When you ride your motorcycle for the first time on the Rockdale County roads and highways, you feel free and in control. The thought of needing a Conyers motorcycle accident lawyer does not even cross your mind.
However, accidents happen frequently in Georgia, and many of them have devastating consequences. When they do, the best thing you can do is to call a motorcycle accident attorney in Conyers, Georgia in order to find out what your rights are and fight for them.
Motorcycle Accident Causes, Consequences, and the Role of the Conyers Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
In Georgia, motorcycles are a common means of transportation. There are approximately 200,000 motorcycles registered throughout the state, many of them in Rockdale County. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia reports that motorcyclists represent over 10% of all motor vehicle fatalities occurring throughout the state every year.
According to the same source, in Rockdale County, the number of motorcycle accidents has been on the rise throughout these past few years, keeping Conyers motorcycle accident lawyers busier than ever. Alcohol seems to be the main cause of motorcycle accidents.
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety reports that alcohol-related motorcycles fatalities have been increasing steadily since 2008 in Georgia. In 2015, 25% of the motorcycle riders who died in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 and above. Results are probably similar among survivors, as well.
While the effects of alcohol on attention and reflexes are well-known, the fact that a motorcyclist had a beer or two before an accident does not mean they caused the accident. However, the presence of alcohol in your blood will not look good, and everyone else involved in the accident may try to use it in their favor. They may succeed, unless an experienced motorcycle accident attorney steps in.
In order to understand how alcohol consumption can impact a motorcycle accident case, you need to understand Georgia laws and how they apply to motorcycle accidents. Here are the two basic principles our motorcycle accident lawyers explain first to our clients, the ones every motorcyclist and driver should understand:
- The party at fault for the motorcycle accident covers the economic and non-economic damages.
- Several parties can share fault and damages liability in the same accident.
This means that, in order to avoid or minimize liability, every party will try to prove that the other party was as much at fault as possible. Without the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer, the presence of alcohol in your blood may cost you your right to compensation, even if you did not really cause the accident.
Besides alcohol consumption, other common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
Both drivers and motorcyclists can get distracted and fail to notice an approaching hazard, yield right of passage, or maintain a safe distance from other vehicles in traffic. Any rider distracted in traffic and involved in a collision will benefit from the assistance of a motorcycle accident lawyer.
Speed helps people reach their destination faster, but it also takes away reaction time and the ability to prevent accidents, all while increasing the impact and force any resulting accident would have. Since speeding can easily qualify as a failure to exercise reasonable care or negligence in an accident, anyone guilty of it should have an experienced motorcycle wreck lawyer on their side.
Sometimes, emergencies occur, or obligations step in and force people to get on the road even though they are tired and unable to focus. One second of dozing off or wiping one’s eyes can be enough for someone to lose control of their vehicle or fail to notice an immediate threat. However, driver fatigue can be difficult to prove, so those trying to should consider enlisting the services of a motorcycle accident attorney.
Improperly maintained vehicles
Both cars and motorcycles need periodical maintenance and repairs in order to function at their best. Failure to provide them on the owner’s part qualifies as negligence and can lead to accidents. Just imagine driving a car without brakes, or riding a motorcycle without lights and reflectors.
No matter how your accident occurred and who was at fault for it, you should always seek the advice of a car accident lawyer. In traffic accidents, motorcyclists usually incur severe injuries and damages, which should be compensated adequately. A motorcycle wreck lawyer can help you obtain fair compensation.
They will take over the paperwork, explain all applicable laws and regulations, advise you what to do every step of the way, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and, if you cannot reach an acceptable settlement, take your case to court.
At The Weinstein Firm, we have discovered that many motorcyclists give in to pain and pressure if they do not have a motorcycle accident lawyer on their side in the moments after the accident and neglect to do important things. Others make mistakes that negatively impact their compensation claim.
That is why we have put together lists of steps to take and mistakes motorcyclists should avoid immediately after an accident. This advice should keep you from undermining your chances of obtaining fair compensation for your motorcycle accident claim.
Steps to Take After an Accident When Your Motorcycle Accident Attorney is Not Present
If you have experienced a motorcycle accident you should:
Remain at the scene of the accident.
According to GA Code § 40-6-270 (2016), the drivers of all motor vehicles involved in accidents resulting in property damages, injuries, or death should stop and remain at the accident scene. If you think you are at fault for the accident, running away will not help, but contacting a motorcycle wreck lawyer certainly will.
Make sure everyone is safe.
If there are any injuries, a call to 911 should be enough to secure medical assistance. Failure to secure medical assistance for the injured could be considered an act of negligence. If you or a passenger on your motorcycle have any injuries, then it is important that you are seen right away.
Report the accident.
If the accident caused injuries or damages exceeding $500, you need to report it to the police so they can send one of their officers to investigate it and file a report. Your Georgia motorcycle accident lawyer will need that report to justify your compensation claim later on.
Move drivable vehicles to clear the roadway.
Leaving your motorcycle in the middle of the road could block traffic or, worse, cause accidents. It is better to move it out of the way. The only exception to the rule, one you may want to confirm with your motorcycle accident lawyer if you are not sure it applies to your case, falls under GA Code § 40-6-275 (2016). According to it, you should not move vehicles involved in accidents that led to serious injuries or death before the arrival of the investigating officer, to allow them to collect evidence.
Obtain and provide information.
Once everyone is safe, the road is clear, and you have notified the police about the accident, you need as much information as possible to enable your motorcycle wreck lawyer to file the accident claim on your behalf. Gather the following information from everyone present at the accident scene, especially from the parties at fault:
- Names, addresses, phone numbers, and social security numbers
- Vehicle registration numbers and driving licenses
- Insurance policy type, number, and validity period, insurer name and contact information (if applicable)
In turn, you should provide this information to the other parties as well, along with your motorcycle accident attorney’s information if you already have one.
Gather evidence from the accident scene.
Knowing how the accident happened is not enough. You and your motorcycle accident lawyer will have to prove it. Therefore, take photos of the vehicles involved, of the accident scene, look for cameras covering the area where the accident took place and obtain copies of their recordings, and document the damages. It also helps to identify any eyewitnesses and obtain their contact information in case you will need their testimonies.
Remain calm and polite.
Your life was in danger, and perhaps your motorcycle was damaged beyond repair. You are angry, in pain, frustrated, and worried. It’s normal to lose your temper and take it out on everyone around, especially the party at fault. However, you should avoid this at all costs and instead, focus on finding an experienced motorcycle wreck lawyer. People say and do things they do not mean when they are angry, but such things could cost you serious money. It is better to walk away than jeopardize your claim and make your case more difficult.
Mistakes to Avoid After an Accident When Your Attorney is Not Present
Under no circumstances should you do any of the following immediately following an accident.
Apologizing or expressing regret
While you may genuinely feel sorry that someone else incurred injuries or damages, the other parties may consider your words an acceptance of fault. A simple “I’m sorry” can compromise your claim and allow the other party to state that you were well aware that you were at fault for the motorcycle accident.
The other driver involved in the accident may suggest that you were riding your motorcycle too fast, failed to yield the right of way, changed direction without signaling, or made other dangerous maneuvers in traffic. You may be tempted to accept their suggestions because you are so disoriented, but anything you say can be used against you and make it more difficult for your motorcycle accident lawyer to prove you have little or no fault. It is best to politely dismiss any suggestions or accusations and avoid further discussion.
Giving too many details
When the police officers arrive at the accident scene, or an insurance agent starts asking you questions, do not lose yourself in details and explanations. Answer the questions of the police officers as shortly and as clearly as possible, and tell the insurance agents you will answer their questions and hear their arguments after you see your doctor and consult your motorcycle wreck lawyer.
If you follow the suggested steps and avoid these mistakes, you should have a solid claim. By avoiding mistakes that could make your case more difficult, you increase the chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve and make it much easier for your Georgia motorcycle accident lawyer to do their job.
Motorcycle Accident Claim Procedures and Timeline
Here is a brief outline of the motorcycle claim process:
Before you can request compensation for any damages and injuries, you need to assess their value. This means quantifying motorcycle repair or replacement costs, medical bills, treatment costs, home care and disability adjustment expenses, lost wages, and physical and emotional pain and suffering. All these expenses will need supporting evidence, so it is better to analyze them with a motorcycle accident lawyer who has handled similar cases and can add value to your compensation.
You can file the claim against the party at fault, their insurer, or your own insurer, depending on the type of coverage available and the circumstances of the accident. Usually, the safest approach is to file the claim against an insurance company. The deadline for filing the claim, according to the Georgia statute of limitations, is two years for injuries and four years for damages. However, our motorcycle accident lawyers have found that waiting too long to file a claim can lead to forgetting details and losing evidence and witnesses, so sooner is better.
Upon receiving your claim, the insurance company will analyze it, investigate it, and provide an answer. This answer can be a rejection letter announcing that they find your claim unjustified and they will not pay any compensation, a settlement offer proposing an amount of money in exchange for you dropping your claim, or an invitation to negotiations. An experienced motorcycle wreck lawyer usually knows how to formulate a claim in order to avoid its rejection.
If the insurer’s claim adjuster rejects your claim or you find their offer unacceptable, you can appeal their decision to their claims supervisor. If the latter’s decision is not acceptable either, you can take your case to court. Insurance companies usually try to avoid court trials, so, with a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer on your side, you should be able to obtain a favorable outcome.
The first settlement offer you receive from the insurance company is often just an invitation to further negotiations. You should continue the negotiations with the help of a Conyers accident attorney until you obtain a satisfactory amount, one that will at least allow you to cover your expenses and get back on your feet. How big or small this amount usually depends on the evidence you have and the experience of your lawyer.
Get Help with Your Conyers Claim by Reaching Out to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
At The Weinstein Firm, our Conyers, Georgia motorcycle accident lawyers have helped a number of Georgia residents obtain the compensation they deserve after a motorcycle accident. All you need to do in order to benefit from our services is to call and schedule a consultation with our Conyers motorcycle accident lawyer. The first consultation is free, and we work on a contingency fee, meaning that you only pay us when we win. Call our office now, and schedule the free case evaluation.