Speeding and failure to yield the right of way are some of the most common causes of Atlanta motorcycle accidents. Unavoidable things like faulty parts and equipment, bad weather, or poor surface conditions, may also lead to a motorcycle crash.
Most motorbike accidents in Georgia, however, occur as a result of another person’s mistake or negligence. About 80 percent of motorcycle accidents in this region result in injury or death. If affected, our experienced injury and wrongful death attorneys can help you get the best settlement possible.
Throughout this guide, you will learn five of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents in Atlanta. The article also answers some of the frequently asked questions on the subject—including what to do in case of a fatality in a motorcycle accident.
What is the Leading Cause of Motorcycle Accidents in Atlanta?
Motorcycle accidents in Georgia are—to a great extent—caused by the negligence of other motorists. As such, it is only fair to get appropriate legal representation and pursue the compensation you or your loved one deserves.
Statistical findings by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and NHTSA point to the following as the leading causes of motorcycle accidents in Atlanta, GA:
Speeding is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents in Georgia, and the nation at large. As a matter of fact, speeding was considered to be a factor in at least 32 percent of the Atlanta motorcycle accidents that were recorded in 2017.
An excessive rate of speed could mean that a motorist is traveling at a higher speed than the posted speed limit. It could also mean that the motorist is traveling too fast for the prevailing road and weather conditions.
For instance, the speed limit for a particular stretch of road may be just 50 miles per hour (MPH). However, riding your motorcycle down this road at 50MPH during a windstorm may be considered to be too fast. This may even be termed irresponsible as the windstorm would reduce visibility.
Commonly referred to as “weaving”, lane splitting is when a bike rider travels between two lanes—rapidly changing from one lane to the other whenever it suits them. A good example is when riders navigate through tight spaces, particularly during traffic jams, to beat the traffic.
Unlike several other states, lane splitting is not illegal in Atlanta. You may think of weaving as a great way to beat the traffic, but it does not take much for you to get into an accident while at it. All it takes is for someone to open a car door as you are trying to squeeze between it and another vehicle.
In 2018 alone, more than 40 percent of the single-vehicle motorcycle fatalities recorded involved an intoxicated driver or rider. This is to say that they had a blood-alcohol concentration of higher than 0.08—the legal limit at the time.
You are more likely to get into an accident when you ride a motorcycle under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or controlled substances. This is because alcohol impairs your judgment both on and off road.
Riding a motorcycle often requires razor-sharp reflexes on the part of the rider. As such, even a single drink can reduce your reaction time enough to cause an accident.
Of all Atlanta motorcycle accident fatalities involving a motorcycle and another vehicle, about 42% of them occurred when the other vehicle was turning left. In almost all cases, the motorcycle rider was:
- Passing by the turning vehicle
- Traveling straight ahead
- Overtaking the turning vehicle
Most vehicles have a blind spot towards the front-left side. It is relatively difficult for drivers to see a motorcycle if it happens to be in this spot. This makes it more likely for motorcycle riders to be hit or run over by another vehicle when that vehicle is turning left.
Inexperienced riders are more likely to get into an accident as compared to experienced motorcycle riders. In 2017, the NHTSA reported that about 29% of the motorcycle fatalities recorded that year involved riders who did not have a valid motorcycle license.
Ideally, motorcycle riders should train for dozens of hours before they are allowed to ride a motorbike on an open road or even a highway. They should spend this time learning how to:
- Operate a motorcycle properly
- Gauge road and weather conditions and adapt their riding style and speed accordingly
- Spontaneously Respond to emergencies
Unfortunately, most riders are not this patient—all too often, they take to the road before they are ready.
Motorcycle Accident FAQs
Q: When Can I File a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
The Georgia statute of limitations for motorcycle accidents is two years. This means that a motorcycle accident victim has up to two years after the accident to file an accident claim. For fatal motorcycle accident victims, their families have up to two years after the victim’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you file a claim after this period, it is most likely to be dismissed.
Q: What Damages Can I Recover Following an Atlanta Motorcycle Accident?
As a victim in a motorcycle accident, you are entitled to damages for an array of losses. Basically, compensatory damages may be categorized into three types:
These are damages you could get for direct monetary losses you incurred as a result of the accident. Some of the common economic damages in Atlanta motorcycle accident claims include:
- Lost wages/ earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Property damage, such as damage to the motorcycle
- Future medical expenses
- Funeral and burials costs (in the event that the victim dies)
Non-economic damages are often subjective, hence harder to calculate. These are paid towards the intangible losses you incurred as a result of the accident. Non-economic damages include mental anguish, physical pain, emotional distress, and anxiety.
If there is clear and convincing evidence that the actions of the responsible party were malicious, intentional, or grossly negligent, you may also be awarded punitive damages. These are also referred to as punitive damages and are mainly meant to punish the wrongdoer.
Punitive damages in Georgia are often capped at about $250,000.
Q: How Much is My Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Case Worth?
For personal injury claims, the state of Georgia applies a modified version of comparative negligence. Under this standard, a motorcycle accident victim can recover monetary damages, provided they are less than 49% liable for the crash.
Again, the damages you are entitled to are reduced proportionally to the percentage of fault. For instance, if you are entitled to $250,000 in damages and were 20% at fault, the award will be reduced by 20% to $200,000. Find out how much your motorcycle accident claim is worth.
Q: What Can I Do If a Motorcycle Accident Leads to Wrongful Death?
If an Atlanta motorcycle accident resulted in a fatality, the surviving family members are entitled to compensation—as stipulated under the Georgia Wrongful Death Act. However, you first need to prove that:
- Actions by the defendant caused the accident
- The victim has a surviving spouse, parent, child, or a surviving representative of their estate
- The wrongful death resulted in monetary damages
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? Contact Us for the Best Legal Representation in Atlanta
If you or your loved one was injured In an Atlanta motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. At Hines law firm, we have lawyers who are knowledgeable and experienced on Georgia motorcycle laws.
You need such a professional to advocate on your behalf during Atlanta motorcycle accident claim hearings. Regardless of the cause of the Atlanta motorcycle accident, we’ll ensure that you get the best settlement possible. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.