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.

Why Is It Important To Hire A Motorcycle Accident Attorney In Charleston, West Virginia?

Riding a motorcycle is fun, freeing—and dangerous. Motorcycle accidents tend to be more severe because of the nominal amount of protection available. Spinal cord damage, brain injuries, broken bones and other common injuries are usually due to an auto driver’s negligence. When an accident occurs, a motorcycle accident attorney is crucial to winning your case.

Why Is It Important To Hire A Motorcycle Accident Attorney In Charleston, West Virginia?

We hope you’ll never be involved in an accident. If you are, make sure you hire the right lawyer for your case. The Love Law Firm has experience handling motorcycle accidents and will help you fight for compensation. We can handle the insurance companies, the courts, and anything else related to your case.

What You Need To Know

If you ride a motorcycle in West Virginia, there are requirements you must follow.

1.    West Virginia Law (§17C-15-44) requires helmets and other safety equipment to be worn while riding a motorcycle. While some states allow helmet-free riding, research shows helmets to be essential in reducing head injuries during accidents.

2.    Shatter-resistant safety glasses, eye goggles or a face shield must be worn while riding.

3.    Windshields or windscreens must also be shatterproof.

4.    “Lane-Splitting,” or sharing a lane with a car or a truck, is not legal in West Virginia. However, sharing a lane with another motorcycle is legal and permitted.

5.    West Virginia’s comparative negligence law for car crashes also applies to motorcycle crashes.

Statute of Limitations

West Virginia imposes a two-year time limit on filing suits and claims, known as the “statute of limitations.” If you do not file within the time frame, you will lose your right to file and to sue. An insurance claim is different and may have separate time limits. But if your claim isn’t filed, an insurance company may be inclined to lowball you into a lower settlement. Your attorney will keep you apprised of deadlines.

Modified Comparative Fault

West Virginia law includes a provision called “modified comparative fault,” where a percentage of the fault of the accident can be divided between and assigned to both parties. If you are partially responsible you may be assigned a percentage of fault, reducing your settlement. For instance, if you are awarded $50,000, but are found to be 10% at fault for the accident (such as not wearing a helmet as required by law), your settlement can be reduced by $5,000, or 10%.  If your percentage is found to be greater than 50%, you will not be able to receive any compensation for the accident.

If You’re Involved In A Motorcycle Accident

There are a number of things to remember if the worst happens to you.

1.    Get medical attention for your injuries immediately, no matter how minor. Make sure you keep up and continue any medical appointments as long as you are healing.

2.    Do not give a statement to police or anyone else until you’ve seen a doctor. Offer to give a statement at a later date when you’ve been treated and are feeling a little better.

a.    This is particularly true of an insurance company—they will record your statement and work to deny your claim and minimize any settlement.

3.    Take multiple pictures of the accident scene. If you are unable to take pictures and have someone else with you who is, ask them to take as many pictures as possible, from as many angles as possible. Both close-up shots and long-distance pictures will offer a complete view of the accident.

4.    If possible, get names and contact information of any available witnesses.

5.    Keep track of all medical expenses, appointments, lost wages and property, and other related expenses.

6.    Do not discuss the accident on social media, or by texting. These can be subpoenaed and used against you later.

Why It’s Important

Prejudices against motorcycle riders may work against your best interests when investigating and settling a claim. One prevailing belief is that motorcycle riders are “daredevils” who take chances when they’re really just trying to stay a respectable distance from cars. Many auto drivers will claim that they “didn’t see the motorcycle” when they hit it, even though the driver was at fault. Don’t give up your rights.

A motorcycle is a motor vehicle just like any other, and you have many of the same rights and responsibilities as an auto driver. You can find a personal injury attorney in nearly every city in America. But finding a specialist that is skilled and experienced and understands motorcycle accidents could mean the difference between a small settlement and a one that helps you get back on your feet. Don’t let a general practitioner give you a little attention and a little money. You need an attorney who will fight for your rights, defend you against insurance company bullying and fully represent you in court.

Call A Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today

We’re ready to help you with your case, and get on with your life. Call us at (304)-344-5683 to schedule your free consultation. We’ll talk with you about your case and explain all of your options. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there’s no up-front expense.