The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently reported that a 31-year-old Gwinnett County man died after the motorcycle he was riding struck the side of a van pulling out of a side-street. Motorcycle-related tragedies like this one are all-too-common in Gwinnett County and other parts of Georgia. Data from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety reveals that the number of fatal motorcycle accidents around the state has increased sharply over the last few years, climbing from 137 fatalities in 2014 to 264 in 2018. In addition to an increased risk of fatality, motorcyclists also face an increased risk of injuries when involved in an accident, as compared to the drivers of other vehicles including cars and trucks. Read on for more information about motorcycle accidents and what to do if you’re injured in a motorcycle accident in Gwinnett County that was caused by someone else’s negligence.
Why Are Motorcycle Accidents More Dangerous?
As noted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 80 percent of motorcycle crashes result in death or injury to the motorcyclist. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Motorcycles lack the protective features of passenger cars, such as door beams, a roof, airbags, and seat belts.
- Ejections are common with motorcycles, which causes the rider to make contact with other objects, as well as the road.
- Motorcycles lack the bulk of a larger vehicle and drivers often fail to see them, resulting in the driver of a car pulling out in front of, or turning in front of or into a moving motorcycle.
- Motorcycles require a higher level of skill to operate than a passenger car does.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents can occur in a variety of ways, but the following are some common causes of these types of crashes.
- Head-on collisions: More than half of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve a collision between the motorcycle and another vehicle. The vast majority of these accidents involve a car hitting the motorcycle from the front.
- Cars making left-hand turns: This is the most dangerous situation for motorcyclists, accounting for about 42 percent of all accidents involving a motorcycle and a car. Drivers often don’t see a motorcyclist when making the turn and may strike the motorcycle while it is passing through the intersection, passing the car, or attempting to overtake the car.
- Speeding: Speeding cars pose a risk for motorcyclists as speeding increases the amount of time needed for the driver to see the motorcyclist in his or her path and react by slowing down or stopping before a collision occurs.
- Driving under the influence: Drunk drivers have less ability to judge distances between their car and other objects, including motorcycles. Alcohol or drug impairment can also reduce the driver’s ability to react quickly to hazards in the road or to control his or her vehicle.
- Motorcycle lane splitting: Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist drives between two lanes of stopped or slow moving traffic. Illegal in Florida, lane splitting crashes causes accidents due to the close proximity of the motorcycle to vehicles, a limited space in which the motorcyclist can maneuver, and drivers who are not anticipating a motorcycle coming up alongside them.
- Dangerous road conditions, including wet roads that may be slippery, potholes, debris in the road, and a lack of traffic control devices such as red lights or stop signs.
- Motorcycle defects: Manufacturers and distributors of poorly designed motorcycles may face liability if the product defects cause the motorcycle to crash.
Injuries Common to Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle injuries can be quite severe. Some common injuries suffered by motorcyclists in accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Lower extremity injuries, including broken legs and broken bones in the ankles and feet
- Internal injuries either caused by blunt force trauma or penetration trauma
- Broken wrists, arms, and other bones due to the body colliding with objects or the roadway
- Road rash: The serious skin abrasions are caused by the motorcyclist’s skin scraping against the road
- Biker’s arm: Biker’s arm is severe nerve damage in the arm caused by the motorcyclist’s protective instinct to use the arms to protect the body during an accident. Damage from biker’s arm is often permanent.
Motorcyclist Fatalities in Gwinnett County, GA
If You Were Hurt in a Motorcycle Accident Caused by Someone Else’s Negligence…
Motorcyclists who are injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence often wonder how they’re going to be able to afford extensive medical treatment, loss of wages, and other expenses associated with their recovery. Georgia is a fault state, meaning that the first resource to turn to for compensation for damages is a third-party claim against the at-fault and his or her liability insurance carrier. If the at-fault party’s insurance carrier delays or denies the claim or fails to offer a reasonable settlement based on the motorcyclists current and future medical needs due to the injury, then the injured motorcyclist usually has the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit in court.
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is generally two years from the date of the accident. If the lawsuit involves a governmental entity, such as when a dangerous road condition that a road agency should have prevented caused the accident, then the time limit may be even shorter.
Georgia practices a “modified comparative negligence” standard. What this means is that even if you are partially responsible for the accident that caused your injuries, you may still file a claim against other at-fault parties. However, any damage award you obtain through that claim will be reduced by the percentage of responsibility you bear for the accident.
Call Brauns Law if You Were Injured in a Gwinnett County Motorcycle Crash
Personal injury claims are often complex and difficult to pursue on your own, even if you don’t want to go to court. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help you to understand the process and provide aggressive representation and thoughtful guidance throughout.
Whether you need a skilled negotiator to help you seek a settlement from an insurance company or an experienced litigator to argue your case in court, a motorcycle lawyer from Brauns Law, PC, is ready to consider your legal options with you. Contact us online or by calling (404) 418-8244 for a free case evaluation.
“From day one I contacted Brauns law they have been professional, helpful and prompt about every questions or inquiry. I had an auto accident and after seven months the insurance company still didn’t settle with me and stopped answering my phone calls. Brauns law took my case and took care of everything, very happy with the outcome of it all! Highly recommend them.”
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