The Atlanta motorcycle accident attorneys at Cruz & Associates have more than 25 years of experience in handling all types of vehicle accident claims, and we know the challenges facing motorcycle accident victims. Many residents of the Atlanta area enjoy motorcycling for leisure or an alternative to typical passenger cars. While riding a motorcycle can be fun and exhilarating, it’s vital to remember the inherently dangerous nature of these vehicles. Motorcyclists should have some idea of what to do after a crash and how to protect their legal rights.

Injuries and Damages in Motorcycle Crashes

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the number of deaths per mile traveled in 2015 was 29 times higher for motorcycles than other passenger vehicles. Most motorcycle accidents involve a motorcycle and one other vehicle or multiple vehicles. Unlike other passenger vehicles, motorcycles do not offer their riders any protection from external forces. While a car’s occupants may escape fatal injury thanks to the frame and outer shell of the vehicle cushioning a crash impact, motorcyclists are completely exposed and vulnerable to crash impacts and injuries from falling off their bikes at high speeds.

Most motorcycle accidents cause injuries such as broken bones, lacerations, friction burns or “road rash” from sliding on asphalt, burns, internal organ damage, spinal injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. Fatalities are more common for riders who do not wear helmets, and the IIHS reports that helmets are about 67% effective in preventing head injuries to motorcyclists in crashes.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes in Atlanta

Motorcycle accidents happen mostly for the same reasons as other car crashes, such as distracted driving, aggressive driving, speeding, and driving under the influence of alcohol. However, there are some unique dangers that cause accidents more often for motorcyclists. For example, left-hand turns are dangerous situations for motorcyclists. A car traveling in the opposite lane may not notice the motorcycle turning before passing through the intersection, causing an accident.

Many motorcycle injuries occur due to the motorcyclist’s failure to wear appropriate safety equipment. Georgia state law requires all motorcycle operators and passengers to wear Department of Transportation-approved helmets at all times while riding. Failure to wear an appropriate helmet can not only put a motorcyclist’s life at risk, it can also hurt his or her chances in a future motorcycle accident lawsuit. Georgia follows a contributory negligence law, meaning plaintiffs may still recover damages from accidents they partially cause.

A jury will assess the situation and assign a fault percentage to the plaintiff. As long as the plaintiff is less at fault for the accident than the defendant, the plaintiff can still secure compensation. However, the amount of compensation drops according to the plaintiff’s fault percentage. In a $50,000 lawsuit in which the plaintiff is 10% at fault, the plaintiff would only receive $45,000, or 10% less than the original award to reflect the plaintiff’s fault percentage.

Filing a Lawsuit for a Motorcycle Accident Injury

If you have suffered injuries and other damages in a motorcycle accident, your first priority should be to seek medical attention. Even if you believe your injuries to be mild, visiting a doctor is a wise decision. Your doctor can check for injuries that may not have manifested noticeable symptoms yet and seeking immediate medical attention will bolster your credibility in court. If you delay, the jury may assume your injuries were not as bad as you claimed.

Reach out to the team at Cruz & Associates to discuss your case with one of our motorcycle accident lawyers today. We offer free case evaluations to potential new clients, and one of our attorneys can meet with you at our office, your home, or the hospital if that is most convenient for you. We’ll review your situation and let you know what type of compensation you could expect from a successful lawsuit.