Motorcycle accidents have the potential to cause catastrophic injuries, emotional trauma, and material damages. If you have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, you understand just how terrifying it can be. These accidents can be terribly devastating and can flip your life on its head. You may be swamped with hospital/doctor bills, be missing a lot of work to try to recover from your injuries, and struggling to enjoy your daily life like you did before. Our Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer understand how life-changing these events can be and we are here to help you get the compensation for the injuries and damages you have sustained. We dedicate our practice to helping victims like you get the result they deserve. After you read a bit about your case and learn more about the legal side of things, please do not hesitate to call our office to set up a free consultation.
Most Common Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries
The injuries that are sustained in a motorcycle accident can range in severity. Some people are lucky enough to have injuries that can heal in a reasonable amount of time while others are left injured for the duration of their life. Because of the lack of protection from the vehicle itself, motorcycle accidents can inflict much worse damage on the driver than if they had been in a car. The most common types of motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Road burn
- Concussions and contusions
- Spinal cord damage
- Head, neck, or back injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Internal organ damage
If your loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident, you would be able to bring a wrongful death case against the liable party.
If you were lucky enough to survive your accident, you need to understand how very important it is to seek immediate medical attention. It is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Health is a delicate thing when you have been in a motorcycle accident. If you have been injured, you need to tend to those injuries and get thoroughly checked out. You may feel like the pain is not too bad after your accident, but that is most likely adrenaline in your system masking the immediate pain. You do not want to wait, worsen your condition, then be in much more pain later on. You also do not want to wait to seek medical attention because when the insurance company looks at your records and they see a gap in treatment, they are going to try to reduce or eliminate your case by saying you were either not injured badly enough or that you are lying about how you got those injuries. It is always best to seek medical attention right away to avoid this affect you.
How Georgia Motorcycle Accident Compensation Works
When you seek compensation, you are seeking a monetary award for your injuries and damages. That includes past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, and pain and suffering. These are the main components to compensation. You are generally awarded a monetary amount based on those things and with a good lawyer, you can collect a full award. However, Georgia follows the rules of modified comparative negligence which affects how much of the award you are permitted to collect. If you are more than 50 percent for the accident, then you would not be permitted to take compensation for your damages or injuries. If you are less than 50 percent at fault for the accident, then your award would be reduced by the amount of fault you bore. Ideally, you would want to share no fault and have no reduction to your award, but if you were to be, that fault would affect your award. For instance, if you were going through an intersection where you had the green light and someone smashed into your motorcycle causing you severe injury but you were also going 10 mph over the speed limit, you might be 10 percent responsible for the accident. That would make your $100,000 award reduce to a $90,000 award. We work very hard to protect your rights to full and fair compensation from the liable party’s insurance company.
Frequently Asked Motorcycle Accident Questions
What mistakes should I avoid after a motorcycle accident?
We see a few common mistakes with people who have been injured in motorcycle wrecks that harm their cases without even knowing it. One of the first things that someone who’s been in a motorcycle wreck needs to do is preserve evidence. That may be in the form of clothing they were wearing, the motorcycle itself, their helmet – things that show what type of impact they received.
Another mistake that we see people make is not getting medical attention quickly enough. A lot of people tend to delay their treatment and wait several weeks. When you do that, you give the insurance company the opportunity to argue that you weren’t actually injured in the collision. If you feel injured at the scene, make sure you get medical treatment. If it’s not until the next day that you start feeling pain, which is very common, make sure that you go then and have those symptoms documented. We want to make sure that we can show that you had documented symptoms as soon as possible after the collision.
Another mistake is not following through with your treatment. It’s essential that when you start treating, you do what your doctor says and keep your appointments. Don’t leave gaps in the treatment that insurance companies can use to argue against your claim. Don’t give them that opportunity.
Finally, it’s crucial to make sure you hire an attorney who is skilled at handling motorcycle wreck cases and knows how to present them properly. Don’t waste time and allow evidence to disappear and diminish the value of your case. Immediately contact a qualified personal injury attorney and make sure that they are handling your case properly from the outset. Don’t hire the wrong attorney or your case can dissolve into nothing.
What should I do if I was injured in a motorcycle accident in Georgia?
People often ask what someone needs to do if they’ve been injured in a motorcycle wreck case. The first thing they need to do is the same thing they need to do in any other type of personal injury matter, and that is to seek immediate medical attention. People who have been injured often want to delay and see if the injuries are going to get better on their own, but that’s not the best thing to do when you’re talking about pursuing a personal injury claim. It’s important to get immediate attention and document what injuries you already are experiencing. Insurance companies are notorious for pointing out gaps in seeking treatment and trying to minimize claims because someone did not seek immediate treatment. Don’t give them this advantage, and don’t wait around. Seek treatment immediately.
The next thing you need to do is follow through with what your doctor advises, and make sure you keep up with your treatment. An easy way to derail a good personal injury case is to seek medical treatment but not follow your doctor’s orders and not follow through with your treatment. The next thing you need to do after seeking treatment is find an experienced lawyer who handles motorcycle cases and knows how to work those cases and preserve proper evidence.
Who can be held responsible in a motorcycle accident claim in Georgia?
One of the first things we need to evaluate in motorcycle injury cases is who the responsible party is. When looking at a motorcycle injury case involving either a driver or a passenger on a motorcycle, the first thing we have to do is determine who caused the accident. In that regard, motorcycle cases are not any different than a general car wreck case. If someone else negligently operated their vehicle and caused an accident where someone who was driving a motorcycle or riding on a motorcycle was injured, that party will be responsible for the damages caused.
If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident involving a motorcycle and need help working through your claim, please give us a call so we can help you through the process.
What should I look for when choosing a motorcycle accident attorney?
When people have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Atlanta, they often want to know the best way to choose a lawyer or law firm that can help them with their injury claim. There are some unique issues that arise with motorcycle cases. The primary one is we find that jury pools are not usually overly sympathetic to motorcycle riders. They see motorcycle riders as daredevils and people who often get what’s coming to them because they are taking risks. We know that the laws are not slanted this way and that motorcycle riders have the same rights and protections as anyone else driving on the road, and we’re here to protect those rights. We have handled numerous motorcycle claims and know the ins and outs of dealing with these types of cases.
Another thing that you want to find when you’re looking for a motorcycle injury attorney is someone who knows how the insurance industry works. I spent many years of my career working for insurance companies and defending insurance claims before I realized that I was on the wrong side of these cases and that my passion was helping people who had been injured, not defending people who had caused injuries. Now, I take the knowledge that I gained in defending those cases and put them to work for injured individuals. You always want to make sure that you have an attorney that knows how the other side works, and at the Gunnels Law Firm we provide that.
Another thing to make sure you have in a motorcycle injury attorney is someone who will take a case to trial. Insurance companies keep lists of attorneys they know will try cases, along with a list of attorneys that they know are always going to take the top settlement offer whether it’s fair or not. It’s surprising how many attorneys are afraid to go to court.
At the Gunnels Law Firm, we spend a lot of our time in court trying cases, and we know what motivates juries to give the best possible compensation to our clients. Always make sure that you have an attorney who will take a case all the way to trial if that’s what it takes to get you a fair resolution.
Can I recover compensation for a motorcycle accident if I wasn’t wearing a helmet?
We were recently asked by a person who had been injured in a motorcycle wreck case whether they could recover damages for their injuries even though they had not been wearing a helmet. The answer is, potentially, yes. Under Georgia law, a person is required to wear a helmet when they are riding a motorcycle. However, the failure to wear a helmet does not automatically extinguish a personal injury claim. In that scenario, your own personal negligence in not wearing a helmet gets weighed against the negligence of the person who caused the accident. It’s important to investigate these claims from the beginning and preserve all necessary evidence to make sure that you can present that claim in the most effective manner.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident of any sort and you need help working through the claim, please give us a call so we can help you through the process.
Can I file a claim if I was injured as a passenger in a motorcycle accident?
We recently had a potential client contact us and ask whether she was entitled to personal injury damages having been injured due to the negligence of another while riding on a motorcycle as a passenger. The answer is yes. When someone injures you and you are the passenger in any type of motor vehicle, you may have a claim for damages. Even if you are the passenger on a motorcycle, you will have that claim just like you would have if you were a passenger in a car. The issue comes down to who the responsible party may be.
If it is the driver of the vehicle who was negligent, that would be the party you seek a claim against. If the party who caused the accident was a driver of another vehicle, that is the party you pursue a claim against. It’s important at the outset to evaluate these claims and make sure that we know who the liable party is and who the claim needs to be made against.
If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident of any sort in which you were the passenger, including motorcycle claims, please give us a call so we can help you through this process.
How does a motorcycle accident claim differ from an auto accident claim?
One question we’re frequently asked is whether motorcycle wreck cases are different than general car wreck cases. The answer is yes and no. Under Georgia law, motorcycle riders are required to follow the same rules of the road as someone driving a car or a truck; this means they also have the same protections as someone driving a car or a truck. However, the perception often is that motorcycle cases are different than car wreck cases since the injuries involved are often more significant. With regard to injuries, a person who’s riding a motorcycle doesn’t have the protections of a motor vehicle. They don’t have airbags. They don’t have anything to block impact. As a result, in many situations, motorcycle injury cases are far more severe than a general car wreck injury.
A very significant issue with motorcycle wreck cases is the public perception of motorcycle riders. I have heard people on my own juries say that they believe motorcycle riders are asking for it, or that motorcycle riders have a death wish. Things of that nature are the general perception of non-motorcycle riders in any given community. It’s important that you contact a lawyer who’s experienced with motorcycle cases and can effectively deal with jurors who may have these perceptions.
If you’ve been injured in a case involving a motorcycle accident and you need assistance in dealing with these issues, please give us a call so we can help you through the process.
Do I need a minimum amount of medical bills to file a motorcycle accident claim?
Clients who have been injured in a motorcycle accident often want to know if there’s a minimum amount of medical expenses they need to have incurred in order to pursue a personal injury case. You really can’t determine if you have a good personal injury case just by the amount of medical expenses. Some personal injury cases are very good, even though they have small medical expenses, and there are some that may have large medical expenses, but aren’t very good cases.
One thing that you have to look into, especially with motorcycle cases, is liability. Motorcycle cases can be difficult because a lot of times fault is placed on the motorcycle rider. If it’s not a good case for assigning the liability to the other driver, it doesn’t really matter how much you have in medical expenses. On the other hand, you can have a case where the medical expenses are very small, but the case is still significant. You may have some stitches that you need, which won’t generate a lot of medical expenses, but when they leave permanent scarring, it can be a very valuable case.
The point is you must look at each case on its own merits and not just base your decision on the amount of medical expense. My advice would be that if you’re in a motorcycle wreck and you’ve sustained some injuries, talk to a personal injury attorney immediately so that you can have some help in getting your case lined up correctly.
How long will my motorcycle accident case take?
We’re often asked how long it takes to settle a motorcycle injury case. The answer to that question is it varies greatly from case to case. Sometimes those cases can resolve fairly quickly, and sometimes they may take a long time and require a lawsuit and a trial. Determining factors include the extent of the injuries and how much insurance coverage the at-fault party has.
If you have been injured and the other party has $25,000 worth of insurance coverage, and your medical expenses alone were $50,000, that case is going to resolve very quickly. If you have a case where you have $25,000 in medical expenses and you healed from your injuries, and the other side has $100,000 worth of insurance coverage, there’s going to be a lot more fight over what the value of that case is, and those are going to take a lot longer to work through. With any type of suit like this, you have to look through the facts. If it’s a type of case where a lawsuit needs to be filed, you’re probably looking at six to eighteen months before being able to resolve, but again they are all very fact-intensive.
How much is my motorcycle accident claim worth?
When we have clients come into our office who are looking for help in dealing with injuries associated with a motorcycle wreck, one of the first things they want to know is how much their case is worth. In looking at the value of these cases, there’s no magic formula that can determine what the claim is worth. What you need to look at are things such as the severity and permanence of the injury, the amount of medical expenses that you have incurred, lost wages and missed time from work, and to what extent your life has been disrupted because of these injuries.
Another thing that drives the value of these cases, unfortunately, is the amount of liability insurance coverage that the at-fault driver has. Most of these cases come down to insurance coverage and the amount of coverage. In Georgia, you’re only required to have $25,0000 of insurance coverage for incidents that you cause in which you harm someone else. If you have hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses, and you have someone who only has $25,000 of coverage, unless you’ve protected yourself with your own uninsured motorist coverage, you’re going to be stuck with that amount. That’s another thing that goes into driving the value of these injuries.
The best thing to do, if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle wreck and you want to pursue a claim, is to immediately hire a personal injury attorney who can guide you through this process and make sure that all the right things are being done to set your claim up in the best possible way.
Contact Our Office Today for a Free Consultation
If you have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, please do not hesitate to call Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer Christopher Gunnels for competent, experienced, and caring representation. We offer free initial consultations/case evaluations where we will go over the details of your accident. Once we get to work for you, we will collect and protect your evidence, track down your witnesses, and determine who the liable party is. Then we will be sure to get the best possible result from the liable party’s insurance company. If you want full and fair compensation, please call our office today.
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