Motorcycle accidents can cause riders a wide range of injuries due to their lack of crash protection. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), lower-extremity injuries are the most common injuries motorcycle riders sustain. These injuries include damage to the ligaments, tendons, muscles, or broken bones in the lower extremities. For instance, a motorcycle might fall onto a rider’s leg, crushing their limb and pinning them to the ground.
Riders can also suffer injuries to the upper extremities and head if they fall off their motorcycle or are thrown off during an accident. Other common injuries include:
- Road rash
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Lacerations and abrasions
- Torso injuries
- Internal organ damage
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident someone else caused, you might have the right to pursue compensation for your expenses. A Georgia motorcycle accident attorney could help you navigate the legal process to seek financial relief for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Motorcycle accidents frequently occur due to the negligence of other drivers on the road. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle wrecks in Georgia include:
- Following too closely
- Passing too closely to a motorcycle
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Not yielding the right-of-way
- Unsafe or illegal turns or lane changes, including failing to signal or check mirrors
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Drowsy driving
- Poor road conditions
- Bad weather
- Poor visibility and low lighting
Do I Really Need to Wear a Helmet While Riding a Motorcycle?
Wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle can save your life in an accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motorcycle helmets saved nearly 2,000 riders’ lives in one recent year. The CDC estimates that the universal adoption of motorcycle helmets could save approximately 750 more lives per year. They also report that motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of accident deaths by 37 percent for motorcycle operators and 41 percent for passengers, with the risk of head injuries decreasing by 69 percent. The United States could save around $1.5 billion in economic costs if all motorcyclists wore helmets.
What Are the Most Important Motorcycle Safety Laws in Georgia?
Some of the essential safety laws that motorcycle riders in Georgia should know include the following:
- O.C.G.A. §40-6-310 – All motorcycle operators have the same rights and duties as other drivers.
- O.C.G.A. §40-6-311 – Motorcycle riders must sit on a permanent and regular seat. Passengers may only ride on a motorcycle designed to carry more than one person and must sit on a permanent and regular seat attached to the rear or side. Passengers may not sit in a position that interferes with the operator’s view or control of the motorcycle. Operators may not carry any object that prevents them from keeping both hands on the handlebars. They must also wear footwear.
- O.C.G.A. §40-6-312 – Motorcycles have the full use of a lane. No vehicle may operate next to a motorcycle in the same lane, except two motorcycles may ride side by side. Motorcycle operators may not lane split and must always keep their headlights and taillights on.
- O.C.G.A. §40-6-313 – No motorcycle rider may attach themselves or their motorcycle to another vehicle.
- O.C.G.A. §40-6-314 – Motorcycle passengers must have separate footrests. A motorcycle’s handlebars may not rise more than 25 inches above the operator’s seat or backrest.
- O.C.G.A. §40-6-315 – All motorcycle riders must wear protective headgear that complies with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218. Passengers riding in an enclosed sidecar do not need to wear helmets. Riders must also wear eye goggles or have a face shield on their helmet unless their motorcycle has a windshield.
How Do You Prove Liability for a Georgia Motorcycle Accident?
An attorney may use different kinds of evidence to prove another driver’s or party’s fault for the motorcycle accident that caused your injuries. Evidence that can help establish liability for the accident includes:
- Police accident reports
- Accident scene photos or videos of vehicle damage, skid marks, traffic controls, weather and road conditions, and visible injuries
- Eyewitness statements
- Surveillance, traffic camera, dash cam, or helmet cam footage
- Vehicle event data recorder (“black box”) logs
- Driver cell phone records
- Driver alcohol and drug test results
- Post-accident vehicle inspection and repair records
- Medical records from your treatment
- Accident reconstruction reports prepared by traffic and engineering experts
What Compensation Can I Recover Through a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
After a motorcycle crash caused by another party, you may have the right to recover compensation for losses you incurred due to the accident. The financial recovery you can pursue in your motorcycle accident lawsuit may include money for your:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Costs of long-term care for ongoing or permanent physical disabilities
- Temporary loss of earnings after missing time from work during your recovery from injuries
- Loss of future earning capacity and employment benefits if your injuries result in a permanent disability
- Pain and suffering, both physical and emotional
- Reduced enjoyment and quality of life because of disabilities, scarring, or disfigurement
- Motorcycle repairs or reimbursement for a totaled motorcycle
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawsuit in Georgia?
The statute of limitations in Georgia sets a two-year deadline for filing a lawsuit after a motorcycle accident, with some exceptions. If you file suit after the statutory deadline, the trial court may permanently dismiss your case. To ensure you retain your right to financial recovery, you should talk to a Georgia motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible about your legal options.
Contact a Georgia Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you have read this page after suffering injuries in a motorcycle accident in Georgia, we hope you have begun your medical recovery process and received helpful information from this page. If you have more questions about your legal rights after a motorcycle crash, call Butler Kahn or contact us online when you’re ready to speak with our Georgia motorcycle accident attorneys. You won’t have to pay anything for an initial consultation.