A poorly designed curve or roadway where other accidents have occurred may have placed the city, county or state on notice that this is a dangerous stretch of road. Debris in the road, skid marks and points of impact can provide evidence as to the speed of a vehicle. Rural roads in our state may have overgrown vegetation that obscured signs warning of a dangerous curve, crosswalk, or certain hazard in the road. If there was road construction, did the contractor follow safety rules pertaining to traffic?
If your Smyrna personal injury attorney and the industry experts feel that a road defect contributed to the accident or a road contractor hired by the county failed to follow certain procedures, then this can provide an additional source of compensation for your damages in addition to that provided by the at-fault motorist’s auto policy.
Claims against the city, county, or state must be brought under Georgia’s Tort Claim Act. O.C.G.A. § 50-21-23. You must give appropriate notice to the right department or agency within 12-months of the accident or you risk losing the right to file a claim against them. Damages under the Tort Claim Act may be obtained for up to $1 million per person. Your notice must contain certain pertinent information such as time, place, and date of the accident, names of the parties and state entity, injuries incurred, account of the accident, basis for liability, and demand for damages.
Damages in Motorcycle Accident Claims
Your damages in a motorcycle accident injury claim can include your past and future loss of income, medical expenses, emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, disfigurement, and diminished quality of life. If you were a student and lost a year of schooling, a forensic economist can testify regarding lost income from your being delayed from entering the workforce upon graduation.
Your personal injury attorney will obtain all of your medical records, bills, narrative reports from physicians, employment records, statements from witnesses, police and accident reports, and if necessary, retain experts in accident reconstruction.
Get Legal Help, Call a Skilled Smyrna Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you were injured by the negligence of another motorist or other party, retain the legal services of an aggressive and knowledgeable Smyrna motorcycle accident lawyer to ensure you get the compensation your case demands. At Tobin Injury Law, we understand what you are going through. You may be facing mounting medical bills and lost time from work. Our compassionate and experienced Smyrna Personal Injury Attorneys understand the Georgia laws surrounding motorcycle accidents. We will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation. Call (404) 665-9665 today. You can also email us or fill out our convenient online form.