Motorcyclists are far more exposed to the elements than drivers of other motor vehicles. Motorcycles are much smaller than other motor vehicles and can easily go unnoticed in a car’s blind spot. Many motor vehicle drivers don’t give motorcyclists the seriousness and respect they deserve as fellow drivers on the road.
None of these things are surprising, but when you put them together you’ve got a recipe for serious motorcycle accidents. Around 140 motorcyclists die every year on Georgia’s highways. That’s about one death every 2.6 days. Motorcycle deaths, including un-helmeted motorcycle deaths, have declined over the years, but the fact remains that motorcyclists are more likely than other drivers to die or suffer serious injury in an auto accident, regardless of whether or not the accident was their fault.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident due to another driver’s negligence, contact The Stoddard Firm. We have years of experience, and we’ll do our best to get you the settlement you deserve. Don’t wait a minute: contact us online or call us at 678-RESULTS today.
Laws for Motorcyclists
Georgia motorcyclists are required to carry a Class M motorcycle license. You must be at least 17 years old to apply for a class M license from the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS). Learner’s permits are given to motorcyclists as young as 16 so they can practice riding before taking the road test.
When the time comes to take the road test, a driver is required to apply at the DDS for a license, taking a knowledge test and a road test all at once. As an alternative to this, drivers can take a Motorcycle Safety Program Basic Course, which includes a road test and a knowledge test as part of a larger safety course.
Georgia motorcyclists, along with any passengers who may be on the vehicle with them, are required to wear a helmet. The fine for not wearing a helmet is no more than $15.00. The law requires motorcyclists to use helmets with eye-protection devices, so a bicycle helmet doesn’t fulfill the requirements. It has to be a full motorcycle helmet with eye protection incorporated into it.
In 2015, motorcycle fatalities hit their highest level since 2008, with a total of 152 motorcycle deaths occurring that year. The good news is that, over the years, the average number of deaths per year has been declining slowly. The bad news is that far too many motorcyclists are still dying on Georgia’s highways.
Alcohol use is a serious factor leading to motorcycle fatalities, both in Georgia and in the United States as a whole. Out of the 145 motorcyclists killed in crashes in Georgia during 2015, 36 of them (or 25 percent) showed a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. This is lower than the national average for the year, where out of 4,684 fatalities, 1,285 motorcyclists (or 27 percent) had a high BAC.
Even though motorcycle fatalities have declined over the years, motorcycle accidents are still much too common, and motorcyclists still have to take extra care on the roads.
Risk factors for Motorcyclists
Let’s talk about some of the most common situations where motorcycle accidents occur. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents are when:
A car makes a left turn in front of you.
This is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents. An inattentive driver can make a turn without realizing you are there.
A car changes lanes into you.
Just like with the car that turns in front of you, this accident is caused when a driver isn’t paying enough attention and crashes into you because you’re small.
A car hits you from behind.
If you are stopped at an intersection, a crosswalk, or for any other reason, a driver may have a hard time spotting you. If a driver hits you at high speed, the resulting accident can be devastating.
What to do if you’ve been injured in an accident
If you or a loved one is injured in a motorcycle accident, you should first seek medical attention. You should also make sure you contact authorities. If your injuries were the result of neglect by another party, you should seek legal assistance. The Stoddard Firm has years of experience handling accident injuries, and we even offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case. Call us at 678-RESULTS.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do I have to go to court?
Not necessarily. Many wrongful death and personal injury cases are settled before they go to court. However, it is our experience that the most successful cases are built as if they are going to court. Our firm prepares every case to go all the way to trial, even if it is ultimately resolved before the trial starts.
Why is an attorney important in a personal injury case?
Personal injury law can be complex, and filing a successful claim can require a great deal of time, effort and experience. A lawsuit often involves several other parties, including defendants, insurance companies and other attorneys. There are also many procedural rules that must be followed. Having experienced, skilled legal representation maximizes your chances of success.
How do I pick the right attorney?
You’ll want to look for several qualities when choosing who will represent you. Your attorney should meet with you instead of sending an investigator, and he/she should be available throughout the process instead of having you consistently talk to a legal assistant. Your attorney should have a low number of cases so he/she can devote significant time to you and your case. Your attorney should have experience handling cases with facts similar to yours, and your attorney should have a proven track record with similar claims. Your attorney should also be able to devote significant money to your case so that he/she can hire experts, travel the country finding witnesses, and depose whomever is necessary to achieve justice. It’s also important to make sure your attorney is the right fit on a personal level, which is why you should take advantage of a free consultation.
How much time do I have to file a lawsuit?
There is a time limit on how long a person has after an injury to begin a lawsuit. This window is called a statute of limitations. For most personal injury cases in Georgia, the statute of limitations is two years from the time the injury was suffered. However, there are exceptions and subtleties that might change the amount of time you are afforded. Sometimes the period can be as short as 6 months, and other times it can be much longer than two years. Determining the statute of limitations requires a detailed analysis of the facts of your case.
What do I need to bring with me to the consultation?
For your free consultation, bring all relevant documents that you’ve collected regarding your case. If there are police reports, bills or correspondence from insurance companies, you’ll want to bring those items to the consultation so an attorney can learn as much about your case as possible.