September 2013 Archives

Recent Crashes Across Atlanta Included Bikers and Cyclists

September 23, 2013, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Motorcycle rider on fall roadway.jpgA series of horrific crashes around Atlanta and Georgia earlier this month has left motorists, including bikers and cyclists injured and worse. These accidents were not due to bad weather or visibility, but apparently were just a constellation of terrible circumstances with tragic results. We posted about a string of deadly and serious accidents on our Atlanta Injury Attorneys Blog.

In one bike crash, a 46-year-old rider died after losing control of his motorcycle. His bike left the road on Cobb Parkway near Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta. In another incident on the same night, two bikers from Lithia Springs, were both killed after hitting a car stopped on I-285 southbound between Camp Creek Parkway and Washington Road. And a third motorcyclist, 43-year-old of Douglasville, was also injured in the accident.

And on Georgia 400, a woman riding on the back of a bike, was thrown off of it when her brother, the driver clipped a wall. She was then hit by another vehicle that left the scene and police are still trying to find that driver. The driver of the bike who is the deceased woman's brother, was not seriously injured. He has been arrested and charged with DUI, reckless driving, failure to maintain his proper lane and first-degree vehicular homicide.

First degree vehicular homicide or homicide by vehicle, is a felony found in the Annotated Code of Georgia section 40-6-393 (a). This provision states that a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs that causes the death of another person can be sentenced to up to 15 years of imprisonment. The minimum sentence can be longer for habitual DUI violators.

Late the same night, a 52-year-old man was struck and killed while riding a bicycle on Georgia Highway 6 in Paulding County. This cyclist was struck by a car driven by a young adult from Hiram.

It is difficult to imagine what all the injured are dealing with and it is even more difficult to imagine the sense of loss for families who have lost a loved one in these crashes. It goes without saying that we are saddened by any loss of life in the biking community. The sense of loss is worsened when we consider that avoiding drinking and driving is something that all of us can and should do. In at least one of the accidents here, if the allegations are true, this might have saved at least one of the lives lost in recent days.

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Biker Killed in I-75 Tractor-Trailer Collision

September 17, 2013, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for burned out bikeLast week, a rider lost his life while riding on I-75. The collision that ended his life was not between two vehicles that were in any way a match for such a situation. One rider on a bike and one driver of a tractor-trailer. My work representing bikers and their families as a Gwinnett County motorcycle injury lawyer involves many match-ups between vehicles, but there is nothing more dangerous to a biker than a tractor-trailer that isn't where it should be on the road.

In this crash, the motorcyclist was riding northbound on the highway near I-675. This crash took place in daylight around 11:30 in the morning. The tractor-trailer crossed the median and traveled into the opposite direction of traffic and into the motorcycle's lane killing the biker. The road was closed for some period of time after the crash. The accident was said to have been the result of an improper lane change by the tractor-trailer. The driver of the truck is likely going to face charges. This could include a charge, based on the improper lane change and resulting death, of second degree homicide by vehicle under Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-393.

As biker's know, trucks are some of the largest vehicles on Georgia's roads and highways. Traveling near or around them can be very treacherous for bikers. There is nothing this motorcyclist could have done to avoid a large vehicle suddenly coming into his path. The loss of his life is a huge price to pay for riding on an open highway.

We do not know the condition of the truck driver at the time of the accident. Perhaps the trucker was fatigued or otherwise compromised. Federal regulations make it very clear how long a trucker can drive in one day, required brakes and rest. We cannot assume anything in this situation, all we know is that the driver left his lane of traffic resulting in the rider's death.

Trucking in Georgia is highly regulated and is in accord with the federal law. If this driver was working for a commercial motor carrier, that company and the driver could well have liability in a wrongful death action brought by the surviving family of the rider.

Wrongful death is a type of action that can be brought after a death caused by another person. It is brought by close family members or spouses and generally is intended to compensate the family, including children for the sudden and perhaps early death of a loved one. Calculations are made that determine what the deceased person would have earned over the course of his or her lifetime and that becomes part of the damages claimed by the victim's family. Other damages and causes of action can also be a part of the action.

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