Riding a motorcycle is refreshing and exhilarating, but it can also be dangerous. Motorcyclists have a much smaller profile than regular vehicles, and it is more difficult for other drivers to see them. In addition, there is no steel cage to protect a motorcyclist if they get into an accident, and when another vehicle collides into them, there is a very good chance of their body hitting the pavement.
When a biker suffers an injury in a Parkersburg, WV motorcycle accident, they are not likely to get a lot of sympathy from the insurance company. Insurers often believe that motorcyclists take unnecessary chances and that they are the ones usually at fault for an accident. But the truth is that another party is usually at fault. In such cases, it is very important to have an experienced attorney in your corner advocating aggressively for your rights and interests.
At the office of The Masters Law Firm, we have several decades of experience representing motorcycle accident victims in Parkersburg and communities throughout West Virginia. Our award-winning lawyers have a successful track record with even the most complex cases, and we have secured hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients.
We know that motorcycle accident victims often have a tough time dealing with insurance companies, and we work closely with our clients to put together the strongest possible claim. We deal directly with the other side and handle all of the complicated legal tasks, so you can focus on getting recovered from your injuries and putting your life back on track.
Common Reasons why Parkersburg, WV Motorcycle Accidents Occur?
As we touched on earlier, other vehicle drivers often play a role in causing a motorcycle accident. This can happen for a number of reasons, including:
Driving While Intoxicated: Alcohol plays a role in a large percentage of motorcycle accidents. Whether it is a vehicle driver or a motorcyclist who is impaired, intoxication slows reaction times and causes drivers to exercise poor judgment. This significantly inhibits an individual’s ability to operate a car or motorcycle safely.
Reckless Driving: Aggressive and/or reckless driving behaviors are common contributors to motorcycle crashes in West Virginia. Some examples include excessive speeding, weaving between lanes or straddling the center line, following too closely/tailgating, running stop signs, and refusing to yield the right-of-way.
Unsafe Lane Changes and Turns: Many motorcycle accidents occur because of a careless driver failing to notice a motorcyclist entering their blind spot. So, when the driver attempts to change lanes or make a turn, they crash into the motorcycle that they did not see.
Drowsy Driving: A driver who is drowsy or fatigued risks falling asleep behind the wheel, which can result in deadly consequences. But even if that does not happen, drowsy drivers have slower reaction times and inhibited peripheral vision, which can cause them to miss motorcycles and other smaller profile objects that are driving nearby.
Distracted Driving: Motorists have more distractions than ever before these days. People are always on the go, and many of them eat, drink, put on makeup, and do other activities while they are driving. Smartphones are another major source of distraction that is contributing to a growing number of motorcycle accidents. Texting while driving and other types of electronic messaging distracts drivers in three ways; manually, visually, and cognitively. This pulls their focus completely away from the road, which can cause them to not to notice motorcycles nearby.
What is Driving the Increase in Motorcycle Accidents?
In Parkersburg, WV and throughout the country, the number of motorcycle accident fatalities have increased significantly over the past few decades. Back in the 1990s, motorcycle deaths averaged somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 each year. In the early 2000’s, however, they started to creep up, breaking 4,000 fatalities in 2004. In 2007, the number of motorcycle deaths topped 5,000, and it has remained at or near that level ever since.
There are a number of factors that could be contributing to the rise in motorcycle accident fatalities. There are more motorcyclists on the road than ever before, and there are also a lot of older bikers who are more susceptible to fatal injuries. But many experts believe that the primary reason for the increase in motorcycle deaths is because of distracted driving. In fact, a few years ago, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that approximately 40% of motorcycle accidents now involve a distracted or inattentive driver.
Damages Recoverable from Parkersburg, WV Motorcycle Accidents
When someone gets injured in a motorcycle crash, they have a right to compensation in the form of damages. Compensatory damages can be divided into two general categories:
Economic Damages: Also known as “special damages”, economic damages are direct monetary losses incurred by the injured party. Examples may include medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and property damage.
Noneconomic Damages: Also known as “general damages”, noneconomic damages provide compensation for losses that you cannot assign a dollar figure to. For example, the physical pain and suffering that the victim goes through as a result of the injury, as well as their mental anguish, psychological distress, and diminished quality of life. Damages can also be sought for disfigurement and other permanent conditions.
In rarer cases in which the actions of the party responsible for the accident were willful, malicious, or grossly negligent, punitive damages might also be awarded. Also known as “exemplary damages”, punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim, but rather to punish the wrongdoer and help discourage them and others from committing similarly egregious actions in the future.
There are some West Virginia motorcycle accident cases in which fault may be assigned to two or more parties. When this is the case, an injury victim can still recover compensation as long as they are less than 50% at fault for the underlying accident. However, their damage award would be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault shared for the accident.
So, if your total losses equaled $200,000 and you are found to be 20% at fault for the accident, your damages would be reduced by $40,000, down to a total of $160,000. This is one of the reasons you should never admit fault for any auto accident that you are involved in. Be courteous and polite with those you talk to but leave the determination of fault for the experts to decide.
Contact our Skilled and Knowledgeable Parkersburg, WV Truck Accident Attorneys
If you or someone close to you suffered injury in a motorcycle accident in West Virginia, The Masters Law Firm is here to help. Message us online or call our office today at 304-342-3106 or toll free at 1-800-342-3106 or a free consultation case assessment.
We accept all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay attorney fees if we win your case