Voted Best Personal Injury Law Firm By Georgia Lawyers
Marietta Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Matt Wetherington with Wetherington Law Firm,P.C. is the hardest working attorney I have ever worked with. He went above and beyond our expectations. Calls and emails are returned promptly and by Mr. Wetherington himself.
5 Stars is nowhere near enough to rate how awesome Matt and his colleagues were. They took my case even when I didn’t think there was anything we could do. I was in a bad situation at the time and Matt, Robert, and Sarah were there for me every step of the way.
I’m so grateful to Ben Levy and everything he did for me. He was truly dedicated to helping my case. Throughout the process, Ben was very thoughtful, responsive, organized, and made sure I was fully informed along the way.
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Motorcycle accidents can be devastating. Riders lack the protection of a car and can suffer severe injuries or worse when crashes happen. Victims may deal with broken bones, painful recovery, or loss of work. This affects not just their health, but also their families and futures. Georgia law recognizes their struggle. Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) § 51-1-6, victims of negligence have the right to seek compensation.
Georgia’s laws say that if someone else caused your motorcycle accident, you’re allowed to ask for money to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. (O.C.G.A. § 51-12-4). The law wants to help make things right for those hurt by a driver who wasn’t being careful. But you need to act quickly. In Georgia, you typically have only two years to start your claim (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33).
At Wetherington Law Firm, we get it. We know that after a motorcycle wreck, you need someone who’ll fight for you. We’re here to make sure you get the compensation you deserve, so you can focus on healing. Let us handle the tough legal stuff so you can get back on your feet. Call us now for a free chat, and let’s put you on the road to recovery.
Understanding Motorcycle Accident Claims in Marietta, GA
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident in Marietta, understanding how to navigate the claims process is crucial for seeking compensation. Motorcycle accidents often lead to significant physical and financial hardships, and the process to recover losses can be complex without proper guidance.
Firstly, it’s important to understand that Georgia is an “at-fault” state. This means that the person responsible for the accident is liable for the damages. To pursue a claim, you’ll typically need to show that the other party was negligent and that their negligence caused your injuries. Evidence such as police reports, witness statements, photos of the accident scene, and medical records will be vital in supporting your claim.
You may seek damages for various losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, diminished quality of life, and pain and suffering. Georgia law also sets time limits for filing a claim, known as the statute of limitations. In most cases, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33).
It’s also important to understand that your potential recovery can be affected by Georgia’s comparative negligence rule. If you’re found to be partially at fault for the accident, your compensation may be reduced by your percentage of fault (O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33).
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Georgia
Motorcycle accidents in Georgia can happen for a variety of reasons, often leading to serious injuries for riders. Being aware of these common causes can help you understand the factors that may impact your accident claim:
- Driver Error: The most frequent cause of motorcycle accidents is the failure of car drivers to see motorcyclists. Whether due to distractions, blind spots, or reckless driving, when drivers make mistakes, motorcyclists are at risk.
- Speeding: Excessive speed reduces the driver’s ability to react in time to avoid a collision, and it increases the severity of an accident.
- Alcohol and Drugs: Impaired driving remains a leading cause of all vehicular accidents, including those involving motorcycles.
- Lane Splitting: In Georgia, lane splitting – riding between two lanes of traffic – is illegal and can lead to accidents, particularly if other drivers are not anticipating a motorcycle moving through traffic in this way.
- Road Conditions: Potholes, uneven pavement, loose gravel, and debris can be hazardous for motorcyclists, leading to accidents if a rider loses control.
- Inclement Weather: Rain, fog, and other poor weather conditions can reduce visibility and road traction, increasing the risk of motorcycle accidents.
- Left-Turn Accidents: These occur when a vehicle making a left turn fails to notice an oncoming motorcycle, often resulting in a collision.
- Motorcycle Defects: Manufacturer defects or improper maintenance can lead to motorcycle malfunctions, causing accidents.
- Tailgating: When a vehicle follows a motorcycle too closely, there’s insufficient time to stop, which can lead to rear-end collisions.
- Inexperienced Riders or Drivers: Inexperience on the part of the motorcyclist or other road users can lead to poor decision-making and accidents.
Types of Injuries from Motorcycle Crashes
Motorcycle crashes can result in a range of injuries, from minor to severe or even life-threatening. Here are some common types of injuries that motorcyclists might suffer from in an accident:
- Road Rash: When a rider slides across the pavement, it can cause severe skin abrasions, known as road rash, which may sometimes require skin grafting.
- Head Injuries: Even with a helmet, motorcyclists can suffer from concussions or more severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which can have long-term consequences.
- Broken Bones: Arms, legs, ribs, and shoulders can easily break upon impact during a motorcycle crash. Such injuries often require surgery and lengthy recovery periods.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Injuries to the spine can be particularly serious and may result in partial or complete paralysis.
- Internal Injuries: Blunt trauma can cause internal injuries, including organ damage and internal bleeding, which can be life-threatening without immediate medical attention.
- Neck Injuries: The force of a collision can cause neck injuries, which might lead to chronic pain or even loss of mobility.
- Musculoskeletal Injuries: Sprains, strains, and dislocations are common and can lead to long-term discomfort and disability if not properly treated.
- Amputation: In severe cases, limbs or digits may be amputated as a result of the accident or may need surgical amputation due to extensive damage.
- Emotional Trauma: Apart from physical injuries, many riders suffer from psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after an accident.
- Facial Injuries: Without full-face helmets, riders can suffer facial fractures and dental injuries.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Marietta
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident in Marietta, the steps you take immediately afterward can be crucial to your health and any potential legal claim. Here’s what you should do:
- Check for Injuries: Your safety comes first. Assess yourself and others for any injuries. Call 911 if anyone is hurt.
- Move to Safety: If you’re not severely injured and it’s safe to do so, move to the side of the road to prevent further accidents and injuries.
- Call the Police: Georgia law requires that all accidents resulting in injuries, death, or significant property damage be reported. The police will document the scene and create an official accident report, which can be vital for your claim.
- Gather Evidence: Take photos of the scene, including all vehicles involved, road conditions, traffic signs, and any injuries. If there are witnesses, get their contact information.
- Exchange Information: Get the driver’s license number, insurance information, and contact details from the other parties involved in the accident.
- Seek Medical Attention: Even if you don’t think you were injured, see a doctor as soon as possible. Some injuries are not immediately apparent, and a medical record will be important for your claim.
- Report the Accident to Your Insurance: Inform your insurance company about the accident, but be cautious not to admit fault or provide more information than necessary. Stick to the facts.
- Keep Records: Save all receipts and documents related to the accident, including medical bills, bike repair costs, and any other expenses incurred.
- Do Not Negotiate Directly With Other Parties: Let your attorney handle communication with the other party or their insurance company to avoid jeopardizing your claim.
- Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney: Our experienced lawyer will guide you through the process of filing a claim, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Compensation Available for Motorcycle Accident Victims
Motorcycle accident victims may be entitled to a variety of kinds of compensation depending on the specifics of the case, the extent of their injuries, and the losses they have suffered. Here are some types of compensation commonly available to motorcycle accident victims:
- Medical Expenses: This can include costs for emergency room visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, medical devices, ongoing care, and any future medical treatments related to the injuries sustained in the accident.
- Lost Wages: Compensation for the income you lost while being unable to work due to your injuries. This includes salaries, wages, bonuses, and other benefits.
- Lost Earning Capacity: If your injuries impact your ability to earn money in the future, you may be entitled to compensation for the reduction in your earning potential.
- Property Damage: This covers the cost of repair or replacement for your motorcycle and any other personal property damaged in the accident.
- Pain and Suffering: You may be compensated for the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident and your injuries. This is sometimes calculated as a multiplier of your compensatory damages based on the severity and permanence of your injuries.
- Emotional Distress: Separate from pain and suffering, this compensation is for psychological impacts such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD that result from the accident.
- Disfigurement and Scarring: If the accident results in permanent scars or disfigurement, you may receive compensation for the negative effect on your appearance and quality of life.
- Loss of Consortium: Compensation awarded to the spouse or family of the accident victim for the loss of companionship, affection, and support.
- Punitive Damages: In cases where the at-fault party’s behavior was especially reckless or egregious, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future. These are not tied to a specific type of loss but are more related to the behavior of the at-fault party.
- Rehabilitation Costs: For expenses associated with physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, and other rehabilitation services required to recover from the accident’s impact.
How Georgia Law Affects Your Motorcycle Accident Case
Several aspects of Georgia law are relevant when dealing with a motorcycle accident case. If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident in Georgia, understanding these laws will help you navigate your legal options more effectively:
- Fault-Based Insurance System: Georgia operates on a fault-based, or “tort,” system for automobile accidents, including motorcycle accidents. This means that the person who is legally at fault for the accident is responsible for paying damages to those injured.
- Comparative Negligence: Georgia uses a modified comparative negligence rule (O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33). Under this rule, you can still recover damages if you’re partially at fault for the accident, as long as you’re less than 50% responsible. However, your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For instance, if you’re found to be 10% at fault, your compensation will be reduced by that amount.
- Statute of Limitations: You have a limited time to take legal action after a motorcycle accident. In Georgia, the statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of the accident for personal injury claims (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33), and four years for property damage claims (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-32). If you don’t file a lawsuit within this timeframe, you may lose your right to sue.
- Helmet Law: Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-315) requires all motorcycle riders and passengers to wear a helmet. Not wearing a helmet could potentially affect your case, particularly if head injuries are involved. While not wearing a helmet doesn’t prevent you from seeking damages, it may have an impact on the assessment of fault and the damages awarded.
- Minimum Insurance Requirements: In Georgia, motorcyclists are required to carry liability insurance with minimum limits of $25,000 for bodily injury to one person, $50,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 for property damage (O.C.G.A. § 33-24-51.1).
- Motorcycle Endorsement: Riders must have a motorcycle license or an endorsement on their driver’s license to operate a motorcycle legally in Georgia. Operating without proper licensure could potentially impact a compensation claim.
- Dram Shop Laws: If your accident was caused by a drunk driver, Georgia’s dram shop laws (O.C.G.A. § 51-1-40) might apply. This law could potentially hold a business that served alcohol to the visibly intoxicated driver or a person under the legal drinking age liable for your damages.
Do I really need a lawyer for my motorcycle accident claim?
Whether or not you need a lawyer for your motorcycle accident claim can depend on various factors, including the severity of your injuries, the complexity of the case, the clarity of fault, and the insurance companies involved. Here are some reasons to consider hiring a lawyer:
- Severity of Injuries: If you’ve sustained serious or long-term injuries, a lawyer can help ensure that you receive full compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- Complex Legal Issues: A skilled attorney can navigate through the intricacies of liability, comparative negligence, and insurance laws that will affect your claim.
- Dealing with Insurance Companies: Insurers often aim to settle claims quickly and for as little as possible. A lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure your rights are protected, and you’re not pressured into accepting a lowball offer.
- Maximizing Your Compensation: An attorney with experience in motorcycle accidents can accurately value your claim and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
- Proving Liability: Proving fault in a motorcycle accident can be challenging, especially if the other party denies responsibility or if there’s a dispute over the accident’s cause. An attorney can help collect and present evidence to support your case.
- Litigation Experience: If your case goes to court, having a lawyer with trial experience can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.
- Reducing Stress: Handling a legal claim while recovering from injuries can be overwhelming. A lawyer can handle all aspects of your case, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
- Contingency Fees: Our personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only get paid if you win your case.
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, don’t navigate the complex legal roads alone. Secure the compensation you deserve and protect your rights by reaching out to our experienced motorcycle accident attorney today.
Remember, your recovery is pivotal, and you shouldn’t have to worry about medical bills, lost wages, and insurance claims while you heal. Take action now—contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case, understand your options, and ensure that an expert is fighting for your best interests every step of the way.