Motorcycle Accident Litigation
Their speed, lack of padding, proximity to the pavement and difficulty of being seen by other drivers put motorcyclists in a particularly precarious position, regardless of whether or not they follow the laws. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle accidents are on the rise:
In 2016, 5,286 motorcyclists were killed in the U.S. Of those killed, 94 percent were riders and 6 per cent were passengers. In 2015, more than 88,000 riders or passengers were injured. In West Virginia that same year, there were 29 fatal motorcycle accidents. 19 of those West Virginians who died were wearing helmets.
Motorcyclists are vulnerable to accident injuries no matter how careful the riders might be or how much protective gear they might wear. They simply do not have the protection of the surrounding padding and metal provided by vehicles.
When motorcyclists are injured, the injuries tend to be extremely serious. If you or someone close to you suffered a serious motorcycle injury because of someone’s negligence, reach out to our legal team.
We at Johnstone & Gabhart, LLP, are ready to put our half century of combined experience working on motor vehicle accidents to obtain the compensation and accountability you need and deserve if you have been injured due to:
- Driver negligence
- Blind spot accidents
- Rear-end collisions
- Sudden lane changes
- Improper obstructions
- Distracted drivers (texting/cellphone usage)
- Municipal liability
- Repair shop and product liability
West Virginia Motorcycle Laws
West Virginia motorcycle laws essentially require motorcycle riders to adhere to rules of the road applicable to vehicle drivers and pedestrians. There are also laws requiring them to wear certain protective gear and regulations related to lane-splitting and lighting.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
In 2016, 72 percent of vehicle/motorcycle crashes occurred when the motorcyclist was hit from the front. Only 7 percent of motorcycles were impacted from behind. Some of the most common causes of accidents involving cars and motorcycles include:
- In 41 percent of vehicle/motorcycle crashes, the vehicle driver was turning left, but the motorcyclist was going straight. The driver turning left hits the motorcyclist broadside, or the motorcycle rider rams into the side of the vehicle.
- The motorcyclist slams into obstacles in the roadway like sand, gravel, a fallen tree branch, etc.
- A distracted driver suddenly changes lanes in front of the motorcyclist.
- A car fails to slow down or stop fast enough and hits the slowing or stopping motorcyclist from behind.
- The driver of a parked car opens the vehicle door just as a motorcyclist is riding by, causing the rider to ram into the door
- The motorcyclists loses control on a road that is slippery due to a rain or snow.
- Alcohol use by either the vehicle driver or motorcycle rider or both.
Most Common Types of Injuries
Out of the 88,000 motorcycle riders or passengers (annually) who survive an accident, many are injured so severely that their lives are changed forever. The three most common types of injuries include:
- Broken bones: When the accident happens, the reflex of riders is to put their leg down on the ground to keep the bike from toppling over. Instead of keeping the bike upright, the leg is broken. Also commonly broken are arms and wrists, as the natural tendency is to put the arm out to break the fall. Broken shoulders and pelvises are also common.
- Road rash: The rider or passenger may be thrown off of the bike in such a way their body skids across the roadway. Even with protective gear or heavy clothing, the friction may cause the clothes to be ripped off and the skin seriously burned. Road rash can be so severe that it may be life-threatening.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): When the head hits the ground, whether or not the person is wearing a helmet, the brain is jostled and may violently hit the sides of the hard skull, causing either temporary or permanent brain damage.
All of these injuries, along with other broken bones, internal injuries leading to massive bleeding and organ damage, can be life-threatening. At a minimum, they can be life-changing as the injured person tries to adapt to life with a permanent disability.
Motorcycle Accident Compensation
If you were a rider or passenger in a motorcycle accident, the law provides a way for you to receive compensation from a party whose negligence caused your injuries. You are generally entitled to collect damages for:
- All of your medical expenses, both current and those you anticipate incurring in the future. An expert may need to review your medical records to determine if you will need future medical and/or surgical care.
- Long term medical or nursing care. Some patients with multiple injuries or traumatic brain injuries may need lifelong nursing care, medications, and therapy.
- Rehabilitation costs. This may be long-term and may include physical rehabilitation, speech therapy or occupational rehabilitation that is necessary to help you return to your normal functioning.
- Lost wages that you can document as a result of being unable to work, or loss of earning capacity because you will be unable to work in the future or have to change careers due to the injury.
- Pain and suffering.
- Loss of enjoyment of life when, due to your injuries, you are unable to participate in activities you enjoyed prior to the accident.
- Property damages to reimburse you for the loss of your motorcycle and protective gear.
Our lawyers will work directly with you to understand the nature and specifics of your accident. From there we will begin building the case for litigation. If the insurance company is unwilling to settle for compensation that is fair, we are ready to go to court in pursuit of advocacy. Our comprehensive knowledge and experience are only exceeded by our commitment to your well-being. We encourage you to get in touch as soon as possible.