Riding a motorcycle is a lot of fun – especially on West Virginia’s winding roads. Yet driving a motorcycle can also be incredibly dangerous. No matter how many “Watch for Motorcycles” signs and bumper stickers you might see, many drivers simply don’t treat motorcyclists with the respect that they deserve.
Motorcycle accidents can cause serious or even fatal injuries. If you were involved in a motorcycle crash, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Through this type of claim, you can recover financial compensation for your property damage, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
At Johnstone & Gabhart, we are fierce advocates for injury victims throughout West Virginia. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you never pay a fee unless we recover money for you. Reach out to our law offices today to schedule a free consultation with a Huntington motorcycle accident attorney.
Common Causes of West Virginia Motorcycle Accidents
While motorcycles represent just a fraction of all vehicles on the roads, they are overrepresented when it comes to fatal accidents. In 2021 alone, 5,932 motorcyclists – or 14% of all traffic fatalities – were killed in motor vehicle accidents.
There are many potential causes of motorcycle crashes. In many cases, driver error or inattention is the underlying cause of a motorcycle accident. This may include:
- Cars making left-hand turns
- Road hazards
- Cars failing to yield
- Drug and alcohol use
- Cars making lane changes
- Distracted driving
- Poor weather conditions
- Cars making sudden stops
In some cases, a defective motorcycle part may be responsible for a motorcycle crash. Many motorcyclists are also hurt in “dooring” accidents, where a driver of a passenger car opens their door into traffic without checking for bikers first.
Because motorcyclists have little protection – particularly compared to occupants of a car, truck, or SUV – they often suffer serious injuries in these crashes. Common motorcycle accident injuries include road rash, traumatic brain injury (TBI), broken bones, internal organ damage, and lacerations. In far too many cases, motorcycle accidents lead to fatal injuries.
Can I File a Lawsuit for My Motorcycle Accident?
If your motorcycle accident was caused by another person, then you may be able to file a lawsuit against them. These cases – like most personal injury cases – are typically based on a theory of negligence or carelessness.
The injury victim (plaintiff) has the burden of proof in personal injury lawsuits. To win a claim, the plaintiff must prove four things:
- Duty: the at-fault party (defendant) owed the plaintiff a duty of care
- Breach: the defendant breached (violated) that duty in some way
- Causation: the defendant’s violation was the proximate or “but for” cause of the accident (i.e., but for the defendant pulling out without looking, the accident would not have happened).
- Damages: the plaintiff suffered losses.
In some cases, the plaintiff may not have to prove these elements. In a negligence per se action, if the defendant violated a statute and the plaintiff is the type of person intended to be protected by that law, then they do not have to prove that the defendant was negligent. For example, if the at-fault driver was texting and driving when they caused the crash, in violation of West Virginia law, then they could be held responsible under a theory of negligence per se.
If the at-fault party acted intentionally or recklessly, then they can also be held liable in a personal injury claim. The classic example of this type of case is when a driver causes a drunk driving accident.
Questions of liability can be complicated, particularly in motorcycle accident cases where a biker may crash without another vehicle bumping into their bike. A Huntington motorcycle accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate the facts of the accident, gathering medical records, accident reports, photos, and videos, and interviewing witnesses. In this way, they can hold the defendant responsible for their actions – and help you get the money that you deserve for your losses.
Motorcycle Accident Settlements
In a motorcycle crash case, you may be entitled to financial compensation for all of your losses. This may include three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic and non-economic damages compensate an injury victim for their losses, while punitive damages punish a wrongdoer for intentional or reckless conduct.
Examples of compensation in a motorcycle accident claim include:
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Future earning capacity
- Medical bills
- Future medical treatment
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Most motorcycle accident cases – like other personal injury claims – are resolved outside of court. That being said, it is often still necessary to file a lawsuit to protect your rights. Filing a lawsuit does not mean that your case will go to trial.
Insurance companies are in business to make money. Their goal is typically to pay out as little as possible on claims. In many situations, they won’t offer a fair settlement unless they know that both you and your attorney are serious about the case – and ready to take it to court if necessary.
The lawyers of Johnstone & Gabhart aren’t afraid to take on massive insurance companies. In fact, we have a strong track record of success in helping our clients get the money that they deserve for their injuries. If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident, we can help you get maximum compensation for your injuries.
Hurt in a Motorcycle Crash? We’re Here for You.
Motorcycle accidents can produce devastating injuries. If you have been hurt in any type of motorcycle crash, our law firm can help. We will fight to help you get top dollar for your losses.
Johnstone & Gabhart exclusively represents accident victims – never insurance companies. We work hard to help our clients get the money that they deserve for their injuries, and we never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with a Huntington motorcycle accident attorney, give us a call at 304-343-7100 or fill out our online contact form.
What If Bad Road Conditions Caused My Motorcycle Accident?
Single-vehicle crashes are common with motorcycles. In some cases, accidents are caused by bad road conditions, such as potholes. If you wrecked on your motorcycle because a local government failed to properly maintain the road, then you may be able to file a lawsuit against the responsible agency.
The rules for suing the government are a bit different and require some skill and experience. If you believe that poor road conditions caused your crash, Johnstone & Gabhart can help. Reach out to schedule a free initial consultation with a Huntington motorcycle accident lawyer.
How Can I Afford to Hire a Huntington Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
Personal injury law firms handle cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you pay nothing upfront, and only pay a fee if you recover money through a settlement or verdict at trial. The total attorney’s fee will be a percentage of your recovery.
These fee arrangements make it possible to hire a lawyer even if you don’t have the cash on hand to pay an hourly fee or retainer. It also aligns your interests with your lawyer’s, as you are both motivated to resolve the case as quickly as possible and for as much money as possible. Call Johnstone & Gabhart today to talk to a Huntington motorcycle accident attorney about your claim.