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The Facts About Motorcycle Accidents in Georgia

Donald Singleton
July 29, 2022

An accident involving a motorcycle is usually more serious than an accident involving a car. Approximately 30 times more motorcyclists are killed per vehicle mile traveled than passengers in cars. There were 5,579 fatal motorcycle accidents in 2020 alone. Families of victims may be able to recover damages for the loss of a loved one by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. It is possible to sue for personal injury after surviving a motorcycle accident.

Georgia Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Every year, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) publishes motorcycle accident statistics by state. The following statistics are included:

  • The number of people killed in motorcycle accidents
  • The use of helmets
  • Crashes caused by alcohol
  • An overview of accident statistics by age group.

In 2022, the NHTSA published its 2020 fact sheet, which provides the following statistics. The data includes motorcycle accident statistics for every U.S. state, including Georgia.

Motorcycle Crash Statistics for 2020

The following is a brief summary of motorcycle accidents in the United States in 2020:

  • There were 5,579 motorcycle riders killed in vehicle accidents. This was an 11% increase from 2019. Since FARS started in 1975, this is the highest number of motorcycle fatalities.
  • The number of motorcycle fatalities was 14%, and the number of fatalities involving drivers and passengers was 28%.
  • It is estimated that 36% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal accidents in 2020 did not have a valid motorcycle license.
  • The percentage of drivers who were impaired by alcohol in fatal motorcycle crashes in 2020 wasthe  highest (27% for motorcycles, 23% for passenger cars, 19% for light trucks, and 3% for large trucks).
  • A total of 41 percent of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2020 were under the influence of alcohol.
  • The percentage of motorcycle riders killed in traffic crashes at night was three times higher than that of those killed during the day in 2020.
  • In accidents involving bikers, 94% were riders, and only 6% were passengers.

Georgia Fatalities and Helmet Use

Motorcycle Accident Injuries

In Georgia in 2020, the total number of motorcycle riders killed was 192. Of that number, 167 riders (87%) were wearing a helmet. Eighteen riders (9%) were unhelmeted; it was unknown whether they were wearing a helmet for nine others.

Helmets Can Save Lives

According to the NHTSA data research, helmets saved 1,872 motorcyclists in 2017. The organization estimates that 749 more lives could have been saved if all had worn helmets during the collision. A helmet is estimated to save the lives of 37 out of 100 motorcycle riders and 41 out of 100 motorcycle passengers in motorcycle accidents.

Motorcycle helmet use has continued to be higher in states like Georgia that require helmet use for all riders.

Motorcycle Laws in Georgia

Every state has motorcycle safety laws, and Georgia is no exception. There are many rules in Georgia statutes §40-6-310 through §40-6-315, but here are some important guidelines:

  • Two riders are permitted to share a lane but not for another vehicle to share a lane.
  • It is not permitted to split lanes.
  • Always keep your headlights and taillights on.
  • It is mandatory to wear a helmet.
  • The use of speakers is restricted to communication purposes only.
  • A motorcycle must have an attached windshield, and motorcyclists must wear protective eyewear if there is no windshield.
  • Despite being attached, handlebars cannot exceed 15 inches in height.
  • When carrying passengers on a motorcycle, footrests are required.

For more information, motorcycle riders should consult the official Georgia statutes to avoid criminal penalties and recover as much as possible in an accident.

Motorcycle Accidents In Georgia: Causes And Consequences

A motorcycle accident is often the result of the rider’s negligence. Some of the most common motorcycle accident causes are:

  • Head-on collisions
  • Non-moving object collisions
  • Splitting or sharing lanes illegally
  • Making a left turn and colliding with a motor vehicle
  • Conditions that are poor for riding
  • Hazardous road conditions
  • Motorcycle equipment with defects
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

A personal injury lawsuit might still be able to recover damages, even though many of the above accidents place blame on the motorcyclist.

There is a modified comparative fault system in Georgia. Riders may still receive pain and suffering damages if they were less than 50% at fault for their accident.

You may be interested in our post about U-turns in Georgia – find out whether U-turns in Georgia are legal or not.

Motorcycle Insurance Requirements In Georgia

Motorcycle insurance is required in Georgia for all motorcyclists. All motor vehicles in Georgia are required to carry insurance. The following are the types of insurance that a motorcycle owner must have:

  • One person is liable for $25,000 in bodily injury;
  • Each person involved in the accident is liable for $50,000 in bodily injury; and
  • Liability for property damage of $25,000.

A Georgia driver who does not have vehicle motor insurance is breaking the law. A mandatory minimum insurance policy protects you in the event that you are responsible for an accident. Motorcyclists may also consider the following insurance options:

  1. Collision coverage – This coverage covers the cost of repairs to your motorcycle, minus the deductible.
  2. Comprehensive coverage – Accidents are not covered by this insurance. You are still protected if your motorcycle is vandalized, stolen, or damaged in an accident off the road.
  3. Uninsured coverage – In the case of a hit-and-run, or if the other driver does not have insurance, this coverage compensates you for medical bills, lost wages, and damages related to emotional harm.
  4. Underinsured coverage – Motorcyclists are provided with additional insurance coverage through this policy. The lack of protection a motorcycle provides its rider makes motorcycle accidents more severe than car accidents. You may not receive sufficient compensation for all the physical and emotional harm you suffered because of the other driver’s coverage. Underinsured coverage provides you with additional financial protection to cover the additional expenses.

There is a shortage of adequate insurance coverage among Georgia drivers all too often. It is common for drivers to lack the finances to pay for their insurance. An indigent driver may also be unable to pay damages in a personal injury lawsuit if this is the case. A motorcycle or auto accident may only be compensated by uninsured/underinsured coverage.

It isn’t just about filing a lawsuit that lawyers do. The amount of compensation you are offered by the insurance company can be revealed through a consultation with an Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer.

Understanding Motorcycle Accident Damages

Survivors or families of accident victims may not be able to afford to file a lawsuit after a motorcycle accident. In many cases, however, plaintiffs fail to pursue their cases because they don’t realize how much is at stake. When it comes to motorcycle accidents, the damages awarded can be pretty high.

In Georgia, personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits are awarded both special and general damages. There is a specific dollar amount associated with special damages. On the other hand, general damage is defined as a loss without a precise dollar value.

The two categories are broken down as follows:

Special damages

  • The cost of medical care
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • An estimate of future medical expenses
  • Out-of-pocket expenses.

Non-economic damages

  • Suffering and pain
  • Anxiety
  • Having lost a relationship with your partner (loss of consortium)
  • An inconvenience
  • Distress on an emotional level
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

Because Georgia does not cap damages in personal injury cases, accident survivors and their families may receive large payouts following an accident. The degree of fault may, however, affect the amount of compensation a rider receives. In the case of a motorcycle accident, for example, if the plaintiff was 40% at fault, the plaintiff would only be entitled to $60,000.

An attorney with experience handling motorcycle accidents in Georgia can help you determine what you might be able to recover. In order to identify all current and potential accident costs on your own, Enjuris offers a damages and expenses worksheet.

Have You Been Injured In A Motorcycle Accident In Georgia?

Singleton Law Firm, LLC can help you if you have been injured or killed in a motorcycle accident in Georgia.

For over three decades, we have supported and assisted motorcycle accident victims with insurance claims. We don’t get paid unless we win your case, so working with us is risk-free. The first step is a FREE consultation so that you can learn more about your options. We can be reached at (770) 889-6010 or by filling out the form on this page.

Donald Singleton

Donald Singleton

Author

A Georgia native, Don founded Singleton Law Firm in 1999 as a continuation of his lifetime commitment to serving his state and community. He has concentrated his trial practice to representing victims of serious injury and wrongful death arising out of trucking, car, bus and motorcycle accidents, premises liability and a wide variety of other causes.

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