Georgia Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Sawan & Sawan is a team of personal injury attorneys and our Georgia motorcycle accident lawyers represent the victims of motorcycle accidents in Georgia. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a motorcycle accident, call our family of motorcycle accident lawyers at Sawan & Sawan today for a free consultation.
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Motorcycle Accidents in Georgia
Motorcycle riding is a lot of fun! Although fun, it also puts motorcyclists at a greater risk for injuries when compared to occupants of bigger vehicles. The Georgia legislature understands this and has passed many motorcycle laws to increase safety and to prevent accidents. Because of this, motorcyclists must follow all the laws. If injured and they have not followed these laws, the insurance company will attempt to place blame on them for their failure to follow these laws.This may reduce any awarded compensation.To be able to drive a motorcycle in Georgia, you must get a Class M license. A motorcycle is defined as any motorcycle vehicle having a saddle for the rider and has at most three wheels. Excluded from this definition, are tractors and mopeds with less than a 50cc or smaller motor. The applicant must be at least 17 years old. A parent or guardian must sign the application which can be revoked at any time before the minor turns 18. The applicant must pass the following tests: the Georgia Knowledge Exam, the road skills test for the class M license, and a vision exam. The Georgia Knowledge Exam tests both the road rules and signs. Alternatively, an applicant can take the Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program Basic Course.This program is generally for new motorcycle drivers and includes five hours of classroom and ten hours of riding instruction. If successful, the student will receive a 90 day license waiver. This allows them to apply and get a Class M license without having to finish the written and riding exams within 90 days of the completion of the course.
As an additional safety measure, Georgia requires helmet use for all motorcyclists. Under this law ,they are required to wear a helmet or other protective headgear that follows the Georgia Commissioner of Public Safety standards. All head gear must have a windshield, unless the motorcyclists wear another type of eye protection permitted by the Commissioner. Helmets are not required if they are in an enclosed cab or motorized car or are using a three wheel motorcycle used only for farming purposes. Additional safety laws that are required in Georgia are as follows:
- Must always use the permanent motorcycle seat
- Can only carry two people if motorcycle is properly designed
- Can not interfere with the driver’s safe operation or control of the motorcycle
- Must face forward and straddle the seat with one leg on either side of the bike
- Can’t have any packages that prevent both hands on the handlebars
- Can’t attach any vehicles to the motorcycle
As previously mentioned, these safety rules are implemented to lower motorcycle accidents. Even with all these rules, motorcyclists still don’t have the protection as others have in vehicles. Drivers simply fail to see the motorcycle. More than half of all collisions lie with other vehicles who turn left onto the street crossing the path of a motorcycle. In these accidents, the motorcyclist usually receives the worst injuries. In fact, many times the vehicle driver walks away unharmed. There is a lot of space between the motorcyclist and the potential hazards to the body. Head injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken limbs, organ damage, permanency, and death are some of the serious injuries that occur to the motorcyclist. Causes of these accidents vary but usually center around, driving under the influence, distractions, traffic violations, and fatigue.
For recovery, the non-liable motorcyclist must look to the other vehicle’s automobile insurance coverage. In Georgia, vehicle drivers are required to have liability coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.These limits will cover injuries and losses. If the vehicle driver has no liability insurance, then the motorcyclist must look to her uninsurance motorcycle coverage. Georgia insurance companies must offer uninsured limits equal to the liability limits of the insurance policy. Unfortunately this coverage can be waived. The same would be true for underinsured automobile coverage. This coverage is used if the responsible party did not have enough insurance coverage to reimburse all the losses.
To resolve the case, the motorcyclist must file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company. This requires a letter outlining the facts of the case. It also includes all related medical records and bills, an explanation of injuries, loss income, expenses, and how this accident affected their mental and physical condition and pain and suffering. Once sent, the insurance company will review and attempt to settle for as little as possible. Negotiations will take place until there is no resolution. If unsuccessful, a decision has to be made on the filing of the lawsuit. If filed, there is always a chance that the case may settle before trial.
Under Georgia’s comparative negligence law, if the motorcyclist is partially responsible for the accident, the recovery amount will be reduced by the motorcyclist’s percentage of fault. If the motorcyclist is 50% or more responsible, then she is not entitled to any recovery. Finally under Georgia, the motorcyclist will have two years from the date of the accident to resolve the claim. If not, it must be filed in the appropriate court of law or will be forever barred from filing the lawsuit.
Dennis P. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Georgia
Christopher A. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Michigan