Motorcycles are a preferred transportation means in Virginia Beach. They allow riders to sneak in through the crowded traffic and admire the beautiful scenery. However, they also expose their riders to accidents. Quite a few riders end up needing the services of a Virginia Beach motorcycle accident attorney.
The number of people who died in motorcycle accidents in Virginia in 2017 was 50% higher compared to 2016. Although less than 2% of all accidents involved motorcycles, those accidents accounted for 13% of all fatalities. Motorcycle injuries and deaths total annual costs of more than $12 billion on a national level.
They have various causes. Here are the most common:
- Speed – Many motorcyclists take advantage of their superior motor power and small vehicle dimensions. Drivers speed too, and they often notice motorcyclists too late to be able to stop safely.
- Distracted driving – Both drivers and motorcyclists take their eyes off the road to check their phones or admire the scenery. One second of inattention is enough for the inevitable to occur.
- Reckless behaviors in traffic – Drivers often cut in front of motorcyclists or fail to yield right of way. Motorcyclists overtake cars in their own lane, ride more than two abreast, or do not signal their intentions.
- Alcohol consumption – Alcohol impairs drivers and motorcyclists. It slows down their reaction speed and diminishes their ability to focus on the road.
When a car and a motorcycle collide, the motorcyclist always suffers the most serious injuries. Some motorcyclists are lucky and get away with mild scratches, bruises, and whiplash injuries. Others need months to recover from broken bones and head and spine injuries. Motorcyclists without a helmet who get away without traumatic brain injuries can consider themselves lucky.
One explanation is that motorcycles fail to offer the enclosed protection available with cars. Another one is that most accident victims who incur serious injuries or die do not wear protective gear. In Virginia, helmets are a legal requirement. Not wearing one could cost the rider their right to compensation.
If you were involved in a motorcycle crash, you should contact a motorcycle accident lawyer. In theory, if someone else was at fault for your accident, they or their insurer should cover all damages. In practice, pursuing compensation on your own is risky.
Contributory Negligence and the Need to Work with a Virginia Beach Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Virginia law does not accept shared fault. If you played any part in your accident, you lose your right to compensation. Thus, if you were not wearing a helmet or the model is not approved, you cannot recover damages. The same rule applies if you broke any other rules or regulations relating to motorcyclists.
It goes without saying that this is what any insurance company will try to show in order to avoid paying. Your best chance to obtain the compensation you deserve is to work with a motorcycle accident attorney. As your lawyer may explain, your motorcycle accident claim needs to show that:
- The other party owed you and other traffic participants a duty of care
- They neglected their duty (violated the law)
- Their negligent or intentional wrongful actions caused the accident
- The injuries and damages in your compensation claim were the consequences of the accident.
This is not as easy as it may seem. Every allegation in the claim and every cent of the claimed compensation should rely on relevant evidence. Gathering the necessary evidence takes time and effort. Moreover, you have to file the claim within a specific time period. Otherwise, you lose the right to compensation.
Statute of Limitations – Deadline for Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Virginia Beach
According to Virginia Code Section 8.01-243, motorcycle accident claims must be filed within two years of the date of the accident. There are no exceptions to this. The law does allow five years for recovering property damages. However, it is more practical to claim all losses at the same time.
The only scenarios when it is possible to file the claim later are when:
1. The victims are underage – The clock starts running on the day they turn 18.
2. The claimant is disabled – The clock starts running when they recover from the disability.
At CAIL, we advise our clients to start preparing their claim as soon as possible. Gathering evidence and finding witnesses takes time. Moreover, if they start early, they will have more time to negotiate with the insurance company. They will also not have to worry about missing the deadline and losing their rights.
Calling a motorcycle accident lawyer from the accident scene is the best strategy. Since motorcyclists often incur serious injuries, they fail to gather the evidence they need. This evidence is only available at the accident scene.
Details like brake marks, fluid leaks, and vehicles’ positions can prove accident liability. In order to claim compensation, victims will also need vehicle, insurance, and contact information. The accident scene is the best place to find witnesses or video recordings. Any photos and recordings at this stage will be worth gold for the compensation claim.
Having a motorcycle accident attorney to defend your interests can be lifesaving. They will notice details you would most likely miss and will help you avoid mistakes like saying or signing something to jeopardize your case. They will use their knowledge and experience in your interest.
Call a Virginia Beach Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Now!
Did you incur injuries in a motorcycle accident in Virginia Beach? We are sorry to hear about your misfortune but crying over what already happened is useless. You now need to focus on proving your case and obtaining compensation for your losses. We can help!
Call our office at 1-800-HURT-123 and schedule a consultation with our motorcycle accident lawyer. Another option is to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in the contact form. One of our team members will get back to you and answer any questions you may have. Let us use our experience and resources to your benefit and you will not regret it!