I Was Injured in a Motorcycle Accident – Do I Need to Retain an Attorney?
Riding a motorcycle may be a fun sport as well as an effective way to commute, but it can also be dangerous. In fact, statistics show that motorcyclists are at a much higher risk of dying in a motor vehicle crash than are occupants of standard motor vehicles. When a motorcycle crash occurs, it is nearly a guarantee that the biker involved will suffer injuries, many of which may be very serious. If you’ve been in a crash in Virginia and are on the fence about whether or not you need an attorney, here are some things to consider–
How Serious Are Your Injuries?
The first consideration after a motorcycle accident, when thinking about whether or not retaining legal counsel is necessary, might be whether or not the injuries you have suffered are serious. Typically, the more serious the injuries, the greater the need for legal counsel. This is especially true if you have suffered life-changing injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, amputation injury, or spinal cord injury.
What’s the Insurance Coverage Situation?
Another thing to think about after a crash is whether or not you have insurance coverage, and enough insurance coverage, available to fully compensate you for your injuries. You may want to consider hiring a lawyer if:
- The at-fault driver does not carry insurance;
- The at-fault driver does not carry enough insurance to fully compensate you for injuries;
- You don’t carry uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance;
- You don’t carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage; or
- An insurance company has denied your claim.
While you do maintain the right to file a lawsuit directly against an at-fault driver, it is typically the at-fault driver’s insurer who will cover your damages. As such, if enough insurance coverage is not in place, you may need an attorney to help you explore more potential avenues to recovery.
Who’s Being Blamed for the Accident?
If you are being blamed for the accident, especially if you don’t believe that the accident was your fault, you need an attorney. This is because Virginia is an at-fault insurance state, where drivers who cause accidents are responsible for paying for the damages that result. This means that if you are being blamed for the accident, you may be barred from recovery. What’s more, Virginia adheres to the rule of contributory negligence, which means that an injured party cannot recover damages from another party if the injured party was even one percent to blame for their injuries. In other words, you must prove that the other party was 100 percent at fault for your accident if you want to be compensated.
What Other Damages Have You Suffered?
Another consideration when thinking about the necessity of a lawyer is whether or not you have suffered a significant amount in losses in addition to your injuries. Examples of other damages that are common in a motorcycle accident claim include property damage expenses, medical expenses, and lost wages. If your injuries have resulted in disability or significant amounts of pain, you may also be able to pursue damages for the value of your noneconomic losses, such as pain, suffering, and emotional distress. Again, the greater your damages, the greater your need for legal counsel. Working with a lawyer can significantly improve the outcome of your case and your chances of recovering your full settlement amount.
Have You Been Offered a Settlement?
If you’ve been offered a settlement but you don’t think that the settlement is fair, an attorney can review the settlement, calculate your damages, and reject the settlement (if it does not provide full and fair compensation for your injuries), entering into negotiations on your behalf. If you haven’t been offered a settlement, a lawyer can put pressure on an insurance company to process your claim more quickly. What’s more, when a lawyer is involved, there is a much greater threat of litigation, which helps incentivize an insurance company to offer you what you really deserve.
Call the Law Offices of Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz, Ltd. Today Working with a lawyer is a very personal choice, but one that can have a positive impact on your claim, especially if you’ve suffered serious injuries as a result of a motorcycle accident. To learn more about how our Virginia motorcycle accident attorneys can help, please visit our office in person, send us a message, or call us at 434-977-7977 today for a free consultation.