West Virginia Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Motorcycles can be a thrill to ride to drive, but they can unfortunately be quite dangerous. The small size of a motorcycle makes the rider harder to see in mirrors and car blind spots, and a motorcycle does not offer any structural protection in a crash or safety features like airbags or seat belts to help protect from personal injuries. This essentially leaves a helmet and clothing as the rider’s only line of defense in a crash.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident in West Virginia, don’t wait – contact our law firm at Kaufman & McPherson PLLC today. Insurance companies may offer a quick settlement, but they will probably you much less money than you are entitled to in order to protect their bottom line. Before you file a claim, make sure you talk to a West Virginia motorcycle accident attorney to know your legal options.
Get Free Legal Advice
Do not let this happen to you. Rather, let our team of motorcycle accident attorneys fight on your behalf to get you the settlement and compensation that you deserve. Our law firm offers free case evaluation, legal advice, and only is compensated when you win your case. We’re open 24/7 for your convenience, too.
Motorcycle Accident Facts in West Virginia
The West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles released a report that includes data about motorcycle accidents in the state from 2006 to 2010. Unfortunately, during that time, these accidents accounted for 2.06 fatalities per 100,000 people in the state of West Virginia and many more injuries, which was more than the national average of 1.06 per 100,000 people. Here are a few additional key points from the report:
- 6% of motorcycle riders in fatal crashes were not wearing helmets, which is required by state law. Nationally, 41.2% of riders in fatal crashes were not wearing helmets.
- During the course of the five-year study, annual motorcycle accident fatalities dropped by almost 16% statewide, whereas nationally they only dropped by about 9%.
- 5% of all traffic accident deaths in West Virginia are motorcycle riders, while they represent 13.7% of vehicular fatalities nationally.
- Of motorcycle accident fatalities in the state, 31.9% had a blood alcohol content of 0.01 or greater, as opposed to 38% nationally.
- Speeding was the main cause of 23.9% of fatal motorcycle crashes in West Virginia, while it accounted for 39.4% throughout the nation.
- The most common factors of all motorcycle injuries and deaths in the state were speeding and failure to stay within the lane of travel.
10 Types of Motorcycle Accidents
While in many cases the common causes of motorcycle accidents are the riders themselves, there are unfortunately a large number of crashes that are caused by other drivers and various other factors. Below are the ten most common causes:
1. Unsafe Lane Changes
Car or truck drivers can easily crash into motorcyclists by failing to signal or adequately check their blind spots before changing lanes.
2. Car Doors
When a driver opens the door of their parked car without realizing that a motorcyclist is approaching from behind them, the motorcyclist may crash into the door that has suddenly protruded into their lane.
Speeding by either a motorcyclist or a driver can result in a crash due to loss of control and shortened reaction times. The higher the speed of the vehicles involved, the more devastating the consequences.
4. Driving Under The Influence
Drugs and alcohol can cause loss of coordination required to steer and brake, loss of ability to visually track moving objects, impaired judgment, and slower reaction times, all of which can easily lead to an accident. Additionally, drivers who are under the influence can face civil and criminal charges.
5. Lane Splitting
Lane splitting is when motorcyclists drive between two cars by riding on the lane line. It is not legal in many states including West Virginia since it is such a dangerous maneuver, although it is tempting for many motorcyclists rather than sitting in backed-up traffic.
6. Sudden Stops
Sudden stops of either a motorcyclist or a car driver can result in rear-end crashes that can be quite dangerous or fatal for motorcycle riders.
7. Inexperienced Drivers
Inexperienced drivers are more likely to make mistakes that result in collisions, especially with motorcycles, which can be harder to see and more difficult to predict their next moves.
8. Left Turn Accidents
Car drivers often misjudge the distance required to make a left turn without impeding the right of way of a motorcyclist.
9. Dangerous Road Conditions
Dangerous road conditions like potholes, debris on the road, crumbling or cracked pavement, and lack of warning signs about such conditions are all much more likely to cause a motorcyclist to lose control of their vehicle than someone who is driving a car.
10. Motorcycle Defects
Occasionally the manufacturer of motorcycle bodies or parts uses a poor design that creates a defect, which can have catastrophic results for a motorcyclist.
Serious Motorcycle Crash Injuries
While some motorcyclists are extremely lucky and walk away from a crash with no serious injuries, most, unfortunately, suffer injuries that are severe enough that they end up in the hospital. Some of these injuries include:
Road rash occurs when the rider slides along the rough road surface after a crash, which can cause serious abrasions and skin damage. It can be excruciatingly painful and result in infections and scars.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Wearing a helmet can significantly reduce your chances of getting a traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle crash, although it doesn’t eliminate the risk. Traumatic brain injuries can cause lifelong cognitive damage and permanent disability.
Neck and Spinal Cord Injury
Certain types of crashes could result in whiplash injuries to the neck and the spine can be damaged by extreme force or landing on one’s head, which could cause devastating injuries, paralysis, or death.
Many motorcyclists use their arm reflexively to try to cushion their body in the event of a crash, which means that nerves, muscles, and bones of the arm may be damaged severely beyond a regular broken bone. While this is the recommended technique to follow during a crash, it’s hard to make such real-time decisions in some instances.
What You May Be Entitled To
If you or a family member has been in a motorcycle accident that was caused by another motorist’s negligence or error, you have the right to claim financial compensation to cover the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost income and lost the ability to earn future income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological distress and related therapy
- Damage to your motorcycle and other property damaged by the crash
- Wrongful death and end-of-life expenses for a loved one killed in a motorcycle crash
What If You Were At Fault in Your Motorcycle Accident?
If you were partially responsible for the accident, you may still be entitled to some compensation. The court may look into the accident and determine what percent of the accident was your fault, so for instance, if you were 30% at fault, your compensation amount would be reduced by 30%.
As such, it’s important to not take the blame for the accident at the time of the crash. Do not apologize for the accident, as an apology could be taken as an admission of fault or guilt, and do not talk to insurance representatives until you have spoken to one of our attorneys, because they may use your statements against you to undermine your motorcycle accident claim to compensation. This is why it’s critical to quickly hire a lawyer in West Virginia.
Claiming Compensation from Uninsured and Underinsured Motorcyclists
If your insurance policy has coverage for accidents caused by uninsured or underinsured drivers, the claim process is relatively straightforward. However, if your policy does not include that and the responsible driver does not have sufficient insurance coverage to pay your compensation amount, you can recover the amount available from their insurance company and the remainder of your compensation from your own insurance company, with the assistance of one of our attorneys.
Ensuring a Successful Claim: What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident
If you are the unfortunate accident victim of a motorcycle crash due to a negligent driver, it’s important to know what to do right after the crash. Here are four things to remember:
- Get medical care. This is important even if you don’t feel hurt immediately, as having a medical professional document your injuries can be a helpful piece of evidence in your medical expenses claim.
- Report on the accident. Call the police as soon as possible after the accident to get an accident report filed, which can also be used in your case.
- Gather available evidence. Take photos at the scene of the crash if possible and document the damage to your motorcycle accident injuries as well as property damage with photos. Keep all the relevant documents together, like hospital records and bills, receipts, and repair bills.
- Contact an attorney. Get one of our Kaufman & McPherson lawyers on your side before you make a statement or sign any kind of document relating to the accident. We can guide you to prevent any mistakes that might harm your case.
Kaufman & McPherson Can Help
Our attorneys are here to help make the aftermath of your motorcycle accident less stressful and to work on your behalf to secure the full amount of compensation that you are entitled to. Call us toll-free today at (304) 842-4300 or contact us online for a free review of your case. All of our cases are handled on a contingency basis, so you pay nothing unless we win the case for you.