How Are Motorcycle Accident Injury Claims Handled in Virginia?
April 04, 2022
More than 1,800 motorcycle accidents were reported in Virginia in 2020, and motorcyclists were injured in 77 percent of those crashes. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident in or near the Suffolk area, you must be advised and represented by a Suffolk motorcycle accident attorney.
Automobiles and trucks provide much more than motorcycles in terms of safety. In fact, motorcyclists and motorcycle passengers are statistically likely to sustain the most severe types of injuries.
If you’re injured by a negligent motorist while riding a motorcycle in Virginia, what legal options are available to you? Can you recover compensation for your lost wages and medical bills? Keep reading to learn the answers about motorcycle collisions and your legal rights.
How Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
Motorcycles provide great recreation and economical transportation for thousands of motorcyclists in Virginia. However, motorcycles can be dangerous in a variety of circumstances:
- When vehicles make left turns: Statistically, a driver turning left in the path of a motorcycle is the most dangerous circumstance motorcyclists face. Over 40 percent of car-motorcycle crashes involve either a motorcyclist or a car or truck driver turning left.
- When drivers have reduced visibility: When a driver’s vision is blocked by parked cars, buildings, or other obstacles, and the driver rolls slowly and blindly into traffic, an oncoming motorcyclist will be at risk.
- Debris and road hazards: Hazards for motorcyclists include oil on the road, potholes, and any kind of debris or trash on a roadway.
- A lack of experience: Until you have plenty of experience riding a motorcycle, avoid the busier roads and highways. New riders should consider taking a motorcycle safety class.
- Negligent motorists and motorcyclists: Negligence includes reckless and distracted driving, texting while driving, driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, and speeding. Negligent driving is the number one cause of motorcycle accidents and injuries.
What Safety Measures Can Motorcyclists Take?
Whether you’ve been riding for years or you’re new to motorcycling, consider these recommendations for avoiding serious accidents and injuries:
- Don’t presume that drivers will obey traffic signals or stop signs. Negligent motorists move right through traffic signals and stop signs and cause serious collisions throughout Virginia every day.
- Too many motorcycle accidents happen when drivers don’t see motorcycles because of blind spots. It’s best to assume that a driver can’t see you unless and until that driver somehow acknowledges you.
- Virginia requires all motorcyclists and their passengers to wear helmets. A motorcycle helmet must meet or surpass the standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Snell Memorial Foundation, or the American National Standards Institute.
- Helmets are only one of the safety gear items a motorcyclist needs. Every motorcyclist also needs gloves, boots, and the right motorcycle jacket.
What Are Your Rights as an Injured Victim of Negligence?
Virginia is an at-fault auto insurance state, so motorcyclists who are injured by negligent drivers in Virginia are entitled to compensation for their injury-related medical expenses, lost wages, pain, personal suffering, and other related damages and losses.
If a negligent motorist injures you while you are motorcycling in the Suffolk area, schedule a meeting with a Suffolk motorcycle accident lawyer at once, and ask that lawyer to explain your rights and options, including your right to compensation.
Severe spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, burn injuries, and paralysis are among the injuries that motorcyclists and their passengers may sustain in a serious motorcycle accident. The victims of these types of catastrophic injuries will need the maximum available compensation.
Why Is an Immediate Medical Examination So Important?
After a motorcycle accident, summon medical attention and the local police. Try to take photographs of your injuries, the damage to your motorcycle and the other vehicle, and the overall scene of the accident.
Do not admit fault. Do not agree to any settlement offer from an auto insurance company before you have consulted a motorcycle accident attorney.
Make and keep copies of the medical, police, and insurance reports and documents pertinent to the accident. If you were not treated at the accident scene or rushed to a hospital, obtain a medical exam – within the first twenty-four hours, if possible – after any motorcycle accident.
Even if you feel perfectly healthy, you may have suffered a hard-to-find or latent injury. An immediate medical examination protects you and creates medical records you may need – later – to bring a motorcycle injury claim.
When Should You Contact an Injury Attorney?
After a medical provider has examined and/or treated you, take your case – as quickly as possible – to a Suffolk motorcycle accident attorney. Your attorney will review the details of the case and may recommend moving forward with a personal injury lawsuit.
Your first meeting with a Suffolk personal injury attorney is offered without cost and without obligation. It’s your opportunity to receive personalized legal advice and to learn how the law applies in your own case.
If you move ahead with legal action after a motorcycle accident, you pay no lawyer’s fee until and unless your lawyer recovers compensation on your behalf with a negotiated settlement or a court judgment.
How Are Most Motorcycle Accident Cases Resolved?
Your attorney will investigate what happened, speak to the witnesses, examine the evidence, and negotiate for the full compensation amount that you are entitled to by law. Most motorcycle injury claims are settled out-of-court, and most victims don’t even have to appear in a courtroom.
But if no reasonable settlement amount is offered by the other side, or if your claim is disputed, a Suffolk motorcycle accident lawyer will take your case to trial, tell a jury how you were injured and the extent of your injuries, and ask that jury to order the payment of your compensation.
What Else Should Motorcycle Accident Victims Know?
In Virginia, the statute of limitations – the deadline for filing a personal injury claim after a motorcycle accident – is two years, but you should consult an attorney at once after a motorcycle accident before the evidence deteriorates and the memories of witnesses begin to fade.
If you can prove your injury claim with the right evidence and the right attorney, the law will be on your side, and you may be able to recover all of your current and future medical expenses, your lost wages and projected future lost wages, and your other related losses and damages.
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