Riding a motorcycle can provide an affordable and practical means of transportation as well as an exciting recreational activity. Virginia not only has a rich history but also a lush and scenic landscape worth exploring.
Along with the freedom that you get riding a motorcycle come some inherent risks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motorcycle fatalities occur 27 times more frequently than those of other vehicle crashes. In Virginia alone, all motor vehicle crash statistics improved in 2017, except for motorcycle crashes – which were up 10.4% from the prior year.
While many motorcycle riders are adept and conscientious, they still face a serious risk of injury or death on the road. If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash or lost a loved one, you may benefit from the services of an experienced Virginia motorcycle accident lawyer. At Schilling & Esposito, our accomplished Virginia personal injury attorneys understand the difficulties and pain you may be facing after one of these tragic events.
Common Causes of Virginia Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle riders commonly receive a bad rap as being careless and reckless on the road. The statistics tell another story. Of the over 2,100 motorcycle crashes in Virginia last year, alcohol use by the rider was a factor in just 6.5% or 142 cases. In a majority of the crashes, the motorcycle was either maneuvering to avoid another vehicle or was listed as taking “no improper action.”
The unfortunate fact is that most motorcycle crashes are avoidable and many are the fault of another vehicle. The most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
Distracted or Careless Drivers. From drivers texting or otherwise not paying attention to the road to out of town visitors who are unfamiliar with the terrain, distracted and careless driving is the leading cause of motorcycle accidents. Common ways that these accidents materialize is when a driver fails to look when turning left, doesn’t yield to motorcycles, or fails to check their blind spot before changing lanes.
Poor Visibility. Virginia’s elevation changes as well as rain, fog, and snow can impact a driver’s ability to see motorcycles. If not driving at a safe speed for conditions, a dangerous crash can occur.
Drug and Alcohol Use. Intoxicated drivers are more likely to drive recklessly and fail to look for motorcycles when on the road.
Roadway Defects. When there are severe potholes or construction debris in the road, this can lead to a severe crash for a motorcyclist.
What Are the Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries?
Unlike passenger vehicles, there aren’t many safety features built into a motorcycle to keep the rider safe. A motorcyclist doesn’t have the benefit of a seatbelt, airbag, or the steel shell of their vehicle. It’s not uncommon for a rider to be thrown from their vehicle or even end up pinned beneath their motorcycle.
While Virginia law requires that both riders and passengers wear approved helmets, these provide only a minimum amount of protection. Motorcycle crashes can result in injuries so severe that they are life-altering. Some of the most common types of motorcycle accident injuries include:
Road Rash (severe abrasions resulting from sliding across pavement)
Head Injury (may include traumatic brain injury)
Spinal Cord Injury (neck and spine injuries could result in permanent paralysis)
Leg Injury (fractures of the knees, feet, and legs, as well as cuts and burns)
Biker’s Arm (when a rider instinctively puts their arm out to stop a fall, this can result in severe damage)
Muscle Damage (this is possible anywhere on the body)
Getting Compensation After a Virginia Motorcycle Accident
When you’ve been hurt through no fault of your own, you are faced with some difficult challenges. You may need immediate medical attention and have to deal with other emotional and financial obstacles. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may have the right to make a claim for compensation for the following types of damages:
Medical Treatment. You should not have to pay for your medical care if you were not at fault in the accident. The responsible party should be held accountable for your current and future medical expenses.
Lost Wages. The accident may have been so severe that you missed time from work or are disabled and unable to continue with your current profession. You can also make a claim for lost wages and lost earning capacity.
Pain and Suffering. Motorcycle crashes can be traumatic events and the resulting injuries exceedingly painful. You deserve compensation for your pain and suffering.
Punitive Damages. Some of these crashes are caused by such an extreme level of recklessness that the courts will allow you to seek punitive damages. These are meant to punish the other driver and create a deterrent for future negative acts.
Wrongful Death. When a rider is killed in a motorcycle crash, loved ones have the right to seek compensation for wrongful death. This is a case that will claim damages related to medical and final expenses as well as the lost income and emotional hardship associated with such a tragic loss.
Speak With a Qualified Virginia Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
While every vehicle accident is unique, most leave their victims with physical, emotional, and financial consequences that can be difficult to overcome without help. If the crash was someone else’s fault, you and your loved ones should not have to shoulder these burdens. You have the right to make a claim for full and fair damages.
At Schilling & Esposito, our aggressive Virginia personal injury attorneys have extensive experience with Virginia motorcycle accident cases. Our in-house investigators and qualified attorneys will use their skills to build your case and fight for the compensation you deserve as you concentrate on rebuilding your life.
Virginia laws pose certain time limits for filing a personal injury case, known as a statute of limitations. This can vary depending on your circumstances, which is why we urge you to contact us as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.
Contact our Richmond office now at 804-261-1001 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.