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How is Fault Determined in a Motorcycle Accident in Georgia?

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Posted By Legal Team | October 5 2023 | Motorcycle Accidents

A motorcycle ride in the open air is an exhilarating experience, but that same open-air design puts riders at great risk of injuries in a crash. Injuries from motorcycle accidents in Georgia are often serious or even catastrophic, sometimes causing financial hardship as well as pain and suffering. Georgia’s fault-based insurance laws require an injury victim (plaintiff) to prove negligence on the part of the party at fault (defendant) in a motorcycle accident in order to make a claim for compensation for their damages. “Damages” in an accident or injury case are the economic and non-economic consequences of the injury.

Georgia is a comparative negligence state, which means insurance adjusters look at an accident to determine fault before making a decision on a claim. Because insurance companies are rarely on the victim’s side, many injury victims seek representation and legal counsel through an experienced personal injury attorney in Atlanta to investigate their accident, gather evidence of fault, and negotiate their claim.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Georgia

While defective motorcycle parts or a negligent road maintenance crew sometimes cause or contribute to accidents, the majority of motorcycle accidents in Georgia occur due to driver error or negligence. Motorcycles have a slim design that makes them more difficult for a driver to see and accurately judge their speed. However, drivers have the responsibility to be vigilant to the presence of motorcycles on the road. Common causes of motorcycle accidents in Georgia include the following:

  • Motorists making unsafe lane changes
  • Speeding drivers
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Failure to yield the right of way at intersections
  • Tailgating
  • Opening a door into the path of an oncoming motorcycle

When a driver’s negligence or reckless behavior behind the wheel causes a collision with a motorcycle or forces a motorcycle off the road, the negligent driver is at fault in the accident and liable for the property damage and personal injury damages to the motorcyclist.

Determining Fault in a Georgia Motorcycle Accident

Some injured motorcyclists make the mistake of relying on the police investigation of their accident to determine fault. However, police departments have limited financial resources and typically allocate them toward criminal investigations rather than accident cases. A motorcycle accident attorney in Atlanta with experience navigating motorcycle accident liability can investigate the case by doing the following:

  • Examining the police report
  • Listening to eyewitness testimony
  • Viewing photo and video evidence
  • Consulting with accident reconstruction experts
  • Visiting the scene of the accident to examine intersections, traffic signs or signals, and any available evidence such as skid marks and debris

With carefully documented evidence of fault in a motorcycle accident, an attorney can craft a compelling case for full compensation for damages like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering as well as property damage for the motorcycle.

Legal Liability and Georgia’s Comparative Negligence Laws

Once the investigation confirms the party at fault for the accident, the attorney must document the evidence demonstrating legal liability for the damages. Proving liability requires showing the following:

  • The at-fault party owed a duty of care to take reasonable measures to prevent injury
  • They breached this duty by acting negligently, recklessly, or with purposeful wrongdoing (in instances of intoxicated driving or road rage)
  • The breach of duty directly caused injury
  • The injury victim suffered significant damages from the injury

With Georgia’s modified comparative negligence insurance laws, even if a motorcyclist was partly at fault for the accident, they can still recover a portion of their damages minus their percentage of fault. For example, if a motorcyclist is found to be 25% at fault in an accident and their damages amount to $100,000 they’ll still recover $75,000.

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