According to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, there are almost 200,000 motorcycles in the state of Georgia. While driving a motorcycle can be a freeing, fun experience – when there are inexperienced or inattentive drivers, it can be a dangerous or even deadly experience.
According to the same report, there were 138 motorcycle fatalities in the state in 2015. When these injuries occur, many victims of motorcycle accidents understandably want to hold the reckless driver responsible. If you or a loved one suffered an injury in an accident, an Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney may be able to help you.
Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Laws
In Atlanta, most damages recovered from motorcycle accidents are under a theory of negligence. In order to recover compensation for any damages, the motorcyclist must first prove the other driver owed them a duty of care.
This is a fairly easy element of the negligence claim to satisfy, when a person decides to get behind the wheel and drive on Atlanta roadways, they must behave as a reasonable person would. This means driving the speed limit, obeying the traffic laws, and paying attention to the road. This reasonable person standard is a duty owed to all other drivers, pedestrians, and motorcyclists on the road.
Next, the motorcyclist must prove the driver breached this duty of care. A breach is any behavior below what society would expect of a reasonable person. Common breaches in a negligence action include:
- Going faster than the posted speed limit
- Ignoring traffic signs or lights
- Being distracted or impaired by drugs or alcohol
Lastly, the motorcyclist must prove that the driver’s breach of their duty of care caused their injuries. The easiest way to gauge whether someone’s actions caused an injury is to do a “but for” test. If the driver’s negligent action not have occurred, would the person have suffered the same injuries? If not, then it is likely the driver’s negligence caused the injuries.
If more than one person is responsible for the injuries, then Atlanta’s negligence law will apply in the motorcycle accident lawsuit. Under Section 51-12-33 of the Georgia Code, a jury will assign a percentage of the blame to each responsible party in a motorcycle accident. Then, each person or business will be responsible for the amount of damages proportionate to their fault.
Therefore, if the motorcycle victim was 10 percent at fault and the other driver was 90 percent at fault, the motorcycle accident victim may receive compensation for 90 percent of the damages they suffered in the accident.
However, Atlanta law follows a modified comparative negligence approach which completely bars the motorcycle accident victim from recovering any damages if the jury assigns 51 percent or more of the blame to them. Therefore, if the motorcycle victim was 90 percent at fault and the other driver was 10 percent at fault, the victim could not recover anything.
Motorcycle accident injuries are often catastrophic. While drivers are protected by their cars, motorcyclists are only protected by a helmet. This means that these accidents are often painful and expensive. However, if these injuries were the result of the negligence of another, the victim may be able to recover compensation.
If you believe your injury from a motorcycle accident was due to another driver or business, contact an Atlanta Motorcycle Accident lawyer today. An experienced lawyer can explain your options and help you decide your next steps. Call for a free consultation.