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Charleston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Charleston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Most motorcycle wrecks are caused by drivers in other vehicles who don’t see the biker until it’s too late. And, after a wreck on your bike, insurance companies may be difficult to deal with, because a lot of people like to blame the biker for the accident, regardless of who was actually at fault.

The fact of the matter is, you got hurt because someone else was careless and you shouldn’t have to pay the price.

If you or someone you know has recently suffered injuries or the sudden death of a loved one in a motorcycle crash, a qualified Charleston motorcycle accident lawyer can help you deal with your loss and fight for compensation.

What Causes Motorcycle Crashes?

Contrary to popular belief, motorcycle drivers themselves are way less likely to cause an accident than other drivers on the road. The most common cause of crashes involving motorcycles is driver negligence, which often occurs in the following ways:

  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence
  • Driving too fast for road or weather conditions
  • Distracted driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Failing to leave enough space when passing a motorcycle
  • Following too closely
  • Illegal turns
  • Lane splitting
  • Failing to yield the right of way to a motorcyclist
  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Unsafe lane changes

Riding a motorcycle is already much riskier than driving a car for several reasons. Motorcycles are less stable than other vehicles, are less visible on the road, and when they crash, they lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, making the drivers and riders of bikes much more likely to be seriously injured or killed.

It’s already dangerous enough just being on a bike, and when other drivers aren’t paying attention or are driving recklessly, the outcome can be catastrophic.

Dangerous Roads in Kanawha County

According to the 2021 State Highway Safety Report from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), there were 766 accidents resulting in serious injury on West Virginia highways, and 280 fatalities. Of those fatalities, 29 were motorcyclists.

With the vast mountains and winding two-lane roads through primarily rural areas, it’s no wonder that motorcycles and their drivers are at greater risk in our beautiful state.

2021 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows there were 3 reported fatality accidents involving motorcycles in Kanawha County during that year. One occurred in an urban area just off I-64 at Golf Mountain Rd and Kimeric Ln, while the other two occurred on Elk River Rd N and Thorofare Rd, two rural routes near I-79.

Liability in West Virginia Vehicle Collisions

When you’re involved in an accident regardless of the type of vehicle you drive, there may just be one person at fault, against whom you can make your personal injury claim, or any of the following could be held responsible, depending on the nature and cause of your crash:

  • Truck drivers
  • Bus drivers
  • Passenger vehicle drivers
  • Rideshare drivers (Uber or Lyft)
  • Another motorcyclist
  • Bicyclists
  • Pedestrians
  • Employers of a negligent party
  • Property owners
  • Agency responsible for road upkeep
  • Motorcycle manufacturers
  • Motorcycle safety equipment manufacturers

Even with this list of potentially responsible parties, there are laws in our Mountain State that can make liability a little bit tricky in the case of a motorcycle accident.

Comparative Fault Law

West Virginia holds to something called a comparative fault law or rule. This is also known as “shared fault” and means that, if you are proven to be at least a small percentage at fault for your accident, the amount of compensation you might have been awarded will be decreased by that percentage of fault.

As long as you have less than 51% of fault in the collision, you are still eligible to pursue compensation, though it may be less than you may have received otherwise, as detailed above.

Helmet Usage

Although West Virginia has a mandated motorcycle helmet law requiring all drivers and passengers of bikes to wear a helmet while out on the road, bikers often forgo the use of a helmet. If you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of your motorcycle accident, the other involved party’s insurance company may use that against you in an attempt to get your case thrown out.

Common Injuries and Recoverable Damages

As we’ve discussed, operating a motorcycle is inherently dangerous for many reasons, and when a crash involving a bike occurs, the injuries are often catastrophic. Some typical motorcycle accident injuries our office sees are:

  • Burns
  • Road rash
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Leg or joint injuries
  • Amputation
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Back or neck injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Nerve damage
  • Eye injuries, including loss of vision
  • Hearing loss or Tinnitus
  • Crushing injuries, causing internal organ damage
  • Death

While wearing a helmet and proper protective equipment such as boots, jackets, and gloves may reduce the severity of injury, you can see from the list that motorcycle crash injuries are often quite devastating.

In the case of this kind of accident, you can seek both economic and noneconomic compensation for the injuries and damages you have received, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Disability
  • Paralysis
  • Therapy or rehabilitation
  • Loss of income
  • Future long-term care, such as nursing assistance
  • Property damage (ie, necessary repairs of your motorcycle)
  • Emotional distress
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Mental anguish
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of quality or enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

If the biker was killed in the crash or died at a later time due to injuries they suffered, funeral and burial costs may also be claimed in a wrongful death case by the family or legally appointed beneficiary.

Selecting the Best Motorcycle Collision Attorney

Any type of vehicle collision is a traumatic experience, even more so when a motorcycle is involved.

At Hendrickson & Long, PLLC, we know just how devastating this situation can be and we also know that it’s in the best interest of you or whoever was involved in the accident to contact our office as soon as possible.

By hiring an experienced Charleston motorcycle accident lawyer from our office, you’re not only choosing the best representation for your case, you’re ensuring that your claim will be filed within the two-year statute of limitations and that all necessary evidence, statements, doctor’s bills, etc. will be presented so that you will receive the most compensation the law will allow.

Don’t seek justice on your own, let us help!

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