Tappahannock Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, 1,778 people were injured in motorcycle crashes in 2014 alone. This statistic is especially alarming because injuries sustained in motorcycle crashes tend to be particularly severe, leaving many victims permanently disabled. Most motorcycle accidents are the result of at least one person’s negligence, so if you were injured in a crash caused by someone else’s careless or reckless behavior, it is critical to speak with an experienced Tappahannock motorcycle accident lawyer who can explain your legal options.
Motorcycle Accident Causes
Although motorcycle crashes can occur in a variety of situations, most accidents between motorcyclists and motorists involve head-on collisions. In many cases, these crashes are the result of a driver making a left-hand turn and colliding with a motorcycle that is either passing the vehicle on the left or traveling through the intersection in the opposite direction. Because motorcycles are so much smaller than passenger vehicles, many drivers fail to see them when changing lanes or turning. This size difference also makes it risky to closely follow a motorcycle, as rear-end collisions between cars and motorcyclists often result in serious injuries.
Road defects, such as potholes, uneven road surfaces, loose gravel, and cracked asphalt can also prove dangerous for unsuspecting motorcyclists. In these cases, an injured party may be able to hold the city or state accountable if a government employee or maintenance crew knew of the dangerous road condition yet failed to fix it. Unfortunately, filing a claim against the government is complicated and requires compliance with specific procedural guidelines. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident caused by a road defect, it is imperative that you contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can walk you through the filing process.
Motorcyclists run a higher risk of sustaining serious and life-threatening injuries than other motorists because they do not have the advantages of airbags and seat belts. They are also more exposed to other vehicles and the road. Because they do not have the benefit of multiple layers of steel between them and the road or other vehicles, even minor collisions between motorists and motorcyclists can result in devastating injuries, including:
- Compound bone fractures
- Road rash
- Severe lacerations
- Abrasions and contusions
- Facial fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Organ damage
Treating motorcycle injuries can be extremely expensive and often requires:
- Emergency transportation and treatment
- Multiple surgeries
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy
- Hospital stays
- Nursing care
These costs can quickly drive an injured party and his or her family into debt, as motorcycle accident victims are usually unable to work immediately following their crash. In fact, many injured parties are required to take weeks or even months off work, which can make it impossible to stay on top of medical bills and household costs. Fortunately, motorcycle accident victims whose crashes were caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless conduct can be compensated by the responsible parties for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Motorcycle Helmet Laws
In Virginia, all motorcyclists, including passengers, must wear helmets that meet federal standards. To be sure, a motorcyclist who fails to wear a helmet significantly increases his or her chances of severe injury in an accident. In fact, states with no mandatory helmet laws have a much higher rate of head injuries amongst motorcyclists involved in crashes. In 2012, Michigan repealed its helmet law by permitting motorcyclists over the age of 21 to opt out of wearing a helmet when riding. Within weeks of the repeal, hospitals noticed a drastic increase in the number of severe head injuries sustained by motorcyclists. Tragically, motorcyclist deaths quadrupled, and the percentage of those who passed away and were not wearing helmets increased from 14 to 68 percent. Hospital administrators also reported that as many as 10 percent of motorcyclists who failed to wear a helmet and were hospitalized passed away due to their injuries. In comparison, only 3 percent of riders who had been wearing helmets at the time of their crash lost their lives.
Wearing a helmet does not guarantee that a person will avoid injuries or death in a motorcycle crash, but it can significantly increase a motorcyclist’s safety and chances of survival in the event of a crash.