Georgia Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Motorcycle crashes killed more than 4,500 people in one recent year. During the same year, 92,000 motorcyclists sustained injuries, an increase of 4,000 from the previous year. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you deserve to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side.
When you ride in a car, you have thousands of pounds of metal, plastic, and fiberglass protecting you from other vehicles. You don’t have the same protection when riding a motorcycle. For motorcycle riders, another driver’s mistake can prove deadly.
Common Misconceptions about Motorcycle Accidents in Georgia
Many people assume that motorcyclists cause accidents by splitting lanes or driving in an aggressive manner. The truth is that most motorcycle accidents occur because car and truck drivers fail to see motorcycles, whether it’s because the motorcycle is in a blind spot or because the at-fault driver was looking for a car, not a bike. It’s up to drivers to check their blind spots frequently and make sure there are no motorcycles coming before they pull into a roadway. It’s like so many bumper stickers say: look twice, save a life.
Of course motorcyclists should follow Georgia’s rules of the road too. There are a few motorcycle riders who split lanes of traffic, pass on double yellow lines, or rev their engines late at night in quiet neighborhoods. Motorcycle riders like that are the exception, not the rule. But in the eyes of some car and truck drivers, those few give other motorcycle riders a bad name.
We went door-to-door until we found a business with a security camera that showed the motorcycle accident in which our client was seriously injured. This is the kind of hard work it takes to win personal injury cases.
Types of Motorcycle Accidents
Open-door accidents, rear-end collisions, and single-bike accidents are among the most common types of motorcycle accidents. People parked on the side of the road are supposed to look before opening their doors. If a door opens in the path of a motorcyclist, the rider may not be able to stop in time to prevent colliding with the door.
Rear-end collisions are especially dangerous for motorcyclists. When a vehicle crashes into the rear end of a motorcycle, the rider can be thrown off the bike, causing broken bones and head injuries. Other motorists need to maintain a safe amount of distance between their vehicles and any motorcycles on the road.
Left turns are a common cause of motorcycle accidents. Typically, a driver of an automobile is turning left and although the driver is supposed to yield to oncoming traffic, the automobile driver fails to see the motorcycle and starts the turn. It’s as though the driver was looking only for cars or trucks, and somehow did not notice the motorcycle heading through the intersection. So the automobile starts the left turn, despite having the duty to yield. That constitutes negligence. Then if the motorcycle driver cannot stop in time, the motorcycle strikes the car, and the motorcycle rider can be thrown over his handlebars and seriously hurt.
Hit-and-run accidents are particularly common with motorcycles, bicycles, and scooters. Nobody knows why, but it may be a combination of two factors. First, drivers who collide with motorcycles, bicycles, or scooters know that the injuries to the other person are likely to be serious, so the driver has a reason to run. Second, drivers who collide with motorcycles, bicycles, or scooters know that the other person is not going to be able to chase them. These are ugly reasons, but they may explain why there are so many hit-and-run accidents involving motorcycles, bicycles, and scooters.
Single-bike accidents do not involve other vehicles. They often occur because of road maintenance problems. If you are involved in a single-bike accident, our motorcycle lawyers can investigate the road condition to determine whether the city, county, or state maintained it properly.
“Mechanisms of Injury” in Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accident injuries tend to be severe. To understand why, we have to look at what doctors call the “mechanism of injury,” a medical phrase that means what it sounds like – how the injury happens. In most motorcycle accidents, the injury occurs in one of two ways.
First, if a vehicle or object strikes a motorcycle, the motorcyclist can be hit directly because the motorcycle doesn’t offer much crash protection. A striking vehicle can hit the motorcycle driver directly, or even in the best-case scenario, hit the front or rear while that is right next to the driver. Motorcycles don’t have crumple zones to absorb that impact, so the motorcyclist can get hit directly – and hard.
Second, motorcycle “ejections” are common. Obviously, motorcycles don’t have seat belts, so after accidents, drivers can get sent flying. If a car pulls out in front of a motorcycle, the motorcycle may strike the at-fault driver and vault the motorcyclist into the air. Or if another vehicle rear-ends a motorcycle, the force of the collision may force the motorcycle forward while the motorcycle driver flips backward over the striking vehicle. In either event, the landing can be hard.
Either of these mechanisms of injury can be very serious. In our experience most (but not all) motorcycle accident injuries occur when the motorcyclist is thrown from the bike and then hits the ground.
For more about injuries in motorcycle accidents, see below.
Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Head Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Head injuries are common in motorcycle accidents, even if the motorcyclist is wearing a high-quality helmet. Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries can occur even if the motorcyclist’s head never leaves the inside of the helmet. That is because when the helmet or the motorcyclist’s skull strikes the ground, the skull stops moving immediately, but the brain does not. The brain can get pressed against the inside of the skull, causing lesions, hemorrhaging, or swelling. Some doctors refer to this as a “coup-contrecoup” injury, and it is common in motorcycle accidents. Symptoms can include persistent headaches, amnesia or difficulty remembering, vertigo, disorientation, anger, or even personality changes. In serious cases, these injuries can be permanent. Even in less serious cases, the symptoms often last for up to two years after the motorcycle accident.
Neck, Back, or Spine Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Neck, back, or other spinal injuries are also common – particularly neck injuries. Imagine a helmeted motorcyclist vaulting through the air and landing on his or her head. The helmet may lessen the impact to the head, but the neck and spine still get compressed. Many different types of injuries can occur. One is a “burst fracture,” in which one of the vertebrae in the neck or back is subjected to so much force that it simply fractures, or bursts.
Another common injury in motorcycle accidents is a disc herniation, herniated disc, bulging disc, ruptured disc, or slipped disc. This type of injury occurs to the softer discs that separate the vertebrae in our necks and backs. If a disc is subjected to too much pressure, it can rupture or begin leaking fluid into the spinal canal. That causes lots of pain that may move throughout the body, because the nerves that run throughout the body and transmit pain signals to the brain all pass through the neck, back, and spine. So when a disc has ruptured and is putting pressure on those nerves, it can make it feel like that pain is in the motorcyclist’s feet, legs, hands, arms, or anywhere else that the nerve runs. Typically, this is what doctors mean when they refer to pain that “radiates” or when they diagnose “radiculopathy.”
The nerves that run through the neck, back, and spine travel to all parts of the body.
The discs between the vertebrae in our spines can be injured in a variety of ways.
Broken Bones in Motorcycle Accidents
Orthopedic injuries are also common in motorcycle accidents. Most commonly, we see broken bones as a result of “ejection” from the motorcycle, and the type of injury depends on how the motorcyclist hits the ground. We have seen everything from broken legs to fractured shoulders. Often, the injury is so severe that the motorcyclist must be taken by ambulance or life-flight helicopter to an emergency room for emergency surgery. Emergency surgeries usually stabilize the injured area, but they usually do not offer a permanent solution. Physical therapy and a follow-up surgery, maybe years after the motorcycle accident, are often required. Other times, the fracture or orthopedic injury may be less severe, and the motorcyclist may be able to make an appointment with an orthopedic doctor of his or her choice at a time that can be planned in advance.
Road Rash in Motorcycle Accidents
Abrasion or “road rash” injuries are far more common in motorcycle accidents than car accidents. Road rash can be excruciatingly painful, and can often be more serious than most people realize because infection is common. If you think about it, that should not be surprising – road rash can remove a layer of skin, or all of a motorcyclist’s skin, from a large area of the body, leaving many pathways for infection. Protective gear can minimize road rash, but if the motorcycle accident is serious enough, severe abrasions or road rash can occur anyway.
Investigating Motorcycle Accidents
When you call our motorcycle accident attorneys, we’ll start investigating your motorcycle accident. We review accident reports, talk to witnesses, and gather evidence to help support your claim.
After a motorcycle accident, it’s important to take action quickly. The longer you wait, the easier it is for witnesses to forget exactly what they saw at the time of your accident. There’s also a risk that important evidence will be lost. So we move fast. We’ll investigate the presence of surveillance or traffic cameras, request evidence from police and other officials, send spoliation warnings to ensure that evidence is preserved, prepare the complaint and other court documents, litigate your case and, if necessary, present it to a jury.
Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
In the blink of an eye, a motorcycle accident can change your life forever. In addition to your pain and suffering, mounting medical bills, and a loss of income, you have to worry about how to pay for everything while you are unable to work. Depending on the severity of your injuries, a motorcycle accident can reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses. Our motorcycle attorneys are experienced in fighting for motorcyclists who were injured because of careless drivers. Call our experienced Georgia motorcycle accident attorneys to help you as you get on the road to recovery.
“Jeb and his team are extremely attentive. I was well informed throughout my entire legal process which helped me feel very comfortable. You’ll not find a more caring law team then Butler Law Firm.”