Motorcycle Accidents and Negligence in Georgia
In recent years the number of motorcycles sold in the United States has been on a steady rise. People who choose to ride motorcycles may explain the appeal as a feeling of more freedom and a better appreciation of one's surroundings. Of course, the same reasons that motorcycles are considered fun and exciting to riders also create certain risks that are unique to these vehicles. Motorcycles leave riders exposed in ways that they would not be in cars, they are smaller and not always as easy for others on the road to see, minor problems on the road create greater hazards to motorcyclists than to cars, and riding a motorcycle requires more skill than driving a car. All of these factors create a situation where motorcyclists are more likely to be seriously injured in the event of an accident. Motorcyclists are actually about 27 times more likely to die as the result of an accident than are individuals riding in cars. The severity of these incidents often leads to questions of legal liability. In the vast majority of vehicle accident or collision cases, the question of liability will come down to the theory of negligence.
Negligence cases involving motorcycles accidents
Negligence is a legal concept that involves the liable party failing to exercise the level of caution and care that a reasonable or prudent individual would offer under similar circumstances. If an individual is riding a motorcycle, and is injured by a person driving a car who was driving in a reckless or careless manner, that might be a scenario where the driver of the car was negligent and that driver would be found liable for the damage caused to the motorcyclist. This might be the case if a driver, by way of example, suddenly changed lanes without warning or properly looking in the other lane and hit a motorcycle in the process. Of course, many accidents are not the result of one person's failure to use proper care and caution, but rather the product of more than one person not exercising the amount of care that they should have. Sometimes, the injured motorcyclist might have also been negligent. This could be the case if the driver of the car changed lanes suddenly without properly signaling, but where the motorcyclist was also speeding and that the speed of the motorcycle played a role in the cause and severity of the collision.
There are two legal approaches to negligence cases wherein the injured party's actions also played a part in the accident. These are termed contributory negligence and comparative negligence. In states where contributory negligence is used, if the injured motorcyclist was in any way at fault for his or her injury - even 1%, then the injured person would not be permitted to recover from the other party. However, in many states, including Georgia, comparative negligence is used. In these cases, the injured party's negligence would be weighed against the other party's negligence and percentages would be assigned to each party's actions. For instance, if the injured motorcyclist's claim was worth $100,000 according to a jury, but the other driver was found 80% responsible while the injured motorcyclist was found 20% responsible, the injured person would be able to collect $80,000. Georgia uses a modified comparative negligence system, in which plaintiff cannot make a personal injury claim if he or she is 50% at fault or more responsible for the accident.
If you or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle accident, you likely have many questions regarding your rights. Our attorneys at Montlick and Associates can examine the facts and circumstances of what happened and advise you on your legal rights as well as what steps are necessary to protect those rights.
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Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (800) LAW-NEED
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333
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