If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident in the Smyrna area, you may be worried about how you are going to pay all of those medical bills. And you may be angry as well, or doubting yourself. Who really caused the accident? Should I take the money the insurance company offered? Do I need a Smyrna motorcycle accident lawyer? Our accident law firm can help you answer some of those questions with a free consultation.
Smyrna was recently rated one of the top places to live in the United States, and we’re one of the fastest growing cities in the state of Georgia. But of course, the more crowded the Cobb Parkway and The Perimeter get, the more likely you are to be in an accident. And unfortunately, motorcycle riders usually come out on the losing end in any traffic accident.
How is a Motorcycle Accident Different Than Other Accidents?
In a passenger car, SUV or truck, you’re protected by the steel frame of the vehicle. You likely are also protected by seat belts and air bags. But on a motorcycle, even if you’re wearing a helmet as required by Georgia’s helmet law, and you’re wearing protective clothing, you are at risk for serious injuries if you’re involved in an accident. You can be thrown from your bike in even a relatively minor motorcycle accident, or your bike can get caught up in another vehicle and you could be dragged down the road.
Even if the people in the car or truck don’t suffer a scratch, motorcycle drivers can be seriously injured or even killed in a traffic accident.
Determining Who is at Fault
Most drivers, and sometimes the police, are quick to blame a motorcycle driver for causing a accident. But in a majority of motorcycle accidents, the other driver is at fault. Sometimes they don’t even see a motorcycle driver and cut them off while making a left turn, or hit them while changing lanes.
It’s important that you or the other driver call the police after an accident, so there is an investigation of precisely what happened. If the other driver is found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, you will be entitled to collect damages from them or their insurance company. Georgia is an “at fault” state when it comes to traffic accidents, though, which means if you are found to be partially at fault, any damages you are eligible to collect would be reduced by the proportion you were at fault. This is called proportional comparative fault. For example, say you were awarded $10,000 in damages. If you were 10% at fault, you would receive $9,000, since 10% of $10,000 is $1,000.
Do I Really Need a Lawyer?
If that last paragraph sort of made your head spin, you can see the wisdom in working with a motorcycle accident lawyer. Proving who is at fault in an accident can be difficult, but a good lawyer will review the police report, interview witnesses and conduct their own investigation to make sure you get the compensation you’re entitled to.
What Do I Tell the Insurance Companies?
It’s also a good idea to refer any insurance company inquiries about your accident to your lawyer. You have to report the accident to your insurance company, but you are not required to talk to the other driver’s insurance company. If they call you to offer a settlement, don’t accept it without consulting a motorcycle accident lawyer first. And don’t sign anything that takes away your right to sue for damages in the future. Many times, insurance companies make a quick, low-ball offer in the hopes that you will take it and sign away your rights.
But you may have future medical problems related to your injuries, or you may have lost wages as a result, and these initial insurance settlements frequently fail to take future costs into account. A good motorcycle accident lawyer has the experience you need to see the big picture, and take all factors into account to negotiate a fair settlement. And a lawyer can sue on your behalf, if the settlement offer won’t cover your losses and future needs.
What Compensation Can I Get After a Motorcycle Accident?
If the other driver is found to be at fault, you are entitled to a variety of compensation, including:
Medical expenses include things like:
- Ambulance costs
- Hospital bills
- Doctor’s bills
- Physical therapy costs
- Prescription medication
- Future medical costs as determined by medical experts
- And more
You will be entitled to compensation for lost wages as a result of your accident and subsequent medical care. You may also be entitled to compensation for future lost wages, based on the severity of your injuries and the type of work you do.
You are also entitled to seek damages for the cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle and any other property including your helmet, clothing or anything you might have been carrying in a tail bag or saddle bags.
Talk to a Smyrna Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Free
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, consulting with a Smyrna motorcycle accident lawyer may be the best decision you make after your accident. Our lawyers have been helping motorcycle accident victims for many years. We’d like to put our experience to work for you, by offering a FREE case evaluation to help you figure out the next steps to take in your case.