Motorcycle accidents have a higher chance of being serious compared with car or truck accidents. Motorcycles provide less protection than other vehicles, putting the rider at risk of severe injury or death during a collision. If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, it’s time to speak with a motorcycle accident lawyer.
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. Call us today at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started now.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle crashes can happen in many of the same ways car accidents, truck accidents, and other auto accidents occur. However, there are certain factors that make motorcycle accidents even more likely. Here are some of the most common reasons for these types of collisions:
Motorists must be careful to watch for motorcycles, bicycles, and other smaller vehicles as they drive. Unfortunately, many drivers aren’t aware that motorcycles have the same rights to be on the roads as other vehicles. They may disregard motorcyclists or not know to look for them when attempting certain actions, such as left turns.
If a driver does not yield the right of way to an approaching motorcyclist when making a left turn, it can instantly lead to a serious or deadly accident.
Unsafe Lane Changes
If a driver is not checking their blind spots or putting on their blinker before merging into a new lane of traffic, it can put motorcycle riders at risk. They are harder to see than other vehicles if the driver is not careful to check their blind spot before merging.
Speeding is a leading cause of all types of accidents on the road. When a vehicle is driving too fast, it’s much harder to make quick judgments and avoid others, including motorcyclists.
Lane splitting means driving between two lanes of traffic. According to Georgia Code § 40-6-312, lane splitting is illegal in Georgia (and the same goes for many other states). If a motorcyclist tries to lane split in traffic, it can lead to an accident.
All drivers should be careful to watch for approaching motorcycles, bikes, or other vehicles before opening their car doors. Otherwise, a crash may occur if a door is opened before a motorcyclist can avoid it or slow down.
Hazardous Road Conditions
Sometimes, motorcycle accidents don’t involve other drivers at all. Poor road conditions like potholes, uneven pavement, or debris can lead to a motorcycle accident.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is, sadly, fairly common in all auto accidents, including those involving motorcycles.
Inattentive or Inexperienced Drivers
Drivers who are inexperienced or not paying enough attention can hit motorcyclists who are simply following traffic rules and driving safely.
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.
Get Your Legal Questions Answered
Most motorcycle accident lawyers have never been in an accident before. You will likely have a lot of questions about filing a claim, knowing the value of your damages, and whether or not you should sue. A lawyer can answer all of these questions and more.
If you have any questions at all about how you should proceed after your accident, you should speak with an experienced lawyer about the details. If you feel comfortable with that lawyer, it’s best to consider hiring them for help with your case.
Protect Yourself from the Insurance Company
Insurance companies will look for any way to reduce what they have to pay an accident victim after a motorcycle crash. Insurance adjusters know what they’re doing, and they might try to intimidate you into accepting a low settlement, blame you for the accident, or get details out of you that could be used against you.
When you have a motorcycle accident lawyer, you don’t need to worry about these details. Your lawyer can speak with the insurance company for you and negotiate for a settlement that is actually fair. They can also make sure you are seeking compensation that fully accounts for all of your damages.
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.
Get Help with Every Step of the Process
Your lawyer can help you through every part of your motorcycle accident claim, including:
- Determining all of your damages
- Filing your claim and making sure you meet all deadlines
- Communicating with the insurance company for your
- Negotiating for a fair settlement
- Answering any questions you have along the way
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. Here are some of the main reasons for this.
You’ll Know Your Legal Rights
You will need to understand your legal rights, no matter how serious your motorcycle accident injuries or vehicle damage were. You have a right to pursue financial recovery if you did not cause your accident.
Speaking with a lawyer will ensure you know your legal rights and how to seek the compensation you deserve. Without confirmation from a legal expert, it can be hard to know where to turn first.
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. 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.
Most Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Are Risk-Free
You might be worried about contacting a lawyer because you’re worried about cost. This is completely understandable. The good news is that most motorcycle accident lawyers (like John Foy & Associates) do not charge a fee unless they actually win you money.
To schedule a FREE, no-risk consultation with one of our lawyers today, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online now.
What Is The Average Settlement For A Motorcycle Accident?
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident and are now seeking compensation for your damages, you might wonder if there’s an average settlement amount. 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.
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
- 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.
Your Settlement Value
“Valuing” in a motorcycle accident case depends on your damages, what you’re willing to accept as a settlement, and what the at-fault party would be willing to pay you as compensation. These factors will need to be considered when building your case. Your lawyer will also determine the trial value in case your claim needs to proceed to court.
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.
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 that you can likely collect as part of your motorcycle accident case.
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. If you think you might be able to collect punitive damages, speak with a lawyer today.
Can I Sue Someone Personally After A Motorcycle Accident?
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 bring 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 Actually 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 Lawyer Deal With The Insurance Companies For Me?
Yes, if you hire a motorcycle accident lawyer, they can definitely deal with the insurance companies for you. They can handle the communication, negotiation, and all other interaction with the insurance companies so you don’t have to. This is actually preferable for most injury victims.
How Insurance Companies Make Things 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 a 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?
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.
Why File a Claim?
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, you have the right to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company for damages. Filing a claim can help you seek a settlement to cover your damages like:
- Medical costs
- Lost income
- Property damage and
- Pain and suffering damages
Seeking a settlement can help you cover your costs and hold the at-fault party responsible for the damages they caused.
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. To schedule a FREE consultation with one of our attorneys today, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.
Here is some evidence that can help support your claim:
- Photos from the motorcycle accident scene
- Medical bills and medication receipts
- Receipts or quotes for bike repairs or replacement
- Eyewitness statements
- Traffic surveillance footage
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 in the correct way. 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 Motorcycle Accident?
Most motorcycle accident cases do not have to go to court. In many situations, you are able to reach a settlement through filing an injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. That being said, there are situations where filing a lawsuit and going to court is the better option.
How a Claim Works
Everyone in Georgia has a legal duty to exercise ordinary care when driving on the road. If they fail to be careful, it’s known as negligence. When someone is negligent in a motorcycle accident, they are at fault for any damages.
As the victim of a motorcycle accident, you have the right to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Filing the Claim
In your claim, you’ll need to prove that the at-fault party was negligent in your accident and that you suffered damages as a result. Your damages might include:
- Medical bills and prescription medications
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Vehicle damage and
- Pain and suffering
Before you can know your full medical costs, you’ll need to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), which is the point at which you’ve recovered as much as possible with medical treatment. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help calculate all of your damages and make sure everything is accounted for in your claim.
After your claim has been filed, the insurance company might send a counteroffer that is very low. It likely won’t come close to covering your damages. To seek a settlement that is actually fair, 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.
Here are some of the main reasons a motorcycle accident case might end up going to court.
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’ll only want to do this if you have a strong case and are working with an experienced lawyer.
What Happens If The At-Fault Party Doesn’t Have Insurance?
If the at-fault party in your accident is not insured, you will have more trouble getting compensation, but you might still have options. Here are some of the things you can do and where you can turn to for the money you need.
Call the Police
If your accident involves any injuries and/or at least $500 in property damage, you should report it to the police. The other driver might want to avoid calling the police because they know they’ll get in trouble. However, you should still call to report your own legal rights.
Call 911 and tell the dispatcher that you were injured in an auto accident. You’ll also need to tell officers that the other driver said they don’t have insurance. Reporting the accident will create the first record of what happened, which is important for your case
Don’t Take Money from the at-Fault Party
Sometimes, the at-fault driver will try to offer you money to resolve your damages and discourage you from pursuing legal action against them. Do not accept any money from them.
At this point, you won’t have a good idea of your total damages. If you accept money, it can complicate your case. It might also make the at-fault driver think the issue has been resolved when that’s far from the case.
Gather Information at the Scene
While you’re still at the scene, do what you can to document the accident. You’ll also want to gather information about the other driver too. Although we like to believe that most people are honest, uninsured drivers are more likely to flee the scene.
Use your phone to snap photos of the entire accident scene, the at-fault party’s car and license plate, your injuries, and all vehicle damage. Take pictures of anything else that you think helps show what happened.
After most auto accidents, you will ask for the driver’s insurance information. Since there is no insurance, you’ll still want to get the following information:
- The at-fault party’s full name
- Their license plate number
- Their driver’s license number
- Their phone number, address, and email
If the driver has some insurance but just not enough, be sure to get the insurance company’s name and the policy information
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
As soon as possible after reporting the accident and gathering information, it’s a good idea to call an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. They can learn about the details of your accident and advise you on the best course of action.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Even if you live in an at-fault state like Georgia, your auto insurance might still cover some of your damages when you are hit by an uninsured driver. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, it should cover your costs up to a certain amount.
Be wary even when contacting your own insurance company. Talk to a lawyer first so they can tell you what you should and shouldn’t say when reporting the accident to your own insurance company.
If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage or it barely covers your damages, you can sue the at-fault party by taking them to court. However, you will want to make this decision carefully by discussing the pros and cons with your 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 may be responsible 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 manufacturers 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.
Proving Fault in the Accident
In order to sue someone for your accident, you’ll need to have evidence of their fault in the collision and your damages. That includes gathering information like photos from the scene, eyewitness statements, medical bills, receipts, and other evidence of your damages. Your lawyer can help you compile the right information to show what happened.
You Might Not Need to Sue
You have a right to sue the at-fault party in your accident, but you might not have to. Most motorcycle accident cases can get resolved through a settlement when filing an injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
What Should I Do In The Days Following A Motorcycle Accident?
The days after the accident are very important, especially if you were not at fault for the crash. You’ll want to document what you can and begin building a strong case to seek compensation for your damages. Here are some of the best things you can do in the days following a motorcycle accident.
After the accident, you’ll want to get certain information from all drivers involved in the accident, including:
- First and last names
- Phone numbers
- Physical addresses
- Insurance information
- Driver’s license numbers
- License plate numbers
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.
Document the Scene
You’ll want to do what you can to document the accident scene. That includes taking pictures of:
- Your injuries
- Vehicle damage
- The entire scene
It can also help to make notes on what you remember from the moments before, during, and after the accident. Anything you can do to document what happened will help your case.
Get Information from Witnesses
If anyone saw your accident happen, talk to them and get their contact information, including:
- Full names
- Phone numbers
Your motorcycle accident lawyer will reach out to witnesses later to get statements to help support your claim.
See 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.
Be Wary of the Insurance Company
If the at-fault party’s insurance company contacts you after the accident, be very careful what you say to them. It’s actually 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.
Document Your Damages
The days after your 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.
Talk to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Be sure to contact a lawyer who has experience with motorcycle accident cases as soon as possible. They can help you with all of the above steps and make sure you are doing everything you can to build a strong case for compensation.
What Should I Do At The Scene Of A Motorcycle Accident?
There are a few different things you’ll want to do at the scene of a motorcycle accident. The point is to gather information about the crash and protect your legal rights, especially if you did not cause the accident.
Here are some of the most important actions to take.
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 actions to take.
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.
Call the Police
Don’t forget to dial 911 and report the accident to the police. Officers will likely respond to the scene and create an accident report on what happened. This report is important for your case and creates the first record of the crash.
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.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
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 Percentage Do Accident Lawyers Take?
Most accident lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they don’t charge an upfront fee. Instead, they take a percentage of what they win you after your case has closed.
The average contingency fee for accident lawyers is 33% (or one-third). However, fees can range from 25% to 40% depending on the lawyer’s experience and how far your case progresses. Cases that are resolved quickly and out of court may have a smaller fee percentage, while those that go to trial tend to be higher.
While a higher contingency fee might seem like a lot, it’s to account for a lot more time, research, and preparation involved with taking a case to court. You’ll also want to be wary of lawyers who take an unusually low percentage, as that’s often a sign of inexperience with your type of case.
Asking About the Contingency Fee
You’ll always want to schedule a consultation to discuss the contingency fee before hiring an accident lawyer for your case. During the consultation, you can ask about how the lawyer’s fee structure works and whether or not they work on a sliding scale.
If you have questions about anything in their contract, don’t be afraid to ask. The last thing you want to do is hire a lawyer and be surprised about something later on. The consultation is your time to understand how the lawyer works and what experience they have related to your accident case.
Other Fees and Expenses
Besides the contingency fee, there are additional costs and fees that come up during a personal injury accident case. As they work on your case, your lawyer might have costs associated with:
- Obtaining the police report
- Getting copies of your medical records
- Expert witness fees
- Filing fees
- Copies of transcripts
- Court reporter fees
- Investigator fees and
- Trial exhibits
Some law firms will require reimbursement for these fees as they happen, while others will not charge you for them until after your case has ended. Some fees might be absorbed depending on the terms of your contract.
You’ll want to get clear upfront about how the lawyer handles all additional fees and costs from your case.
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, there are some who 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.
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 than 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.
Don’t Wait Too Long
In Georgia, you typically have two years to file your claim or lawsuit. This time goes quickly, so you’ll want to get started right away. Don’t wait to start scheduling consultations and meeting with motorcycle accident lawyers. The sooner you can find a good attorney for your case, the better.
To schedule a FREE consultation with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer at John Foy & Associates, call us today at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.
What Can I Do To Protect My Rights After A Motorcycle Accident?
If you were not at fault for your motorcycle accident, you should not have to pay for the damages. You can begin protecting your legal rights as soon as possible after the accident in many different ways. You’ll need to gather evidence of the accident, compile information to show the at-fault party’s negligence, and make sure the insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you.
You’ll also want to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as you can. They can look at the details of your case and make sure you are taking the right steps to protect your rights. We’ll cover some of the best ways you can do that.
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 (Georgia Code § 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.
Document the Accident
After the accident occurs, if you are well enough to do so, you can begin gathering evidence at the scene. Some ways you can do that include:
- Calling the police to report the accident
- Taking pictures of your injuries, vehicle damages, and the whole accident scene
- Exchanging contact information with the other driver
- Getting the contact information of any eyewitnesses
- Taking notes on everything you remember or notice about the accident
Your motorcycle accident lawyer can use this information to help build your case.
See a Doctor
Be sure to get your injuries checked out by a doctor as soon as possible after the accident—even if you feel okay.
If you wait too long to see a doctor, it can really affect your case. The insurance company may try to say you weren’t hurt as badly as you say or that your injuries were caused by something other than the accident.
Seeing a doctor will also give you an idea of how bad your injuries are and what type of treatment you will need going forward. You will need to reach maximum medical improvement before filing your claim.
Record Your Damages
Keep track of all medical costs, vehicle repairs, prescription medications, and other expenses that you face because of the accident. You will need to include these records in your claim.
Don’t Sign Anything
The at-fault driver’s insurance company might try to contact you soon after the accident. They might try to get a statement from you, offer you money, or get you to sign something. Don’t sign anything or accept any money without speaking to a lawyer first.
Call a Lawyer
To make sure you are protecting your legal rights as much as possible, contact a motorcycle accident lawyer after your accident too. They can help you with all of the above steps and ensure you build a strong injury claim for compensation.
How Much Will It Cost To Hire A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
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 hiring a 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 Contingency Fee
The average contingency fee for motorcycle accident lawyers is 33%, or one-third, or whatever they win you. Some lawyers will charge a smaller or higher fee, and some working 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 around 25% of what they win as their fee. On the other hand, if a lawyer takes on a case that goes all the way to trial and is very complex, they might charge closer to a 40% contingency fee.
To find out for sure what a lawyer charges, be sure to schedule a consultation to learn more. Most lawyers (like ours at John Foy & Associates) will offer the consultation for FREE. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.
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.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
In Georgia, you only have two years from the date of the motorcycle accident to file your claim. This might seem like a lot of time, but it goes quickly. You will need time to gather evidence, build your claim, and communicate with the insurance company. It’s best to have a lawyer on your side from the beginning to help you with all of this.
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 Much Should You Settle For After A Motorcycle Accident?
After a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, you’ll need to determine what type of settlement you should seek for your damages. Knowing the value of your claim is crucial because you’ll need to know how much money you need to cover your total costs. There are a couple of factors to consider when knowing how much you should settle for.
You will need to prove who was at fault and therefore liable for your accident damages. Someone must have been negligent in the motorcycle accident for you to have a case. If someone else caused the accident and your damages, you have the right to seek recovery for your damages.
If another driver was fully at fault for your accident, they are legally completely responsible for the costs. If you were partially liable for the accident, you may still be able to recover damages at a reduced percentage. It’s best to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer who can help you determine who was liable for the accident.
Besides liability, your total damages are also a huge factor in how much you should settle for. There are two main types of damages you may have from a motorcycle accident:
- Special damages and
- General damages
Special damages are losses that can be shown through a dollar amount, such as medical costs, lost wages, vehicle repairs, and more. General damages will not have a clear dollar amount. They are meant to account for how your accident injuries have affected you emotionally.
Lost Wages and Earning Capacity
If you were working before the motorcycle accident, you can claim lost wages for the work time 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.
A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help
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 what type of settlement to pursue. 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.
There is No Risk in Working with a Lawyer
Thankfully, there is also no risk in hiring most motorcycle accident lawyers. Many injury lawyers work on contingency, which means there is no upfront cost and you only pay a lawyer’s fee if your lawyer wins you money. Their contingency fee is simply taken as a percentage of the settlement they win you.
To make sure you are pursuing a settlement that will actually cover your damages, contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer today.
How Much Is a Rear-End Accident Worth?
How much your rear-end accident is worth will depends on your total losses. That includes both tangible and intangible damages. You will need to know the value of your accident before you can file an accurate claim for financial recovery.
We can’t provide you with a true average rear-end accident value because each accident can be so different. However, the cost of this type of accident might range anywhere from a few hundreds of dollars all the way up to tens of thousands or more. Plus, when a motorcycle is rear-ended, there’s likely to be a lot more damage than if a normal automobile gets rear-ended.
Medical Rear-End Damages
The largest portion of a rear-end accident claim is often medical costs. Rear-end accident injuries tend to be less serious than other types of accidents, but that’s not always the case. If you were rear-ended on your motorcycle, you might have suffered very serious injuries, especially if you were thrown off your bike from the collision.
Common medical costs from a rear-end collision include:
- Doctor bills
- Hospital bills
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy
- transportation to and from doctor appointments
Even if you feel okay after your accident, you should always see a medical doctor to get checked out. Rear-end accidents can cause injuries like whiplash that you might not feel right away. To be safe, see a medical professional just in case.
Lost Income from a Rear-End Accident
If you had to miss work because of the accident and your injuries, you can claim lost wages in your injury claim. You’ll need to provide proof of your missed work time through pay stubs or previous tax returns.
You might also be able to claim loss of earning capacity if your injuries prevent you from working in the same capacity as before. For example, you might have to switch to a part-time position or get certain accommodations that reduce how much you’re paid. If you experience this, talk to a motorcycle accident lawyer about how to calculate these losses.
Rear-End Accident Property Damage
A majority of rear-end accidents leave the victim with property damage and no injuries. If you don’t have injuries, you may only need to file a property damage claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. However, you’ll need to be absolutely sure that you don’t have any physical injuries before doing this.
If you did have any physical injuries, you’ll need to file a personal injury claim and include the property damage in your claim. This includes vehicle repair costs or the cost of replacement if your motorcycle gets totaled.
Pain and Suffering
Lastly, you might have pain and suffering damages. These cannot be demonstrated through dollar amounts like medical costs and lost wages. Pain and suffering damages refer to the physical and emotional pain and suffering you experience from your injuries.
Pain and suffering damages might include mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, fear, or humiliation. Your motorcycle accident lawyer will need to help you calculate pain and suffering damages. That typically involves a formula that multiplies your special damages with a number between 1.5 and four, and that number would determine how much your rear-end accident settlement is worth.
How Much Do Lawyers Charge For Accident Claims?
The amount a lawyer charges for an accident claim is usually dependent on their contingency fee. Most injury lawyers work on a contingency, which means they take a percentage of the settlement or award they win for you. It also means that they only charge a fee if they win your case.
What to Know About Contingency Fees
The standard contingency fee for personal injury lawyers is usually about 33% or one-third of whatever they win for you. However, these fees may range from between 25% and 40%.
This fee is contingent on whether or not they win money. If they do win your case, the fee is taken as a percentage of that settlement or award. If they do not win money for you, there is no fee.
The fee might be more or less depending on how far your case progresses. For example, if you settle before filing a lawsuit, the fee might be on the lower side, while a case that goes all the way to trial might dictate a higher fee percentage.
Other Potential Costs
There are some expenses your lawyer might face as they work on your case, such as filing fees, expert witness fees, postage, and more.
Most lawyers will wait until your case is resolved and then deduct these expenses from your settlement or award. You’ll want to ask your lawyer during the consultation about how they handle extra expenses.
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.
Is an Accident Lawyer Worth It?
If you were injured in an auto accident, you might wonder if you really need to worry about hiring a lawyer to help you with your accident claim. Although we understand how it’s tempting to want to handle everything yourself, we strongly recommend working with a lawyer. There are a few reasons for this.
For one, the insurance company will be looking for ways to reduce the value of your claim. They may offer you a lowball settlement and try to convince you it’s a good deal. They might also try to blame you for the accident or downplay your injuries. It’s very hard to know how to deal with these situations and protect your legal rights without a lawyer.
Second, calculating the full value of your damages is complex. You’ll need to know exactly what your claim is worth before filing it, and a lawyer will know how to determine it’s worth. There’s also no risk in hiring a lawyer who works on contingency, as there are no upfront costs and you won’t have to pay the fee unless your lawyer wins money for you.
How Long Do I Have To File A Lawsuit After A Motorcycle Accident?
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is two years from the date of the injury (Georgia Code § 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.
You Might Not Need to Sue
Although you have a right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party if they caused your motorcycle accident injuries, you might not need to do so. The first step is typically to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Through your claim, you can seek compensation for:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage and
- Pain and suffering
If you work with a motorcycle accident lawyer, they can work to communicate with the insurance company and negotiate for a settlement that can help cover your damages. It’s very common for insurance companies to offer you a lowball settlement at first, so you will need to hire a lawyer who knows how to work motorcycle accident cases.
Most motorcycle accident cases end with a settlement. This is ideal since lawsuits can be lengthy, expensive, and stressful. That being said, there are situations where filing a lawsuit is the best decision. For example, if the insurance company refuses to negotiate a settlement that is anywhere close to the full value of your damages, your lawyer might advise suing to try and get better compensation.
Can You Sue For A Rear-End Collision?
If another driver caused your rear-end collision, you have the right to sue them for damages. That being said, you might not need to file a lawsuit if you can get a fair settlement through a personal injury claim. This is often ideal since rear-end accidents tend to be less serious than other types of accidents.
When a rear-end collision involves a motorcycle, the damages can be a lot more severe than if the accident involved two regular-sized vehicles. To help you cover the costs of medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and more, you’ll want to consider your compensation options. In some cases, that can mean suing.
Here’s what to understand about the legal process of filing a claim or suing in a rear-end accident.
Filing the Insurance Claim
The first step towards seeking compensation for your rear-end accident damages is usually filing a personal injury claim with that at-fault driver’s insurance company. In this claim, you’ll need to prove:
- The other driver’s negligence
- The accident was caused by their negligence and
- The damages you suffered as a result of the driver’s negligence
Fault and negligence are often easier to prove in a rear-end accident, as the rear driver is usually at fault. However, it’s still best to hire a lawyer to help you build and file your claim.
Negotiation and Settlement
You’ll file your claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, then the insurer will respond. Most of the time, they will offer you a lowball settlement that doesn’t come close to covering your full damages.
It’s very important that you not accept the first settlement offer or sign anything from the insurance company without speaking to a lawyer first. Your injury lawyer will communicate with the insurance company and work to negotiate a fairer settlement on your behalf. If they are successful, you’ll get paid your settlement and be able to help cover your costs.
Filing a Rear-End Collision Lawsuit
Although most rear-end collision cases are settled through the insurance claim, the insurance company will sometimes refuse to negotiate high enough. If you are not able to get enough compensation through the insurance claim, you might consider filing a lawsuit.
Lawsuits require a lot of time and resources, so you’ll not want to make the decision to sue lightly. Discuss the pros and cons of filing with your personal injury lawyer. They can let you know if you have a strong case and how good your chances are of winning in trial.
Negotiation Before the Trial
If you do file a lawsuit, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll go all the way to court. Most personal injury lawsuits do not go this far. You (and your lawyer) and the insurance company will have opportunities to negotiate before the court date. The insurance company is likely to agree to a higher settlement before going to trial, as they will want to avoid the costs of the trial.
If you do end up taking your case to trial, you’ll want a lawyer who can help you build a strong case and represent you through every step of the process. To schedule a FREE consultation with one of our motorcycle accident lawyers today, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.
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, here are some situations where it’s especially important to get a 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 actually 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 some of 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 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.
To speak to a motorcycle accident lawyer will a 20 plus track record of success, contact John Foy & Associates today. We’ll discuss your case during a FREE consultation, and we don’t charge a fee unless we win you a settlement or award in court. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online today and we’ll schedule your FREE consultation.
Now, here are three factors to consider when looking for the best 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.
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 to 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.
What a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Is
A motorcycle accident lawyer is a personal injury lawyer that specializes in motorcycle accident cases. Personal injury lawyers work within the scope of tort law. Torts are unlawful violations or private legal rights or public duties that result in damages.
A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you recover damages like the following after a motorcycle accident:
- Medical costs
- Prescription medications
- Lost wages or loss of earning capacity
- Property damage and
- Pain and suffering
If someone causes a motorcycle accident because they were negligent, the victim has a legal right to seek compensation for their damages. A motorcycle accident lawyer helps you do this by filing a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. The goal is to make you “whole again” by covering the costs that you faced because of the accident.
Here are some specific details about what a motorcycle accident lawyer does.
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 in the correct way.
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 actually 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.
Where Do Most Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
Motorcycle accidents can occur just about anywhere, but there are certain locations where they are more likely to happen. Since motorcycles are so much smaller than other vehicles and with less protection, motorcycle accidents can be a lot more serious no matter where they happen. Here are some of the places where these types of crashes tend to occur more.
Most motorcycle accidents happen in intersections because:
- A driver turned left without looking for an oncoming motorcyclist
- A driver sideswiped a motorcycle attempting to turn left at the same time
- A driver rear-ended a motorcycle at a stop sign or stoplight at an intersection
Roads or highways with two lanes can be dangerous for any vehicle, but especially so for motorcycles. If another driver drifts too far into the motorcyclist’s lane of traffic, it can lead to an accident that becomes deadly very quickly.
Motorcycle accidents can also occur on interstates or freeways. They might happen because other drivers merge into the next lane without looking in their blind spots first, causing them to miss a motorcycle traveling in that lane.
Accidents on freeways can also happen due to poor road conditions or items on the road like debris, blown tires, or trash. The high speeds that vehicles are traveling on highways coupled with more vehicles traveling at one time make these locations especially dangerous for motorcyclists.
Other Facts About Motorcycle Crashes
It’s also important to note that motorcycle accidents have a much higher fatality rate than other types of accidents. Bikers are also more likely to get injured in accidents and suffer very serious injuries—even if they were wearing protective gear and approved helmets.
This is why motorcyclists should be extremely careful when riding their vehicles and traveling with bigger automobiles on the roads.
How a Lawyer Can Help
If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident and you didn’t cause the crash, you’ll want to seek the help of a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter where your accident happened. If you were not fully at fault, you should not have to pay for the damages.
Although anyone can benefit from the help of an experienced lawyer, motorcyclists are especially in need of legal assistance because of the unfair biases they tend to face from others. Many other drivers and insurance companies might assume that bikers are careless or reckless when driving, which can make it easier to blame the accident on you.
A lawyer can investigate your case, present the facts, and build a strong claim to show what actually happened. Working with a lawyer will give you the best chance of receiving the full compensation you deserve. Just make sure you work with a lawyer who specializes (and has a lot of experience) in motorcycle accident cases. They will know how to handle the complexities of these types of cases and deal with the insurance companies who are looking for ways to pay you less than you deserve.
How Motorcycle Accidents Are Different Than Car Accidents
Although there are fewer motorcycles on the roads than other drivers, there are a large number of motorcycle accidents that happen every year. There are some distinct differences between motorcycle accidents and car accidents. For one, bikers are more likely to be involved in serious accidents that lead to death. They are also more likely to suffer serious injuries or death as a result of alcohol-related accidents.
To compare more differences, let’s look at some of the most common causes of both motorcycle accidents and car accidents.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Most motorcycle accidents are caused by any of the following:
- Alcohol use and/or speeding
- Other drivers making left-hand turns without checking their blind spots
- Lane splitting, which means driving in between two lanes of traffic
- Collisions with fixed objects on the road
- Road hazards like debris, uneven roads, and potholes
Accidents caused by lane splitting are unique to motorcycle accidents, but car accidents can also result from factors like road hazards and fixed objects. However, it’s less common for these things to cause car accidents than motorcycle accidents.
Causes of Car Accidents
The most common cause of car accidents has to do with driver error. Sometimes, car accidents are also caused by brake failure or other car-related issues, weather conditions, and road hazards.
The most common causes of car accidents include:
- Alcohol use and/or speeding
- Distracted driving, such as a driver using their cell phone while driving
- Aggressive driving like failing to yield the right of way or changing lanes frequently
- Driver fatigue
Alcohol use and speeding make up a large portion of both motorcycle and car accidents. Aggressive driving, driver fatigue, and distracted driving are more common with car accidents than motorcycle accidents.
Injuries and Fatalities in Motorcycle Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are about 28 times more likely to be killed, per vehicle miles traveled, in a traffic crash than those in passenger cars.
Even though there are far fewer motorcycles on the roads compared with cars, the rate of death is a lot higher for motorcycle accidents. Injuries are also more common in motorcycle accidents, especially serious injuries. Some of the most common injuries that result from motorcycle accidents include:
- Road rash
- Concussions or other traumatic brain injuries
- Biker’s arm
- Joint injuries
- Broken shoulders and/or pelvis
- Facial disfigurement
Even when a biker is wearing their protective gear, they are more likely to suffer serious injuries than car drivers because they have less protection from the elements and the road during a collision.
Alcohol in Motorcycle Accidents Versus Car Accidents
Although alcohol is commonly involved in both motorcycle accidents and car accidents, it’s more likely to be a factor in motorcycle crashes. In 2018, the percentage of drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.08 in deadly crashes was 25%. Drivers of passenger cars with a BAC of 0.08 or higher were close behind but still smaller at 21%.
So, there are similarities between motorcycle accidents and car accidents, but motorcycle accidents have higher rates of serious injuries, death, and alcohol use.
Can You Sue For Wrongful Death in a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
Yes, certain people are able to sue for wrongful death if a loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident. 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
In order 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, 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?
There is no one way that pain and suffering damages are calculated across the board. 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, they 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 this 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
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 your 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
- And more
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 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 John Foy & Associates today. We can help you seek the compensation you need and deserve. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started today.