Of all the types of motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle crashes are some of the most devastating. Bikers do not have the same protection surrounding them as other motorists do. This means they are far more likely to suffer catastrophic injuries or even death in the event of an accident.
Fortunately, our Conyers motorcycle accident lawyers at Joel Thrift Law LLC are here to help. With an experienced personal injury attorney at our firm handling the legal details of your case, you can find out who is at fault for your injuries and hold them accountable accordingly. You have a chance to demand total financial compensation for your damages. Contact our office for a free consultation today to learn more about how to take action against the at-fault party and what your damages could be worth.
When to Sue For a Motorcycle Accident in Conyers
Motorcycle accident victims are often hesitant to file a claim. You may have serious concerns that your injuries are not catastrophic enough or that you will be accused of pursuing a personal injury claim frivolously. However, once your motorcycle accident attorney reviews the details of your case, they can support you and obtain the evidence needed to prove someone else’s negligence was the cause of your injuries.
Proving Liability and Negligence
For any motorcycle accident case to return a verdict in your favor, we must demonstrate that the elements of negligence are present. These include:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty
Most Common Conyers Motorcycle Accident Injuries
There is no specific type of injury you need to be diagnosed with for your motorcycle accident claim to be a success. As long as we can demonstrate how your injuries have severely impacted your life, we should be able to secure the compensation you need to cover your expenses and move forward with your life.
There are some types of injuries motorcycle accident cases see more often than others, such as:
- Neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Road rash
- Back injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries
- Herniated discs
- Fatal injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Shoulder injuries
- Broken and fractured bones
Motorcycle Accident Victims Are Entitled to Total Compensation
After the trauma of your accident, the least the liable party can do is ensure you are repaid for every loss. Your motorcycle accident lawyer will be responsible for going over every single way you have been affected by your injuries and how your injuries may continue to impact your life in the coming years. This way, we can accurately calculate the value of your claim and know when to renegotiate settlement terms.
General damages are also commonly known as non-economic damages. These types of losses are some of the most difficult to calculate, as they do not have financial value until your motorcycle accident attorney determines their worth. You cannot calculate the value of general damages by analyzing financial records and bank statements.
Instead, we must consider how significantly specific types of non-economic damages have impacted you. Since non-economic damages can be life-changing, it is important to ensure you are compensated fairly for these damages accordingly. Some examples of general damages for motorcycle accident victims include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Anticipation and fear
- Shock and indignity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Disfigurement and skin scarring
- Reputational damage
Special damages are also commonly referred to as economic damages. These are much more easily quantified as they have such monetary value. Your motorcycle accident lawyer can review your bank statements, receipts, motorcycle repair quotes, and other documentation to calculate the value of these damages.
Some examples of recoverable economic damages in a motorcycle accident claim include:
- Loss of household services
- Damage to your credit score
- Loss of income, future earnings, and employee benefits
- Medical bills, healthcare devices, and future medical treatment
- Motorcycle repair or replacement costs
- Rental car expenses
- The diminished value of your motorcycle
Exemplary damages are also commonly known as punitive damages. Many motorcycle accident survivors make the mistake of believing punitive damages will certainly be awarded in their case. However, this is not necessarily true.
In fact, Georgia law under Civil Code Section 51-12-5.1(b) makes it abundantly clear that punitive damages are only to be awarded when defendants are intentionally harmful, abhorrent, malicious, or grossly negligent. This means while punitive damages are possible in motorcycle accident cases, they are not something you should rely on. However, if punitive damages are awarded, it will be because the civil court system in Conyers finds it necessary to punish the liable party for their actions and deter future wrongdoers from similar conduct.
Top Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Conyers
Our motorcycle accident attorneys will be responsible for determining the cause of your collision. Our goal is to figure out not only how the accident occurred but who is ultimately responsible. Generally, by examining the cause of the accident, we will be able to narrow down the pool of individuals and entities that could share responsibility for your injuries and resulting suffering.
Negligent or Unsafe Driving
Arguably the most common cause of motorcycle accidents is negligent or irresponsible driving. In these cases, reckless drivers are held accountable for the injuries they caused to motorcyclists and motorcycle passengers. Any type of unsafe driving or traffic violation could be considered negligence, as motorists have a duty to operate their vehicles in a safe manner at all times.
Some examples of negligent driving car accidents could include:
- Failure to yield to the right of way
- Failure to check blind spots
- Driving over the speed limit
- Road rage
- Distracted driving, including manual, visual, or cognitive distractions
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failure to stop at stop signs and traffic lights
- Making unlawful turns or failing to use your turn signal
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Following too closely
- Driving while fatigued
Motorcycle and motor vehicle parts have defects and can malfunction far more often than you might think. Some of these defects apply to specific parts due to a manufacturer malfunction, while others are caused by inherent design flaws that make the entire line of parts dangerous. Some of the most common motorcycle parts known for malfunctioning include:
- The clutch
- Exhaust systems
- Motorcycle helmets
- Spark plugs
- Fuel tanks
- Motorcycle forks
- Cylinder heads
These are just a few examples of motorcycle parts that could be defective and ultimately be the cause of your collision. Nearly anyone involved in the design, manufacture, and distribution of these parts could be sued. Some of these parties might include:
- Motorcycle dealerships
- Company executives
- Motorcycle maintenance technicians
- Safety inspectors
- Motorcycle parts designers and distributors
- Motorcycle parts manufacturers and manufacturing companies
- Other third parties
Conyers’ Dangerous Roads
Our motorcycle accident lawyers will also look closely to determine whether the roads where the accident occurred were dangerous in some way. Maybe there is not enough street lighting on Interstate 20, or a large pothole along Stewart Highway has not been filled, despite repeated complaints to the Georgia Department of Transportation or the City of Conyers.
These government agencies and municipalities have an obligation to ensure the roads are safe and properly maintained. Failure to uphold this obligation could mean they are partially at fault for your injuries and damages.
How Insurers Handle Motorcycle Accident Claims
Obtaining a settlement from the insurance company is one of the top ways to recover compensation following a motorcycle accident. Unfortunately, dealing with the insurance company is often far more complicated than people realize. Not only are you limited by what the insurance policy covers, but you also need to worry about advantageous insurance adjusters taking advantage of you during some of the most devastating times in your life.
What Insurance Covers
Many motorcycle accident victims believe they can avoid going to trial by filing a claim with the insurance company. However, this may not always be the case. Georgia follows fault insurance laws under Georgia Motor Vehicle Code Rule 120-2-28. Here, you will file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance policy instead of filing a claim against yours.
This means the types and amounts of coverage the at-fault party purchased will determine how much you can recover through your motorcycle accident insurance settlement. Georgia law requires all motorists to carry a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident and bodily injury liability insurance. Motorists must also carry at least $25,000 in property damage liability insurance.
If the liable party purchased only these minimums, it is very likely your expenses will be much more extensive. The insurance company will also only provide you with compensation for your medical bills and property damages. Anything else can only be recouped through your personal injury lawsuit or a settlement with the liable party outside of court.
Insurance Companies Are Profit-Motivated
Motorcyclists are also more likely to be taken advantage of by money-hungry insurance companies. It is not unusual for insurance companies to blame bikers for the injuries they sustained. They often attempt to capitalize on reckless biker stereotypes, which paint motorcyclists as irresponsible and reckless heathens on the highways.
However, many bikers are some of the most responsible drivers on the roads, and these stereotypes are hurtful. Worse, if you are accused of sharing the blame for the accident, your settlement could reflect a shared fault deduction according to Georgia Civil Code Section 51-12-33. The state follows modified comparative negligence laws with a 50% threshold, so sharing more than 50% of the blame for the accident will result in the prohibition of a settlement or award.
If your portion of blame is less than the bar, you can receive an award at a reduced rate that correlates with your percentage of blame. For instance, if you are accused of sharing 10% of the blame, your motorcycle accident settlement will be reduced by 10%. With stakes this high, it is crucial to have a knowledgeable and proven personal injury attorney on your side who will ensure blame is evaluated correctly in your insurance claim.
Do Not Waste Another Minute, Time is Running Out to File Your Claim
The personal injury laws in Georgia are strict. Several laws could impact the outcome of your case. However, few are as significant as the statute of limitations. Georgia law allows motorcycle accident victims up to two years from the accident date to file a personal injury lawsuit. This may seem like plenty of time to pursue your case. However, when you are still healing, time can fly by.
It is crucial that you get started as soon as possible. If the statute of limitations comes and goes and your motorcycle accident case has not been filed, the court system will have a legal obligation to bar you from seeking compensation through a motorcycle accident lawsuit.
It is also important to keep in mind that motorcycle accident claims are also privy to the insurance company’s deadlines. The insurance company may require you to file your claim in as few as 48 hours, depending on the insurance company and policy in question. While you are still dealing with the fallout of your motorcycle crash and resulting injuries, you may not have the ability to file your motorcycle accident insurance claim on your own. Fortunately, your personal injury attorney can handle these details on your behalf and ensure claims are filed well before these critical deadlines have passed.
Reach Out To a Motorcycle Accident Attorney for Help Today
The claims process does not need to be overwhelming when you have a reputable legal advocate on your side. A dedicated motorcycle accident attorney at Joel Thrift Law LLC is here to help you get through these trying times and recover the compensation you are entitled to.
We will handle every legal detail so you can focus on your family and rebuild your life. Are you ready to make the liable party pay? Fill out our online contact form or call our office today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation and take control of your future.