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Motorcycle Accidents

Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Motorcycle accidents are — like truck accidents — uniquely dangerous due to the nature of the vehicle involved. In a motorcycle accident scenario, the rider is directly exposed to significant impact forces. Unlike a motor vehicle accident in which the plaintiff is occupying a protective four-wheel vehicle with material that is designed to absorb the force of impact, a motorcycle frame cannot protect the rider from such forces. This can lead to severe and catastrophic injuries or even death.

The number of motorcyclists killed in crashes dropped to 4,985 in 2018, an almost 5% decrease, but motorcycle accidents are still overrepresented in traffic fatalities. To keep everyone safe, we urge drivers and motorcyclists to share the road and be alert, and we’re reminding motorcyclists to make themselves visible, to use DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets, and to always ride sober.

The data is revealing in this regard. According to a recent report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015 there were roughly 4,976 motorcycle accidents that resulted in deaths and 88,000 injuries related to traffic crashes, with an extremely high fatality rate of 57.85 percent. Other investigative reports note that, per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists have a 34 times higher risk of death in a crash than operators of other types of motor vehicles.

If you’ve suffered motorcycle accident injuries due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party in Atlanta, then you may be entitled to recover damages as compensation for your various losses. Litigation can be much more complex than it initially appears. As such, it’s important that you work with a skilled attorney who is capable of acting decisively on your behalf. Contact the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC for a comprehensive evaluation.

Motorcycle Accident Risk Factors

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety-Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS-HLDI), the federal government says that for every mile covered in 2016, the total number of reported deaths resulting from motorcycles was almost 28 times than that of cars. In fact the year 2017 witnessed a staggering 5,172 motorcyclists losing their lives in crashes, translating to a 14% of the total motor vehicle crash deaths.

Despite these staggering statistic, an estimated 50% of those riding motorcyclists do not wear helmets most of the time. On the other hand, 40% of those motorcyclists killed during the accidents don’t use helmets as their protective headgear. Using helmets can help reduce fatal injuries on the head when a motorcycle crash occurs.

A number of negligence-related factors can contribute to motorcycle accidents, including but not limited to:

  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Failure to recognize presence of motorcyclist
  • Failure to wear a helmet
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Road hazards.

For example, if you’re riding on a road that is not properly maintained, you could be exposed to road hazards like potholes. Whereas a pothole may not represent a significant injury risk for those driving four-wheeled vehicles, it can represent a significant injury risk for motorcyclists.  This failure to adequately maintain the roads could give rise to an actionable claim for damages against the party responsible for such maintenance.

Tips to Prevent Motorcycle Accidents

Safe riding practices and cooperation from all road users will help reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a list of useful guidelines to follow:

  • Make sure you get accustomed to your motorcycle to the extent that you know how to handle your motorcycle in a variety of conditions (e.g., inclement weather or encountering hazards such as slick roads, potholes, and road debris). 
  • Check your motorcycle’s tire pressure and tread depth, hand and foot brakes, headlights and signal indicators, and fluid levels before you ride.
  • Always wear a helmet meeting the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. Look for the DOT symbol on the outside back of the helmet. Snell and ANSI labels located inside the helmet also show that the helmet meets the standards of those private, non-profit organizations. Learn more about choosing the right helmet.
  • Obey traffic lights, signs, speed limits, and lane markings; ride with the flow of traffic and leave plenty of room between your bike and other vehicles; and always check behind you and signal before you change lanes. Understand that the majority of multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes generally are caused when other drivers simply didn’t see the motorcyclist.
  • Needless to say, remain drug and alcohol free.

Contributory Negligence

Georgia applies the doctrine of comparative fault, which means if the injured person is found to be 50 percent or more responsible for the accident that caused their own injuries, then the person cannot recover monetary damages. Therefore, if a claimant decides to take a pedestrian injury claim to litigation, the claimant must ensure that the pedestrian’s culpability in the incident is far less than that of the motorist. 

In Louisiana, the plaintiff — the rider in a motorcycle accident, for example — is subject to the pure comparative fault doctrine.  Under the pure comparative fault doctrine, the plaintiff’s contribution of negligence (e.g. fault) is not necessarily a barrier to recovering damages in an injury lawsuit.  Instead, the total fault will be evaluated, and each party will be “assigned” a percentage of fault that they contributed to the injuries at-issue. The damages will then be reduced accordingly.

For example, suppose that you are injured in a motorcycle accident in which you did not wear your helmet. Your total damages are $100,000.  The court evaluates the evidence and determines that you are 50 percent at-fault for your own injuries. Given that you contributed 50 percent fault, you would only be entitled to recover $50,000 of your potential damages.

Consult an Experienced Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Lawyer at The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC

The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC is a litigation firm with experience handling a range of personal injury litigation, including motorcycle accident disputes, on behalf of clients in both Louisiana and the Atlanta metro area.

We have developed a keen understanding of how to approach litigation so as to secure favorable results, whether through a negotiated settlement or at trial. Our extensive knowledge of such disputes ensures that we are ready to react dynamically — and effectively — to the tactics employed by the defendant.

Find out if you have a case. Call 404-549-6742 or submit a case evaluation form online to request a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Atlanta personal injury lawyer at the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC today.