Richmond, Virginia, is an excellent place for motorcycle riding. While riding, you may see the Appalachian Mountains or the Atlantic coastline. With its beautiful scenery, you’ll surely enjoy any bike ride. However, increased motorcycle rides would lead to many motorcycle crashes. These collisions often involve passenger vehicles, trucks, or other motorcycles. What’s more?
Richmond motorcycle accidents usually leave their victims with catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord injuries. Fortunately, you can get financial compensation for any losses you sustain from a Richmond motorcycle wreck. Here, the fault party will pay you damages. There are many common types of damages available for Richmond motorcycle accident victims.
Therefore, choosing the proper damages may be challenging. That’s why legal representation is crucial. Experienced motorcycle accident attorneys can help you evaluate your case. Consequently, they’ll know exactly how much you should demand from the fault party’s insurance company. If you call our law firm today, we can get right on your motorcycle accident injury claim.
Explaining Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle crashes are collisions involving motorcycle riders. In 2019 alone, about 5,014 motorcyclists died on American roads. This data showed that motorcyclists were 29 times more likely to die in motor vehicle accidents than occupants of passenger vehicles. Furthermore, motorcyclists were four times more likely to suffer injuries too.
Clearly, motorcyclists are more prone to injuries and death. This is because bikes don’t have the usual safety apparatus that other vehicles have. Instead, the cyclist is exposed to the road and the weather. Furthermore, in a crash, the motorcycle rider can be thrown off the bike onto the street. This can worsen the victim’s injuries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motorcycle accidents are preventable. It states that universal motorcycle helmet laws can save lives and properties. Fortunately, Virginia has strict helmet laws. So, motorcycle operators must wear a:
- Face shield
- Safety glasses or goggles, or
- Install a motorcycle safety glass or windshield
The law also provides standards for this safety equipment. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents still occur. When they do, the following injuries result:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injury
- Tendon damage
- Broken Bones, fractures, and dislocations
- Road rash
- Internal injuries such as organ damage
- Brain damage
- Internal bleeding
- Facial scarring and disfigurement
Several factors contribute to the rising motorcycle accident injuries and deaths. For example, distracted drivers often collide with motorcyclists. Furthermore, the liable party could be the motorcyclist too. Other factors that cause motorcycle crashes include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol
- Dangerous road conditions
- Poor visibility and adverse weather conditions
- Motorcycle lane splitting
- Disobeying helmet laws
What Compensation Can You Recover in a Richmond Motorcycle Accident Claim?
Compensatory damages aim to compensate victims for their losses from the accident and injury. Therefore, the goal is to return you to your condition before the motorcycle crash. Notably, compensatory damages are divided into two. They are:
- Special damages
- General damages
Special damages refer to the actual losses the fault party caused you. This class of losses is easily quantifiable. Furthermore, there are usually pieces of evidence to prove such losses. An example would be hospital receipts and property repair receipts. Therefore, special damages include the following:
- Hospital and medical costs
- Cost of physical therapy
- Ambulance expenses
- Nursing home bills
- Medicine and prescription drugs
- Cost of alternative transportation
- Funeral costs and burial expenses in wrongful death cases
- Loss of income
- Cost of domestic services
- Rehabilitation costs
- Medical care costs
- Cost of lost or damaged property
- Increased living expenses
General damages are the opposite of actual damages. These are non-pecuniary losses motorcycle riders can suffer after a collision. Notably, these classes of damages aren’t easily quantifiable. So, it’ll be challenging to assign a dollar amount to these losses. That’s why Virginia law allows the use of expert witnesses to prove the existence and extent of these damages.
Some examples of general damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of future income
- Future medical expenses
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of comfort, guidance, and advice
Can I Get Punitive Damages in a Virginia Motorcycle Accident?
Yes, Richmond courts can award you punitive damages for your motorcycle accident injuries. However, this happens infrequently. With punitive damages, the court is punishing the defendant for their conduct. Furthermore, the court’s making an example of the fault party. This way, other road users wouldn’t emulate their behavior. That’s why punitive damages are also called exemplary damages.
You can only recover punitive damages if the fault party acted with malice. Conversely, it could be that the negligent party’s conduct was so wilful and wanton that it showed a conscious disregard for others’ rights. This standard of negligence is beyond ordinary negligence. In addition, both personal injury and wrongful death claimants can recover punitive damages.
Statutory Caps to Punitive Damages
Some American states have limits to awardable compensation. These limits regulate the highest amount of money courts can award. So, they’re called damage caps. Notably, these statutory caps apply to punitive damages in Richmond. So, in Richmond, the trier of fact determines the total amount of punitive damages.
Furthermore, the total amount for punitive damages cannot exceed $350,000. This means that an experienced motorcycle accident injury lawyer can get injury accident victims hundreds of thousands in punitive damages. Fortunately, too, the jury mustn’t be advised of this limitation.
So, the jury can award any amount of punitive damages they think you deserve. However, suppose the jury’s verdict exceeds $350,000. Here, the judge will reduce the award. The judge would then peg your punitive damages at the maximum amount of $350,000.
Contributory Negligence in Richmond Motorcycle Accidents
Unfortunately, Virginia applies the contributory negligence rule. This doctrine considers the victim’s contribution to their accident and severe injuries. Therefore, suppose the motorcycle accident victim contributed to the accident. Then, Virginia’s negligence laws would bar such a plaintiff from recovering any compensation.
Virginia is only one of the four American states that applies this harsh contributory negligence principle. Usually, it doesn’t matter if the injured party is only 1% responsible for their injuries; the law still denies them any compensation. That’s why you need an excellent personal injury attorney.
The burden of proof for contributory negligence rests on the defendant. So, they must show how and to what extent you contributed to the motorcycle crash. Their insurance company would try to shift some blame onto you. Once they succeed, they’d escape liability. However, a good motorcycle accident lawyer would ensure that you don’t bear liability wrongly.
How Long Do I Have to Get Compensation for Richmond Motorcycle Accidents?
Clearly, you can recoup your monetary losses after motorcycle crashes. However, Virginia law won’t allow injured motorcyclists to file a claim for compensation anytime. Instead, the law defines when you must institute legal claims This law is called the statute of limitations. If you disobey these legal provisions, you can lose your right to compensation.
Legal Deadline for Injuries
The injured party must file their lawsuit within two years of the injury. This time limit covers all claims involving negligent drivers and other road users. Notably, the clock starts ticking from the injury date.
Statutory Deadline for Personal Property Losses
Suppose your motorcycle accident led to lost or destroyed property. In this case, you can also recover compensation within limited timeframes. You have exactly five years to file your compensation claim. Interestingly, this period is more extended than what applies to personal injuries.
Statutory Deadline for Wrongful Death Claims
Finally, suppose your loved one died from a motorcycle accident. Then, the deceased’s personal representative also has a legal deadline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Here, the two-year limit also applies. The decedent’s estate cannot recover any compensation if they miss this deadline.
Exceptions to the Virginia Statute of Limitations
These statutory limits in all cases would lead to injustice. So, Virginia law admits to some exceptions to these provisions. For example, if the motorcycle injury victim was a minor, the statute pauses. The clock only starts ticking again when the victim reaches 18. Furthermore, the time also stops counting when the defendant obstructs the filing of the case.
Let a Richmond’s Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Represent You!
Have you or a loved one suffered a motorcycle accident? Then, you may be eligible for compensation. This money can cover the cost of your medical care and other bills. However, suppose your loved one sustained fatal injuries. Then you may also file a wrongful death action. First, however, you’ll need an excellent motorcycle accident lawyer.
At VACAIL, we have experienced attorneys that can handle your case. Our lawyers have extensive skills and expertise in personal injury claims. We’ve also recovered millions of dollars in damages for our clients. Therefore, it’ll be best to call us today for a FREE consultation. We do not demand upfront fees.
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