Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Attorney
In 2018, 154 Georgians lost their lives in a motorcycle accident. Between 134 and 138 of the riders were wearing a helmet; even when helmeted, a motorcycle crash can be deadly. Motorcycles make up two percent of registered vehicles in Georgia. They are involved in about one percent of crashes in the state but account for closer to 10% of all traffic fatalities.
Motorcycle riders have a reputation for being aggressive or reckless drivers, even outlaws. But most experienced riders are well-trained and skilled at handling their bikes safely, and most go out of their way to avoid a crash with a car or truck, knowing they are the ones likely to come out the worst in any collision. But even skilled, diligent, defensive riding can’t save a biker from a negligent, drunk or distracted driver.
If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident or lost a loved one because of another driver’s negligence, you are likely to find yourself dealing with astronomical medical costs, lost income either temporarily or permanently, pain and suffering, and a long-term disruption in your life. A civil claim or lawsuit against the negligent driver and their insurance company can help you obtain significant compensation that holds that driver responsible and gives you the financial assistance you need to deal with your injuries and move on with your life. The Atlanta motorcycle accident attorneys at Durham Law Group have the knowledge, skills, experience and dedication needed to help you be successful on your claim, whether settling out of court or going to trial. Call us at 404-845-3434 for a free consultation to find out how we can help.
Important Facts About Georgia Motorcycle Laws
Motorcycles are classified as motor vehicles in Georgia, so any traffic laws that relate to vehicles in general or motor vehicles, in particular, apply to motorcycles as well as cars. Below is a look at some of the Georgia laws that specifically reference motorcycles and motorcycle safety. These laws can be found in the Georgia Code at Title 40, Chapter 6, Article 13, Part 2, sections 310 through 316.
Motorcycle riders have all of the rights and are subject to all of the duties that apply to the driver of any other vehicle, except for special laws that apply specifically to motorcycles or other laws that don’t apply to motorcycles by their nature.
Riders must only ride on the regular seat attached to the bike and designed for them, including drivers and passengers alike. Riders must sit astride the bike with one leg on either side (no riding sidesaddle) and facing forward. Operators should not carry any person or thing that keeps them from having both hands on the handlebars or would hamper their control of the bike. Footwear other than or in addition to socks is required.
Motorcyclists are entitled to occupy the center of the lane, and it’s illegal for another driver to squeeze or push them out of having their own lane. Motorcycles passing another vehicle have to do so from another lane and not the lane the vehicle is in. Motorcycles are prohibited from driving between lanes of traffic or adjacent lines or rows of vehicles (no lane-splitting or whitelining). Motorcyclists can ride two abreast in a single lane, but no more than two may ride abreast. Headlights and taillights should be on at all times.
It’s illegal for motorcyclists to attach themselves or their bikes to any other vehicle on the roadway.
Passengers must have footrests unless they are riding in a sidecar or enclosed cab. Handlebars more than 25 inches above the seat are prohibited, as are backrests (sissy bars) designed in such a way as to create a sharp point at their apex.
Protective headgear that conforms to Georgia state standards is required to ride a motorbike in the state. Approved eye protection is also required unless the motorcycle is equipped with a windshield. If you were wondering about Georgia’s helmet law, this is it. Helmets are required and have been for more than 50 years.
Georgia’s Helmet Law and Comparative Negligence
Wearing a helmet is required for motorcycle riders in Georgia. If you were injured in an accident and were not wearing a helmet, your right to recover compensation from the other driver might be limited, even if the accident were entirely their fault. If you suffered a head injury or other injury attributed to the fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet, your damages could be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to not wearing a helmet. If a lack of a helmet is 50% or more responsible for causing the injury, then you can’t recover any compensation for the injury under Georgia law. For other injuries that were not affected by a lack of helmet (e.g., a broken leg), not wearing a helmet shouldn’t impact your ability to recover full compensation from the at-fault driver.
For some types of injuries, it can be disputed whether wearing a helmet would have prevented the injury. Even for a head injury, there can be disagreement about how much a helmet would have helped. If your case goes to trial, a jury will decide issues like this based on the evidence presented by both parties. At Durham Law Group, our seasoned Atlanta motorcycle accident attorneys will work with medical experts and motorcycle accident experts as needed to prove your case and recover the most compensation available. Severe injuries are costly in terms of medical expenses, rehabilitation, lost income or disability, pain and suffering, and more. We want you to have the resources you need to recover to the maximum extent possible and move forward with the best quality of life you can achieve.
Help Is Available After an Atlanta Motorcycle Accident
If you or a family member has been injured or worse in an Atlanta motorcycle accident, call the Durham Law Group at 404-845-3434 for a no-cost consultation with an experienced and successful Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney. We don’t charge a fee until we recover compensation on your behalf.