Bicycle VS Vehicle Accidents In Charleston, WV. What Should I Know?

Charleston is at the center of some of the best bicycling in the US and is one of the top cycling cities in the US. From a short ride at Little Creek Park to one of the many renovated railroad “Rail Trails,” there’s no shortage of places to ride your bicycle. The City of Charleston also has a master plan for both bicycling and hiking trails. You can also find additional riding trails here and here.

Bicycle VS Vehicle Accidents In Charleston, WV. What Should I Know?

If you ride your bike as an alternative to your car or truck, you’ll quickly become aware of the increased danger of riding around passenger vehicles. In addition to being slower than a car or truck, you’re also very unprotected. If you come in contact with an oncoming car, the results can be devastating.

West Virginia is one of the safest states for bicycling (with Florida as the deadliest state for riders.) But accidents do happen, like this recent one in September, where the driver thought he hit a deer.

If you’re lucky, you may walk away with scraped knees and elbows. But frequently, bicycle accidents leave the rider with severe, and possibly fatal, injuries. If you’re hit by a car while riding, you could suffer more serious injuries, like:

  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Other head & neck injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Nerve damage
  • Joint dislocation
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Jaw and dental injuries

Safety equipment (like helmets) and safe riding can help you reduce the chance of an accident as well as increase your chances of surviving one.

The Increased Dangers

Let’s face it—a passenger vehicle is bigger, faster and more dangerous than a bike. And the impact is a lot worse for you than it would be for the driver. So the burden is on you to keep watch for drivers who are:

  • Speeding
  • Texting
  • Turning corners faster (or ignoring stop signs)
  • Don’t bother looking around

Wearing A Helmet

If you don’t wear a helmet while riding, you should. West Virginia has no helmet requirement except for riders under 15. However, wearing one at any age increases your chances of surviving an accident by 88%. A helmet is one of the best pieces of safety equipment you can wear.

Additional safety gear can include:

  • Padded shorts to help prevent road rash and soft tissue injuries
  • Padded gloves to protect hands in the event of a fall
  • Reflective clothing and bike lights, to enable drivers to see you better at night

Because West Virginia’s personal injury law includes comparative fault, if you ride helmet-free, you could be assigned some fault for your injuries. Therefore, riding without a helmet can significantly reduce your settlement.

After The Accident

If you’re involved in an accident while riding, medical care is imperative, especially for severe injuries. You will also need to give a statement to the police.

Much like a car accident, you can collect damages from the negligent party such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain & suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Property damages

If you’re contacted by the other party’s insurance company, do not sign anything without consulting with a bicycle accident lawyer. You could sign away your rights, and lose out on money you need to take care of yourself.

Charleston’s Bicycle Accident Lawyer

A helmet can save your life, even with other injuries. You may not be at fault, and we can help you recover damages after someone else’s negligence.  Call The Love Law Firm at (304) 344-5683 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. We’ll talk with you about your case and discuss your options. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there’s no up-front expense.

Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uber or Lyft Accident in Charleston, WV?

One of the hottest new trends for getting around is ride sharing. Instead of calling a taxi, you use a smartphone app to call someone to give you a ride. Everything is done on the app, including payment. You get where you’re going and someone else is earning money driving their car. What’s not to like?

Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uber or Lyft Accident in Charleston, WV?

Millions of Americans have taken to these app-based on-call ride services, and they all get where they’re going, every day, whether at home or out-of-town. Convenient, less expensive than a taxi, But occasionally, like anyone who drives anywhere, accidents happen. Now what?

Uber And Lyft

If you’ve ever given a ride to a friend or picked them up when they called, you’ll understand what ridesharing is. These two ridesharing companies employ people nationwide to give folks a ride in their own cars. Quick, convenient and on the spot.

Uber arrived in Charleston in 2016, and Lyft arrived a year later. Both employ people to pick up and deliver people for pay. But like any taxi ride, there is just as much of an accident risk as there is when you drive yourself. And that’s where it can get complicated.

Independent Contractors

In the event of an accident with a company vehicle, you might have to deal with a company insurer. But rideshare drivers are independent contractors (aka “freelancers”), not employees, and aren’t generally covered by a company’s insurance policy except in limited circumstances. CDLs (commercial drivers’ licenses) are generally not required as they are with taxi, limo, and big truck drivers, so the rules are different.

There are three phases of the driver’s time:

  • On their own time, not driving. Any accidents are paid out of their personal insurance policy
  • When a driver is available and going to pick up a rider after being notified
  • When a driver is taking the individual to his or her destination. When the ride ends, the driver is again “available” and on their own time, and is called out for another pickup.

Insurance

Uber’s drivers are required to have their own personal insurance. Most drivers also have a separate insurance policy for when they are working as a rideshare driver. The premiums come out of the driver’s pockets.

Uber also has its own $1m company policy through James River Insurance, which covers accidents while a driver is working and transporting a passenger in their vehicle. If the driver going to pick up a passenger and is “available” in the app at the time of the accident, the driver’s own insurance is responsible, and Uber’s policy picks up part of it. If the driver is on his or her own time, and not working, the driver’s personal insurance covers the accident as it normally would.

Uber has its own process for handling accidents that involve their drivers. You may also be contacted later to give a statement. (Uber’s website has drivers’ instructions that one can check out.  )

However, Uber is a business, like any other. They will try to avoid making any payouts for crashes or other accidents.

Do I Need A Lawyer?

Chances are, you will. Just because a driver has insurance doesn’t mean things will go well. Additionally, Uber and Lyft have been notorious about leaving their drivers hanging after an accident, without any help. Like any other insurance company, you may be offered a small settlement to settle your case completely.

Call The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 and schedule your appointment with one of our attorneys. We’ll discuss your case with you, explain your options and what to expect in a car accident injury settlement. We can offer you a free consultation, and a contingency fee arrangement to make it easier for you to afford a car accident lawyer. There’s no fee if we don’t win your case.

Why Do I Need a Charleston, WV Motorcycle Accident Attorney?

If you’ve been riding a motorcycle for any length of time, you not only understand why people enjoy it, you also see the dangers in motorcycle riding. Most riders are careful and respectful while riding, and wear protective gear despite the perception that riders do so dangerously.

Why Do I Need a Charleston, WV Motorcycle Accident Attorney?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that while 20% of car accidents result in injuries or a fatality, 80% of motorcycle accidents have them. One estimate puts accidents with motorcycles at 11% annually. Car accident fatality rates are decreasing, but motorcycle rates are increasing. With more motorcycles on the road than ever before, your chances of an accident markedly increase.

Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Some of the causes of accidents include:

·         Drivers who are:

  • Speeding
  • Changing lanes incorrectly
  • Turning without looking first
  • Texting while driving
  • Running through red lights
  • Smoking, eating and/or drinking while driving
  • Engaging in illegal activities behind the wheel
  • Generally not paying attention (“didn’t see him”)

·         Potholes

·         Road debris and other hazards

·         Defective roads

Any one of these risks can turn your next ride into your last one for a while.

A Motorcycle Accident Attorney Will Defend Your Rights

There’s a general presumption—both by the car-driving public and by insurance companies—that motorcycle riders are at fault for their accidents. Some drivers will tell you that motorcyclists drive “dangerous.” However, statistics tell a different story. While some motorcyclists are at fault, the majority of accidents involving motorcycles are due to automobile driver negligence.

Because motorcycles are smaller and more agile, they aren’t always as obvious to a driver—especially one not paying attention to their blind spots, or abruptly change lanes without looking. Even if you’re riding safely and following the law, you’re more vulnerable to bad driver habits and severe injuries in a crash situation.

Even a new bike can have problems. Although we believe our bike is safe, there are occasions where design flaws, substandard materials or parts or workmanship can cause an accident.

Additionally, road construction, strewn debris and other obstacles that don’t affect automobiles can be highly dangerous to a motorcycle. Was a road incorrectly repaired, or even neglected?

All these things can contribute to a motorcycle accident. Finding out exactly what went wrong can be half the battle. If it indeed wasn’t your fault, how will you prove it?

Beware of Insurance Companies

Even if you have some of the best motorcycle insurance available, understand that your insurance company wants to settle your claim quickly. They’re not concerned for your welfare. If you settle with them quickly, you will probably not have enough money to recover, or repair your bike. An investigation may not find in your favor (remember that bias against motorcyclists) and you could end up with less than you need, or even nothing.

Insurance companies act quickly to minimize payouts, conquer evidence and find ways to deny claims. With a two-year window of time to file (called the “statute of limitations”), your insurer may try to drag the case out so that your time runs out.  Having an attorney that can work for you to deal with insurers will help protect your rights, your interests, and get the compensation you deserve.

Charleston’s Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

We hope you’re never involved in a motorcycle accident. It’s usually a lot worse—and more expensive—than a car accident. We understand the difference, and the intricacies of these cases. With experience handling motorcycle accidents, we’ll fight for your compensation. We can take care of insurance companies, the courts, and the rest of your case so you can heal.

The Love Law Firm is ready to help you through a motorcycle accident. Call us today at 304-344-5683, or use our online contact form to schedule your appointment with one of our attorneys. We’ll discuss your case with you, explain your options and what to expect in an accident settlement. Our contingency fee arrangement means that if we don’t win your case, you won’t owe us a fee.

5 Things to Know Before Calling a Charleston, WV Car Accident Lawyer

After a car accident, you’re dealing with a number of different things. Car repairs. Medical appointments. Missed work. Insurance claims. Lots of paperwork and forms. All while you’re trying to heal yourself and get back on your feet.

Insurance companies don’t care what you need—they want your case settled and off their books quickly. Give in, and you’ll lose out on compensation you need to heal.

5 things to know before you call a Charleston, WV car accident lawyer

You may be thinking it’s time to find a lawyer to help you through the difficult process of the aftermath of a car accident. Before you pick up the phone, here are a few things you should know.

·         Have all the accident information available—to get started, you’ll need the relevant information from your car accident: the time, date, the location, the other parties involved, their insurance company and any injuries sustained. You should also have:

  • Related medical bills
  • Information on injuries, including pictures
  • Police report
  • Photographs of the accident scene (if you’re able; most cell phones now have full camera functionality)
  • Names and contact info for any witnesses
  • Road hazards that could have contributed to the accident
  • How much work and/or wages you’ve missed due to the accident
  • Your auto insurance policy
  • Any possible automotive defects that could have contributed to your accident
  • Any other evidence you may have that’s relevant

Assembling this information before you call and hire an attorney will give him or her a good start on your case.

·         Be aware of the time constraints—West Virginia allows two years to file your claim for most cases. Known as the “statute of limitations,” if you wait until the end of the two years to get started, you may run out of time. The first ninety days after an accident are crucial for gathering important evidence and building your case. Hiring an attorney soon after your accident can help preserve important evidence as well.

·         Comparative Fault—West Virginia is one of the states that uses “comparative fault” when dealing with accidents. This means that if you’re found to be partly responsible for your car accident, your settlement could be reduced. For instance, if you were texting while you were driving, but weren’t a primary cause of the accident, you could be assigned 25% of the fault, reducing your settlement by 25%. If your settlement is $10,000, you’ll lose $2,500, bringing your settlement down to $7,500.

·         Be very cautious when talking to and dealing with insurance companies—again, insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind. Use extreme caution in what you say to an insurance company any time they call. Your call is most likely recorded, and saying the wrong thing that can be construed as admitting fault. An adjuster will work hard to use anything you say to dismiss your claim. Don’t sign anything without fully understanding what you’d be signing—you could be signing away your rights to compensation! Insurance companies have teams of lawyers working for them and against you—so it makes sense for you to be able to defend yourself. Finding the right car accident attorney at the beginning can save you from making mistakes like these.

·         Don’t pick your attorney from a TV ad—you’ve probably seen a number of ads on TV for attorneys begging you to “call today!” Sure, they talk a good game—but what about when it comes to your case? Many of the firms that advertise in heavy rotation are simply “settlement firms,” and rely heavily on bringing in new cases and getting them settled quickly. These firms may not get you the best settlement, and may even leave money on the table.

Talk To More Than One

You may not want to hire the first attorney you talk to. If you’re not sure, you can “interview” car accident attorneys before you hire one. You’ll want to find the right one, and one you can work with, so an interview works two ways. Word-of-mouth is an excellent way to find leads. But without meeting with them to discuss your case, you won’t know if you’re getting the right attorney for you.

If you’re speaking with an attorney who doesn’t adequately answer your questions, or you just don’t feel like it’s a good “fit,” don’t be afraid to keep looking. Review their websites, and find out what kind of experience they have with car accidents.

Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation, and will discuss your case with you with no obligation. After you’ve taken care of yourself and seen a doctor, the next person to see may be a lawyer—especially if you’ve been injured. Don’t wait.

Charleston’s Car Accident Attorney

The days after a car accident are filled with anxiety, confusion and a lot of quick decision making. Don’t risk making a wrong decision for your life and your future.

The Love Law Firm is ready to help. Call us today at 304-344-5683, or use our online contact form to schedule your appointment with one of our attorneys. We’ll discuss your case with you, explain your options and what to expect in an accident settlement. Our contingency fee arrangement means that if we don’t win your case, you won’t owe us a fee.