Petersburg Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Motorcycles are just one of the many types of vehicles that use our roadways. Like every other type of vehicle, motorcycles have specific accident risks. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), 4,976 people died in motorcycle accidents on American roadways in 2015. That year, there were 8.6 million motorcycles on the road, and motorcyclists were 29 times more likely to die in accidents per mile traveled than motorists and car passengers. They were also five times more likely than motorists and their passengers to be injured in collisions.
These statistics do not mean that a motorcycle accident is dangerous only for the motorcyclist. Motorcycle accidents are dangerous for all parties involved, and depending on the speed and location of the collision, each party can suffer severe, even life-threatening, injuries. When a motorcycle accident victim suffers this type of injury and faces financial expenses as a result, he or she can seek compensation for these damages through a personal injury claim.
What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?
In many cases, the same issues that cause car accidents also cause motorcycle accidents. One of these is vehicle malfunction. When a motorcycle malfunctions, either due to a brake failure or an issue with its starter or safety features, a collision can occur. When this happens, the motorcycle’s manufacturer or seller can be liable for the victim’s damages. In cases where a malfunction is the result of poor owner maintenance, including failure to replace or repair a recalled part, the motorcycle’s owner may be considered the negligent party.
Other drivers on the road can also be negligent, and this is often a cause of motorcycle accidents and injuries. Such negligence can include any of the following actions:
- Driving drunk or under the influence of another drug
- Driving while too fatigued
- Speeding and disobeying posted traffic signs
- Driving in an aggressive manner
- Failing to check blind spots when switching lanes
- Driving while distracted by a cell phone or other type of device
If the error of another driver caused your crash and injuries, you have the right to seek compensation for relevant losses.
Your Responsibilities as a Motorcyclist
As a motorcyclist in Petersburg, you have certain responsibilities and duties. For example, you have the duty to ride your motorcycle with a reasonable degree of care. Among other duties, each Virginia motorcyclist is required to wear a protective helmet, hold a valid motorcycle classification on her or his driver’s license, and follow all traffic signs, signals, and laws. Taking these actions can help keep you safer on the road and reduce your chances of being prevented from seeking compensation after an accident caused by another person. This is because Virginia maintains a system of pure contributory negligence, meaning that if you are found to have been even 10 percent at fault for an accident in which you are injured, you will be barred from holding the defendant liable for your injuries.
How Can I Be Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?
You can suffer any or all of the following types of injury in a motorcycle accident:
- Broken bones
- Sprains and strains
- Organ damage
- Tissue damage
- Head trauma
- Spinal cord injury
These injuries can cause complications such as chronic pain, temporary or permanent disability, paralysis, and shock following a cut’s excessive bleeding.
Seeking Compensation for Your Damages Following a Motorcycle Accident
An injury from a motorcycle accident can leave you facing high medical bills, expenses related to your disability, and reduced physical capacity following the injury. It can also force you to face the prospect of missed wages for the time you spend recovering and your reduced ability to perform your job in the future. Through a personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for all these damages from the negligent party’s insurance provider.
To recover your compensation, you must demonstrate that the other party was negligent and that because of this negligence, you suffered an injury and specific financial damages. To do this, you will need to provide evidence to support your claim. This evidence can include:
- Photographs of the accident
- A copy of the official police report for the accident
- Your medical bills
- A record of your earning rate and lost wages
- Testimony that demonstrates your reduced quality of life because of the injury
Your lawyer will be able to help you obtain these pieces of evidence and use them to support your claim.
Why Should I Work with a Petersburg Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
Although it is possible to pursue a personal injury claim independently, you are advised to work with a lawyer who can help you navigate the pitfalls that you may face when pursuing a personal injury claim. One of these pitfalls is the insurance provider’s initial low settlement offer. After you file your claim with the negligent party’s insurance provider, the claim adjuster will offer you a settlement amount. In nearly all cases, this settlement amount is less money than the claimant needs to cover her expenses related to the injury, and it is less than the amount she can get from the insurance provider. Your lawyer can analyze this initial offer and use your available evidence to negotiate a fairer settlement amount.
If the insurance provider will not agree to a fair settlement amount, your lawyer can determine whether filing a lawsuit to seek compensation for your damages would be a productive course of action, and if so, can take the steps to make that happen. Through each stage of the personal injury claim process, your lawyer will discuss all relevant laws with you, such as Virginia’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims and its damage caps. In Virginia, you must file your claim within two years of the date of your accident.
Work with an Experienced Petersburg Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
A motorcycle accident can result in severe, expensive injuries for the motorcyclist, the motorist, and any passengers. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, consider working with a member of our team of experienced Petersburg motorcycle accident lawyers to file and pursue a personal injury claim. Contact Emroch & Kilduff, LLP today to set up your free, confidential legal consultation in our office.