John Foy & Associates has been helping injured motorcyclists and their families seek compensation for more than 20 years. We understand how difficult it can be to get the money you deserve after this type of collision. Other drivers, the insurance company, and even law enforcement sometimes have unfair biases against motorcyclists that affect your case.
We are here to help. Our motorcycle accident lawyers will give you a free consultation and case evaluation. We’ll look over the details of your accident and talk about how we can help. There is also no fee unless we win you money.
Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Georgia FAQs
We understand what the victims of motorcycle accident injuries go through after a wreck, and we know it’s important that you get answers to your questions — and fast! We’ve provided the answers to our most frequently asked questions here, and we encourage you to reach out to our personal injury lawyers for more detailed information about your case.
Is It Worth Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
Hiring a lawyer is your decision, but it’s almost always worth it. Below, we’ll look at some of the main reasons it’s worth hiring a lawyer to help with your motorcycle accident case.
If you were injured (or lost a loved one) in a motorcycle accident, it’s worth at least contacting a motorcycle accident lawyer for a consultation. That way, you can get an idea of how your case looks and your legal options. Motorcycle accidents are often very serious, and it will be difficult to get the compensation you deserve without legal expertise on your side.
Thankfully, most motorcycle accident lawyers (like John Foy & Associates) do not charge a fee unless they win you money. Plus, the consultation is usually free, so you can get help without worrying about any upfront costs. That will let you make an informed decision as to whether it’s worth it to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer.
Seek Compensation Even if You’re Partially at Fault
If there’s a chance you were partially at fault for the accident, don’t assume you cannot recover compensation. In Georgia, you can still seek recovery as long as you were less than 50% negligent in the accident. This varies per state.
Speak with a lawyer before assuming one way or another about how much you can recover for your damages. You might be surprised by what your options are. A motorcycle accident lawyer can determine whether or not you were actually at fault for part of the accident – and if you were, they will still fight for your right to compensation.
Should I Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for a Minor Accident?
You might wonder if you can handle your case alone if the damages were minor. Although you have a better chance of success without a lawyer in this situation, it’s generally not recommended.
After a minor motorcycle accident, we recommend at least scheduling a consultation with an experienced lawyer. Some of the reasons it may be worth it to hire a lawyer for a minor motorcycle accident include:
You Might Have More Serious Injuries than You Realize
Many accident victims feel okay after the collision, but they notice hours or days later that they are in more pain. This is very common, especially in minor motorcycle accidents. Your body is in “fight or flight” mode after a stressful event like an accident, so it can take time for you to fully realize how badly you’re hurt.
You should always see a doctor as soon as possible after an accident, even if it was minor. Then, it’s best to speak with a lawyer. Your total damages might be higher than they seemed a first, so there is more at stake without a lawyer.
Motorcyclists Face Unfair Biases
Sadly, other motorists, insurance companies, and even some law enforcement individuals harbor unfair biases against motorcyclists. They might believe they are reckless, thoughtless, or always speeding. This can leave you with unfair assumptions against you when you file your case.
Even if your damages are minor, if you believe that you could be treated unfairly in your case simply because you ride a motorcycle, you’ll want to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer right away.
Your Settlement Might Still Not Be High Enough
If the other driver caused your accident, they are legally liable for your damages. That means you can file an injury claim with their insurance company. The problem is that insurance companies will look for any opportunity to lowball your settlement.
Even if your damages are low, you will likely still have trouble getting full compensation for all of your damages. You will likely need the legal expertise of an attorney for help.
Liability Can Be Hard to Determine
It’s not always clear who was fully at fault for a motorcycle accident. There are certain places where more motorcycle accidents happen, and sometimes that is due more to bad road conditions than driver negligence.
If you are having trouble determining where liability lies or proving that you were not at fault, contact a motorcycle accident lawyer. Negligence is the most important factor in seeking compensation after an injury accident.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Georgia Motorcycle Accident?
If you were injured in a crash and are now seeking compensation for your damages, you might wonder if there’s an average settlement for a motorcycle accident. The truth is, it’s difficult to give an average number because each motorcycle accident varies so much.
What’s more helpful is to cover the most important factors that go into how much a motorcycle accident settlement is worth. These elements can help you and your lawyer determine what a fair settlement looks like in your case:
Unfortunately, many people have preconceived notions against motorcyclists that can impact your case. They might see those who ride motorcycles as reckless or having disregard for the law. Even though this is extremely unfair, it can mean you are offered a lower settlement.
Insurance companies know about prejudices against motorcyclists and may use that as a reason to not offer as much money as they would to other drivers. However, if you have a motorcycle accident lawyer, they can help you build a strong case and fight for the legal rights you have just like everyone else on the roads.
Fault and Liability
Liability is key in any personal injury case. For there to even be a claim for a settlement, someone must be at fault for the accident and liable for damages. If no one is shown to be at fault, there can be no liability.
There can be clear-cut cases that show exactly who was at fault–for example, the settlement for a rear-end accident is easier to calculate because so often the driver in the back is at fault. However, a more complicated crash will be harder to get a read on, and harder to get full compensation for.
Your insurance claim will need to show who was liable for your accident. If the other party is 100% at fault, they are fully liable for your damages. On the other hand, if you were partially at fault for the accident, that would reduce how much your settlement can be.
Besides liability, damages are key in determining the value of your case. There are two main types of damages from a motorcycle accident: special damages and general damages.
Special damages are those that have a clear dollar amount, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. General damages cannot be demonstrated with a clear dollar amount. They include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.
Special damages are easier to show in a motorcycle accident claim, but general damages are just as important. You will want to work with a lawyer who can help you show the value of all damages so you know what you’ll need to seek as a settlement.
Lost Wages and Earning Capacity
If you were working before the motorcycle accident, you can claim lost wages for the working hours you’ve had to miss because of the accident. If your injuries prevent you from working in the same capacity as before, you can claim loss of earning capacity.
It’s best to work with a lawyer who can help you calculate lost earning capacity, as this is not easy to do alone.
How much your settlement is worth will also depend on how much insurance coverage the at-fault party holds. If their insurance policy has a liability limit, you will likely be limited to that amount for a settlement unless you seek recovery through other sources or plan to sue.
A Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help You
If you don’t know the full value of your motorcycle accident settlement, you run the risk of accepting much less than you deserve – and you don’t want to get stuck paying for costs you didn’t cause.
A motorcycle accident lawyer can investigate the details of your accident and compile evidence of your damages. They will work to calculate the full value of your claim so you know how much you should settle for after your motorcycle accident.
Insurance adjusters rarely offer much when a victim file a motorcycle accident claim, so your lawyer will work to negotiate for a settlement that is actually fair to you.
What Damages Can I Collect for a Motorcycle Accident?
After a motorcycle accident that you didn’t cause, you have the right to file a claim for damages. Your damages are costs or losses that you experience because of the at-fault party’s negligence and the resulting accident. Here are some of the most common damages you can collect for a motorcycle accident:
The costs of your medical treatment will probably make up the largest part of your motorcycle accident claim, especially if your accident was serious. Motorcycle riders do not have the same degree of protection as other motorists when a collision happens.
You will want to keep track of all the medical expenses you face because of the accident, such as:
- Medical bills
- Prescription medications
- Future and ongoing treatment
- Physical therapy
- Cost of travel to and from appointments
You might be entitled to additional compensation if you were left with a disability. You’ll want to discuss these details with a motorcycle accident lawyer to ensure your full treatment costs are being accounted for in your case.
Motorcycle Repair Costs
Chances are high that you will also experience property damage to your bike during the accident. You can include this damage and the repair costs in your claim.
If your bike is totaled from the accident, the insurance company should provide you compensation based on the fair market value of the motorcycle for the cost of a replacement.
A motorcycle accident often requires you to miss work time because of the collision and treatment of your injuries. You can include these as “lost wages” in your claim. That includes raises, bonuses, and other sources of income that you would have received if the accident hadn’t happened.
Also, if your injuries permanently prevent you from working in the same capacity as you could before, you may be able to claim loss of earning capacity in your case.
Pain and Suffering Damages
Besides the special damages mentioned above, including medical bills, lost wages, and property damage, you can also collect general damages like pain and suffering.
General damages do not have a set dollar amount and are meant to compensate you for how the accident has impacted your life going forward. Examples of these types of damages might include:
- Physical or emotional pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Fear, humiliation, or anxiety
- Emotional distress
Wrongful Death Damages
If you lost a loved one because of a motorcycle accident, you may be able to file a claim for wrongful death. Damages you can collect in a wrongful death claim include:
- The deceased’s medical costs
- Mental and physical pain and suffering the deceased experienced before they died
- The deceased’s lost wages
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of consortium
Punitive damages are available in rare cases where the at-fault party has demonstrated malice, fraud, oppression, willful misconduct, or wantonness in the accident, such as in cases like DUI accidents.
Can I Sue Someone Personally After a Motorcycle Accident in GA?
If someone caused your motorcycle accident, you do have the right to sue them personally for your damages. However, you might not need to. It will depend on the details of your case.
Most motorcycle accident cases are resolved through a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. While this is typically the best course of action, there are situations where bringing a lawsuit is better.
Who You Can Sue for a Motorcycle Accident
The person you can sue personally after a motorcycle accident is the person who was negligent in your accident. In other words, their actions (or lack of actions) directly led to the motorcycle accident and your injuries.
Depending on how your accident happened, the person or party you can sue might include:
- Another driver
- Another motorcyclist
- A government entity or
- A manufacturing company
The at-fault party is a motorcycle accident is usually another driver on the road. However, other parties might be responsible if you crashed with a dangerous road hazard or the accident was caused by faulty or defective bike parts.
If you don’t know for sure who caused your accident, contact a motorcycle accident lawyer right away. They can make sure you are seeking compensation from the right location. Here are some situations when suing someone personally after a motorcycle accident is typically a good choice:
Your Damages Are Significant
Motorcycle accidents are often very serious, resulting in a lot of medical costs, lost wages, and more. If you have incredibly high damages, it might make more sense for you to pursue a lawsuit.
Insurance companies often try to get you to accept a settlement quickly so that your case ends and you cannot pursue more money. You have a higher chance of a much larger reward if you bring your case to trial and win, which would be worth it if your damages are enormous. The key is making sure you have a case strong enough to win if you file a lawsuit.
You Can Collect the Judgment
If the person you are suing directly does not have a lot of money or other assets, you might not be able to recover the money even if you win in court. This is something to consider before you file a lawsuit and discuss it with your lawyer. There are different ways to try and collect from the defendant, but that only depends on how much they possess.
You Can’t Negotiate with the Insurance Company
Insurance companies are skilled at looking for ways to reduce what they have to pay an accident victim. If you file an injury claim with them seeking damages, they might respond with a lowball settlement amount. Your lawyer would then work to negotiate a fair settlement.
Although most motorcycle accident cases are resolved here, the insurance company might refuse to budge. If that happens, your motorcycle accident lawyer might advise filing a lawsuit to pursue the money you need and deserve to cover your motorcycle accident damages.
Will My Motorcycle Accident Attorney Deal with the Insurance Companies for Me?
When you hire a Georgia motorcycle accident, they’ll protect you in any way they can. They can handle the communication, negotiation, and all other interaction with the insurance companies so you don’t have to.
How Insurance Companies Make Things More Difficult
Insurance companies care most about making money and losing as little money as possible. When they receive a personal injury claim after an accident, they will look for ways to reduce what they have to pay. That might include doing things like:
- Blaming you for the accident
- Promoting unfair biases about motorcycle riders
- Trying to say you were not hurt as badly as you’re claiming
- Offering you a lowball settlement and hoping you’ll take it to end your case
Insurance companies know that you are probably stressed about your mounting medical bills, missed work time, and other losses from the accident. They are hoping you’ll be desperate enough to accept any settlement and end your case. This is just another reason why letting an experienced lawyer handle the details is a good idea.
A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you deal with the insurance companies in the following ways.
Building a Strong Claim
A good lawyer will know how to gather the right evidence and present it in the most compelling way. You will need to show that the other party was negligent in your accident and is liable for your damages.
Plus, having a trusted motorcycle accident on your case will show the insurance companies that you are serious about pursuing fair compensation—and you’re not afraid to fight for it. You’re more likely to get a better settlement offer if the insurance company can see that you have strong legal representation on your side.
Protecting Your Rights
If someone is negligent and it leads to your motorcycle accident, they are legally liable for your damages. Your lawyer will make sure these rights are upheld. Insurance companies know that most injury victims are not aware of their full rights and how to protect themselves.
Your lawyer can make sure that you do not sign anything or accept any settlement too early. They will also make sure the insurance company doesn’t use questionable tactics, such as asking you for a recorded statement, that could be used to harm your case.
Negotiating Your Settlement
The insurance company will likely offer you a lowball settlement after you file your claim. Without legal help, it can be hard to convince the insurer that you deserve more. However, a lawyer will know how to negotiate for a settlement amount that is hopefully much fairer to you.
The last thing you want to do is accept a settlement that won’t cover a fraction of your damages. You should not have to pay for someone else’s mistakes.
Filing a Lawsuit
If the insurance company will not negotiate for a better settlement, you and your lawyer might discuss filing a lawsuit to seek your compensation. After you file the lawsuit, the insurance company might be more willing to offer a settlement to avoid going to trial.
How Long Does a Motorcycle Accident Claim Take to Settle in Georgia?
It often takes between six months and a year for a personal injury claim to settle. However, the exact amount of time varies per case. Motorcycle accidents can be especially serious, so your case can take longer if you have severe injuries and need a lot of medical treatment.
The exact amount of time it takes your claim to settle will depend on how each step of the settlement timeline goes. Here’s an overview of each step and how it can impact the date of settlement:
Gathering Evidence of Damages
If the at-fault person is completely to blame for the accident, they are legally liable for all of your damages. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you gather evidence to show negligence and prove your damages.
You will also need to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), which is the point at which you have recovered as much as possible with treatment. This will allow you and your lawyer to accurately calculate your medical costs now and in the future.
Filing the Claim
After you’ve gathered evidence of the accident and your damages, you’ll need to file the insurance claim. Your lawyer can help ensure you do this correctly. Your claim will need to prove the at-fault party was negligent in your accident.
The at-fault party in a motorcycle accident is usually another driver, which means you would file your claim with their auto insurance company. Other times, a company or government entity might be at fault for your accident.
The Insurer Responds
After you file your claim, the insurance company will need to respond. They can either accept your claim, deny your claim, or send a counteroffer. While it would be nice to get your settlement accepted and receive what you deserve, it’s very common for the insurance company to send you a lowball offer instead.
The insurance company will also be looking for ways to reduce what they have to pay you. They might try to delay responding to your claim, blame you for the accident, question your damages, or pressure you into taking their lowball offer.
Negotiation and Settlement
If the insurance company sends a low settlement offer, your lawyer will work to negotiate for a settlement that is actually fair to you. You might wait for 20-30 days after filing your claim to get the first settlement offer.
If your lawyer is successful, they will arrive at a settlement that works for you. If a settlement cannot be reached, you might file a lawsuit that will further delay how long the settlement takes.
Do You Have to Go to Court for a GA Motorcycle Accident?
Most motorcycle accident cases do not have to go to court. In many situations, you can reach a settlement by filing an injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. That said, there are situations where filing a lawsuit and going to court is the better option.
After your claim has been filed, the insurance company might send a very low counteroffer. It likely won’t come close to covering your damages. To seek a fair settlement, you’ll need help from a motorcycle accident lawyer.
Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company to try and reach a higher settlement. If they are successful, you’ll receive the settlement and your case will end here. While this is how most motorcycle accident cases can end, there are situations where going to court might be your best option. Some of the main reasons motorcycle accident cases go to court include:
The Insurer Won’t Settle
If the insurance company won’t reach an acceptable settlement even with negotiation, you might file a lawsuit to pursue the money you deserve. At this point, you’ll definitely want a lawyer on your side who has experience taking motorcycle accident cases to court. They should be prepared to take your case as far as it is necessary to get the compensation you need.
Fault Is Unclear
If it’s clear who caused your accident and you have strong evidence to back it up, the insurance company is more likely to offer you a fair settlement. However, if it’s not easy to tell who caused the accident, the insurance company might fight your claim. They will be more willing to risk a lawsuit if they feel your case isn’t strong enough.
Your Damages Are Very High
While a settlement is less risky to pursue, you do have the potential to win a lot more by going to court. If you have damages that are much higher than the insurance policy limits or what the insurer is willing to offer, you might consider suing. You also may have to sue if the at-fault party doesn’t have insurance.
You’ll only want to do this if you have a strong case and are working with an experienced lawyer.
Who Can Be Sued in a Motorcycle Accident Case?
The at-fault party or parties in a motorcycle accident can be sued. If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident have a right to file a lawsuit against the negligent party for your damages.
The negligent party will depend on the specific details of your case. Here are some parties who could be sued for a motorcycle accident:
It’s most common for a motorcycle accident to be caused by another driver or motorcyclist on the road. Even when a driver isn’t trying to cause an accident, they can make a careless mistake that leads to a collision. If the driver is at fault, they can be sued for damages.
You can usually seek a settlement through the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company. You’d need to file a personal injury claim and deal with the insurance company, but it’s often easier and less expensive than filing a lawsuit.
A motorcycle accident is not always caused by another driver. Sometimes, a collision results from issues with the motorcycle itself. If your accident was caused by defective parts on your bike, the manufacturer might be at fault for your damages.
Your lawyer will need to research the accident and determine exactly where the issue was. To make sure you have sufficient time for investigation, contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.
If you were injured in your accident because your helmet didn’t work as expected, you might also be able to bring legal action against the company that manufactures the helmet. Although this will probably not be the cause of the actual accident, you might be able to sue if you suffered damages that wouldn’t have happened with a functioning helmet.
The dealership that sold you your motorcycle could be responsible for the accident if there was an issue with the bike that they knew about but didn’t divulge to you. Your lawyer will need to investigate to gather evidence of this. If you can prove that the dealership was negligent in your accident, you can sue them for damages.
A motorcycle accident caused by unsafe road conditions or road hazards might be the responsibility of a state or local government. In some situations, you can bring legal action against a government entity.
To sue a government, you’ll need to provide written notice of the legal action within 12 months of the accident date. You’ll also want to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer who can help you since bringing legal action against a government entity is complicated.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Georgia
There are a few different things you’ll want to do if you’ve been in an accident. The point is to gather information about the crash and protect your rights after your motorcycle accident, especially if you did not cause it.
Your Legal Rights Post-Accident
When someone is negligent in a motorcycle accident in Georgia, they are responsible for the damages. That means you can seek compensation for your costs (OCGA §51-1-6). However, you will need to be careful when building your claim and protecting your rights.
The at-fault driver and their insurance company might try to blame you for the accident or do something else to reduce what you’re owed. The burden is on you to file a personal injury claim and seek recovery for your costs. Here are some ways you can begin doing that right after the crash:
Stay Calm and Safe
It’s easy to get worked up quickly and panic after an accident. However, do your best to stay calm and make sure you (and everything else) are safe. Move away from oncoming traffic and check yourself and others for injuries. Assess the situation so you can determine what to do at the scene of your motorcycle accident.
Get Emergency Medical Attention
If you or anyone else have serious or life-threatening injuries, do not delay getting them emergency medical treatment. Motorcycle accidents are often very serious, so call 911 for an ambulance if anyone needs help.
When paramedics arrive, tell them what happened and be honest about how you’re feeling. Even if you feel okay, it’s a good idea to get checked out if an ambulance is at the scene. Otherwise, be sure to see a doctor as soon as possible afterward, even if you don’t think you’re hurt too badly.
If you are well enough to remain at the scene, begin gathering some information.
Get the following information from those who were in the motorcycle accident:
- First and last names
- Contact information
- Driver’s license numbers
- Make and model of all vehicles
- Insurance policy information
- License plate numbers
This information will be very important if you file an injury claim or file a lawsuit for damages.
Take Pictures and Notes
Use your phone to take pictures of the entire scene, your injuries, and your vehicle damage. Accident scenes can be changed or cleaned up quickly, but pictures will forever preserve how things looked. Picture evidence can be really powerful for your motorcycle accident case.
Don’t be afraid to get different shots and angles of everything at the scene, including road signs and nearby landmarks that set the scene. Your lawyer can help you determine which pictures are most important to your case.
Report the Accident
If there were injuries, someone was killed, or there was more than $500 in property damage, you must report the accident to the police. Since motorcycle accidents are often serious, you should always report a collision.
Call the police by dialing 911 and letting them know that you were in an accident. Officers will likely respond to the scene and gather information from everyone involved. They’ll also create an accident report, which will be important for your case.
Talk to Witnesses
If other people saw your accident happen, talk to them and ask for their names and contact information. Witness statements can be vital for a motorcycle accident claim because they help corroborate your claims about what occurred and the damages you suffered.
Your lawyer will want to reach out to witnesses soon for statements, so be sure to get accurate and up-to-date contact information for each of them.
Follow Up with a Doctor
It’s best to see a doctor as soon as possible after your accident, preferably on the same day or the following day. Seeing a doctor creates a record of your injuries. You can also get an idea of what your medical treatment will be now and in the future.
Don’t wait to get medical attention. If you wait for too long, the insurance company will try to use it against you. To protect your legal rights, see a doctor as soon as you can and keep up with all recommended treatments.
Document Your Damages
In the days following your motorcycle accident, as you get medical treatment and deal with your motorcycle damage, keep track of all expenses like medical bills and receipts. You will need to include these in your claim as evidence of your damages.
Don’t Sign Anything
If the at-fault party’s insurance company contacts you after the accident, be very careful what you say to them. It’s best to let your lawyer handle all contact with the insurance company. Otherwise, they might employ certain tactics that can be used against you later.
If you do talk to the insurance company, do not sign anything, accept any money, or give any recorded statements without speaking to your lawyer first.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer ASAP
Once you have reported the accident, gathered information from the scene, and received medical treatment, don’t wait to call a motorcycle accident lawyer.
If you did not cause your accident, you are likely entitled to financial recovery – but it might be difficult to fight for the full compensation you deserve. A personal injury lawyer who specializes in motorcycle accident cases can help.
What Lawyer Deals with Motorcycle Accidents?
If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else, you will probably need help from a lawyer. You’ll need to work with a lawyer who handles motorcycle accidents specifically.
A motorcycle accident lawyer is a personal injury lawyer who specializes in motorcycle accident cases. Personal injury lawyers practice tort law, which involves the violation of a legal right. When someone is careless on the road and it leads to a motorcycle accident, they are responsible for the damages.
If you are the victim of a motorcycle accident, a motorcycle accident lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim or lawsuit to seek compensation for your damages. You deserve to be compensated for your medical costs, lost wages, and more. Before this happens, though, you’ll need to schedule a consultation and ensure any lawyer you choose has the following qualities:
Specializes in Motorcycle Accidents
Many lawyers will say they take on motorcycle accident cases, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have the experience to do it well. You’ll want to work with someone who has many years of experience handling motorcycle accidents.
Motorcycle accidents are different from other types of auto accidents. They are often more serious and complicated. So, your lawyer should understand this and be prepared for whatever happens in your case.
Has Good Communication
Motorcycle accident lawyers are busy, but your lawyer shouldn’t be too busy for you. When you meet with them, pay attention to how they communicate. They should listen carefully to the details of your accident and be truly interested in how to help you.
You should also feel comfortable with your lawyer, as you’ll need to speak with them about sensitive and other personal information. Also, be sure that they will personally work on your case. Sometimes, a paralegal ends up working more on the case than the actual attorney.
Has a Lot of Experience and High Success Rate
Ask the lawyer about their experience working on motorcycle accident cases, especially ones similar to yours. They should be able to provide proof of their experience and give examples of successful cases they have worked on. You can also ask for past client testimonials.
Discuss a Plan for Your Case
During the consultation, you and the lawyer can discuss how your case will be handled based on the detail you’ve provided. Ask about how they plan to start on your case and what the plan of action will look like going forward. When you leave the consultation, you should feel good about the future of your case.
How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Georgia?
If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident you didn’t cause, you likely have the right to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your damages. However, you might be worried about the cost of hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer to help you with your case, especially if you’re already facing a lot of costs from the crash.
Thankfully, hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer is easier than most people realize.
No Upfront Cost
Most motorcycle accident lawyers work on a contingency fee, which means they don’t get paid unless they win you money. Plus, their fee is simply taken as a percentage of the settlement or award they win you. If the lawyer doesn’t win money in your case, there is no fee.
With the contingency fee structure, you don’t need to worry about upfront costs or out-of-pocket costs. It also ensures the lawyer is working in your best interests because a win for you is a win for them.
The average percentage that accident lawyers take is between 33.3% and 40% of whatever they win you. Some lawyers will charge a smaller or higher fee, and some work on a “sliding scale” that changes depending on the complexity of your case.
For example, if your case is straightforward and it does not take long to win you a fair settlement, a lawyer might only charge a contingency fee on the lower end. On the other hand, if a lawyer takes on a case that goes all the way to trial, is very complex, or requires mediation/arbitration, they might charge closer to or above a 40% contingency fee.
Other Motorcycle Accident Fees
As your lawyer works on your best, they may experience certain fees and expenses from activities like:
- Obtaining copies of medical records or police reports
- Using expert witnesses
- Paying filing fees
- Getting postage
- Paying court reporters
- Obtaining transcripts
Most of the time, a motorcycle accident lawyer will cover these costs as they come up. Then, they’ll simply deduct them from your settlement before they send you the remaining balance. You should receive an itemized statement that contains all costs, their amounts, and why they were charged.
Contingency Fees Are Only for Accident Victims
A contingency fee structure is only available for cases where you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence and you’re now filing a claim for damages. In other words, personal injury lawyers only work on contingency for the accident victims they represent.
The person who caused the accident and is liable for damages will typically turn to their insurance company for legal representation. They will be responsible for helping to defend the person who caused the accident. In a motorcycle accident or another auto accident, the insurance company would be an auto insurance company.
Getting the Settlement Check
When the insurance company agrees to pay you a settlement, they will often send the check directly to your lawyer. That way, your attorney can subtract their legal fees and other expenses from the total before sending you the remaining settlement.
Your attorney should also provide a list of all items that were deducted from the settlement for your case. If you have any questions about certain fees, be sure to ask.
Other Fee Structures
Although most accident lawyers work exclusively on contingency, some might charge a retainer upfront and then take a contingency fee at the end. In that case, the retainer would be subtracted from the contingency fee.
Other lawyers may work on a flat fee, but this is extremely rare for accident lawyers unless they are charging for a small, one-off legal service.
Find Out More About Your Lawyer’s Fees
The best way to say for sure how much your lawyer will charge is by knowing your situation. At your free initial consultation, our team will go over the details of your case and give you a better idea of how much your accident lawyer will charge.
Your lawyer can help protect you from the insurance company and work to build you a strong insurance claim. Insurance adjusters will look for ways to pay you much less than you deserve, so having a lawyer on your side is invaluable to your case and your settlement potential.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Motorcycle Accident in GA?
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is two years from the date of the injury (OCGA §9-3-33). That means you have two years from the date of your motorcycle accident to file a lawsuit or an insurance claim. If you wait until even a day past the statute of limitations to file your case, it will be dismissed and you will not be able to take legal action on it.
If you suffered only vehicle damage from your motorcycle accident, you would have four years from the accident date to file a property damage claim. However, it’s rare for a motorcycle accident to occur and not cause physical injuries. If you have any physical injuries, you’ll want to file a personal injury case that includes the property damage.
Exceptions to the Two-Year Statute of Limitations
Although you have only two years in most motorcycle accident cases, there are rare situations where the statute of limitations can be “tolled” or paused. If the motorcycle accident victim was a minor (under the age of 18) or legally incompetent because of an intellectual disability or mental illness, the statute of limitations might be tolled until they turn 18 or are fit to stand in the case.
There is also something known as the “discovery rule” that can cause the statute of limitations. This may apply if an injury victim doesn’t yet know that an injury or wrongdoing had occurred. For example, a factory worker might suffer an illness 10 years later caused by environmental hazards in the workplace.
Lastly, some states will pause the statute of limitations if the at-fault party leaves the state for a certain period of time. Georgia does not follow this, however, and a defendant being away from Georgia would not affect the statute of limitations. At your initial consultation with a motorcycle accident lawyer in Georgia, they will be able to tell you how long you have to sue for your motorcycle accident. Then they’ll get to work to get you a good settlement–a lawsuit may not even be necessary.
When Should You Get a Lawyer for a Motorcycle Accident?
You should contact a lawyer for help with your motorcycle accident case as soon as possible. Even if you don’t end up hiring them, it’s best to schedule a consultation and have a professional look at your case.
The medical costs and lost wages can pile up quickly after a motorcycle accident, and the insurance company might become ruthless in trying to get you to accept a low settlement and end your case. To ensure you protect your legal rights from the beginning, it’s never too soon to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer.
Although you can reach out to a lawyer at any time, there are some situations where it’s especially important to get an attorney. If any of the following are true, then it may be time to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer:
The Insurance Company Contacts You
Insurance adjusters are skilled at looking for ways to reduce what they have to pay on a motorcycle accident claim. They often use tactics like:
- Denying the severity of your injuries
- Saying that your injuries were not caused by the accident
- Offering you a lowball settlement and hoping you’ll take it
- Blaming you for the accident
If the insurance company does any of these things or contacts you soon after the accident, get a good lawyer on the phone immediately. They will know how to handle the situation and make sure you don’t get taken advantage of.
You Have Serious or Permanent Injuries
Motorcycle accidents are often very serious because a motorcycle does not provide the same protection as other vehicles. If your injuries were serious or left you with permanent disabilities, you will want to work with an experienced lawyer.
A lawyer can help you accurately calculate the full value of your injuries and other damages. If your injuries end up disabling you, you’ll need to account for how that affects your life going forward. Your lawyer can also help you negotiate with the insurance company, which is often harder when your damages are very high.
You’re Unsure About the Settlement Offer
If you have any doubt about whether or not the settlement offer from the insurance company is fair, schedule a consultation with a motorcycle accident lawyer. They can look at the details of your accident and let you know if the offer is actually a good one or not.
Thankfully, most lawyers who work on motorcycle accident cases do not charge a fee unless they win you money – and the consultation is generally free. So, you can discuss the details during a free consultation without worrying about any upfront costs.
Your Motorcycle Accident Claim Was Denied
If the insurance company straight out denies your claim, contact a lawyer. They can determine why the claim was denied and see if it was justified.
More than One Party Might Be at Fault
You’ll want help from a lawyer if more than one person might be at fault for the accident. The same goes for situations where you are worried you might be partially at fault for the crash. Even if you did contribute to the accident, you might still have compensation options.
You Have Questions About Your Claim
If you are wondering anything else about your claim, be safe by contacting a lawyer for clarification and help. Otherwise, you could end up with a much lower settlement than you actually deserve.
How Do I Find a Good GA Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
Finding a good lawyer to work on your motorcycle accident case can feel very daunting. There might be many motorcycle accident lawyers in your area, and you might wonder where to look first. You will want help from a lawyer to fight for your rights after the accident, so here are some tips for finding the best one for your case.
Here are three factors to consider when trying to find a good motorcycle accident lawyer for your case.
1. Specialization in Motorcycle Accidents
There are a lot of different types of lawyers. Motorcycle accident lawyers are personal injury lawyers who specialize in motorcycle accidents. Before working with a lawyer, you’ll want to ensure that this is their specialty – in many ways, motorcycle accidents are different than other auto accidents
Many personal injury lawyers will say that they take on motorcycle accident cases, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have the experience to be as successful as possible. Make sure you find a lawyer who has experience working on – and winning – motorcycle accident claims and lawsuits.
2. Close Proximity
Make sure the lawyer lives in the same state as you and handles cases near where you live. If you live in Georgia, you won’t want to work with a motorcycle accident lawyer in Texas because they won’t be well-versed in specific Georgia statutes. You would likely be referred to another lawyer in your state, anyway.
3. Experience and Reputation
Any lawyer you consider working with for your case should have a solid reputation and vast experience working cases like yours. You can look at online reviews and testimonials to get an idea of what past clients have experienced.
Visit the lawyer’s website to check out their educational and professional background, including any specializations they have. If they seem to have what you’re looking for, schedule a consultation and ask for referrals and examples of cases like yours that they’ve been successful on.
Tips for Finding a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Near You
With the above tips in mind for finding a good lawyer for your case, here are some ways to begin looking for your lawyer:
- Ask friends, family members, coworkers, or anyone else you trust if they can recommend any motorcycle accident lawyers based on personal experience.
- Contact other types of lawyers you’ve worked with or know and ask for referrals.
- Peruse the State Bar of Georgia’s website for information about finding a good lawyer in your area.
- Do a Google search for motorcycle accident lawyers in your city or state and read online reviews. Visit the websites of lawyers you’re interested in and schedule a consultation to learn more.
Also, be sure to work with a motorcycle accident lawyer who works on contingency, meaning they only charge a fee if they win money in your case. This is the typical fee structure for personal injury lawyers, and it ensures that the lawyer has your best interests in mind.
What Does a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Do?
A motorcycle accident lawyer helps you seek compensation for the costs of an accident you didn’t cause. Accident victims have a much greater chance of a fair recovery if they work with an experienced lawyer. Here’s what you need to know about what a motorcycle accident can do for your case:
Explains Your Rights
Most motorcyclists who are injured in an accident have never had to deal with a case like this before. A lawyer can help by explaining your rights and compensation options. They can make sure you understand what you are entitled to receive as a victim of a motorcycle accident.
Provides Legal Advice and Guidance
Motorcycle accident cases can be confusing and complex. They’re often stressful because the insurance company will be looking for ways to reduce what they have to pay you. It can be difficult to know where to turn first or what to accept from the insurance company.
A motorcycle accident lawyer can be your guide through every step of the claims process. They’ll protect you from the insurance company’s sneaky tactics and communicate with them on your behalf. You can spend time getting treated and recovering while they handle the legal aspects of things.
Builds a Strong Motorcycle Accident Case
You will need to gather strong evidence of your accident, the at-fault party’s negligence, and the damages you have suffered from the accident. Your lawyer can help you compile the right information to include in your insurance claim. They’ll also make sure it’s presented correctly.
A motorcycle accident lawyer will gather information like:
- Pictures from the scene
- Copies of official reports
- Eyewitness statements
- Your medical records
Negotiates for a Fair Settlement
If the insurance company responds to your claim with a lowball settlement, your lawyer will work to negotiate a settlement that is fair to you. This is nearly impossible to do on your own, and you could miss out on a lot of money without a lawyer.
Represents You in Court
Most motorcycle accident cases end in a settlement, but there are circumstances where filing a lawsuit is the best option. If you do need to do that, your lawyer will represent you every step of the way and fight for your right to full recovery.
Can You Sue for Wrongful Death in a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
Yes, certain people can sue for wrongful death in a motorcycle accident for a loved one who was killed. The details depend on the relationship between the deceased individual and the person bringing the wrongful death claim.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death for a Motorcycle Accident?
When someone files a wrongful death case, they are seeking compensation from the person or party who is legally liable for the costs of the deceased’s accident and death. In order, the following parties can bring wrongful death cases:
- The deceased person’s spouse
- Any minor children of the spouse and deceased person
- The deceased person’s surviving parent or parents
- A representative for the deceased person’s estate
A surviving spouse can bring a wrongful death claim for any surviving minor children, as well. If the spouse does file a claim, they cannot receive less than one-third of the compensation, no matter how many minor children the deceased person has. The parents of the deceased can only bring a claim if there were no surviving spouse or minor children.
If there is no surviving spouse and no surviving children or parents, a representative for the deceased person’s estate can file a claim. If damages are won, they would be held by the estate until the deceased’s next of kin can receive them.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
There are two main types of claims you can file for wrongful death. If you are a family member of the deceased person, you can file a claim to account for the full value of their life. This claim involves damages like:
- Lost of expected income and benefits
- Loss of inheritance and
- Intangible benefits like loss of companionship, loss of care, loss of nurturing, or loss of consortium
If the deceased’s estate is bringing the claim, they can seek recovery for losses the deceased’s death caused to their estate like:
- Medical costs from their last injury or illness
- Pain and suffering before they died and
- Funeral and burial costs
You’ll also need to prove the damages you’re claiming in your wrongful death case. This is sometimes difficult to do, especially for pain and suffering damages. A motorcycle accident lawyer who has experience with wrongful death claims from these types of accidents can help. They will work to build a strong case and demonstrate the damages the deceased experienced before they died.
There Must Be a Negligent Party
For your claim to be valid, you must be able to show that someone was negligent for the motorcycle accident and the deceased person’s death. You’ll need to show that the at-fault party is liable for the damages that you’re claiming.
You Have Two Years to Sue for Wrongful Death in Georgia
In Georgia, you usually have two years from the date of the accident to bring a wrongful death claim. If you wait too long, you can lose any chance of seeking compensation. There are some situations where the statute of limitations might be “tolled,” but they are rare.
It’s best to contact a lawyer as soon as possible to make sure you don’t miss any deadlines and are doing everything you can to seek the recovery you and your family need and deserve.
How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated in a Motorcycle Accident Case in Georgia?
There is no one way that pain and suffering damages are calculated in motorcycle accidents. However, there are certain methods that are most common. Your motorcycle accident lawyer will likely use one of them to determine what your pain and suffering should be worth in your claim.
What Pain and Suffering Mean in a Motorcycle Accident Case
“Pain and suffering” refer to the ways your accident and injuries have affected your life. Pain and suffering can include both physical and emotional or mental pain you experience. You must have a physical injury to be able to claim pain and suffering damages. Examples of pain and suffering can include:
- Physical pain
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
Since there is no clear dollar amount for any of these (like there is for medical bills and lost wages), your lawyer will need to calculate what they’re worth to you. Although money cannot make any of these problems go away or reverse what happened, it can help you cover your costs and work to move on from the accident.
Now, the two main methods used by lawyers to calculate pain and suffering are the “multiplier” method and the “per diem” method. Your lawyer might try using both to get an idea of what the range could be for your pain and suffering.
Also, insurance companies often use their own computer program to calculate pain and suffering, so the insurer might have a different idea of what these damages are worth. This is why you’ll need a strong and experienced lawyer to help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
The Multiplier Method
With ths method, your lawyer will start with the total of your economic damages like medical costs and lost wages. They will then multiply that total by a number that’s usually between 1.5 and five. This number is chosen based on the severity of your injuries.
The number that you get from multiplying these two numbers should give you the value of your pain and suffering damages.
The Per Diem Method
This second method assigns a set amount of money per day for every day between the accident date and the day you reach maximum recovery. Your lawyer will choose the per diem daily amount based on the severity of your injuries.
Proving Pain and Suffering Damages
To actually be able to receive compensation for pain and suffering (and your other damages), you’ll need to prove negligence and actually prove your damages. This is not easy to do, which is why we so highly recommend working with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer.
Special damages like medical costs are fairly easy to demonstrate, but that’s not the case with pain and suffering. You’ll need to gather evidence to help show how the accident has impacted you. Examples of evidence you can use might include:
- Diary or journal entries detailing how you were physically and emotionally affected after the accident
- Proof of mental health treatment for mental health issues caused by the accident
- Documentation from family members or friends about how your injuries have impacted you
By hiring a Georgia motorcycle accident attorney, you’re getting someone on your side who can advocate for you and who knows the nuances of pain and suffering calculations.
How Negligence Is Established in a Motorcycle Accident
To have a valid motorcycle accident claim for compensation, you must be able to prove negligence. Here’s what you need to know about establishing negligence in a motorcycle accident:
Defining Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident
In Georgia, negligence is defined as the absence of diligence, which is ordinary care that any careful person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances. Every driver has a duty of care to be safe on the roads, so failing to uphold that duty of a form of negligence.
If a negligent party causes a motorcycle accident with injuries, they are liable for the damages. That means you can file a claim to seek compensation for your damages.
Negligence might look like:
- Running a red light
- Driving under the influence
- Failing to yield
- Driving too fast for road conditions
- Driving while distracted
- Following too closely
- Failing to look before making a left-hand turn
Establishing Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident Case
There are four main elements to establishing negligence in an injury accident like a motorcycle accident:
- There was a duty of care owed to you. In this situation, that duty of care is clear if the at-fault party was another driver on the road.
- The duty of care was breached. If the at-fault party did not act in a way that an ordinarily prudent person could have in a similar situation, they likely breached their duty of care.
- The breached duty led to your injuries. As a result of the driver’s carelessness, you were injured. You’ll need to be able to demonstrate these injuries, including emotional injuries that might not be physically apparent like pain and suffering.
- You suffered damages from the accident. Lastly, you will need to establish that you had losses because of the injury accident. Those damages might include medical costs, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and more.
Each of these elements must exist for you to be able to establish negligence in your case. A lawyer can help you do this in the best way possible. The stronger the evidence you can gather to show what happened, who was at fault, and the extent of your injuries, the easier it will be to show negligence.
Gathering Evidence of Negligence in Your Accident
If you are well enough to do this after your accident, you can take steps to begin gathering evidence that will help you prove negligence in your motorcycle accident case. Here are some ways you can do that:
- Calling the police to report the accident
- Exchanging names, contact information, and insurance information with the other driver(s)
- Getting the names and contact information of eyewitnesses
- Keeping track of all medical bills, lost wages, receipts, and damages
- Taking notes on what happened and how the accident has affected you
- Seeing a doctor as soon as possible after the accident
- Contacting a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as you can
This information will also help your motorcycle accident lawyer establish negligence, build a strong case, and work to pursue the full compensation you deserve to recover your costs.
Talk to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Free Today
Don’t get left paying for someone else’s mistake. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident or lost a loved one in this type of crash, call the Georgia motorcycle accident lawyers at John Foy & Associates today. We can help you seek the compensation you need and deserve. Call us or contact us online to get started today.