Athens, GA Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Riding your motorcycle around Athens can be a pleasurable experience, but accidents occur often. When they do, our lawyers can help you get compensation for the person who injured you.

It is important to take the necessary precautions when riding in Athens. In many cases, the defendant will try to argue that you contributed to your injuries simply because riding motorcycles are dangerous. However, your passion should not be used against you. If you were wearing your helmet and following traffic laws at the time of the accident, you deserve to be fully compensated. Our team will make sure your case is decided on the facts by presenting evidence to the court that clearly illustrates the other driver’s negligence.

For a free case review with our motorcycle accident attorneys, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (470) 287-3070.

How to Ride Your Motorcycle in Athens, GA without Hurting Your Chances of Recovering Compensation

Your safety should always be a top priority when riding your motorcycle in Athens. This is not only for your personal safety but also to keep from jeopardizing your chances of getting compensated for your injuries. If you are found to have violated a law designed for motorcyclists’ safety, it can be used against you in your case. Insurance companies and courts use the rule of “modified comparative negligence” to determine the level of liability between the plaintiff and defendant under O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33(a).

In some states, you cannot recover any compensation if you contributed to your accident at all. Fortunately, that rule is not used in Athens. Instead, O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33(g) allows plaintiffs to recover compensation as long as they are not found 50% or more responsible for causing their damages. Basically, you can get compensation if you are less than half at fault for the accident.

However, your settlement or award will be reduced by the amount of fault you were found to have contributed. For instance, suppose you were found 20% at fault for the accident after determining the defendant owed you $100,000 in damages. You would not be barred from recovering your money, but you would only get $80,000. While it would help, you would still be on the hook for the other $20,000 in damages.

Thus, you should always follow all motorcycle laws when riding in Athens. Motorcycle laws vary from state to state, but ignorance will not be a defense to contributory negligence. Our motorcycle accident attorneys can help you fight claims you caused your own injuries. Our team will argue the evidence in your case so the court can decide on the facts and not negative stereotypes about riders and the motorcycle lifestyle. By following the laws below, you can protect your rights and your health:

Helmet Laws

All riders and passengers are required to wear a helmet when operating a motorcycle in Athens and throughout Georgia, according to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-315(a). If you are injured while riding without a helmet, the court will likely find that you contributed to your accident. Since wearing a helmet is the law, violating it can be used as evidence of negligence in your claim.

There is good evidence for this argument. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that those wearing helmets have up to 37% less chance of suffering a fatal accident and 41% more effective protection against fatal injuries for motorcycle passengers.

That is why you should never ride without a helmet. Not only will it protect you better against life-altering injuries, it will not be used against you in your claim. However, violating the helmet law will not prevent you from pursuing compensation.

Our attorneys will review your case to determine if your not wearing a helmet was even a factor in your injuries. If not, we can fight contributory negligence claims. For instance, if the other driver broke your leg in the accident, the fact that you were not wearing a helmet is not as relevant and should not be used as an excuse to reduce your compensation.

Windshield and Eye Protection Laws

You must also observe the specific eye protection and windshield rules for riders and their motorcycles laid out in O.C.G.A. § 40-6-315(b). All motorcyclists must wear protective eyewear unless their bike is equipped with a windshield. If you were not wearing goggles or lacked a windshield when the accident happened, the police will likely record it in their accident report. The insurance company will be sure to jump on that fact to save themselves some money.

For instance, the defendant might argue that you illegally pulled out in front of them because you failed to notice them. If you did not have eye protection, this argument might sway the court. It will also be persuasive evidence against you if other evidence shows eyewear might have prevented the accident, like riding in poor weather or hazardous road conditions. Again, our lawyers will not let this be used against you if it did not play a role in your injuries.

Lane Splitting Laws

Lane splitting is also illegal in Athens and can, therefore, be used against you to lower or deny your claimed damages. According to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-315(a)., motorcycle operators cannot pass another vehicle in the same lane.

This means if you are blocked in by traffic, you will need to wait for an opportunity to get by. If another driver hits you because you were riding between occupied lanes, the court will likely find you partially negligent, if not mostly responsible for your injuries. Remember, you cannot recover damages if you are found more than 50% at fault. However, two motorcycles can operate next to each other in the same lane.

Other Important Motorcycle Laws that Can Impact Your Lawsuit in Athens, GA

In addition to the laws above, you should be aware of a few other important rules that can affect the compensation you get in your lawsuit. For example, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-311(c) prohibits riders from carrying packages or anything else that would prevent them from keeping their hands on the handlebars. This can be avoided by getting saddlebags or package compartments equipped for your bike.

You must also not have anyone sitting with you in the seat if it interferes with the operation of your motorcycle, as per O.C.G.A. § 40-6-311(d). For instance, a child sitting on the seat upfront is not only dangerous but will almost certainly be used as evidence of negligence, which the court will not look favorably upon. Our attorneys can help you understand the laws you must follow when riding so you have the strongest case possible if an accident occurs.

Our Athens, GA Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Can Help

Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (470) 287-3070 for a free assessment of your case with our motorcycle accident lawyers.