Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Charlottesville, VA
Motorcyclists die in accidents every year in the state of Virginia, and many more are involved in crashes that leave them with serious injuries. In fact, there are hundreds of motorcycle accidents reported in the state annually, with dozens of motorcycle operator and rider fatalities recorded.
Most motorcycle accidents that occur are a result of the negligence of the motorcycle operator, or another driver on the road. Regardless of the cause, though, there is no doubt that motorcycle accidents can have tragic consequences for those involved, with motorcyclists typically suffering the most severe of harm.
At the law offices of Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz, Ltd., our experienced Virginia motorcycle accident attorneys are passionate about making sure injured motorcyclist in our state have the legal representation they need when filing a claim. To schedule your free case consultation, call our offices today.
Motorcycle Accidents Change Lives
Even when a motorcycle crash isn’t fatal, the effects can be significant enough to temporarily or permanently alter the course of a person’s life. In fact, some of the most common injuries in a motorcycle crash include:
- Road burn/road rash injuries;
- Injuries to extremities;
- Bone fracture injuries;
- Ligament and tendon injuries;
- Other soft tissue injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Back and neck injuries; and
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
These injury types are painful, traumatic, and often disabling, preventing the injured party from returning to life as normal, at least in the immediate future. This may mean missed work (and wages), and a significant change in lifestyle. Of course, physical injuries and severe accidents and psychological injuries often go hand-in-hand as well.
You Deserve to Be Fully Compensated for Your Losses
To our personal injury lawyers, the most important thing is not the how or the why of a crash happening, but that you are totally compensated for the full extent of losses that you have suffered. Our lawyers work hard on your behalf to improve your chances of recovering compensation for your pain, suffering, emotional anguish, and economic losses like medical bills and lost wages.
In the majority of motorcycle accident cases, damages are paid by an insurance company (although it is possible, in some cases, for an at-fault party to pay for damages out of pocket). The insurance company that typically pays for losses is the insurance company that provides liability coverage to the at-fault party. In Virginia, all drivers and motorcyclists are required to carry liability coverage to pay for damages to others in a crash. When an accident occurs, the injured party files a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance.
Determining and Proving Fault after a Virginia Motorcycle Accident
Because it is the responsibility of the at-fault party’s insurer to pay for damages (or the at-fault party if they do not have insurance or if damages exceed their policy amount), gathering evidence that proves fault is incredibly important in a motorcycle accident claim; if fault cannot be proven, the injured party will be unable to recover damages.
Most accidents are caused by negligence – often that of the driver of the passenger vehicle involved. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Texting while driving;
- Driving while distracted (eating, using a mobile device, or even simply talking to passengers);
- Failing to look before turning or changing lanes;
- Failing to yield;
- Driving aggressively; and
- Other illegal or irresponsible acts.
In order to prove that the driver of a passenger car was responsible for a crash, an injured party will need to gather evidence. Evidence that can be used to prove fault includes:
- Witness statements;
- Police reports;
- Video footage;
- Photos of physical evidence (skid marks, angle of impact of vehicles, etc.);
- Cell phone logs (to prove use of cellphone); and
- Each driver’s testimony.
Our lawyers are skilled at gathering and organizing evidence, and exploring all potential relevant evidence types. We can also hire accident reconstruction and forensic experts to work on your behalf when fault is unclear or is disputed.
Time Limits for Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim
Knowing how much time you have to act and pursue damages after being involved in a motorcycle accident is important. Following a crash, injured parties have two years to bring forth a claim; if you exceed the two-year time limit, you will be permanently barred from recovering damages. Our lawyers strongly recommend that you contact an attorney and initiate the process as soon as possible.
Helmet Use in Virginia and Contributory Negligence
Virginia law acknowledges the rule of contributory negligence. This harsh negligence theory holds that if a plaintiff contributes to their own injuries in the slightest, they are barred from recovering damages for their injuries.
This is very relevant to motorcyclists. Essentially, the law holds that if an action that you took as a motorcyclist contributed to your accident or your injuries, you cannot hold the other party liable, even if they were 99 percent to blame.
Some motorcyclists wonder whether they should wear a helmet while riding. In addition to the fact that wearing a helmet is the law in Virginia (and a much safer and potentially life-saving choice), remember also that not wearing a helmet could significantly impair your ability to recover damages (per the contributory negligence rule) if you are involved in a crash and suffer a head or brain injury.
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.
What’s the Insurance Coverage Situation?
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.
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.
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.
Working with an Experienced Virginia Motorcycle Accident Attorney
At the law offices of Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz, Ltd., we have seen how working with a talented attorney can improve the outcome of a motorcycle accident case, and believe that you are better off when represented by a legal professional with a sound understanding of the claims process and how to negotiate with insurance adjusters. When you call our law firm, we will provide you with a free case consultation in which you can ask us any questions you have about the claims process, as well as get to know the lawyer who will be working on your case. If both parties decide that we’re a good fit, we will work on your case on a contingency fee basis, covering all upfront costs on your behalf.
To schedule your free case consultation, call our law firm today at 434-977-7977. You can also visit our personal injury lawyers in person.