Assisting Motorcycle Accident Victims in Atlanta with Recovering Monetary Compensation for Their Personal Injuries
Given the relatively mild weather we enjoy here, motorcycles are a wonderful way to explore Atlanta and the beauty of Georgia as a whole—from the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Tail of the Dragon and the Cherohala Skyway.
Unfortunately, motorcycle operators are also at higher risk than their car-driving counterparts. This is due to the disparity in the protection afforded to drivers in cars versus those operating a motorcycle. It also means that if you’re a motorcycle operator struck by a car or truck, you probably suffered a serious injury.
Everyone on the street has a responsibility to keep others safe. It’s important to know your rights as well as your obligations if you intend to operate a motorcycle on Georgia’s roads. To get started, speak with the experienced Atlanta motorcycle accident team at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers.
We are a national law firm with multiple offices around the country, including Atlanta. We also work with affiliate law firms in most states that share our focus and dedication to excellence. No matter where you are located, we may be able to help you, so call or contact us now. We are open, for FREE, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-898-4877, or you may contact us now by CLICKING HERE to submit your case for review.
Motorcycle Operators Face Many Risks on Atlanta Roadways
Whether it’s a roadway defect like a pothole, a speeding car, or a truck driver who doesn’t notice you at all, you are at risk while traveling. Despite taking all the right precautions (like wearing acceptable protective gear including helmets, boots, thick clothing, and gloves), motorcyclists risk suffering a serious injury because other vehicles on the road are so much larger. Let’s face it: when you’re up against a car or truck, your motorcycle is not offering much in the way of protection. What might be a minor fender bender between two cars is far more serious when a motorcycle is involved.
What to Do at the Scene of the Accident: Steps to Take to Protect Yourself
The immediate aftermath of an accident is a scene you may not even remember. All accidents are traumatic, but when you are struck by a car or truck while operating your motorcycle, you’re at high risk of serious injury. You may even suffer additional injuries at the scene if you can’t get out of the way of oncoming traffic.
Having a plan in your mind before an accident is helpful because it often allows you to be better prepared. Here’s what to prioritize after a motorcycle accident:
- Moving to safety. The first thing you should do is move yourself to safety if possible. However, you should avoid moving if you are in extreme pain because you could have suffered a spinal cord injury or back injury that could be exacerbated by moving around at the scene.
- Contacting law enforcement. Make sure someone notifies the local authorities about the accident and advise them about injuries so EMS may be notified. Police at the scene will ask numerous questions. Use caution when answering. Make sure you ask for the name and badge number of the officer taking the report so you can obtain a copy of it later.
- Documentation is crucial. The more information you get from the scene of a motorcycle accident, the better. In addition to obtaining information from the other vehicle’s operator, you should obtain names and contact information of any witnesses. Snap pictures if you can, and note any traffic signals in the vicinity. Before you move your motorcycle, you should attempt to photograph the location and the damage it suffered.
- Seek medical attention. If you are involved in an accident, you should immediately seek medical attention from either the closest urgent care facility or an emergency room. Chances are it will be nearly impossible to obtain a last-minute appointment with your own physician. Make sure you indicate you were involved in a crash involving a vehicle while you were operating a motorcycle.
As you can see, sometimes the information you obtain at the scene can be helpful later. The more information you have at your disposal, the better. There’s no such thing as too much evidence!
Chance of Serious Injury Operating a Motorcycle
The extent of your injuries will be unknown until you seek medical attention. Even if you feel “fine,” motorcycle accidents have the potential of causing life-altering injuries to riders and passengers alike. Careless drivers who either fail to see a motorcycle or cut in front of a motorcycle cause a fair percentage of these accidents.
Some injuries a victim could suffer include:
- Road rash. While this may sound like a fairly minor injury, road rash abrasions can be very deep and very painful. Victims often require stitches to close up the wounds and in some cases, they can also suffer serious infections and need additional care. Road rash has the potential of leaving scars that will last a lifetime.
- Face and neck injuries. While a helmet will protect a rider’s head, it does not totally prevent injury to the face and neck. Broken jaws, chipped teeth, broken noses, and other facial injuries can cause permanent scarring and require extensive corrective surgery.
- Back injuries. Being thrown from a bike is very painful. If a motorcycle operator lands on their back, the force with which they are thrown from the bike can cause extensive injury to the back. Victims may have fractured vertebrae, sprains, and deep muscle injuries in their back.
- Head injuries. Even when a motorcycle operator is following the law and wearing a helmet, it is possible for them to sustain life-changing head injuries. Concussions, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and fractured skulls can all cause dramatic changes in a victim’s life. These changes range from excruciating pain to personality changes.
- Broken bones. While broken bones will heal in a relatively short period of time, victims struggle with day-to-day activities while they are healing. Additionally, victims often find they suffer pain for months following a broken bone. Limb, rib, and pelvic fractures are common following a motorcycle accident.
Recovering from your injuries should be your top priority. Let us handle the rest.
Contact our Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyers as quickly as possible following an accident to ensure you know what rights you have, what steps you should take to protect them, and how to get compensated fairly.
Negligence and Motorcycle Accidents
According to Georgia code Section 40-6-310, “Every person operating a motorcycle shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this chapter except as to special regulations in this part and except as to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.” Unfortunately, car drivers often treat a motorcycle as a roadway nuisance despite the fact they have the same rights.
Establishing negligence is the key to holding an Atlanta driver who causes a motorcycle accident accountable. Georgia negligence statutes state every driver is required to exercise a duty of care when operating a motor vehicle. This means they should be following the speed limit, using proper turn signals, watching out for other vehicles on the road, and exercising extra caution when weather conditions warrant it. When any of these fails to occur, the driver who caused the accident is acting negligently. This provides victims of motorcycle accidents grounds for filing a motorcycle accident lawsuit.
Motorcycle Accidents and Insurance Companies
You may think after a motorcycle accident that insurance companies are going to help. The sad fact is, nearly every insurance company is set up to place hurdles in your way and minimize your claim. From the minute the insurance adjuster contacts you following a motorcycle accident, they will begin to build a case for denying or minimizing your claim. Their bottom line is profit—the less they pay out in claims, the higher their profit.
Bearing that in mind, you should always be aware of what to avoid doing when talking to an insurance adjuster after a motorcycle accident. The adjuster will ask you several questions in an attempt to get you to admit total or partial fault, downplay your injuries, or label them as pre-existing conditions.
Some tips for dealing with insurance adjusters after an accident:
- Do not offer a recorded statement. Whether the adjuster asks you for a written statement or asks you to agree to make a “recorded” statement on the record, you should avoid doing so without consulting with an attorney.
- Do not answer questions pertaining to your injuries. A simple question such as how are you feeling can lead an adjuster to make note that you are “not as hurt as your records might indicate” if you say you are doing well, or fine. Remember, the more your injuries can be minimized, the less the insurance company pays in claims.
- Deny requests for records. Do not sign a medical release form without checking with an attorney. These forms are nearly always too broad and rather than requesting medical records for only the injuries sustained during the accident, insurers are looking for pre-existing conditions that can “explain” your current injuries.
- Carefully assess any settlement offers. An insurance company may offer a quick settlement following a motorcycle accident. This is deliberate; adjusters know you are out of work and you are probably suffering some financial setbacks. Remember, if they make a quick offer, this is going to be on the low end of what you may be legally entitled to get for your injuries and other damages.
The more complicated your injuries are, the more likely it will be the insurance company attempts to get a quick settlement. The reason behind this is simple: As soon as you accept a settlement offer, the insurance company no longer has any liability. When you have suffered a serious injury in a motorcycle accident, your care and treatment could extend for months. This means if you accept an offer upfront, the insurer will only have to pay the initial portion of your medical bills and lost wages.
Always, always, always speak with an experienced Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer before signing any documents or agreeing to any terms!
Your best bet is to leave it to the professionals and let us deal with insurance adjusters on your behalf.
Calculating Damages in Motorcycle Accident Cases
Because no two accidents are the same, it’s always challenging to advise an Atlanta motorcycle accident victim of what they can expect in terms of a settlement.
Some damages which may be awarded include:
- Hospitalization and medical costs. You can get reimbursed for any medical costs associated with the treatment of your injuries that occurred in a motorcycle accident. This includes time spent in the hospital, surgical procedures, tests used to determine the extent of your injuries, and all other care associated with your injury. Medical costs would also include pain medications, antibiotics, and other treatments like physical therapy and rehabilitation therapy.
- Home modification expenses. Depending on the severity of your injuries, your home may require modification to enable you to continue to care for yourself, or be cared for in your home. Specialized equipment such as hospital beds, special lifting chairs, or other similar equipment may be necessary in these cases. You may recover these costs in a motorcycle accident lawsuit.
- Wage and income loss. Whether you are out of work for a short period of time or you can’t return to your previous job at all, you can include lost income in your claim. In some cases, these calculations may be very easy but for others, such as a motorcycle accident victim who is self-employed or relies on commissions, this can be complicated.
A skilled Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer can discuss all the potential areas where you may be entitled to compensation. Since each case is different, there may be additional financial considerations included in your motorcycle accident suit. For example, there’s also a property damage portion associated with an accident when you were traveling by motorcycle. After a wreck, chances are your motorcycle is no longer functioning, and you may have ruined other valuable equipment in the accident as well. This property damage portion of your claim may need to be pursued separately.
The right motorcycle injury law firm is one who has experience handling complicated cases and has a proven track record of success. Be confident and know you are working with someone who has a strong history of advocating for victims. You deserve peace of mind, knowing someone is looking out for your financial interests while you focus on your physical recovery.
Legal Fees from Motorcycle Accident Claims
Victims of motorcycle accidents in Atlanta are often afraid of contacting an attorney. They think that because they can’t pay for day-to-day expenses, they cannot afford an attorney. However, our personal injury law firm takes motorcycle accident claims on a contingency basis. This means unless an attorney is successful in reaching a settlement or judgment on your behalf, you do not pay attorney’s fees. That’s right: you pay nothing unless we’re put money in your pocket!
Call Our Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Now
Did someone crash into you while you were riding through Atlanta? Call us.
The legal team of Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, is nationally recognized for protecting the rights of injured victims for more than 20 years. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident on Atlanta’s roadways, call our office right now for a free consultation! Because we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a dime unless we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or contact us now by CLICKING HERE.
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