Motorcycle accidents tend to be more severe than other types of auto accidents. Therefore, if you got injured in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. Typically you would file a personal injury claim to seek these damages, but you also have the option to sue someone personally after the crash.
Most accidents in Georgia get handled by insurance, so there is no reason to sue. However, there are situations where suing the other driver directly may be the best way to get the money you need and deserve. A motorcycle accident lawyer can guide you through this process.
Who You Can Sue After a Motorcycle Accident
The party you can sue after your motorcycle accident depends on who was responsible for the crash. In Georgia, the injured party in an accident can seek compensation for damages they face due to the negligent party’s actions under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 51-1-6. So, you will need to determine who was at fault for your accident.
The at-fault party in a motorcycle accident may include:
- Another driver
- Another motorcyclist
- A government entity or
- A manufacturing company
In most motorcycle accidents, the person you can sue is another driver. That could be the driver of a car, truck, bus, another vehicle, or another motorcyclist.
Some motorcycle accidents happen because of road-related conditions, such as potholes, that ultimately result from negligence of a company or government entity. For example, if the accident resulted from a defective motorcycle part, the at-fault party might be a manufacturer or dealership.
If you’re not sure who was negligent in your accident, you’ll want to contact a lawyer. They can help you determine who caused your accident and whether or not multiple parties were involved. You can usually seek compensation through a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, but you also have the option to sue the at-fault party directly.
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Most Cases Don’t Require a Lawsuit
There’s a difference between filing a lawsuit and filing an insurance claim. While you can technically jump right into a lawsuit and fight your case in court, you’re much better off filing a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company instead. But, again, this is because you can resolve things faster and without much stress.
Whether you go to court or not, the end result can still be the same. You can win financial compensation without having to put yourself through a grueling time in court. In fact, most motorcycle accident cases will be resolved out of court. So, don’t jump the gun. First, get in touch with a lawyer and figure out the best way to proceed with your case.
When You Might Need to Sue Someone After a Motorcycle Accident
As previously stated, suing is not always the best option after a motorcycle accident, but there are situations where it might be ideal. It’s a good idea to consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer after your accident so that you can know what options are most advantageous to your case and your recovery.
Although every case is different, there are a few scenarios where it makes the most sense to bring a lawsuit against someone personally after the accident.
You Have a Lot of Damages From the Accident
Motorcycle accidents tend to be especially serious, especially if another vehicle is involved. If you suffered serious medical bills, lost wages, property damages, and other financial losses, you might want to sue.
If the at-fault party’s insurance company offers you a settlement after your accident, they will likely base that on what they’d expect a court to rule in a trial. If they know that you can get a larger reward by taking your case to court, they will try to get you to accept a settlement and end your case.
Although there is a lot more risk involved in filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party, you can also end up with much higher compensation if you win in trial. To win a court case, you will need to make sure you have solid evidence and a good chance of success. These are details to discuss with your lawyer so that you can weigh the pros and cons of suing.
The Defendant Has Enough Assets to Collect
It’s one thing to win in court. It’s another to actually collect the judgment from the at-fault party. If the person you are suing personally does not have many assets to draw from, you might run into trouble actually collecting the money.
If the defendant does not or cannot pay you voluntarily, you might be able to collect through different means like:
- The defendant’s personal wages or assets
- Future income or assets
- Business income or assets
- A property lien
This is a factor you’ll want to consider before attempting to sue someone directly for your motorcycle accident damages.
The Insurance Company Won’t Negotiate
After you file a motorcycle accident claim, the insurance company might respond with a lowball settlement. This offer doesn’t come close to covering all your damages. The insurance company hopes you’ll accept it out of desperation, thus closing your case.
Never take the first settlement offer. Instead, work with a motorcycle accident attorney who can negotiate with the insurance adjuster to seek a higher settlement that is actually fair to you.
If you work with an experienced legal team, they can often negotiate for a settlement amount that both parties agree on. However, if the insurance company will not budge close enough to a number that accounts for your damages, it might be in your best interest to sue for the compensation you deserve.
Evidence You Need to Prove Your Motorcycle Accident Case
To have a successful lawsuit, you should also ensure that you have a strong enough case. You will need to be able to provide proof that the other party was negligent in your motorcycle accident and therefore responsible for your damages, and most of this can be collected from the scene of the accident.
A strong case will need to include evidence like:
- The police report of the motorcycle accident and its details
- Pictures from the accident scene and other evidence that helps show the circumstances and cause of the crash
- Statements from witnesses who can support your claim of where, when, and how the injuries happened
- Medical records from all treatment you received for your injuries from the accident
- Testimony from a medical expert about your injuries
- Documentation showing your missed work time and other lost income
The evidence you will need to sue depends on the details of your case. While you can sue someone personally after a motorcycle accident if they caused the accident, you might not need to. The best thing you can do is consult with an attorney about the details and your options.
You Still Have Legal Options If the At-Fault Party Is Uninsured
Even if the at-fault party is uninsured, you may still have legal options. Depending on what your insurance policy covers, a motorcycle accident attorney can help you explore whether your insurance policy contains uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage.
Your policy may pay your accident-related expenses and losses. An experienced legal team can request a complete copy of your insurance policy and review your policy limits to look for any optional coverage it may provide.
Don’t Miss Your Opportunity to Collect Compensation
If you decide to sue the at-fault driver personally, your future court case will have a time limit. Outlined in the Georgia statute of limitations OCGA § 9-3-33, if your motorcycle accident lawsuit is not filed within the allotted time of two years, you might not be able to file your lawsuit.
Your attorney can help you file your lawsuit on time and secure an above-average settlement. By reaching out to a personal injury law firm as soon as possible, a legal team can examine the accident scene, collect evidence, and interview witnesses while their recollections are fresh.
Get a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer to Help You
Whether you decide to file an insurance claim or pursue direct legal action against someone personally for your motorcycle accident, it’s always best to have a lawyer help you. While you rest and recover from your injuries, our motorcycle accident lawyers will handle all your legal affairs on your behalf.
The insurance company may try to come in quickly before getting a lawyer and convincing you otherwise. Never listen to them and don’t accept their initial settlement offer. They are trying to get you to settle for way less than what you deserve. Instead, get a free consultation with us and learn more about what we can do for you.
Talk to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, we have been helping motorcycle accident victims win the recovery they need for more than 20 years. Working with us is risk-free because we won’t charge a fee unless we win you money. Call us or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.