Motorcycle accidents are typically more serious than typical car crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that motorcyclists are killed 28 times more often than car passengers per vehicle mile traveled. In 2016 alone, nearly 5,300 riders were killed in fatal accidents. Victims’ families may find some comfort by filing a wrongful death lawsuit and recovering damages connected to the loss of a loved one. Anyone lucky enough to survive a motorcycle accident may pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
Each state is responsible for creating motorcycle safety laws, and Georgia is no different. See Georgia statutes §40-6-310 through §40-6-315 for a full list of the rules, but here are some important guidelines to remember:
The above are just a sample of the laws, and motorcycle riders should consult the official Georgia statutes to avoid criminal penalties and earn the most in accident recovery, if a crash should occur.
Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents are often the fault of the rider. Common accident causes for motorcycles include:
Though many of the accidents above place blame on the motorcyclist, they may still be able to recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit.
Georgia is a modified comparative fault state. Thus, as long as the rider was less than 50% at fault for their accident, they may still receive compensation such as pain and suffering damages.
All motorcyclists are required to have motorcycle insurance in Georgia. The insurance requirements are the same for all motor vehicles in Georgia. Thus, a motorcycle owner must have the following insurance coverage:
This mandatory minimum insurance is your protection, should you be at fault in an accident. Other insurance options motorcyclist might consider include:
All too often, Georgia drivers lack the appropriate insurance coverage. In many cases, the driver is without the finances to pay for insurance. If this is the case, the driver may also be indigent or incapable of paying damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Thus, uninsured/underinsured coverage may be the only way to recover compensation for motorcycle or auto accidents.
A lawsuit for a motorcycle accident may not be the best option for all accident survivors or victims’ families. Too often, however, a case isn’t pursued because the plaintiff doesn’t realize how much is at stake. The damages awarded can be quite high for motorcycle accidents.
Georgia awards both special and general damages in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Special damages refer to compensation that corresponds to a specific dollar amount. General damages, however, reflect a loss that doesn’t have a clear dollar value.
Here is a detailed breakdown of the two categories:
Non-economic (general) damages
Because Georgia doesn’t place a cap on damages in personal injury cases, many accidents may offer a large payout to accident survivors and their families. Nevertheless, a rider’s degree of fault may reduce the total compensation they receive. For example, if a jury panel calculates a motorcyclists’ damages to be $100,000 but they were 40% at fault, the plaintiff may only be eligible to receive $60,000.
A Georgia attorney with experience in motorcycle accidents can help you calculate how much you could receive in your case. If you want to try to do some calculations on your own, however, Enjuris offers a damages and expenses worksheet to help you identify all the current and potential costs of your accident.