A motorcyclist is more likely to be seriously hurt or killed if he or she gets into an accident. Riders understand the risks they take, but they may not know what to do if they’re injured. They also may not know the rules of the road, and what ignoring them could mean to an accident case. If you’re a motorcyclist and you’ve been in an accident, let a skilled motorcycle accident attorney in Georgia help.
Motorcycles are smaller, more maneuverable vehicles that do not have the same physical protections as automobiles. For that reason, special laws govern motorcycle use. Riders should be familiar with the Georgia Motorcycle Operators Manual which address everything from licensing to operation of a motorcycle.
For instance, properly fitted helmets – compliant with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations – are required. Face and eye protection are also required, but to be effective it must:
- Be free of scratches
- Be resistant to penetration
- Give a clear view to either side
- Fasten securely to prevent being blown off during riding
- Permit air to pass through in order to reduce fogging
- Permit enough room for eyeglasses or sunglasses, if they are needed
One particular area that gets motorcyclists in trouble and jeopardizes their safety involves proper use of traffic lanes. Lane-splitting is the act of traveling between vehicles by riding along the white lines that divide lanes. In other words, it helps a rider go between stopped cars and proceed forward even in stopped traffic. Lane-splitting is illegal in Georgia, one reason being that a motorcyclist could collide with a car changing lanes.
Lane-sharing, on the other hand, is legal in the state. That practice involves no more than two motorcyclists riding side by side in the same traffic lane. One reason Georgia allows this is because at night, a motorist can see the two tail lights of two motorcycles. This makes driving safer for the motorcyclist and the automobile.
Motorcyclists who are found to be violating any traffic laws could find it difficult to win compensation after an accident. That’s because Georgia follows something called modified comparative negligence. In cases where the accident victim is partially to blame, he or she has to share liability. For example, if a motorcyclist is 10% responsible for the accident, the at-fault party’s liability is reduced by 10%. If your accident losses were $50,000, the at-fault party is only responsible for $45,000 ($50,000 minus 10%, or $5,000).
But it’s also important to know that if a motorcyclist is more than 50% liable, he or she cannot recover. That means you will not win compensation if the accident was mostly your fault. And liability can be pinned on a motorcyclist for violating any traffic laws that apply to them. This includes:
- Reckless driving
- Disobeying traffic signs or signals
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Not using a turn signal
- Not paying attention
- Having a poorly maintained motorcycle
Of course, insurance companies love to blame motorcyclists for accidents. The insurance company’s goal is to minimize its financial responsibility and get rid of your case as quickly as possible. After a wreck, you may be contacted by an insurance adjuster and asked to give a recorded statement. However, this statement could be used against you later. Contact an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney before you speak to the insurance company.
Representing Motorcycle Accident Victims Throughout Georgia
Schneider Hammers understands the laws that apply to motorcycles, as well as the tricks insurance companies use to deny responsibility. You need serious legal representation to ensure you recover the damages you deserve. If you’ve been involved in an accident, give us a call and let us help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.