At the Manchin Injury Law Group in Fairmont, our West Virginia motorcycle accident lawyers have been helping victims of motorcycle accidents for more than 30 years. Our motorcycle accident attorneys understand the harm a person can suffer after experiencing a motorcycle collision. We work diligently to help them recover from devastating injuries.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in West Virginia, call us at (304) 367-1862. Our West Virginia motorcycle accident attorneys offer free, initial consultations to help you explore your legal options.
Motorcycle accidents are particularly dangerous because there is little protection between yourself, the road and other vehicles. Riders can suffer life-changing injuries such as concussions, spinal damage, partial paralysis and traumatic brain injuries.
Learning the law is a must before you ride a motorcycle in West Virginia. Knowing the rules of the road as they apply specifically to motorcyclists will not only keep you on the right side of the law, but also protect you from potential liability in the event of a collision. The more you know about riding safely in the state, the better you can defend your rights. A free consultation with us can clear up any questions or concerns you might have about the state and local motorcycle laws.
All motorcycle operators and their passengers must wear appropriate head protection in West Virginia. Motorcycle helmets must fasten to the head via a neck or chin strap. Helmets must also meet all criteria according to federal law, Snell Safety Standards, or the American National Standards Institute. Look for a certified sticker on your helmet to see if it adheres to Snell or ANSI qualifications. The age, experience, and insurance of the rider will not exempt him or her from wearing a helmet.
In addition to helmets, motorcyclists in West Virginia must also wear eye protection if their vehicles do not have windshields or windscreens that comply with federal performance specifications. Eye protection refers to shatter-resistant safety eyeglasses, eye goggles, or a face shield that complies with ANSI standards. Failing to adhere to eye-protection requirements could result in motorcyclist liability if a vision impairment (such as debris getting into the eyes) causes the wreck.
To operate a motorcycle in West Virginia, you must carry up-to-date vehicle insurance with at least the required minimums. You must carry $20,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $40,000 for all persons injured in any one accident, and $10,000 for property damage coverage. Uninsured and underinsured motorcyclist insurance is optional in West Virginia. Failing to ride with adequate insurance is a crime that could result in fines and other legal trouble in the state. If you cause an accident without proper insurance, you may have to pay for others’ damages out of pocket.
By law, motorcyclists in the state must use running lights or headlights during the day. Daytime lights can help optimize motorcycle visibility for other drivers on the road. If carrying a passenger, the motorcycle must have a passenger seat and passenger footrests designed for this purpose. There is no passenger age restriction in West Virginia. The law also requires motorcycles to have turn signals, left and right mirrors, and handlebars no more than 15 inches above the seat.
Motorcycles have all the same rights as other motor vehicles in West Virginia. They can travel on all the same roads and highways and must also comply with all the same rules. Motorcyclists must follow all traffic signs, lights, and signals. Lane-splitting, or riding a motorcycle between two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction, is against the law in the state. Two motorcyclists may ride abreast in a single lane, but a motorcycle cannot travel in the same lane as a motor vehicle.
Now that you know the rules and requirements of riding a motorcycle in West Virginia, you might have a better idea of who might be liable for a recent motorcycle accident. Even if you were partially responsible for the wreck or your injuries because you broke one of the state’s motorcycle laws, you could still be eligible to recover damages if you are less than 50% at fault. Working with one of our experienced West Virginia personal injury lawyers can help you limit your own liability. Contact us today to learn more!
A: The first step in filing a motorcycle accident claim in West Virginia is determining the at-fault party. Since West Virginia handles vehicle accidents with a fault-based system, you must file your motorcycle accident claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. All West Virginia drivers must meet the state’s minimum 20/40/10 insurance coverage. Drivers have the option of purchasing additional coverage as well.
If an at-fault driver’s coverage will fully pay for your damages, then it is likely your claim ends there once you receive your settlement. If the driver does not carry insurance or does not have sufficient coverage for all of your damages, then you may need to make a claim against your own insurance policy or file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. The stipulations of your insurance policy will explain which accidents qualify for claims against your own coverage.
Start your motorcycle accident claim by sending the relevant insurance company your initial demand letter. If you are claiming property damage to your motorcycle, then you can file a claim against your own insurance regardless of your fault for the accident. However, an accident you caused may cause your insurance premiums to increase. If you intend to file a personal injury claim, you must first prove the other driver was negligent and caused your accident.
A: If you are wondering how much you could receive for your motorcycle accident claim, first look at your total economic damages. This can include your medical expenses for treating your injuries from a motorcycle accident, lost wages while you were in recovery, and property damage to your vehicle and other personal property.
Non-economic damages like pain and suffering are more difficult to estimate. Some courts use a per diem system to compensate a plaintiff for every day he or she spends recovering, while others simply multiply the plaintiff’s medical expenses by a set amount, usually from two to five, and then award the result as pain and suffering compensation. The plaintiff’s attorney will need to consult with expert witnesses who can provide an accurate picture of what the plaintiff endured from his or her injuries.
It’s also vital to consider the settlement value of your claim versus the potential trial value. A settlement may yield a smaller amount of compensation, but you will receive it much more quickly than you would receive a trial award. West Virginia also operates under a modified comparative negligence law, meaning a plaintiff can potentially absorb liability for his or her damages if he or she contributed to causing them. If there’s a chance you could absorb some portion of fault for your damages in a trial, then a settlement could actually be more beneficial to you.
A: Your motorcycle insurance policy can include several types of coverage. While motorcyclists have the option of purchasing more extensive coverage or special types of coverage for certain events, more expansive coverage will cost more to maintain and have more expensive monthly premiums. It’s vital for West Virginia motorcycle owners to purchase affordable insurance policies that provide a comfortable amount of coverage. A motorcycle insurance policy must meet the state’s 20/40/10 minimum requirement, but other types of coverage motorcycle owners can purchase include:
A: Road hazards often play a role in motorcycle accidents. Hazards that may have little effect on a car can lead to serious and debilitating injury to a motorcycle rider. Riders must understand what constitutes such hazards and should be on the lookout for dangers. Some of the most common hazards unique to motorcycle riders include:
Roads may be bumpy from disrepair, construction, or resurfacing work. Additionally, there may be excess gravel on pavement from recent work or improvements. These can be particularly problematic when turning, particularly on winding roads.
An expansion joint connects two sections of a road, or they may connect a road to a bridge. Uneven expansion joints can create uneven surfaces that could be perilous for a rider.
An edge break occurs when two lanes of traffic are at different heights. They often occur on freeway construction sites, which can pose a dangerous problem for a motorcycle rider.
When an animal runs in front of a car in the road, experts suggest hitting it and not attempting to swerve around it, since the animal will not cause injury, but evasive maneuvers might. On a motorcycle, however, even hitting a small animal can throw you off balance and swerving to avoid them may cause serious injury as well.
Roadways may become too slippery to navigate, even after a light rain. While a car will likely be unaffected by mildly inclement weather, a motorcycle can become unstable even in misty conditions.
These joints hold multiple sections of a bridge together. While it might cause a bumpy ride in a car, it can be difficult to navigate for a motorcycle rider.
Even seemingly innocuous road features can be hazardous to a motorcycle rider. Motorcyclists must use extra caution when on the road.
A: Just as a motorcyclist is more likely to be in an accident from simple road hazards, he or she is also more likely to sustain serious injury resulting from an accident. Motorcycle crash injuries range from mild to severe, and the effects of a crash can affect a lifetime. Here are some of the most common injuries a motorcycle rider may sustain:
Motorcycle accidents, even at low speeds, can lead to permanently disabling or disfiguring injuries.
Motorcycle riders face unique hazards and potential injuries while out on the road. They must also watch out for other drivers, who may be distracted or simply not notice a motorcyclist in their rearview. These risk factors, when combined, have the potential of resulting in serious or catastrophic injuries. Bikers must use extra caution and diligence while riding their motorcycles through West Virginia’s winding, scenic roads and remain alert to prevent an accident.
Sadly, many West Virginia motorcycle accidents are fatal. When a motorcyclist dies, a wrongful death suit must be filed by the executor of the estate of the victim. As executor, you can seek damages for the beneficiaries of the estate. If your loved one was the sole provider for your family, you may be eligible for a lifetime of compensation. If you have lost someone in a motorcycle accident, the attorneys at the Manchin Injury Law Group will work tirelessly for you and your family. Our West Virginia motorcycle accident attorneys want to ensure you and your family recover all the compensation that can help you rebuild your life.
Our West Virginia intake specialists are standing by to hear your concerns, so call us today at (304) 367-1862. The Manchin Injury Law Group is here to help you and your family during this difficult time.