On this page we will discuss motorcycle accident injury cases in Atlanta. Our accident lawyers will examine why motorcycle accident cases present different challenges compared to normal auto accident cases. We will also dive into the average settlement payout in Atlanta accident cases.
Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to data from the Georgia Department of Driver Services, there is an average of around 4,000 motorcycle accidents in the state every year. The Atlanta metro area accounted for nearly half (45%) of all motorcycle accidents, and the accident rate for motorcycles is significantly higher in Atlanta compared to the rest of the state. Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cobb, and Bibb counties had the highest number of motorcycle accidents involving serious injuries or fatalities.
Motorcycle accident fatalities in Georgia have averaged between 145 and 175 over the last 5 years. Again, most of these fatal motorcycle accidents happened in and around Atlanta. Not surprisingly, younger motorcyclists account for the highest percentage of motorcycle fatalities in Atlanta. Riders in the 25-34 age group make up a quarter of motorcycle fatalities.
Why Motorcycle Accident Injury Cases Are Different
Motorcycle accident injury cases (where the plaintiff was the motorcycle rider) present unique challenges compared to regular auto accident cases. Why? There is a pervasive negative bias against motorcycle riders among the general public that tends to make juries very unsympathetic when motorcyclists get injured in accidents. Motorcycle riders are widely viewed as reckless and unsafe, which leads to the assumption that the motorcyclist is always at fault in an accident.
This strong bias makes it hard for motorcyclist plaintiffs to get a fair settlement offer in an accident case. Insurance companies invariably offer lower settlements because they know that motorcycle riders have an uphill battle at trial.
The truth, however, is that motorcycle riders are not any more accident-prone than drivers in other vehicles. In fact, many motorcycle accidents are caused by car drivers who don’t see or notice the motorcycle.
Evidence in Motorcycle Accident Cases
Gathering all possible evidence of fault and injury in a motorcycle accident case is particularly important because motorcyclists need to overcome the general bias against them. Our accident lawyers go the extra mile in motorcycle cases to collect and prepare all potential evidence to establish both liability and the plaintiff’s injuries. Categories of evidence in motorcycle cases include:
- Liability Evidence: Motorcycle riders often need concrete, definitive proof to show that they were not at fault in causing the accident. Police accident reports are very important. Other evidence to establish liability can include photographs of the accident scene, statements from eyewitnesses, and in some cases expert testimony from accident reconstruction experts.
- Injury Evidence: In addition to evidence proving liability for the accident, motorcycle riders need to collect all available evidence documenting the physical injuries they suffered in the accident. Medical records and medical bills are critically important in this respect. Statements from treating doctors can be invaluable. If necessary, expert testimony can be presented to establish that certain injuries are related to the accident. Injury evidence also includes proof of the plaintiff’s economic losses in the form of lost wages or lost income, both past and future.
Damages Available in Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Cases
There are no maximum limits or caps on the type and amount of damages that a plaintiff can be awarded in an Atlanta motorcycle accident lawsuit. Plaintiffs who bring accident lawsuits in Atlanta are entitled to the full spectrum of economic and non-economic tort damages in personal injury cases. These categories of damages are listed below:
- Pain & Suffering: Georgia law allows damages to be awarded for mental pain and suffering related to injuries sustained in a car accident. The more severe and painful the injury, the more compensation a plaintiff can get for pain and suffering. The judge or jury determines pain and suffering damages if a case goes to trial. Pain and suffering damages are usually a very big part of any verdict or settlement.
- Medical Expenses: Motorcycle accident plaintiffs in Georgia can get damages for the cost of all medical treatment related to injuries suffered in the accident. This includes both past medical expenses and future medical expenses. Damages are awarded even if these costs are covered by health insurance.
- Lost Income: Damages can be awarded for any lost income or lost wages that result from injuries sustained in an auto accident. This includes not just past lost income, but also future lost income.
Settlement Payouts for Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Cases
What type of settlement can you expect in an Atlanta motorcycle accident case? The potential settlement value of motorcycle accident cases in Atlanta depends on a combination of factors that are highly unique to each individual case. In every case, however, the primary driving force behind settlement value is the nature and severity of the plaintiff’s injuries. More serious injuries drive up the settlement value.
Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Verdicts & Settlements
Below are summaries of verdicts and reported settlements in recent Atlanta motorcycle accident cases.
- $6,397,178 Verdict (Georgia 2023): The plaintiff was operating his southbound motorcycle when his motorcycle was struck by a transit bus owned by the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). The MARTA bus was attempting to exit a university campus by turning left across southbound lanes of traffic when the collision occurred and the plaintiff reportedly was ejected from his motorcycle. The plaintiff suffered very serious injuries and was seeking $400,000 in medical expenses.
- $1,200,000 Verdict (Georgia 2022): The plaintiff sustained a large avulsion injury to his left thigh measuring two inches across and one and a half inches deep which left permanent scarring with limited range of motion and weakness of the extremity, as well as road rash to his scrotum when his southbound motorcycle was struck by a police vehicle backing up, operated by an employee of defendant City of Atlanta. The plaintiff, who claimed the defendant did not engage the lights and siren of the defendant’s vehicle, contended the City’s driver was negligent in executing an improper U-turn. The verdict included only $40,000 in past medical expenses.
- $75,000 Verdict (Georgia 2020): The plaintiff was riding his motorcycle when the defendant rear-ended the motorcycle throwing the plaintiff off the bike and causing him to sustain fairly significant physical injuries. Liability was admitted and the case went to trial on damages.
- $67,000 Verdict (Georgia 2019): The plaintiff was riding his motorcycle in Gwinnett County when the defendant pulled out of a parking lot without noticing him, causing a collision. The plaintiff suffered moderate injuries. The case went to trial because the defendant contested liability.
- $7,500,000 Verdict (Georgia 2018): a 65-year-old male, reportedly died when he was operating a southbound motorcycle on the interstate and his motorcycle was struck by a van operated by defendant 1, and then was struck by a truck driven by defendant 2. The lawsuit alleged that defendant 1 moved into the decedent’s lane without noticing he was there and defendant 2 then ran over his head. Liability was contested and the case went to trial in Gwinnett County.
- $133,000 Verdict (Georgia 2017): The plaintiff was riding his Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle through a construction zone on Highway 34 when he passed over an uneven area of pavement causing him to lose control of the bike and suffered serious injuries. He sued the contractor that was doing the road construction alleging that is was negligent in failing to put up warning signs about the uneven surface. The jury awarded $350,000 in damages, but the award was reduced based on the plaintiff’s contributory negligence.
Hire an Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
The motorcycle accident lawyers at Miller & Zois have extensive experience getting maximum compensation for motorcyclists injured on the road. Call us at 800-553-8082 or contact us online for a free consultation.