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.
Petersburg Motorcycle Accident FAQs
Petersburg, Virginia, had a population of approximately 31,000 people in 2017. During that same year, Virginia had 8,715,204 registered motorcycles. A fair number of those motorcycles were operating on Petersburg roadways. A review of Petersburg-area statistics shows that of the nearly 1,800 motorcycle accidents in the state in another recent year, these counties accounted for eight.
Below are some answers to questions our Petersburg motorcycle accident attorneys often hear.
What should I do following a Petersburg motorcycle accident?
The most important thing you should do following a motorcycle accident is to make sure you are safe from further injury. Get your motorcycle out of the road. If possible, take photos before moving the motorcycle. Once law enforcement has been notified, exchange information with other drivers and obtain the names and contact information for witnesses.
When speaking with law enforcement, avoid indicating you may be at fault for the accident. Once you have finished talking to them, seek immediate medical attention.
Do I need to see a doctor after a Petersburg motorcycle accident? I only have a case of road rash.
You should absolutely go to an emergency room or see your own doctor. While road rash may not seem serious, you could have debris in the abrasions that could cause an infection. Additionally, you may have other injuries that are not yet obvious. When you see the doctor, let them know you have been involved in a motorcycle accident so they can check for internal injuries and head trauma.
Should I report the Petersburg motorcycle accident to my insurance company?
Yes. Contact your insurance company after seeing a doctor. However, use caution when speaking with the agent or adjuster. Provide the insurance company with the contact information for the law enforcement officer who took the report at the scene, the name and contact information for the other driver involved, and any witness information. They may ask you if you saw a doctor and you should feel free to say that you have and where.
Here are a few things you should know about speaking with your own insurer, or the insurance company of the at-fault driver:
- Do not accept any blame for the accident – even “apologizing” for the inconvenience could be seen as accepting blame.
- Use caution when describing injuries – Do not minimize your injuries or how you are feeling. Refer any questions about your injuries to your doctor.
- Do not allow the adjuster to record the conversation – Insurers will often ask for recorded statements. Talk to a motorcycle accident attorney before agreeing to make an official “statement”.
Do I really need to hire an attorney after a Petersburg motorcycle accident?
Yes, you do. Most people do not know what rights they have following an accident that causes an injury. Contacting an experienced Petersburg motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible for a free consultation allows you to learn about your rights and helps you understand what options are available to you to ensure you are not financially devastated following an accident.
Our Petersburg motorcycle accident lawyers can help you understand how Virginia’s negligence laws work and help you decide what path forward is best for your circumstances.
You should also hire an attorney to make sure the insurance company does not attempt to offer you a low settlement. In many cases, an insurance company will offer you a quick settlement as a way of closing down your claim. This benefits only the insurer and does not intend to help you.
These settlement offers will not include full compensation for your medical bills or lost wages. The settlement will also come with a caveat attached: once you accept the settlement, the insurance company will have no obligation to pay future costs associated with the motorcycle accident.
How long does a Petersburg motorcycle accident case take to settle?
There is no easy answer to this question. When an attorney is involved, they may negotiate with the insurance company to obtain the full compensation you deserve. However, insurers will have a team of lawyers working to make sure the insurer does not have to pay out the full amount you may be entitled to collect. In these cases, your case may have to go to court, which will mean additional time will be necessary to settle your case.
How much can I expect for a settlement in my Petersburg motorcycle accident case?
Several factors will determine the amount of a final settlement. The extent of your injuries, the costs associated with your medical care following the motorcycle accident, the cost associated with your future medical care needs, and the amount of wages you stand to lose between recovery and returning to work will all be factors. There may also be other factors, including the egregiousness of the other driver’s actions that led to the accident.
The court may award punitive damages to victims of motorcycle accidents as a way of punishing the driver who caused your injuries. However, punitive damages would likely be less for a victim of a distracted driver than a drunk driver.
How much will it cost me to hire your lawyers to handle a Petersburg motorcycle accident claim?
Victims of motorcycle accidents who cannot return to work rightly worry about paying legal fees. There is good news though for those who want to consult with an attorney.
Our Petersburg motorcycle accident law firm offers every potential client a free consultation. During this consultation, you explain the circumstances of the motorcycle accident and the attorney can tell you what legal steps you can take to seek compensation. These consultations are free of obligation as well.
Should you decide to move forward with filing a Petersburg motorcycle accident lawsuit, we will not expect you to pay any attorney’s fees upfront. Instead, our Petersburg motorcycle accident lawyers will accept your case on a contingency fee basis.
This means you will pay fees and expenses out of your final settlement or judgment, not your own pocket. When you contact a motorcycle accident lawyer in Petersburg, ask them about fees and expenses associated with your case. Remember, hiring an attorney means you can focus on your recovery while someone advocates on your behalf.
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 claim.
Contact Emroch & Kilduff, LLP today to set up your free, confidential legal consultation in our office.
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Emroch & Kilduff
2557 S Crater Rd
Petersburg, VA 23805-2400
Phone: (804) 862-3600
Toll-free: (877) 445-1508