Atlanta Motorcycle Injury Lawyers, Dekalb County, GA
Skilled representation for Georgia riders after serious motorcycle crashes
Motorcycle accidents can prove particularly devastating. While car and truck operators have the added protection of their vehicle’s structure, the open nature of a motorcycle places cyclists at a considerable risk of injury and death. The Atlanta injury attorneys of Harris Lowry Manton LLP assist numerous motorcycle accident victims and their loved ones with the financial challenges of a motorcycle accident. If you or a family member was injured, contact our experienced Atlanta motorcycle injury lawyers. We have a proven track record of success in large verdict cases.
Your Questions Answered
- What kind of injuries do motorcycle crashes cause?
- What are Georgia’s helmet and equipment laws?
- What are the common causes of motorcycle accidents in Atlanta?
- How can defective motorcycle parts lead to wrecks?
- What are common roadway hazards in Atlanta?
- How distracted driving can harm Atlanta motorcycle riders
- Why is drunk driving so dangerous for motorcycle riders?
What kind of injuries do motorcycle crashes cause?
The potential severity of a motorcycle accident can lead to various types of life-changing injuries. Harris Lowry Manton LLP lawyers represent many of the most common motorcycle crash injuries, including:
- Wrongful death. If the operator or a passenger was killed, the spouse and children of the deceased victim are entitled to payment for their losses. In some cases, parents may be entitled to compensation, too.
- Traumatic brain injury. If the rider’s head strikes the ground or another vehicle, the rider will likely suffer a concussion or brain damage. In severe cases, the rider can suffer long-term or permanent loss of cognitive abilities, mobility, and/or sight. In some cases, a TBI can lead to a rider’s death.
- Spinal cord damage. Riders who fall off their motorcycle can damage their spinal cord, which supports the neck and back. Complications can include paralysis, loss of bladder and bowel control, breathing and circulatory problems, muscle damage, and depression. A spinal cord injury usually means a lifetime of chronic pain.
- Broken bones.Fractured limbs and broken ribs are a normal consequence of a motorcycle crash. Even when bones heal, which can take months or even years, the victim can live with a lifetime of residual pain.
Other common injuries from a motorcycle crash include:
- Road rash
- Biker’s arm, which is extensive nerve damage to the arm
- Leg injuries, especially if the motorcycle pins the rider against the motorcycle
- Internal bleeding
Through consultations with your medical specialists and life care planners, we work to understand the extent of your injuries and the impact the injuries will have on your future. Our accomplished Atlanta motorcycle injury attorneys build a case that helps you recover the compensation necessary to cope with the financial burdens associated with these serious injuries.
What are Georgia’s helmet and equipment laws?
Georgia law requires that motorcycle operators and passengers wear a helmet that has been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). Riders are also required to wear eye protection gear that has been approved by USDOT. Acceptable eye protection includes safety goggles or wearing a helmet that has a visor. Violators can be subject to fines and jail time, though community service is more the norm. Other motorcycle laws include the following:
- If the headgear has a speaker it must be for the purpose of communicating with other riders and not for listening to music. At high speeds, the wind and traffic noise can make it hard to hear even though the rider is sitting right on the back of the driver.
- The motorcycle must have a windshield unless all riders are wearing proper eyewear protection.
- Motorcycle handlebars cannot be “more than 25 inches in height above that portion of the seat occupied by the operator or with a backrest more commonly known as a sissy bar that is designed in such a way as to create a sharp point at its apex.” ( 40-6-314)
- If the operator is transporting a passenger, the motorcycle must have a footrest. There are exceptions if the motorcycle has a sidecar or a cab that is enclosed.
- The motorcycle must have at least one mirror, left or right, so the operator can see traffic behind him/her.
Motorcycles must also have a driver’s seat that should be used by just one person, unless it is specifically designed for two people. Except for those built before 1972, motorcycles must also have working turn signals. Brake lights are also required.
Contributory negligence if a victim was not wearing a helmet
In some states, the claim of a victim will be completely barred if the rider was not wearing a state-mandated helmet. In Georgia, the failure to wear a helmet is evidence of contributory negligence. A jury can decide that this failure constitutes (for example) 25% negligence, and reduce any award you obtain by 25%. If a jury renders a finding of contributory negligence that is more than 50% or equal to 50%, then the rider, or the rider’s family in death cases, will not be entitled to any award.
What are the common causes of motorcycle accidents in Atlanta?
Depending on the underlying cause, a motorcycle accident case can involve numerous legal issues. The skillful Georgia personal injury attorneys of Harris Lowry Manton LLP have handled a variety of motorcycle accident cases, involving such causes as:
A knowledgeable Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer understands the challenges of proving fault in any accident and works diligently to secure the compensation your injuries deserve.
How can defective motorcycle parts lead to wrecks?
The makers of the bike parts can hire product experts, engineers, and testing professionals to determine if their products are safe. It is for this reason that manufacturers are held strictly liable for defective parts. A product is defective if there is:
- A faulty design. The manufacturer should understand how each part works with other parts of the motorcycle. The parts should be designed to work under stress and in emergency standards. Parts should comply with the industry design standards. Parts should be made to work with different motorcycle types.
- Improper manufacturing. The makers of the motorcycle parts must use quality materials. The metals and other ingredients should be the right material for the right part. Cheap parts save money but take lives.
- Unclear instructions and failures to warn. The instructions should make clear to everyone involved how to operate the part, what the risks and dangers are, and when parts cannot be used with other parts. Warnings should be easy to read and understand.
We work with product safety experts who understand the industry norms, when products may have been subject to a recall, when substandard parts were used, and why the defective part caused the motorcycle to crash.
Types of motorcycle parts that may be defective
Some of the parts of a motorcycle that may cause a driver to lose control include defects to:
- The steering system
- The brakes
- The electrical components
- The engine and throttle
- The tires
- The handlebars
- The fuel systems
Helmets, goggles, and other safety gear can also fail at the most crucial time.
What are common roadway hazards in Atlanta?
Some hazards may be avoidable with preparation. Other road dangers are unavoidable. Our Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyers handle the following types of road hazard motorcycle crash cases:
- Irregular roads. Roads that are not level, highways that have not been repaired after a winter of bad weather or a spring of pouring rain, and roads that need to be resurfaced pose dangerous risks to all motorcycle operators.
- Lanes that have different heights. Sometimes one lane will be lower than an adjacent lane due to repairs, construction work, or other reasons. When the motorcycle operator passes, or needs to switch lanes, an accident can occur.
- Gravelly roads. Rural roads and roads that have just been fixed often have loose gravel, which can be extremely difficult for the motorcycle to avoid or ride over.
- Potholes. Every driver of any vehicle has had to deal with potholes — some small and some much harder to avoid. For the motorcycle operator, just one pothole can cause the driver to spill, causing death or other injuries.
- Roadkill. Dead animals can lay on the road for weeks. A motorcycle simply does not have the suspension or breadth to be able to ride over a dead animal without risking life and limb.
- Oil slicks. After any rain, the mixture of oil and water can cause the motorcycle operator to hydroplane when the tire hits the slick. When the operator tries to steer or brake, the slick can cause the driver to slide and crash. Slick surfaces are especially dangerous when the driver is making a turn.
Other road hazards include expansion joints and bridge joints, which can make it tough for the operator to navigate. Snow and ice are constant dangers in the winter. Leaves and debris, such as rocks, tree branches, and spilled cargo, are hazardous. Trolley and railway tracks can also be dangerous for motorcycles to pass over.
Who is liable for motorcycle wrecks caused by dangerous roads?
Our Atlanta motorcycle crash attorneys bring legal claims on behalf of passengers, riders, and families:
- Lawsuits against the government. The state of Georgia, a local county, a city, or other public entity may be responsible if they could have, and should have, designed a better road or placed appropriate warning signs.
- Public entities. The state, county, city, or other public agency that maintains the roadway might have behaved negligently if it should have known about the hazard and could have done something to prevent the problem. Sometimes, prevention is as simple as posting a warning sign.
- Private individuals or businesses. Other individuals or businesses might have been negligent. For example, if a biker crashes when he/she hits a tree that falls out of a landscaper’s truck on the freeway, the landscaper might be liable for the biker’s injuries.
- The driver. If a passenger falls off a motorcycle because the operator failed to navigate a road hazard, then we can often show that the driver was negligent. Motorcycle operators should anticipate dangerous road conditions. They should avoid heavy traffic, allow for alternate routes and safe distances to avoid hitting the hazard, and should drive at slow enough speeds to manage the hazard. When operators are negligent or careless, motorcycle passengers have the right to hold the driver and the motorcycle owner accountable.
How distracted driving can harm Atlanta motorcycle riders
Some forms of distracted driving are completely inexcusable. Drivers who operate their vehicle while intoxicated should be held fully accountable for the harm they cause. Every driver should understand that texting while driving is extremely dangerous, as is eating, fiddling with GPS or radio, and paying more attention to passengers than the road. Any activity that shifts the driver’s eyes and removes one or both hands from the steering wheel is considered distracted driving.
Our Atlanta distracted driving lawyers file claims against all responsible parties. While the distracted driver is the primary responsible party, others may be liable too, including:
- Anyone or any entity who knowingly served alcohol to someone who was intoxicated may be liable.
- Owners of the vehicle may be liable, on the theory that they should have supervised and educated the driver about the dangers of distracted driving.
- Trucking companies can be liable if they pressured a driver to operate a truck at high speeds or while fatigued in order to meet unreasonable shipping deadlines.
Why is drunk driving so dangerous for motorcycle riders?
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that 375 Georgians died in drunk driving crashes in 2018, a 5% increase from 2017. Alcohol consumption affects every factor of driving:
- Depth perception
- Reaction time
- The ability to control the vehicle
- The ability to respond to emergencies
- The ability to make rational decisions
Drunk drivers may speed, run red lights, drive in the wrong lanes, and swerve in and out of traffic. They fail to look out for other drivers and do not anticipate that there will be motorcycles on the road.
Georgia has a dram shop law that provides that the victim of the motorcycle accident can hold a seller (such as a tavern, liquor store, or restaurant) liable if the seller knowingly served someone who is noticeably intoxicated or willingly served a minor under 21 — provided the seller knew the driver was going to operate his/her vehicle. Social hosts can also be held liable under the same conditions. Owners of the vehicle that struck the motorcycle can also be held liable if they knowingly let someone who was intoxicated drive the vehicle.
Secure the services of highly skilled lawyers for your Georgia motorcycle injury case
The potential consequences of a motorcycle accident can be catastrophic, or even fatal. The Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyers of Harris Lowry Manton LLP are known for their effective trial practice and high commitment to their clients. Our lawyers have successfully pursued more than $750 million in verdicts and settlements. Put our experience to work in your case. Call us today at our Atlanta office at 404-961-7650 or our Savannah office at 912-651-9967, or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.