Voted Best Personal Injury Law Firm By Georgia Lawyers
I called Matt after several people recommended him. He was very kind and did a very good job on my son’s case. We are very thankful for the work he did. Most importantly, he was never hard to reach and answered every question we had while going through the process. Matt is the only attorney I will ever call in the future.
My husband is a cyclist that did not fair well against an SUV recently. Matt and his team took phenomenal care of us, allowing us not to stress out (too much) about the little things. Matt and his team handled everything with professionalism. We know we made the right call.
So glad I hired this firm after my rearend car accident. Matt embodies the skill set and values I was looking for. He treats every case like a mini war, and was a zealous advocate on my behalf. And he did so in the most competent and skillful manner. He listened, was empathetic and understood my legal and nonlegal problems.
My 85-year old mom was in a motor vehicle accident with an uninsured motorist. His love, thoroughness and commitment to her case helped us through this accident and her cancer treatment. She underwent successful lobectomy and chemotherapy and is doing exceptionally well. We are immensely grateful.
It was important to me to get the maximum money I could for my broken neck and arm. After getting jerked around for months by State Farm, I interviewed several firms and chose Mr. Wetherington. I’m glad I did. He forced the insurance company to pay twenty times their last offer to me.
It is an honor to share my experience with Mr. Wetherington. He was able to get answers about what happened in my son’s wreck that other attorney’s were not able to do. I am so thankful for the work that he did and he was very thorough in his explanation of why the vehicle had a “defect.”
My case did not settle. The person that hit me only had minimal policy limits. Fortunately, I had my own insurance, which should have provided more money. My insurance company, Allstate, treated me like garbage. We had to sue them and go all the way to trial, which we won.
- Jane Doe
Matt Wetherington is the attorney who is suing the booting companies. We need to do everything we can as a community to help him succeed. God bless you, Mr. Wetherington!
The best! Great people and always friendly.
Atlanta Motorcycle Injury Lawyers
Riding a motorcycle is the best feeling in the world. Unfortunately, the freedom offered by motorcycles also comes with a higher risk of serious injury in a crash. A motorcycle accident can change your life in a second. Even a “minor” motorcycle accident can cause injuries that require a lifetime of medical treatment. Amputation, paraplegia, brain injuries, or multiple broken bones are commonly seen after motorcycle accidents. The cost associated with these injuries can be overwhelming for the victim and his or her family. These problems are further compounded by an inability to return to work after a motorcycle accident. Worse, most people wrongfully presume that the motorcycle driver is at fault in every crash. Fortunately, motorcycle accident victims are not alone. The Wetherington Law Firm can help you obtain compensation for your injuries and prevent financial and medical ruin.
Our clients trust us to do everything possible to obtain full value for their injuries. For example, after a truck failed to stop at an intersection and cut off a motorcycle rider, Matt Wetherington helped the rider obtain an $8.6 million verdict for his injuries, which included amputation of his leg. The verdict set a county record and earned Wetherington a spot in the Georgia Verdicts Hall of Fame.
You can learn more about the motorcycle accident verdict here. If you or a family member were involved in a motorcycle accident, call us. We accept motorcycle injury cases exclusively on contingency, which means that we advance all expenses and you do not pay anything unless and until we win.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer After a Motorcycle Accident
By necessity, motorcyclists are generally more cautious and aware of their surroundings. However, in most motorcycle accidents, there is a presumption that the motorcycle rider did something wrong. The motorcycle accident lawyers at our firm have handled countless cases where the wrong person was cited for a accident. Even an “obvious” case can quickly change to a $0 recovery based on a failure to preserve evidence or falling for a trick question from an insurance adjuster. An experienced motorcycle crash attorney can make a huge difference. Trying to handle a serious motorcycle accident claim on your own can not only get you much less than you deserve, but it is much more stressful than you may think.
Most motorcycle riders know that the insurance companies want to save money. But most riders and their families are unprepared for how well insurance adjusters are trained to minimize injuries and deny valid claims. Our motorcycle accident attorneys have the experience and financial resources needed to prove your case and get the maximum recovery possible for your injuries.
Every motorcycle case receives a dedicated team of lawyers and supporting staff who will do the heavy lifting so that you can focus on getting better.
When you hire us, you can expect us to take the following steps immediately:
- Document important evidence like the motorcycle, vehicles, and accident scene;
- Identify and interview all witnesses to your motorcycle accident;
- Identify all possible defendants in the motorcycle accident;
- Identify all insurance policies that may pay for your injuries;
- Develop the evidence necessary to determine the correct standard of care for each defendant;
- Fully understand and document your current medical condition;
- Work with your physicians to understand your future medical needs and how much they will cost;
- Negotiate your medical bills at the conclusion of your case; and
- Keep you informed every step of the way.
Every case receives a dedicated team of experience medical malpractice lawyers and supporting staff who will keep you informed throughout the case.
Who Can I Recover Money from After a Motorcycle Accident in Georgia?
After a motorcycle accident, there are several potential parties your attorney can help recover money from. Although the specifics vary by state and this is a complicated area of law, the following parties must be considered:
The Person That Hit You
When involved in a motorcycle accident with two or more vehicles, you can assert a claim against the driver of the responsible vehicle. In Georgia, all drivers, including motorcycle riders, are required to carry liability insurance. The minimum coverage limit in Georgia is set by a statute, O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11:
• $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in a motorcycle accident
• $50,000 for bodily injury or death of more than one person in a motorcycle accident
• $25,000 for injury or harm to the property of others in a single motorcycle accident
These coverages are the minimum amounts of coverage required in Georgia, and it is generally advisable to carry higher coverages. Under certain circumstances, if the damages to a motorcycle rider exceed the policy limits, the at-fault driver can be held personally responsible for the difference. In other circumstances, the insurance company can be responsible for the full value of the rider’s injuries.
The Owner of the Vehicle That Hit You
In many states, including Georgia, a person injured on a motorcycle may have a claim against the owner of an at-fault vehicle, even if the owner was not driving the car at the time of the accident. This is because of a legal theory called negligent entrustment. In a negligent entrustment claim, liability arises from the negligent act of the owner in lending his automobile to another to drive, with actual knowledge that the driver is incompetent or habitually reckless. This theory commonly arises in drunk driving cases where a person has a history of DUIs and tractor trailer accidents where the company knew that the driver was a bad driver.
Where the owner of the vehicle is a large corporation, there is generally no limit to the amount that can be recovered.
The Resident Relatives of the Person That Hit You
Some liability insurance policies provide liability coverage for all family members in the same home. This type of coverage is not common, but it is important to obtain all relevant liability policies to confirm that a potential insurance coverage is not missed.
The Employer of the Person That Hit You
If at the time of the motorcycle accident the employee was within the course and scope of his or her employment, the employer is liable for the employee’s negligence even if the employee was driving a personal vehicle. Where the at-fault driver was using his or her employer’s vehicle, there is a presumption that the person was working in the course and scope of their employment. However, this presumption can be rebutted by the employer. When an accident is caused by a person working for Uber or Lyft, this legal question can become very complicated.
The Manufacturer of the Motorcycle
If a motorcycle component causes an accident, such as a brake failure, you may be able to assert a claim against the motorcycle manufacturer. This is commonly referred to as a defective vehicle claim. Our firm is trusted by attorneys all over the country to handle defective motorcycle claims after an accident. We are currently accepting defective motorcycle claims involving:
- BMW R1200GS
- Yamaha YS125
- Yamaha MT-07
- Yamaha GPD125-A
- Triumph Street Triple RS
- Kawasaki Ninja 250
- Ducati M900
- Zero SR
- Honda CBF125
- Honda NSC110
- Honda Super Cub
- Honda NM4
- All Harley Davidson Motorcycles
The Motorcycle Helmet Manufacturer
Even if the accident was caused by a negligent driver, you may still be able to assert a claim against the helmet manufacturer if the injuries in the accident were made worse by the failure of the helmet to protect the rider. There is generally no limit to the amount that can be recovered from a defective motorcycle helmet manufacturer in Georgia. We are current accepting defective helmet claims involving the following manufacturers:
The Repair Shops That Serviced the Motorcycle
Motorcycles requires regular maintenance. Most riders trust motorcycle repair shops to keep their motorcycle safe. Unfortunately, some motorcycle repair shops cut corners to save time or money and rider’s lives are placed at risk. When a service center agrees to service a motorcycle, the service center assumes a duty to identify and warn of dangerous conditions and to perform repairs and maintenance on the motorcycle in a safe and professional manner. The failure to do so can subject the retailer to liability.
The Contractor Responsible for the Design or Maintenance of the Road
If the accident was caused by a hazardous condition on the roadway, such as a large pothole, the contractor responsible for repairing the roadway may be responsible for the injuries and damages caused by the accident. Similarly, if the design of the roadway makes it more prone to accidents or serious injuries, such as failing to install a guardrail on a sharp curve, the manufacturer may be responsible for the accident. The Wetherington Law Firm has handled several of these cases, including incidents where roadway contractors failed to remove loose aggregate from the roadway after a paving project.
Your Insurance Carrier – Uninsured/Underinsured Motorcycle Rider Coverage
If the person that hit you does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover your injuries, it may be possible to recover from your own insurance coverage through underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. This is a complicated area that generally requires an attorney to confirm that you are receiving the full benefit of the coverage that you have purchased.
Your Resident Relative’s Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
In Georgia, all underinsured/uninsured insurance policies provide liability coverage for all resident relatives of a household. If you live in the same house as a family member, but have different insurance policies for your vehicles, you may be able to recover some insurance benefits from your relative’s carrier after you have exhausted all coverage on your own uninsured/underinsured policy. It is relatively common for a motorcycle to be on a separate policy from everyday vehicles.
What Must I Prove to Recover for Personal Injuries After a Motorcycle Accident?
Although the application of the law in each type of case is very different, all motorcycle accident cases use the same laws. To recover for personal injuries after a motorcycle accident, you must establish the basic elements of a tort:
1. The existence of a duty on the part of the other driver to act a certain way;
2. The failure of the driver to perform that duty;
3. Actual injuries; and
4. Proof that the injuries were proximately caused by the driver’s negligence.
These elements can be confusing. That is why we have written detailed articles on each of these elements that you can read here. The important thing for you to know is that the first element, duty, is very import in winning a motorcycle accident case. Another good word for duty is responsibility. In Georgia, all drivers have the responsibility to drive in a safe manner and avoid causing harm to others. “Driving safely” generally means driving in a manner that a reasonable person would under like or similar circumstances. Under most circumstances, a reasonably prudent driver will:
- Drive at a reasonable speed;
- Keep a lookout for motorcycle riders;
- Yield to motorcycle riders when necessary;
- Stop or slow when appropriate; and
- Maintain their car or truck in a safe condition.
When a person fails to drive in a reasonable manner and hits someone on a motorcycle, the person is considered “negligent.” Simply driving in a negligent manner does not allow someone to file suit against the negligent driver. For example, if someone is speeding, runs a red light, and almost hits your motorcycle – you would not have a valid claim against the negligent driver.
However, if a negligent driver causes an accident, the negligent driver will be liable for damages and injuries he or she causes. Whether a person has operated a vehicle in a negligent manner is generally a question that is submitted to a jury.
In addition to the general rule that a driver must act reasonably, there are rules of the road that every driver must comply with. Unlike ordinary negligence, when a driver violates one of these rules and causes injuries to a motorcycle rider, the lawyer does not prove that a reasonable person should have acted differently — the conduct is automatically considered negligent. In Georgia, these rules include the following:
Driving While Intoxicated
OCGA 40-6-253 and OCGA 40-6-391
Using a Phone While Driving
Failing to Yield to Pedestrians
OCGA 40-6-91, OCGA 40-6-92, OCGA 40-6-93, and OCGA 40-6-96
Failing to Obey a Traffic Official
Conducting a Police Chase in a Reckless Manner
Failing to Change Lanes to Give Space for Parked Emergency Vehicles and Construction Workers
OCGA 40-6-16 and OCGA 40-6-75
Tampering with or Stealing Road Signs
Failing to Maintain One Lane
OCGA 40-6-40 and OCGA 40-6-48
Going the Wrong Way on a One-Way Road
OCGA 40-6-47 and OCGA 40-6-240
Driving a Tractor-Trailer or Bus in the Far-Left Lane(s)
Failing to Yield to Emergency Vehicles
Making an Improper U-Turn
Failing to Exercise Due Caution Near Railroad Crossings
OCGA 40-6-140 and OCGA 40-6-142
Driving Too Slow in the Fast Lane
Failing to Slow and Exercise Caution in Construction Zones
Obstructing an Intersection
Failing to Secure all Loads
OCGA 40-6-248.1 and OCGA 40-6-254
Causing Serious Injury by Vehicle
Running a Red or Yellow Traffic Light
OCGA 40-6-20, OCGA 40-6-21, and OCGA 40-6-23
Traveling Too Close to Other Vehicles
Running Stop and Yield Signs
Failing to Yield to Other Vehicles
OCGA 40-6-70 and OCGA 40-6-73
Driving on the Shoulder, Gore, or Other Prohibited Areas
Fleeing Police Officers
Tampering with Traffic Signals
OCGA 40-6-25, OCGA 40-6-17, and OCGA 40-6-396
Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road
OCGA 40-6-40 and OCGA 40-6-45
Passing Another Vehicle Improperly
OCGA 40-6-42, OCGA 40-6-43, OCGA 40-6-44, and OCGA 40-6-46
Going the Wrong Way in a Roundabout
Turning the Wrong Way at an Intersection
OCGA 40-6-71 and OCGA 40-6-120
Failing to Yield to Funeral Processions
Failing to Use Turn Signals
Failing to Stop First Before Exiting a Parking Lot
Parking a Vehicle in an Unsafe Place
Driving a Vehicle with an Obstructed View
Laying Drags or Intentionally Making Skid Marks
Intentionally Striking and Killing a Person with a Vehicle
Failing to Follow Pedestrian Traffic Signals
Failing to Drive Motorcycles Safely
OCGA 40-6-310 and OCGA 40-6-311
If there is evidence that an at-fault driver committed one of the above violations, the jury will likely be read the following instruction:
The plaintiff contends that the defendant violated certain laws or ordinances. Such violation is called negligence per se, which means negligence as a matter of law. It is your duty to decide whether such violation took place or not.
What this means is that if the you successfully prove that the alleged violation took place, then negligence is established and you only have to prove that your injuries were caused by the negligent act.
How Can You Lose a Motorcycle Accident Case in Atlanta?
After a motorcycle accident in Atlanta, or anywhere else in Georgia, proof of an injury does not automatically create liability on the other driver. Motorcycle riders are injured in car accidents every day and do not receive any compensation. Sometimes, a motorcycle wreck can result in less money than the injured rider expects. There are many reasons why people lose car accident claims or the amount they receive is low. Here are the most common ways that a case is lost.
Failing to Bring a Claim in Time Can Result in a Complete Bar of Your Motorcycle Injury Claim
Georgia has a two-year statute of limitation for most personal injury lawsuits after a motorcycle accident. A statute of limitation provides the maximum period of time in which a civil lawsuit must be started or it is forever barred. The purpose of a statute of limitation is to prevent an injured party from delaying the commencement of an action. Over time, evidence is lost, memories fade, and witnesses move away or die. This is why it is important to bring a personal injury claim as soon as possible. The Atlanta motorcycle injury lawyers at the Wetherington Law Firm have NEVER missed a deadline to file a motorcycle injury lawsuit.
The Doctrines of Contributory Negligence and Comparative Fault Can Limit Recovery After a Motorcycle Accident
Contributory negligence is a common defense used in motorcycle accident lawsuits. The defense of contributory negligence claims that you failed to keep an adequate lookout of your surroundings or otherwise did something that contributed to the accident, and you should be disqualified from recovering. This defense is particularly used in motorcycle injury lawsuits. This is because there is a stigma against motorcycle riders and the insurance companies hope to exploit it. If a defendant is successful in a contributory negligence defense, you will not recover any damages for your motorcycle wreck injuries. The contributory negligence doctrine is extremely harsh and intended to be cruel to injured people. It is currently only used in North Carolina, Alabama, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C.
A majority of states, including Georgia, have adopted a “comparative negligence” system. For states that have adopted comparative negligence, the jury compares the motorcycle rider’s negligence to the negligence of the person that hit him or her and applies percentages to each. Depending on the state, the Court either reduces the total recovery by the percentage assigned to the Plaintiff or rules in favor of the Defendant if the percentage assigned to the Plaintiff is over a certain amount.
Government Entities are Sometimes Immune from Liability
This is an area of law that is too broad to be covered in this article. However, please know that where there is a possibility that a government employee or entity was partially responsible for an accident, special rules apply. There are different deadlines for presenting claims, different rules for filing suit, and limits on who can be sued.
What Damages Can You Recover After a Motorcycle Accident?
The main public policy purpose for tort law is compensation. Compensatory damages are money damages awarded to compensate the plaintiff and make the plaintiff whole. The system is not perfect. Life, limb, and freedom from pain cannot be restored. However, compensatory damages are a means of attempting to place the plaintiff in the same relative position that he or she was in before the loss by way of monetary compensation. Compensatory damages are categorized as either general damages or special damages.
You Can Recover “General” Damages After a Motorcycle Accident
General damages are “non-economic” losses, such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, or mental anguish, all of which have no specific, itemized value. The monetary value of general damage is determined by the jury, and jury verdicts are not consistent. A broken ankle in one courtroom could be worth $10,000 in pain and suffering. In another courtroom, it could be worth $100,000. Matt Wetherington tried a case in Fulton County that resulted in a $2.8 million verdict for a broken ankle. You can read about that case here. However, it is important to know that jury verdicts and settlements vary widely, even for the exact same injury. The variance is due to the individual plaintiff, the jurors at the trial, and the effectiveness of the injured person’s attorney. Here is an example of a verdict form from one of Matt Wetherington’s cases where a motorcycle accident resulted in a jury trial, which details the various “general” damages a motorcycle rider can recover:
You Can Recover “Special” Damages After a Motorcycle Accident
Special damages are “economic” losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, or the cost of hiring household help, all of which do have a specific itemized value and can be more easily determined or calculated on a simple mathematical basis – once you have obtained the necessary records to prove that the expenses were incurred. It is important to note that only medical expenses “proximately caused” by the accident itself can be recovered. If you would like to learn more about how proximate cause is determined, click here. For simplicity sake, you should know that proximate cause is often highly contested.
If a Motorcycle Accident Results in a Death, Special Rules Apply
When a car accident results in a death, the case turns into a wrongful death claim, instead of a personal injury claim. To learn more about wrongful death claims, click here.
The Wetherington Law Firm Has Recovered Millions for Clients Involved in Motorcycle Accidents
Our attorneys are highly skilled in motorcycle accident laws. In many cases, settlement is not possible until a judge rules that the proper defendants have been named, the claims asserted are valid, and there is enough evidence to proceed forward to a jury trial. By that point, it is too late to fix problems in the case. It is important that you start with an attorney that has the experience and resources necessary to put your case in the best position possible. Our attorneys have literally spent months in the court room presenting personal injury cases and obtaining record breaking verdicts. We also have attorneys that have spent years working for defense firms and know the traps that are set by corporations and their insurance companies.
How to Hire the Best Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Atlanta
Hiring an attorney is one of the most important financial decisions you can ever make. You have to get it right. There are a number of attorneys who hold themselves out as “experts” who have never tried a case or even settled a case involving a motorcycle wreck. It is important that you ask any prospective attorney about his or her experience with motorcycle lawsuits, specifically with regard to the injuries at issue in your case.
Call or email us today for a free consultation. If we accept your case, it will be on contingency. That means that you do not pay anything up front and only pay us if we win your case. If we do not accept your case, we will help you find a lawyer who can. We generally only accept cases involving significant injuries. However, we know many good personal injury attorneys and will make sure that you do not have to search around for someone to accept your case.