If you or someone that you love has sustained a serious injury after being involved in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to have experienced legal representation on your side.
The team of legal professionals at Stewart Bell, PLLC offer 100% free initial consultations to determine the merits of your claim and work quickly to obtain the MAXIMUM amount for your damages lawsuit.
West Virginia Motorcycle Laws
As with most states, West Virginia has motorcycle laws which may be different from another. Our laws are designed to protect our citizens from injuries which may occur relating to a motorcycle accident.
Some West Virginia motorcycle laws include:
- We accept motorcycle endorsements from other states
- A daytime headlight is required
- Eye protection is required
- Handlebars can be a maximum of 15” above the seat
- Lane splitting is not authorized
- One left or right mirror is required
- A passenger seat is required if carrying a passenger
- A helmet is required to be worn
Of course, these laws are for motorcyclists operating on our roadways. There are a separate set of rules for off-road bikes, which can be found by contacting our motorcycle accident lawyers.
Risks of Riding a Motorcycle
When you’re riding a motorcycle, you’re already subject to unique risks compared to driving a typical car. The most obvious is that there’s no protection between you and the road. There are no seatbelts or airbags to keep you safe during collisions. You’re also less visible to other vehicles which makes them more likely to hit you accidentally.
Even small road hazards are more of a threat to bikers than they are car drivers. This can vary from things like small debris to something as trivial as wet pavement. This is due to the motorcycle’s decreased stability which makes emergency braking and swerving incredibly difficult to handle.
Causes of Motorcycle Collisions
When an individual makes the decision to ride a motorcycle, they are instantly put at an increased risk of injury and death. Thus, riders must obtain the proper license to operate these vehicles safely. Of course, even with the correct licenses, these riders may be involved in an accident either due to their negligence, or the negligent actions of another driver.
Some common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Adverse weather conditions
- Blind spots
- Distracted drivers
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Inexperienced riders
- Motorcycle malfunction
- Not abiding by traffic laws
- Roadway hazards
- Vehicle failed to see motorcycle
Unfortunately, these causes of accidents may result in injuries to the motorcyclists involved, as they have little protection to the outside environment.
Motorcycle Collision Injuries
Motorcyclists are expected to follow all the rules of the road, and have a few separate rules from passenger vehicles, however no matter how safe a motorcyclist may be, they are not completely safe from being involved in an accident. These accidents will typically result in an injury or death to the motorcyclist involved.
Some common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Brain damage
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Neck injuries
- Nerve damage
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, our motorcycle accident lawyers recommend seeking medical attention immediately to assure no hidden injuries have occurred or to have any injuries attended to. Furthermore, any medical documents obtained can be used by our attorneys to help develop a case against these injury causing individuals in the court of law.
Similar to other auto accidents, liability in motorcycle accidents is determined by negligence or carelessness. The one who was acting the most careless is the one liable for the damages. Simply due to the dangerous nature of motorcycles, the person driving the car is typically found to be more careless than the motorcycle rider.
It’s important to remember, however, that motorcycle riders don’t simply win by default. If negligence can be proven on the part of the rider, the driver of the car may only be liable for a portion of the damages or potentially none at all depending on the level of carelessness. This is known as comparative negligence and is calculated as a percentage of liability.
No Contact Accidents
In some instances, a motorcycle accident doesn’t involve a collision at all but is still the fault of someone in a car. It’s important to remember that a car doesn’t have to physically hit you in order to be at fault for your motorcycle accident. Imagine if a car in the lane next to you suddenly switches over to your lane without using turn signals causing you to swerve off the road. They didn’t hit you, but it’s still their fault.
Making Your Claim
When you’re making a claim after a motorcycle accident, there are four major elements you have to consider. You have to be able to prove that the law required the defendant to be more careful, the defendant was not as careful as they should have been, the defendant caused your injuries and that you suffered losses.
Remember, damages can’t be collected if there weren’t any real damages. Without injury to your person or your property, you don’t have a case by default even if the defendant was driving carelessly. To ensure the best results from your case, you’ll need an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer on your side like those at Stewart Bell PLLC.
How Much is a Claim Worth?
Making a claim is a long and complicated process, so it’s important to determine beforehand how much your claim is worth. There are two types of calculations typically used when determining worth, those capable of being calculated exactly like medical and repair costs and those that aren’t like pain and suffering. The latter is typically left up to the jury’s good sense, so be conservative with those estimates.
You should also consider the possibility of making a settlement. The settlement value of your claim will always be lower than your trial value as it represents the minimum amount you’re willing to pay to settle your case. Meanwhile, the trial value is how much you can expect to win at trial. A good rule of thumb is that your claim’s settlement value be 20% of its trial value.
Contact Our Charleston Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today
At Stewart Bell, PLLC, our motorcycle accident lawyers have sympathy for all individuals injured in motorcycle accidents and will seek the maximum compensation benefits to help them fully recover from their accident. With over 30 years of experience we have had much success in standing up for victims injured due to the negligent actions of another individual.