For many Georgians, there’s nothing quite like riding a motorcycle on the open road, wind in your hair, sun in your face. With its varied terrain and better-than-average weather, Georgia is a great place to live and ride if you own a motorcycle. But while soaring down the tree-lined paths can be freeing and exhilarating, it can also be dangerous. Sadly, despite Georgia’s strict laws when it comes to safety, the state ranks in the top 20 for most dangerous states to ride. In 2017, 139 motorcyclists lost their lives on the road in the Peachtree State.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, a Lawrenceville personal injury lawyer can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Causes of Lawrenceville Motorcycle Accidents
Anyone who has ridden a motorcycle knows that these vehicles are inherently more dangerous than a standard car. No matter how safely you ride, you are more exposed to injury in an accident than someone riding in a car. What might amount to a minor accident in a car can cause catastrophic injuries on a motorcycle.
Knowing the top causes of motorcycle accidents can help you stay safe on the road. Some of the most causes of motorcycle accidents are:
- Distracted driving: There’s no doubt that distracted driving is a major problem. Though Georgia has put laws in place to penalize drivers for paying attention to their phones instead of the road, drivers all across the state continue to text and drive, putting themselves and others—especially motorcyclists—at risk for serious and even fatal injuries.
- Following too close: Following too close to a motorcycle increases the risk of a rear-end collision. Drivers of cars and trucks frequently fail to take motorcycles’ short stopping distance into account, leaving themselves insufficient space to come to a stop before colliding with a motorcycle’s rear wheel and throwing the rider to the ground.
- Speed: Speeding is a problem among all motorists. Motorcyclists, obviously, need to obey speed limits. But even when they ride at a safe speed, motorcyclists face injury from cars and trucks driving too fast for road conditions.
- Unsafe road conditions: Changes in the road condition can cause catastrophic injuries to a motorcyclist. Uneven pavement, gravel, or hazards in the roadway can cause a driver to lose control.
- Left-turn accidents: Cars and trucks making a left turn against oncoming traffic are among the most dangerous traffic scenarios motorcyclists face. Drivers can misjudge the amount of time they have to make a turn or fail to see an oncoming motorcycle.
Common Injuries in a Lawrenceville Motorcycle Accident
Any type of accident holds the potential to cause serious or fatal injuries for motorcyclists. Because motorcycles lack the safety features of cars and trucks, their riders face greater risks of injury. Here are some of the most common motorcycle accident injuries:
- Road Rash: Road rash is a severe abrasion that occurs when a motorcyclist slides along the pavement in an accident. The friction can burn away clothing and skin, leaving an open, painful, hard-to-clean wound. Like burns, road rash is rated on a scale of first-degree to third-degree. Third-degree road rash often requires intensive medical intervention and cause significant pain.
- Traumatic brain injuries: State law requires any person riding a motorcycle to wear a helmet. Overwhelming evidence has shown that wearing a helmet can save your life. But still, riders across Georgia continue to ride without a helmet. According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, the number of riders driving without a helmet has steadily increased since 2013. A traumatic brain injury can lead to memory loss, headaches, cognitive difficulties, or a permanent vegetative state. Not wearing a helmet may also make it more difficult to recover compensation for your injuries, even if the accident itself wasn’t your fault.
- Broken bones: Broken bones are a common injury from motorcycle accidents. Depending on the severity of the injury, the break can take several months to heal and cause significant pain. In some cases, pain can persist for years beyond the initial injury.
- Spinal cord injuries: A spinal cord injury occurs when the spinal cord becomes bruised or severed. The damage may be permanent or temporary. Spinal cord injuries often result in paralysis. The degree of paralysis depends on where the injury occurred and whether it was a complete or incomplete injury.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
If you ride, you know the joys of the open road, and there is no more beautiful state to explore those roads than the great State of Georgia. In recent years, Georgia had the 13th-highest number of registered motorcycles of all 50 states, with more than 200,000 motorcycles. However, Georgia also reported 135 fatal motorcycle crashes, and more than 2,000 total crashes, in a single year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shares that in one recent year, nearly 5,000 motorcyclists died on our nation’s roadways. The fact is that bikers are overrepresented in statistics related to traffic fatalities—they are about 28 times more likely to die (per mile driven) in such accidents than are the occupants of cars. NHTSA urges all motorists—those behind the wheel and those manning bikes—to put a conscious effort into sharing the road safely.
Further, NHTSA specifically reminds motorists that they need to better understand the safety challenges motorcyclists face. When motorists fail to adequately address the safety issues inherent to motorcycles, they leave motorcyclists far more vulnerable to dangerous traffic accidents with much larger, heavier cars. These safety issues include the fact that motorcycles are far smaller in both size and weight, which makes them more difficult to see in traffic.
Motorcyclist Fatalities in Gwinnett County, GA
Know Your Rights
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, the party who caused it may have legal liability for your injuries under Georgia law. Recovering compensation from that party usually requires hiring an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to negotiate with insurance companies and, if necessary, to file a lawsuit. When successful, a claim for injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident can pay for:
- Medical bills: This includes medical transport, emergency room stays, doctor visits, surgeries, physical therapy, and rehab. In cases of catastrophic injury or chronic pain, you may be eligible for future medical costs.
- Loss of wages: An accident can cause you to lose time at work. This can make it hard to pay your bills. Lost wages will cover time lost due to an accident including doctors visits and recovery time.
- Pain and suffering: Not all costs have a direct, quantifiable cost. Pain and suffering covers physical and emotional pain. It can also include loss of enjoyment, loss of companionship, and loss of consortium.
- Wrongful death: Sadly, some accidents result in death. When a loved one dies in a motorcycle accident, the surviving parent or parents or the estate’s personal representative can file a wrongful death claim.
Lawrenceville Motorcycle Accident FAQ
Many people find a motorcycle ride down the highway on a bright summer day to be a fantastic experience. However, one drawback to riding a motorcycle is the minimal protection it offers in the event of an accident. While it is exciting to have nothing between you and the open air during your rides, this same exposure leaves you very vulnerable to severe injury should a motorcycle accident take place.
Even when motorcycle riders wear their helmets, something required by law, the headgear only provides limited protection and does not shield any other part of the rider’s body. Ride safely and responsibly on the road, but know what to do in the aftermath of an accident.
If a motorcycle accident has injured you or a person you love, it is essential to have a knowledgeable team of experienced attorneys advocating for your legal interests at all times. The Lawrenceville motorcycle accident attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can investigate the circumstances surrounding the motorcycle accident to determine if you have a viable legal claim.
If so, we can assist you with filing a claim against the individual or entity that caused your accident and pursue the damages that you need. If the at-fault person’s insurance company refuses to offer you the monetary compensation you deserve, our team will file a lawsuit on your behalf and litigate your case in court.
What are the most common motorcycle accident injuries in Lawrenceville?
As previously stated, motorcycle riding can be dangerous because, unlike cars and trucks, motorcycles do not have a protective shell or barrier between the rider and the ground or a colliding vehicle. If an accident knocks a rider or passenger off the motorcycle, the victim could directly hit the ground, resulting in severe and potentially fatal injuries.
Common injuries that motorcycle operators and passengers sustain in Lawrenceville motorcycle accidents include:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Soft tissue injuries, including sprains, strains and muscle contusions
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Significant cuts and bruises
- Internal injuries, such as organ damage and internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries, including various forms of both partial and full paralysis
- Traumatic head and brain injuries, such as concussions, brain bleeds, and comas
Serious injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident can result in costly medical procedures, tremendous pain and suffering, and long periods when the victim cannot work. All of this can take a financial, physical, and mental toll on the accident victim and their family. These damages are all legally compensable.
If another person’s negligence caused a motorcycle accident that injured you or someone you love, you might file a personal injury claim with the at-fault person’s insurance company. The Lawrenceville motorcycle accident attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can assist you with pursuing the monetary compensation that you and your family need.
Who can be held responsible for a Lawrenceville motorcycle accident, and how do these accidents typically occur?
Depending upon the nature of the accident, one or more individuals or entities may be responsible for a Lawrenceville motorcycle accident.
Some of the most common causes of Lawrenceville motorcycle accidents include:
- Motorcycle operators – When a motorcycle operator engages in careless or reckless motorcycle operation, such as by failing to use turn signals, speeding, or carelessly weaving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed, then the motorcycle operator may cause or contribute to their accident. If you were a motorcycle passenger at the time of your accident and believe that the operator of your motorcycle caused or contributed to the accident, you may bring a claim against the motorcycle operator’s insurance company.
- Other motor vehicle operators – Similarly, the negligence of other motor vehicle operators, including those driving cars and trucks, may bring about a collision with a motorcycle. In a contest between a motorcycle and a car, truck, or van, the motorcycle almost always loses—especially if the larger vehicle is traveling at a high rate of speed at the time of the collision. A motorcyclist who suffers an injury in an accident caused by the negligent operator of a car, truck, or van can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- Dangerous road conditions – Large potholes, grooved pavement, surface cracks, and uneven road surfaces (especially those around construction sites) are never suitable for motorcyclists. If a motorcyclist falls off their bike because no one has clearly marked any road defects, then the motorcyclist may have a valid legal cause of action against the person or entity responsible for maintaining the roadway where the accident occurred. This burden of responsibility could fall on a construction company or a governmental entity, such as a city or county. In a case involving a governmental entity, there are often precise notice requirements that must be satisfied before filing a lawsuit against the entity.
- Defective motorcycle parts – When a motorcyclist purchases a motorcycle or a motorcycle part, they expect that the machine or machine part will be in good working order and correctly operate. However, all too often, defective motorcycle parts, such as handlebars, steering mechanisms, seats, and braking systems, are put on the market without adequate testing. If a motorcycle part malfunctions and causes an accident while the rider is out on the road, then the rider may bring a legal claim or file a lawsuit against the parts manufacturer and/or anyone else the chain of distribution.
If a motorcycle accident injured you or someone you love under any of these circumstances, a skilled Lawrenceville motorcycle accident lawyer at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm could assist you with filing your claim or lawsuit against all of the responsible parties.
What are the steps you should take following a Lawrenceville motorcycle accident?
If a motorcycle accident in or around the Lawrenceville area injured you, there are specific steps that you should always take.
These steps include the following:
- Call the police – If you can do so after your accident, you should dial 9-1-1 and request that a police officer come to the scene of your accident. When the officer arrives, you should relay to them what took place and make sure that the officer prepares a police report for future reference.
- Obtain emergency medical treatment – When a police officer arrives at the scene of a motorcycle accident, an ambulance will come as well. Following your accident, you should seek follow-up medical care as soon as possible, preferably at a hospital emergency room or urgent care center on the same day as your accident. Medical personnel can evaluate and record your condition, as well as provide you with the treatment that your injuries require. You may also need to follow up with your family doctor or with a specialist at some point after your emergency room visit.
- Speak with witnesses – In addition to obtaining contact information from everyone who was involved in your accident, you should also obtain the names and telephone numbers of anyone who claims to have seen the accident take place. These individuals can help later on if an insurance company claims that you somehow caused or contributed to the accident.
- Speak with an experienced Lawrenceville motorcycle accident attorney – Having an experienced legal team on board is one of the most critical steps that you can take in pursuing your motorcycle accident case. The experienced lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can handle all of the legal aspects of your motorcycle accident case, allowing you to concentrate on obtaining medical treatment and recovering from your injuries. While you are receiving treatment, your lawyers can investigate the case on your behalf and gather all of the medical evidence and other necessary documentation to prove your case. After you have completed your treatment, your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and focus on litigating your case to a conclusion.
How long do I have to file a claim or lawsuit after my Lawrenceville motorcycle accident?
In Georgia, under almost any circumstances, you only have two years from the date of your motorcycle accident to file a lawsuit based upon your injuries. Statutes of limitation in Georgia, as well as in other states, are hard-and-fast rules. If you fail to file your lawsuit within the required period of time, the defense attorney of the at-fault driver will file a motion to dismiss your suit, which the court must then grant. From that point forward, you will no longer be eligible to file a claim seeking monetary compensation for the personal injuries that you suffered in your motorcycle accident.
If a motorcycle accident injured you or a loved one, contact a Lawrenceville motorcycle accident attorney at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm as soon as possible. Your attorney will file your lawsuit promptly and will name all responsible parties as defendants in the suit.
Do all motorcycle accident cases go to trial? What are my legal options?
Not all Lawrenceville motorcycle accident cases go to trial. Your case will not automatically proceed to a trial just because you file a legal complaint in the state court system. More often than not, motorcycle accident cases settle out of court. You are the ultimate decision-maker when it comes to deciding whether you should accept a top-and-final settlement offer or take your case to trial.
Depending upon your circumstances (as well as the at-fault party’s insurance company), there may be an alternative dispute resolution option on the table, such as arbitration or mediation.
The following legal options may be available for finalizing your Lawrenceville motorcycle accident case:
- Settlement – The parties can settle either before or after a lawsuit is filed in the state court system. There will eventually come the point when the insurance company will make a top and final settlement offer and put it on the table. With that information, your lawyer will explain what you can pocket once he or she deducts his or her fees and expenses from your gross settlement amount. If you decide to settle your motorcycle accident case out of court, first make sure that the offer fully and fairly compensates you for all of your out-of-pocket expenses (including medical bills and lost wages), as well as for your pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of future earnings, and other permanent losses that often go along with physical injuries.
- Jury trial – At a jury trial in the state court system, a jury decides what damages (if any) you are entitled to receive as a result of the injuries you suffered in your motorcycle accident. At the end of the trial, the presiding judge will instruct the jurors on the law on which they are to base the verdict of the case.
- Alternative dispute resolution proceedings – Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings typically consist of mediation or arbitration. During these proceedings, a neutral third-party mediator or arbitrator helps the parties come to a final resolution in the case in the case. In binding arbitration, the arbitrator’s award is not subject to appeal by either party in the case.
Every motorcycle accident case, and the victims’ injuries and damages, is different. An experienced Lawrenceville motorcycle accident attorney at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can help you select the best legal course of action for your case. Your Lawrenceville motorcycle accident lawyer will use their years of experience assisting clients just like you to bring out the strengths of your case and downplay any weaknesses to maximize the compensation that you can recover.
What Are Recoverable Damages after a Motorcycle Accident?
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, the damages you’ve suffered can be immense, including all of the following categories:
- Medical costs – Your medical expenses can range from emergency care and transportation all the way through surgery, treatment from doctors and specialists, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and beyond. It’s important to recognize that your original injuries can lead to secondary complications and that you could be facing negative health consequences far into your future.
- Lost wages – If you suffered serious injuries, you’re likely to face a serious diminishment of wages due to lost hours on the job. Your injuries can even lead to a decrease in earning potential into your future—and an altered career trajectory.
- Pain and suffering – The physical pain and mental suffering associated with a terrifyingly dangerous motorcycle accident is as real as the physical injuries themselves and should never be discounted. Many motorcycle accident victims experience feelings of despair, increased anxiety, symptoms of depression, and much more.
This financial recovery is critical to your future, so seek help from our skilled legal team right away.
Do I Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
Many people who’ve been injured in motorcycle accidents caused by another motorist’s negligence are overwhelmed and assume that the insurance company involved will simply do the job it’s paid to do and cover them for the damages they’ve sustained. This approach, however, is not likely to serve your best interests.
Insurance companies are in the business of turning massive profits, and they have countless techniques at their disposal to help them accomplish this goal—some of which are less than savory, including:
- Insurance reps are adept at taking statements from motorcycle victims that inadvertently weaken their own cases and help divert fault from the negligent motorist and focus it on the motorcyclist himself or herself. You are not required to provide the insurance company with a recorded statement after a motorcycle accident, and you are ill-advised to do so. Your skilled Lawrenceville motorcycle accident lawyer will provide the insurance company with all the information it needs—while adroitly negotiating on behalf of your best interests.
- Insurance companies are not above stalling the claims process to push vulnerable motorcycle accident victims to accept any settlement offer when one finally comes along—out of desperation. Never sign off on a settlement offer until an experienced motorcycle accident attorney greenlights it for you.
- Offering quick settlement offers before the motorcycle accident victim has the opportunity to fully assess the complete range of his or her damages—and their implications. A speedy offer from the insurance company is often a sign that it is attempting to bypass covering your damages in their entirety.
- Insurance companies sometimes bombard accident victims with so many document requirements and requests for information that the claimants simply give up under the weight of this process.
- Sometimes, insurance companies deny valid claims outright—in an attempt to weed out those claimants who simply aren’t up to or aren’t capable of fighting back.
Without an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer by your side, you are at the mercy of the insurance company’s whims and sometimes less-than-forthright practices. Your skilled motorcycle accident lawyer has the experience, fortitude, and resources to build your strongest case—based on all the available evidence—while zealously negotiating for settlement terms that address your complete range of damages.
Finally, if the insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith, your motorcycle accident lawyer will be well-prepared to take your case before the court. While the vast majority of motorcycle accident cases settle before they make it to the courtroom, you want to preserve this option. The short answer is—yes, you do need a motorcycle accident lawyer on your side.
An Experienced Lawrenceville Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help
Motorcycle accidents are different from other motor vehicle accidents. In many cases, victims suffer serious, long-term injuries. When someone other than the rider causes a motorcycle accident, they should be held to account.
At Brauns Law, we know that money won’t take away your pain or suffering, but it can make recovering from a motorcycle accident easier. Knowing that you don’t have to rush back to work or worry about your bills can make a world of difference while you recover. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, contact our Lawrenceville personal injury lawyers at (678)-647-1314 to learn more about your rights.
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Brauns Law, P.C.
892 legacy park Dr.
Lawrenceville, GA 30043