Intersections are some of the most dangerous places on the road for motorcyclists. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, more than 2,000 motorcycle collisions occurred in intersections in each of the last few years. The accomplished motorcycle accident attorney Terrence R. Bethune has compiled significant experience helping injured riders in the Atlanta region. If you were hurt in an intersection collision, you may be entitled to compensation.
PURSUE COMPENSATION AFTER A GEORGIA CRASH
An injured motorcyclist may seek compensation by filing a negligence lawsuit against the driver whose carelessness harmed him or her. In evaluating the merits of a negligence case, a jury considers four essential elements.
The first element to evaluate is whether the defendant owed the accident victim a duty of care. Georgia courts have held that everyone has a duty to avoid unreasonable behavior that may foreseeably injure another person. Thus, a driver on Georgia roads likely owes a duty of reasonable care to any motorcycle riders who could foreseeably be hurt by his or her careless conduct.
Next, the victim must show that the defendant breached the duty of care. This is defined as failing to act in the way that an ordinary driver would act under the same or similar circumstances. A driver might unreasonably endanger other people — and thus breach the duty of care— by failing to yield, running a red light, or speeding. These are not actions that would be expected from the ordinary, reasonably prudent driver.
The victim also must establish a causal connection between the defendant’s careless behavior, such as running a red light, and the accident that resulted in the victim’s injuries. In Georgia, the causation requirement is broken into two parts. First, the defendant must be the cause in fact of the plaintiff’s injuries. The defendant is a cause in fact of an injury if the victim would not have been injured but for the defendant’s negligent behavior. The defendant must also be the proximate cause of the victim’s harm. This means essentially that the victim’s injuries were a predictable outcome of the defendant’s behavior. Each case is different, so it is important to discuss your situation with a knowledgeable attorney to develop a strong strategy for showing causation.
If the victim can prove each of these elements by a preponderance of the evidence, he or she must prove that compensable damages were incurred as a result of the injuries. If they were, the injured person may collect compensation that reimburses him or her for the financial costs of the accident, including medical bills, lost wages, and damage to the motorcycle. Furthermore, the jury may award non-economic damages that compensate the motorcyclist for physical and psychological injuries, including pain and suffering and emotional distress.
In some especially egregious cases, the victim may ask for punitive damages. These are intended to punish defendants who acted with a higher level of culpability than ordinary negligence. If the defendant was acting under the influence of drugs or alcohol, punitive damages are uncapped.
DISCUSS YOUR CASE WITH AN ATLANTA INJURY ATTORNEY
If you were hurt by a driver who ran a stop sign or failed to yield the right of way at an intersection, you have legal rights to assert. An experienced attorney can help you file a negligence claim and seek the compensation you deserve. Atlanta injury lawyer Terrence R. Bethune has helped countless riders recover from serious accidents on Georgia roads. Schedule a free consultation by calling (470) 709-0666 or filling out our online contact form.