Not everyone on the road is a motorcyclist, but those who are know how fun and risky they can be. There are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself and stay safe on the road, but a motorcycle accident can still happen, no matter how cautious you are. If you’ve recently been in an accident on your motorcycle, here are a few things to know about taking legal action:
Motorcycle Helmets Affect How Much Compensation You Can Receive
Motorcycle drivers and passengers in Georgia—and in 46 additional states—are required to always wear a helmet when riding. Being involved in an accident without proper head protection increases the risk of harm exponentially.
Not all helmets are approved for road use, however. Everyone must wear a motorcycle helmet that is in line with the standards set by the Commissioner of Public Safety. In other words, be sure you are always wearing a DOT-compliant helmet that satisfies Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218.
If you are in an accident without a helmet, you still qualify to claim damages with an at-fault driver. But keep in mind that your claim is subject to reduction, especially if you suffer head or facial trauma that would have likely been prevented had you and/or your passenger worn a helmet.
Just like helmet protection, protective eyewear is also a requirement when on a motorcycle. Whether your protection is in the form of a windshield, a helmet visor, goggles, or safety glasses, you are protecting yourself physically and legally should a motorcycle accident occur.
Passengers’ Rights in a Motorcycle Accident
If a passenger is on a motorcycle at the time of an accident, they are eligible to bring claims against the at-fault driver. Depending on the accident, that responsibility could either land in the hands of the motorcyclist they were riding with or the driver of the other vehicle.
Georgia law requires all vehicles to be covered by auto insurance, which must include a minimum of $25,000 in liability coverage per person. Should a passenger file a claim against the motorcycle driver, the claim would be against the driver’s insurance company.
Making an Insurance Claim When Both Parties Are at Fault
Sometimes motorcycle accidents aren’t cut-and-dry. The responsibility of an accident could land solely in the hands of the other driver, but certain behaviors on the motorcyclist’s part can cause complications. For instance, a car driver could run a red light and hit the motorcyclist while the motorcyclist was speeding.
When instances like this happen, the motorcycle driver can still pursue legal action if their percentage of fault is less than 50%. If both drivers are found equally guilty for the accident, neither side will be compensated.
Getting into a Motorcycle Accident with an Uninsured Party
Even though insurance is required for every vehicle on the road, it is still possible to find yourself in an accident with an uninsured driver. Hopefully, you have uninsured motorist coverage, allowing you take advantage of your own policy.
Whether you have uninsured motorist coverage or not, it’s wise to seek professional legal help to optimize your outcome in the accident. With an attorney, you have solid support in:
- Proving that the other driver is at fault.
- Communicating with your insurance company.
- Seeking out possible insurance coverage through relatives with whom you currently live.
- Investigating the at-fault driver to uncover pursuable insurance policies through their family members.