Skilled Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Serving Charlottesville, VA
There are many things to like about riding a motorcycle. These vehicles offer a sense of freedom unavailable with other methods of transportation, and they can be less expensive to purchase and maintain. The major drawback is the serious risk of injury they present to their riders. When motorcycle accidents happen, especially on I-64, I-81, and other major roadways, riders could suffer much more severe injuries than passengers in a vehicle. These riders are exposed to the elements and have little in the way of protection from an impact. A Charlottesville car accident lawyer or Charlottesville motorcycle accident attorney can answer any questions you may have if a vehicle was involved in your motorcycle crash.
These events have the potential to impact every part of your life. You may suffer physical injuries that require both immediate attention and long-term rehabilitation. The crash may also impact your ability to return to work and jeopardize your overall quality of life. Each of these losses justifies a demand for complete compensation.
If you have suffered a motorcycle crash injury, let a skilled personal injury attorney review your case. After carefully reviewing the facts of the accident, a Charlottesville motorcycle accident attorney could provide you with a blueprint for bringing a successful claim against the at-fault party in the crash. Consider calling The Warren Firm today to fight for your claim.
Who Is At Fault for a Motorcycle Accident?
When a Charlottesville motorcycle crash attorney moves forward with a lawsuit, his or her primary goal is to establish that the other motorist was at fault. Compensation in these cases is only available when the rider can prove the other driver’s negligence.
A plaintiff must meet four elements to establish negligence. The first of these elements is demonstrating that a duty of care exists. A defendant has no obligation to compensate a plaintiff for an injury if he or she did not owe that person a duty of care. This step is rarely a major factor in these cases, as motorists owe each other the duty to operate their vehicles in a safe manner.
The second step in the process is demonstrating that the defendant violated this duty of care. When it comes to a motorcycle accident, there are many options for meeting this burden. Many cases involve the at-fault driver violating the rules of the road or a similar ordinance. Any traffic violation, including driving while intoxicated, speeding, or failing to signal could result in the breach of a driver’s duty of care.
Not only are defendants limited to paying compensation when a duty is owed, but they are also only responsible for damages that result directly from their negligence. This aspect is known as causation. If plaintiffs cannot tie their injuries directly to the defendant’s actions, they are not entitled to compensation.
The final step of the process is proving damages. If no recoverable damages occur, the plaintiff is not entitled to compensation. Compensable damages could include lost wages, pain and suffering, or medical bills, among other things.
Contributory Negligence and Motorcycle Accidents
Proving the negligence of another motorist is central to every motorcycle accident case. However, it is also necessary to defend your choices in the moments leading up to the collision.
The necessity is because of the Commonwealth’s law of contributory negligence. According to the Virginia Civil Model Jury Instruction 6.000, injured parties who did not take reasonable steps to protect themselves cannot collect any compensation for their losses. Unfortunately, this does not operate on a sliding scale like in many other states. Rather, courts that determine an injured motorcyclist did not properly protect themselves can completely negate any demand for compensation.
As a result of this law, defendants and their insurance companies often try to shift the blame for a collision to a motorcyclist. The defendant may allege that you were speeding, failed to yield when required, or were weaving in and out of lanes. A successful defense along these lines will frustrate your case and leave you responsible for your losses. A motorbike accident attorney could help to fight back against allegations of contributory negligence and prove that the Charlottesville driver was solely to blame for the incident in question.
Virginia’s Helmet Law in Crash Cases
The rules that govern safe motorcycle riding in Charlottesville are harsh. According to the Code of Virginia § 46.2-910, all operators and passengers on motorcycles must wear a protective helmet that includes a face shield or goggles. Failing to do so is a Class 4 misdemeanor.
What impact does this Virginia helmet law have on motorcycle accident cases? Defendants may allege that a failure to wear a helmet constitutes an assumption of the risk in these situations. Fortunately, this defense is not dispositive on its own. A biker’s failure to wear a helmet as required by law does not change the fact that other drivers still owe that rider a duty of care. As a result, an alleged failure to wear a helmet does not amount to contributory negligence, as mentioned above.
Still, a failure to wear a helmet may impact a demand for compensation. If the rider was not wearing a helmet, it could affect his or her ability to collect compensation for head wounds that result from the accident. It is in this way that an apparent assumption of risk can help support a defendant’s case. A Charlottesville motorcycle accident attorney could provide more information about the Commonwealth’s helmet laws and how they interact with these cases.
Potential Sources of Compensation
The goal of every personal injury case is to place an injured party in the same position that he or she would have been had the incident never occurred. This means that you need to prove that another driver was responsible for the crash and demonstrate how the event changed your life.
The core of these cases is always the physical injuries that may result from motorcycle accidents. Typical examples can include:
- Road rash
- Broken bones
- Separated joints
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
At-fault drivers and their insurance companies must provide payments to cover the costs of all necessary medical care related to these injuries. This can include an ambulance ride, ER care, surgery, hospitalization, and rehabilitation services. In many cases, it is also possible to collect payments for future estimated care on top of the past expenses.
In addition, motorcycle collisions can impact people’s lives in other ways. The most direct impact is the economic harm that these crashes can cause. This may include the cost of repairing or replacing a motorcycle and the wages that a person loses due to taking time to recover from his or her injuries. Whether this involves a temporary loss in income while making a recovery or a permanent disability, you deserve the payments that you need to remain financially stable.
Motorcycle accidents are traumatic events that may impact your emotional health, ability to enjoy hobbies, or even change your personality when spending time with friends and family. A motorcycle accident lawyer in Charlottesville could work to place dollar values on these experiences and demand appropriate payments that encompass the entirety of your experiences.
Time Limit for Filing a Lawsuit
The plaintiff in a motorcycle accident must take care to comply with the statute of limitations if they intend to file a claim for damages. The statute of limitations empowers the court to dismiss a case permanently if the plaintiff fails to bring a lawsuit on time.
Code of Virginia Section 8.01-243 highlights the statute of limitations for personal injury cases. According to the statute, the plaintiff has two years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit. A Charlottesville motorcycle accident attorney could work with a victim to ensure compliance with this important requirement.
It is also important to recognize that this time limit impacts demands for compensation through insurance settlements. Insurance companies are aware of this law and will refuse to offer a settlement if the time to bring a case to court appears to have expired. Contacting a local attorney as soon as possible gives the best chance of you getting effective help.
Reach out to a Charlottesville Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Motorcycle accidents are stressful events. The injuries that can come with them could result in long-term or permanent consequences. In some cases, they could require special assistance with your daily tasks for the rest of your life.
Whenever another traveler caused an accident that resulted in your injuries, you deserve the compensation that you need to set things right. This includes payments for the costs of medical care, reimbursement for lost wages, and compensation for reductions in your quality of life.
A motorcycle accident attorney is ready to protect your legal rights and pursue your case. He or she can take every necessary step to investigate the crash, evaluate your losses, and seek out the payments you deserve. Your advocate can also take care of all the details involved in an insurance claim or lawsuit while you focus on making your best recovery. You have the right to rely on skilled legal counsel while pursuing your claim. Contacta Charlottesville motorcycle accident lawyer at The Warren Firm to learn more.