Riding a motorcycle in Atlanta is dangerous and often results in serious injuries or death when other cars and trucks on the road fail to keep a proper lookout for the safety of motorcyclists. In fact, statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that 15% of fatalities from vehicular accidents in 2012 were motorcyclists, even though motorcycles made up only 3% of registered vehicles in the United States. Like victims of any car or truck accident, a motorcyclist who is injured in an accident that is the fault of another person can seek recovery for his or her personal injuries pursuant to Georgia law.
Operators of motor vehicles owe a duty of care to all other motorists on the road, including motorcyclists. Thus, when a car or truck is careless on the road and causes a motorcycle accident, the injured motorcyclist can recover compensation for his injuries from the at-fault driver. Because a lot of motorcycle accidents can result in fatalities or serious catastrophic injuries, it is imperative that such victims retain a qualified attorney to ensure that they are fully protected when making a claim.
Like any bodily injury claim in Georgia, an injured motorcyclist needs to prove negligence, causation, and damages in order to recover compensation. That is, the motorcyclist needs to show that the at-fault driver acted negligently or carelessly, which caused the accident and caused the motorcyclist’s injuries.
Negligence and liability can often be proven with eyewitness statements, statements and/or admissions from the parties, the police report, guilty pleas to traffic tickets, evidence of drunk driving, videos, photographs, 911 calls, or even accident reconstruction by an expert. An investigation of the crash scene could reveal other contributing factors, such as poor or defective road design.
Showing that the wreck caused the motorcyclist’s injuries is not difficult if the injury is catastrophic and visible at the scene of the accident. Evidence that the motorcyclist required immediate medical treatment at the scene and required an ambulance to transport him to the hospital can show causation as required under the law. If the injury is perhaps a smaller soft tissue back or neck injury that may not be visible at the scene of the crash, then the motorcyclist should seek immediate medical attention from a doctor and continue to seek medical treatment until the injuries subside or the doctor releases him.
Pinning a number on the value of the case or the value of the injuries is another important factor when bringing a claim for injuries arising out of a motorcycle wreck. As morbid as it may seem, the value of a lost life can be measured by factors such as the deceased’s future income based on his or her life expectancy. If the motorcyclist survived the crash but suffered from injuries, then the value of the case can be based on the severity of the injury (ie. loss of limb vs. broken bones vs. soft tissue), the number of medical bills incurred, future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Other factors that determine value can also include the level of the recklessness of the at-fault driver, whether the at-fault driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or whether the at-fault driver was talking or texting on a cell phone because such factors could support a claim for punitive damages. Of course, if there is little or no insurance coverage, the settlement amount could be less than the full value of the case.
As you can see, recovering compensation for injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in Georgia can be complicated. The attorneys at The Davis Injury Firm are compassionate and qualified to walk you through your injury claim. Call us at (404) 647-0722 for a consultation with a lawyer.