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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 personal injury law firm understands 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 motorcycle accident attorneys offer free, initial consultations to help you explore your legal options.
Hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer to represent you can ensure the protection of your rights during the claims process. An automobile insurance company may try to take advantage of you during your claim to protect its own profits. Retaining an attorney enables you to level the playing field and put up a fight for fair compensation with the resources and knowledge to build the strongest possible case.
You can trust a lawyer to handle the complicated legal process and claims paperwork for you while you focus on healing from your serious injuries. A lawyer can investigate the motorcycle accident, search for and collect evidence to support your case, hire qualified experts to testify, collect copies of records and documents, and file a claim on your behalf. Although most motorcycle accident cases reach settlements, a lawyer will also have the power to take your case to trial, if this is necessary.
The cost is often the only thing that stops crash victims from hiring West Virginia personal injury lawyers for their motorcycle accident cases. The perceived expense of paying for an attorney may seem like it is going to cut into the victim’s compensatory award – meaning the victim would receive less money in financial compensation. However, this is a common misconception. Statistically, almost all accident victims receive more money with attorneys representing them than they do on their own, even after factoring in attorney’s fees.
How a law firm charges is an important thing to understand prior to hiring a West Virginia motorcycle accident attorney. If you find a motorcycle accident lawyer who operates on a contingency fee basis, such as at the Manchin Injury Law Group, you won’t have to pay anything upfront. You will owe $0 in fees until and unless your lawyer secures financial compensation for your accident claim. If your motorcycle accident lawyer does not secure financial compensation for your case, you won’t owe a dime for the services the lawyer already rendered.
You will not have to pay an hourly fee or put up a down payment to retain the lawyer’s services. If your motorcycle accident lawyer succeeds in achieving a settlement or verdict on your behalf, only then will you pay. A contingency fee payment schedule means that you will pay the lawyer a percentage of the overall amount won. Typically, this percentage is around one-third or 33 percent, but this depends on the law firm and case. You and your lawyer will arrange a fee percentage ahead of time so that you know what to expect.
A contingency fee payment arrangement ensures that you have the means to pay for high-quality legal representation after suffering an injury in a motorcycle wreck in West Virginia since you never have to pay out of pocket. It also motivates the lawyer to achieve the highest possible settlement or verdict on your behalf, as the amount that you receive determines how much the lawyer gets paid, as well. Learn more about how much legal services might cost you during a motorcycle accident case during a free consultation with a West Virginia motorcycle accident attorney at Manchin Injury Law Group.
If your motorcycle accident claim is successful, you could qualify for damages, or financial compensation, for several past and future losses. The damages that you receive can help you recover from the accident and rebuild your life as much as possible. Every case is unique, but common damages available include:
Before you accept a settlement offer from an insurer, consult with us to find out if the offer is just and reasonable. If not, we can help you negotiate a fair settlement. Our attorneys can carefully analyze your case to determine its value. Then, we can go up against that insurance company or defendant on your behalf to pursue maximum financial compensation. We will not let an insurance company devalue your case.
In West Virginia, all motorcycle riders and their passengers are required to wear helmets at all times. This is the state’s universal helmet law, which applies to all riders regardless of age. However, if you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of your motorcycle accident, you could still be eligible for financial compensation. West Virginia uses a modified comparative negligence law, which states that even if someone contributes to his or her accident or injuries, that individual can still recover at least partial financial compensation.
The comparative negligence law may allocate percentages of fault for an injury to both the plaintiff and defendant in a motorcycle accident case. In this situation, the plaintiff’s financial recovery will be reduced by an amount that is equivalent to his or her degree of fault. If the plaintiff is more than 50 percent responsible for his or her injuries, the plaintiff will lose all right to recover compensation. The helmet defense typically does not bar a victim from compensation entirely, since not wearing a helmet is not what caused the accident. The driver or other party will still be held responsible for his or her part in the crash.
It is extremely important to always wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Doing so could not only save your life in the event of an accident, but also protect your right to recover maximum financial compensation. If you weren’t wearing a helmet, the driver’s insurance company can use this against you to diminish your payout. The insurer can argue that you failed to mitigate your injuries by violating West Virginia’s helmet requirement.
Under West Virginia’s fault-based car insurance system, the party that is at fault for causing the motorcycle accident is responsible for paying damages. All drivers in the state are required to carry insurance to pay for these accidents. After a motorcycle crash, the injured motorcyclist must determine who or what caused the accident. Then, the motorcyclist will bring a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier.
Most motorcycle accidents in West Virginia are caused by negligent drivers. Negligence means that a driver fell short of the level of care that he or she should have used, such as by texting while driving or driving drunk. It is necessary to prove that the driver was negligent, reckless or otherwise at fault for the motorcycle crash to hold the driver financially responsible.
Proving negligence requires clear and convincing evidence of four main elements. The first element is a duty of care. All drivers owe a duty to prevent accidents, such as by paying attention to the road and obeying traffic laws. The second element is a breach of this duty, such as a careless act or omission. The third element is causation, meaning the breach of duty is what caused the motorcycle accident. The fourth element is damages, or compensable losses suffered by the victim.
In some cases, however, a motorcycle accident is caused by something other than driver error. For example, if a motorcycle strikes a pothole and crashes, the government in charge of roadway maintenance might be liable. If the motorcycle had a defective vehicle part that caused the crash, the manufacturing company may be liable. An investigation of your accident may be necessary to determine the liable party.
If you wish to pursue financial compensation after a motorcycle crash in West Virginia, you only have a limited time in which to take legal action. Like all states, West Virginia has laws known as statutes of limitations that place a time limit on a plaintiff’s ability to seek compensation from a defendant. This time limit is two years from the date of the accident that caused the plaintiff’s injuries, in most cases. If there is a delayed discovery of injuries, the clock will be paused until the date of reasonable discovery.
Statutes of limitations are in place to protect the rights of both parties – the defendant as well as the plaintiff. Without a time limit for filing, a plaintiff could potentially wait as long as he or she wanted to bring a claim forward. This would unjustly hang the threat of legal action over a defendant’s head indefinitely, as well as give the plaintiff the opportunity to file only after important evidence for the defense has been lost.
The courts in West Virginia stick strictly to the statutes of limitations. If you attempt to file a motorcycle accident claim after more than two years have passed from the date of the collision (or the date that you discovered your injuries), you will most likely find that you are barred from bringing the lawsuit. It is important to act quickly if you believe you have grounds to file a motorcycle accident claim so that you don’t miss your deadline.
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 lawsuit 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.
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 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. Other types of coverage motorcycle owners can purchase include:
Motorcyclists are more likely to sustain serious injuries in accidents compared to typical motor vehicle drivers. Motorcycle crash injuries range from mild to severe, and the effects of a crash can last a lifetime. Common motorcycle injuries include:
Motorcycle accidents, even at low speeds, can lead to permanently disabling or disfiguring injuries.
Sadly, many motorcycle accidents are fatal. When an injured motorcyclist dies, a wrongful death claim 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 motorcycle collision attorneys at the Manchin Injury Law Group will work tirelessly for you and your family. Our West Virginia motorcycle crash attorneys want to ensure you and your family recover all the compensation that can help you rebuild your life.
Motorcycle riders face unique hazards while out on the road, including road defects and bad weather. They must also watch out for other drivers, who may be distracted or simply not notice a motorcyclist in their rearview mirrors or blind spot. Common crash risks include:
These risk factors can result in serious or catastrophic accidents. Bikers must use extra caution and diligence while riding their motorcycles through West Virginia and remain alert to prevent an accident.
Understanding the most common types of motorcycle accidents in West Virginia could protect you from getting into one. Almost all motorcycle accidents are preventable; they are often traced back to driver negligence, such as a motor vehicle operator who is in the wrong place at the wrong time because of a broken traffic law. Motorcycle accidents can take many forms, such as:
The majority of motorcycle accidents involve a collision with another vehicle – often due to motor vehicle driver error. However, some only involve the motorcycle, such as a single-vehicle accident caused by a dangerous road defect. Any type of motorcycle accident can prove catastrophic or fatal to the rider and his or her passengers. If you get injured in an accident, our
investigators can determine the type of crash and identify its cause.
Unfortunately, motorcyclists face a more difficult settlement process than most car accident victims. This is because car insurance companies have biases against motorcyclists. An insurance company may try to undermine a motorcyclist’s claim by blaming the accident on the rider, for example, even if the rider wasn’t doing anything wrong. The insurance company may try to use the assumption of risk argument to reduce settlement value.
Prejudice against motorcyclists is why it is important to hire a motorcycle accident attorney to represent you after a crash in West Virginia. Your lawyer can help prove that you were not behaving negligently or recklessly, combatting arguments that are steeped in bias rather than the facts of the case. Your lawyer will argue for fair financial compensation while protecting you from unfair assumptions.
In addition, motorcycle accident injuries are often more serious than those sustained in car accidents. As a motorcycle rider, you may not have any protection in an accident, whereas vehicle occupants have metal shells, airbags and seat belts. Serious or catastrophic injuries make it even more likely that an insurance company will try to lowball settlements or deny financial compensation to motorcyclists outright.
Finally, if your motorcycle accident case ends up going to trial, most drivers do not understand how motorcycles operate. They may view motorcyclists as reckless and not understand the experiences that motorcyclists have on the road. This can cloud their judgment when determining fault for an accident. Your motorcycle accident attorney can use effective storytelling and testimony from experts to help explain the dynamics of your crash to a jury.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are about 28 times more likely to die in traffic accidents than motor vehicle drivers. They are also four times more likely to be injured. National statistics found that 5,579 motorcyclists were killed in accidents in 2020. Tens of thousands of other motorcyclists suffered serious injuries.
Statistics from the West Virginia Department of Transportation show that, in 2019, motorcyclist fatalities accounted for 11 percent of all traffic accident deaths in the state. With 260 total lives lost in 2019, this means that around 29 of the deceased were motorcyclists. While there are fewer motorcycles registered than motor vehicles in West Virginia, there is a higher rate of motorcyclist injuries and deaths.
Following a motorcycle collision in WV, immediately seek medical attention for your accident injuries. Then, contact us to learn about your legal options to recover maximum compensation. Our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers in West Virginia are standing by to hear your concerns, so call us today at (304) 367-1862. The Manchin Injury Law Group is here to help accident victims and their families during this difficult time.
We proudly provide legal representation to motorcycle crash victims throughout the state of West Virginia, including Charleston, Morgantown, Clarksburg, and Fairmont.