Riding a motorcycle brings a feeling of freedom and a breath of fresh air. However, if you are involved in a crash then you may be severely injured or even result in death. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclist deaths occurred 27 times more often than any other vehicle fatalities.
PROVING FAULT AGAINST DEFENDANT DRIVER
For determining fault against a defendant driver, the basic components for proving fault or responsibility in a motorcycle crash are:
- Proving there was a duty of reasonable care that each owed you;
- There was a breach of duty owed to you for each who may be responsible;
- The breach of their duty caused your motor vehicle crash injuries; and
- You did not contribute to causing your motor vehicle crash injuries. In Georgia, the person making an injury claim must be 49% or less at-fault than the other responsible party or parties to recover.
In Georgia, the violation of a traffic law is negligence per se, which means that negligence is presumed. See Maxineau v. King, 304 Ga. App. 217, 695 S.E.2d 732 (2010). However, this does not automatically prove fault. Rather, it shifts the burden of proof to the defendant to show that the traffic violation was unintentional and exercise of reasonable care. Unless the defendant has plead guilty to a traffic violation, evidence of any traffic court charge and disposition of that traffic case is not admissible against the defendant. See Eubanks v. Waldron, 263 Ga. App. 75, 587 S.E.2d 253 (2003). Further, the Georgia Court of Appeals has stated that a defendant's mere payment of a traffic fine is also not admissible of his or her guilt or fault. See Howard v. Lay, 259 Ga. App. 391, 577 S.E.2d 75 (2003).
Even if an injured claimant can prove a defendant's negligence whether negligence per se or otherwise, that claimant must still prove that the defendant's negligence was the cause of his or her injuries as the Georgia Court of Appeals has stated in Cannon v. St., 220 Ga. App. 212, 4698 S.E.2d 343 (1996).
POTENTIAL FAULT OF OTHERS BESIDES DEFENDANT DRIVER
There are four other potential parties that may be at-fault in a motor vehicle crash.
- Negligent entrustment where a party may be responsible for entrusting the negligent defendant driver with a motor vehicle knowing that driver was not fit to drive such a vehicle because of young age; inexperience; physical or mental condition; or having a habit of being reckless. See Gunn v. Booker, 259 Ga. 343, 381 S.E.2d 286 (1989).
- Family car doctrine under O.C.G.A § 51-2-2 where an owner of a family automobile may be responsible for the negligent driving of his or her family member.
- Dangerous instrumentality doctrine where a vehicle owner lends that defective vehicle to another driver that injures an innocent victim. Such vehicle was dangerous because of the defect and it could have discovered by the vehicle owner's exercise ordinary care. See Gregory v. Ross, 214 Ga. 306, 104 S.E.2d 452 (1958).
- Respondeat Superior where the employer may be responsible for an employee's negligence while within the scope of his or her employment that injures another as held by the Georgia Supreme Court in Hicks v. Heard, 286 Ga. 864, 692 S.E.2d 360 (2010).
WHAT IS A MOTORCYCLE CRASH INJURY WORTH?
There are many factors and variables that go into calculating the value of your injury claim. Please see our bodily injury claim value page for more information. Unless the other party or parties are 100% at-fault, some percentage of fault may be assigned to you and every other party that contributed to causing your injury. However, medical payments coverage tied to the insurance policy that covers the motorcycle your were riding before you were injured will help pay for some medical expenses. This would allow more amount of recovery for you.
HOW WE CAN HELP
We understand that a motorcycle crashes can be devastating causing great pain and suffering. We will ensure that you receive the best care possible and get you back on the road to recovery. Moreover, we will investigate your claim to determine whether multiple parties may be responsible for your serious injuries and seek the maximum compensation that you are entitled to. Our injury consultations are free so connect with us for our expertise in dealing with vehicle crashes.