Common Motorcycle Accident Causes in Georgia
Many factors distinguish motorcycle accidents from other types of motor-vehicle crashes. Motorcycles offer less protection to riders than other motor vehicles offer their drivers, meaning injuries are often more severe in motorcycle accidents.
Motorcycles can also stop more quickly than cars and have a smaller visual profile on the road, both of which place them at risk of collision with careless drivers.
These factors and others mean that accident causes and outcomes are usually very different for motorcycles compared to cars and other vehicles. That’s why if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, you need a lawyer who understands the unique challenges facing motorcycle riders.
At Geiger Legal Group, LLC, we’re very familiar with the unique legal aspects of motorcycle accident cases. If you’ve been hurt in a crash, we can review your case and let you know if you may be entitled to compensation.
Common Ways Other Drivers Cause Motorcycle Crashes
Many motorcycle crashes are caused by another vehicle (usually a car or a truck) violating the motorcyclist’s right-of-way. This happens in 70 percent of crashes involving a motorcycle and another vehicle.
Here are some of the most common ways other drivers cause motorcycle crashes:
- Left-turn accidents – One of the most common types of motorcycle accidents is when a driver who is turning left crashes into an oncoming motorcyclist going straight through an intersection. Even though the motorcyclist has the right-of-way in situations like these, a careless driver might not see them or make the turn in time to avoid striking the motorcyclist.
- Head-on collisions – Because motorcycles are smaller than cars or trucks, a careless driver may not use appropriate caution to look out for a motorcyclist coming toward them, especially if it’s dark. Head-on collisions are especially deadly.
- Rear-end collisions – Motorcycles can stop much more quickly than cars, which may catch unprepared drivers unawares. A driver who is making a phone call, texting, or otherwise distracted may not notice that the motorcycle in front of them has stopped until it’s too late to take action.
- Speeding and reckless driving – A driver who is speeding, changing lanes aggressively, not using their turn signal, or engaging in otherwise dangerous behavior may collide with a motorcycle. Excess speed can make injuries worse than they otherwise would have been.
- Drunk and drug-impaired driving – A driver who has been drinking or using drugs may not see a motorcyclist and collide with them, or their reaction time may not be quick enough to avoid an accident.
- Distracted driving – Texting while driving, talking on the phone while driving, eating or drinking while driving, and similar actions all make it harder for a driver to see what’s coming and react in time. This could easily lead to a collision with a motorcyclist.
- Driving while fatigued or falling asleep at the wheel – Drivers who go too long without taking a break can find their reflexes and reaction times compromised, which can cause an accident. If they fall asleep completely while at the wheel, they may drift and strike a motorcyclist in the lane next to theirs. Commercial truck drivers are particularly susceptible to accidents due to driving while fatigued, as their tight delivery schedules may cause them to keep driving past the point when they should stop to take a break.
These aren’t the only ways in which another driver can cause a motorcycle accident. If you have any questions about your motorcycle crash, speak to an attorney right away. Georgia’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years, meaning you have two years from the date of the motorcycle accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Make sure you hire an attorney as soon as possible to get your claim moving.
Other Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Statistics related to motorcycle accidents underscore the dangers that riders face every day on the roads in Georgia and the U.S.:
- The Insurance Information Institute (III) reported that there were 5,172 fatal motorcycle crashes in one recent year, which equates to a fatality rate of 59.34 deaths per 100,000 registered motorcycles. The number of accidents and the fatality rate are both down slightly from the previous year, when there were 5,337 fatalities for a rate of 61.49 deaths per 100,000 registered motorcycles.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motorcyclists make up 14 percent of all traffic fatalities nationwide, even though motorcycles only make up 3 percent of all registered vehicles on U.S. roads. The fatality rate for motorcyclists is 6 times that of passenger car occupants.
- Among the fatal motorcycle accidents that occurred, 60% occurred in an urban area, 35% occurred at an intersection, and 38% took place when it was dark outside, according to a report from NHTSA.
- According to NHTSA, the most harmful event for motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes are collisions with motor vehicles in transport. This accounted for 57% of fatal crashes.
- In two-vehicle crashes, 76 percent of the motorcycles involved in vehicle crashes were impacted in the front, and 7 percent were impacted in the rear.
- Of the 5,172 motorcycle fatalities, 94 percent were riders, and 6 percent were passengers.
- While helmet laws are a touchy subject among motorcyclists, the data seem to show that wearing a helmet makes it much more likely that you will survive a serious crash. In one NHTSA study, officials reported that helmets saved about 1,630 lives across the United States in a single year. The study also reported that there were 150 motorcyclist deaths in states with universal helmet laws and 1,704 deaths in states without universal helmet laws. That means about 11 times as many motorcyclists died in states that don’t require helmets compared with those states that do. In Georgia, motorcyclists are legally required to wear a helmet.
Georgia’s Negligence Laws
What if you were partly at fault in your motorcycle accident? Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence rule. What this means is that if you were found to be partially responsible for your accident and injuries, your damages awarded will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Under Georgia law, you would only be eligible for compensation if you were found to be 49 percent or less responsible for the damages claimed. If you were found to be 50 percent or more at fault, you would lose the right to recovery.
Contact Our Canton Motorcycle Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, you already know that you have a long, challenging road ahead. You may have suffered serious injuries. You’re likely to be missing work for a while, and those medical bills are likely already piling up. You need all the help you can get.
The right motorcycle accident lawyer can make all the difference. At Geiger Legal Group, LLC, helping motorcycle accident victims is one of the core focus areas for our firm.
Even if what happened to you doesn’t match one of the situations we’ve listed, give us a call. We can go over what happened and let you know what types of damages you may be entitled to.
We’ll handle all the communication between you and any other parties involved in your claim, we’ll make sure all your paperwork is filed on time. We’ll work hard to seek a settlement for you that covers the full extent of the losses you’ve sustained.
Our firm provides prompt, professional to every one of our clients. We’re a family-run firm that takes a collaborative approach to all of our cases. Our first priority is providing quality legal services to anyone who needs our help. If you’re ready to speak with a lawyer regarding your motorcycle accident, please contact us right away. To schedule your free initial consultation, call us or fill out our contact form.