When you purchased your motorcycle, the risk of being involved in an accident probably hardly crossed your mind. If it did, you likely assured yourself that with safe operating behavior and always paying attention, it would not happen to you. But a motorcycle accident can happen to anyone. Even if you are an incredibly conscious and safe rider, it is impossible to predict the behaviors of others on the road.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle crash in West Virginia and have suffered harm as a result, our motorcycle accident attorneys at The Masters Law Firm want to help. We have decades of experience helping clients who have been injured through no fault of their own, and we work closely with our clients, exploring every potential avenue toward recovering maximum compensation. Please reach out to our team today to learn more about how we can serve you.
How Motorcycle Accidents Happen
Riding a motorcycle can be very dangerous. To be sure, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motorcyclists are about 28 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash. This statistic is terrifying, especially when considering that those motorcyclists who don’t die often suffer serious, long-term, and debilitating injuries.
Motorcycle accidents are almost always the result of negligence, meaning that one of the parties involved failed to exercise the required degree of care for the situation. Examples of negligence that can lead to motorcycle accidents include:
Failing to yield;
Changing lanes without double-checking blind spots;
Driving while intoxicated/impaired;
Aggressive driving; and
Keep in mind that the negligent actions of motorcyclists, such as lane-splitting or failing to follow traffic laws, can also lead to crashes. If a motorcyclist is involved in a traffic accident that they contributed to, they may still be able to recover compensation so long as their degree of fault is less than the other party’s; however, their compensation award is reduced in proportion to their degree of fault they share in the accident.
Here is an example of how that would work. Let’s say you were involved in a motorcycle crash and you sustained $100,000 in losses, and you are determined to be 30% at fault for the accident. In this case, your damages would be reduced by $30,000, leaving you with a total of $70,000 in compensation.
Damages in a Motorcycle Crash
The reason that motorcyclists are so much more likely to die in the event that they are involved in a crash when compared to occupants of standard passenger cars is obvious: motorcyclists have far fewer protections. In fact, the only protection that a motorcyclist may have is a helmet and clothing that covers the skin, helping to prevent against road burn injuries. Other than that, it is typically the motorcyclist’s body that absorbs the brunt of the force in a car-motorcycle collision.
The injuries that a motorcyclist may suffer as a result can be horrific. Missing areas of skin from road rash, severe bone fracture and bleeding injuries, facial injuries, and internal injuries are all common. In severe cases, the motorcyclist may also suffer from an amputation injury, traumatic brain injury, or spinal cord injury.
A motorcyclist who suffers severe injuries can expect to incur a large amount of economic and non economic damages in the form of medical bills, lost wages, property damage costs, pain, and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.
Who Pays for Motorcyclists’ Injuries?
When a motorcyclist is in a crash, who pays for the bills and losses that they accrue as a result?
Because West Virginia is an at-fault state, drivers who cause the accident are responsible for paying for them. Typically, this is done through the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy. Bodily injury insurance is required in West Virginia with a minimum amount of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident. Property damage liability coverage is also required, with a minimum amount of $25,000 per accident.
This means that if you are a motorcyclist who is hit by a negligent driver, you can file a claim for damages directly against their insurance company. If you are offered a settlement, you can reject and renegotiate the offer if you do not believe it to be fair. If settlement negotiations fail, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Motorcycle drivers in WV may also be able to purchase uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage, which protects you if the person who hits you does not have enough insurance to pay for all of your damages. This is a valuable protection for relatively little cost, and something you may want to speak with your insurance company about obtaining.
Keep in mind that the at-fault party may not necessarily be another driver. Other parties that can be held liable in a motorcycle crash might include the manufacturer of the motorcycle or a motor vehicle (if a defect led to the crash), or a party responsible for road maintenance or signage.
How Our West Virginia Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Can Help
At The Masters Law Firm, our motorcycle accident lawyers know that you have lost a lot if you’ve been in a crash. We want to help you recover the amount that you’re owed. In order to do so, we will assist you by:
Explaining your legal options, including filing a claim with your own insurance company, filing a claim against the insurance company of the at-fault party, or filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party;
Investigating your accident and gathering evidence to prove fault, causation, and damages;
Calculating the value of your claim so you know exactly what amount you deserve when you are offered a settlement;
Issuing a demand letter on your behalf;
Reviewing a settlement offer and rejecting it if it does not fully compensate you;
Representing you in all settlement negotiations, as well as any other conversations with an insurance party or the defendant; and
Filing a lawsuit and bringing your case to court if necessary.
Throughout the whole process, our law firm will also be available to provide you with assistance and answers to your question. We handle the bulk of your case for you so that you can focus on your recovery.
We work using a contingency fee system, which means that you don’t have to worry about coming up with the funds for our services upfront. Instead, if your claim is successful, we will be paid based on a percentage of your winnings.
Call Our West Virginia Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today
Being involved in a motorcycle accident can be terrifying. We want you to know that you don’t have to go through it alone. If you’ve been injured, please call our law firm directly today at 304-342-3106 or toll free at 1-800-342-3106 to request a free consultation and learn more about your rights. You can also visit our law office in person or send us a message using the intake form on our website.