If you delay, you may pay! Don't Blow your motorcycle accident Case! Contact a Rome, Georgia motorcycle accident attorney today!
Proving fault in a motorcycle accident case is about evidence. If there is a delay in evidence gathering right after the accident occurs, it can cost you bigtime. Evidence that can prove your case and disprove the other party's case can quickly disappear or expire if it is not timely collected.
Let's illustrate this with a story. The following is based on true events but the names are different to protect the identities of the individuals involved.
A Motorcycle Rider who made a timely decision that saved his life.
Jim loved to ride his brand new 2020 Harley Davidson Pan America 1250. He had recently purchased his dream bike in anticipation of a trip out west to do some off-road biking. Jim was a serious biker and had been riding motorcycles his whole life. Because of this, he was well aware of the dangers to motorcycle riders when driving on the roadways. Jim knew that when driving on a road where other motor vehicle traffic was present, he had to drive defensively. Jim, who is a firefighter, was driving his bike home one day following a work shift. He had driven this route hundreds of times--he literally knew it like the back of his hand. But what Jim encountered next he could never have anticipated no matter how defensively he drove. As he approached an intersection controlled by a traffic light, he had a green light that gave him permission to travel straight through the intersection without stopping. The light for his lane had been green for several seconds prior to reaching the intersection. A car coming from the opposite direction was pulling into the left turn lane to make a left turn across the lane of traffic Jim was travelling in. Jim had travelled this road so many times that he knew that if his light was green, the light signal for the car pulling into the turn lane had a red arrow. He knew that the only way for traffic in the opposite turning lane to move forward to turn left was on a green arrow, and if Jim had a green light, the opposite left turn lane had a red arrow. There was no other alternative unless the light was not working. The speed limit for the road Jim was on was 50 m.p.h. As was his usual custom, he slowed down to around 45 m.p.h. to travel through the intersection.
Just as he entered the intersection on a green light, Jim caught a direct glimpse of the driver in the car coming into the opposite left turn lane. He recalled that she was looking straight down, as if she was looking into her lap. Jim knew what she was doing. As he saw her vehicle continuing to move forward, he felt an immediate sense of doom in anticipation of what was about to happen. "It was as if my life flashed before my eyes in that split second just before impact."
The car in the left hand turn lane continued forward and bolted directly in front of him, essentially running right through the light. It happened so quickly that Jim had no time to react--at 45 m.p.h. he had a half a second--on a good day. In an attempt to avoid the collision, he would have had to have violated the laws of physics. He could only brace himself for impact. As the front wheel to Jim's motorcycle crunched into the front passenger side of the other vehicle, Jim's body and his bike collided with the car. Jim was violently thrown over the front of the motorcycle, across the hood of the vehicle, and landed head first about 20 yards down road, proceeding to flip over and skid with his body directly on the pavement for probably another 30 yards. Needless to say, Jim was severely injured--so severely injured that he was not consciously aware of the aftermath of the wreck at the scene.
Jim's first cognitive awareness following the wreck came as he laid in a hospital bed. The investigating officer had showed up to interview Jim to determine what to put in his report. Jim explained that he had a green light, the other driver was looking down at her phone when she went forward, and the wreck was the other driver's fault.
The shock of waking up in the hospital did not compare to what came next out of the officer's mouth, "The other driver told me that she had a green turning arrow and that you ran the red light!" Jim was stunned into silence. The officer then went on to say that without an independent witness to verify the accounts, he had to issue both of them a citation for failure to follow a traffic control device. Rather than argue with the patrol officer, Jim recalled that the first thing that he did when this occurred was he thought of how completely unjust this was. "Aside from laying in the hospital bed with life altering injuries, I was furious," he said. "I knew the officer was just doing his job, but him telling me he was going to issue matching citations for both of us was something so far out that it was almost as if I had an out-of-body experience. I went to work that morning to serve the public as a firefighter, and now here I was laying in a hospital bed immobilized and being told that it was my fault."
From a prior experience with a family member who had extensive medical treatment at a hospital, Jim knew that his hospital bills would be astronomical. What was worse was knowing that based upon the severity of his injuries, there was a good chance he would never be able to work as a firefighter again. He also knew that if they said it was his fault that he would be stuck with the bills. For a brief moment, he lost hope. But in that dark pit he did the wisest thing he could do in the situation--he decided to reach out to our law firm.
Why should you or a family member reach out to a law firm as soon as you can following a crash where you were on your motorcycle?
1. To Preserve evidence that would disappear if it wasn't collected soon.
As soon as Jim called Matson & Matson, having dealt with this type of situation many times, we immediately took action to preserve vital evidence. If Jim's version of events were true, time was of the essence in order to prove Jim's account. Without it, and without any live witnesses, the case would have been very hard to prove. In essence, it would be a "he said--she said issue." With a negative police report, it was imperative that we locate evidence quickly that proved Jim's version of events. A lawyer from Matson & Matson immediately visited the scene of the wreck with an investigator. The lawyer was looking to see if the intersection had traffic cameras that recorded the intersection. There were none. The investigator thoroughly documented the scene for skid marks and other physical evidence that would quickly disappear with the passage of time. The lawyer went to the business located at the intersection where the wreck occurred. He was looking to see if anyone had witnessed the collision. As the lawyer approached the business, he discovered that a security camera had been set up on the side of the building to record the parking lot. The view of that camera was pointing directly to the parking lot and then to the intersection where the wreck occurred directly beside it. The lawyer immediately contacted the owner and arranged to have the video preserved and sent to Matson & Matson. Once it came in, we viewed it and it confirmed that Jim's version of the account was true. It showed not only that when he crossed into the intersection he had a green light, but it also showed the severity of the crash. If Jim had done nothing in the hospital, we likely would not have been able to locate the video of the wreck on time because the video might not have been preserved as recording systems typically begin to record over the old video at a designated time if the video is not specifically preserved.
2. To immediately document the serious nature of Jim's injuries.
No one in Jim's family had taken any pictures of him as he lay in his hospital bed recovering. Not documenting bodily injuries with video and or photographs immediately after is a huge missed opportunity. As the saying goes, " A picture is worth a 1000 words." Words are the weapons of lawyers. Words with corresponding media is impossible to overcome.
3. To preserve the wrecked vehicles in order to properly document the property damage and inspect those vehicles if needed.
One thing that could have been done in this situation if the video had not been located to prove Jim's case would have been to get the other driver's vehicle's electronic data from the car's "black box" to show if the data was consistent with the other driver's story. When Jim's motorcycle impacted the side of her vehicle, the vehicle's air bags deployed. When an event like this happens, most newer vehicles have data recorders that show what happened just prior to that event. Because her version of events was different than Jim's, that evidence could have been collected to show that her version of events was different than what the data recorder showed. Because her vehicle was totaled in the wreck, the only way this can be collected is by arranging with the insurance companies to hold the vehicle for purposes of gathering evidence.
4. To search for and locate every available source of insurance coverage and put those insurance companies on notice.
Every source of insurance needs to be discovered and put on notice. For some coverages, it is imperative that the insurance company be put on notice quickly of a potential claim so that potential coverage is not waived. It is also very important to make a determination as to how much insurance coverage is available.