Motorcycle Laws That Everyone Should Know

Many things set motorcycles apart from cars, trucks, and SUVs. Motorcycles are typically less expensive to buy and maintain. Fill-ups at the gas station are cheaper, too. Many bikers feel a special sense of community and fellowship with other riders, and motorcycles are just plain fun.

Like any responsible driver, learning the rules of the road is imperative to enjoying a cruise on your Harley. Read on to learn everything you need to know about motorcycle laws.

How do I know what my state’s motorcycle laws are?

Your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is the best resource for up-to-date information on motorcycle laws. The website USA.gov maintains a list of each state’s official DMV website.

Some third-party websites use the phrase “DMV” in their website name or URL but are not government websites. These unofficial websites may contain inaccurate or outdated information.

And if you plan a road trip, be aware that laws vary from state to state. Research the laws before you hit the road so you stay compliant and avoid fines or other penalties.

Motorcycle license requirements

First things first: you can’t just buy a motorcycle and hop on, even if you already have a regular driver’s license. You’ll need to obtain a special motorcycle license or endorsement, which involves a few steps.

Depending on your state’s laws, you may need to:

  • Apply for a learner’s permit
  • Take a written test
  • Enroll in a motorcycle class
  • Practice a set number of hours
  • Take a skills test

Younger motorcycle operators often anyone under 18 may have stricter or different requirements.

In West Virginia, you can either obtain a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license or receive a motorcycle-only license. First, you must take a knowledge test to obtain your learner’s permit. You can then either take an on-cycle skills test or complete an approved Motorcycle Safety Course.

Motorcycle helmet laws

According to the IIHS, each state’s motorcycle helmet requirement falls into one of three categories:

  • No helmet laws
  • Helmets are required for certain ages
  • Helmets are mandatory for everyone, regardless of age

In some states, certain two-wheeled vehicles are exempt from the helmet laws, including mopeds and motorcycle bicycles. Riders should know how their state classifies their vehicle and what the relevant laws are for that vehicle.

A few states also have separate helmet laws for operators who have a learner’s or instructional permit or are newly licensed.

States with no helmet laws

Currently, three states do not have any laws that require a motorcycle rider to wear a helmet: New Hampshire, Iowa, and Illinois.

States with helmet laws for certain ages

At a minimum, all states except New Hampshire, Iowa, and Illinois require helmets for riders who are 17 years of age and younger. In many states, that requirement extends to 18 or 20 years of age. In Missouri, the law requires all riders under the age of 26 to wear a helmet.

States with helmet laws for all motorcycle riders

In several states, including West Virginia, motorcycle helmets are mandatory for all riders, regardless of age. Some helmets on the market are so-called novelty helmets and do not offer protection in the event of a crash. Under West Virginia Code §17C-15-44, the state requires that all motorcycle helmets meet certain safety standards:

“Any helmet worn by an operator or passenger shall meet the current performance specifications established by the American National Standards Institute Standard, Z 90.1, the United States Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218 or Snell Safety Standards for Protective Headgear for Vehicle Users.”

Motorcycle DUI laws

It’s a myth that there are different penalties for a motorcycle DUI. Motorcycle operators must abide by their state’s DUI laws or face the same repercussions as any other car or truck on the road.

In West Virginia, according to §17C-5-2, all motor vehicle operators are in an “impaired state” if they:

  • Are under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or any other drug, or
  • Have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or greater

Motorcycle DUI penalties

The penalties for a DUI vary greatly from state to state. Anyone who operates a motorcycle while under the influence could face:

  • Jail time
  • Monetary fines
  • License suspension or revocation
  • Required ignition interlock device installation

For many people, a DUI conviction means that their motorcycle will be parked for a while. That’s because, in most states, a motorcycle license is an endorsement on a regular driver’s license. A license suspension or revocation applies to all motor vehicles, including motorcycles.

Furthermore, many ignition interlock suppliers will not install devices on a motorcycle.

Motorcycle insurance laws

Motorcycle insurance isn’t just a good idea; in 49 states, the law requires it. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), New Hampshire is the only state where insurance isn’t mandatory. In some states, you must show proof of insurance before you can register your motorcycle and receive your license plates.

The West Virginia DMV states that motorcyclists must have, at a minimum, 25/50/25 insurance coverage:

  •  $25,000 for one crash, one injury”
  • $50,000 for one crash, two or more injuries”
  • $25,000 for property damage

In addition, motorcycle operators in West Virginia must carry proof of insurance with them at all times.

Seasonal insurance coverage

In some parts of the country, motorcycle owners store their bikes during the winter. Some states may permit you to insure your motorcycle during the months that you ride it, and then drop coverage while your bike is in storage.

If you carry seasonal insurance on your motorcycle, you may need to notify your state’s DMV. In West Virginia, motorcycle owners must submit a Seasonal Statement of Insurance (WV-4B) before they stop their insurance coverage.

5 Common Causes of Truck Accidents

The sheer size and weight of a commercial truck make these vehicles more prone to certain types of accidents. According to J.D. Power, a semi-truck carrying an empty trailer weighs around 35,000 pounds. Once the trailers are full, the weight can increase considerably. A truck with a loaded trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which is the maximum legal weight.

Most passenger vehicles weigh only a fraction of these amounts. When a car and a truck collide, the truck can cause serious personal injuries and property damage. The size difference and certain practices in the commercial trucking industry contribute to some of the common causes of truck accidents.

Driving over the speed limit or too fast for weather conditions

Many truck drivers have tight deadlines to meet, and every minute counts. When a driver arrives at their destination, someone usually has to be at the dock to receive and sign for the load. If a driver arrives even an hour or two late, that delay upsets the delivery recipient and, in turn, the carrier that employs the driver. A frequently late driver will face repercussions and possibly lose their job.

This intense pressure to be on time causes some truck drivers to drive well over the speed limit or not slow down during inclement weather.

Fatigued driving

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires rest periods for on-duty truck drivers and limits a truck driver’s consecutive hours on the road. With these mandated breaks, fatigued driving should not be a problem for truck drivers. However, not all drivers will use their off-duty hours to rest. And, unscrupulous employers may encourage drivers to work more than the law allows.

Distracted driving

Like any other driver on the road, a truck driver might answer their work or personal cell phone. GPS devices can also be a distraction. Truck drivers may eat while driving to stay on schedule or make up time after a traffic jam. When a truck driver takes their eyes off the road for even a few seconds to open a food package or check a text message the consequences can be deadly.

Mechanical failure

Like all motor vehicles, commercial trucks require ongoing maintenance. But with tight delivery schedules, routine inspections and repairs can fall by the wayside. Several parties could be responsible for mechanical failure in trucks: the driver for not notifying their employer about any issues, the transportation company for lack of oversight, or the truck manufacturer for faulty parts.

Driving under the influence

The regulations outlined in the FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Planner prohibit commercial truck drivers from consuming alcohol while driving or on duty. However, that does not mean that every driver abides by these rules or takes the requirement seriously. A truck driver could treat themselves to a beer at lunch and think that they are okay to drive.

Alcohol is not the only substance that can impair an individual’s driving ability. Illicit drugs, over-the-counter medications, and prescription drugs can all affect driving performance. Even caffeine over-use from energy drinks or one too many coffees can impair a person’s ability to drive safely.

Were you injured in a truck accident? Here is what you need to know

#1. You may be eligible for a personal injury settlement

If you were hurt because of a truck driver’s reckless or careless actions, you may be able to pursue compensation.

A personal injury settlement can cover:

  • Lost wages, if your injuries prevent you from working
  • Medical expenses for your accident-related injuries
  • Ambulance ride and ER visit
  • Ongoing doctor visits
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery and hospital stays
  • Out-patient care
  • Repair or replacement of your damaged vehicle
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Physical pain
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Embarrassment and loss of self-esteem from permanent scarring or disfigurement

An attorney can help you pursue a personal injury claim in civil court. You should contact a personal injury law firm right after your accident, as you have a limited time to file a claim.

#2. An attorney knows how to maximize your compensation

You may question your need for an attorney, especially if the insurance company has already offered you a payout. Shouldn’t you just accept the initial offer, so you can get on with your life?

Unfortunately, the insurance company is not looking out for your best interests. They are a for-profit company that wants to pay out as little as possible. The insurance company may only voluntarily offer you a fraction of what you

deserve.

A truck accident law firm can calculate what your injuries cost you not just today, but 10, 20, 30 years down the road. When you accept an insurance payout, you usually forfeit your right to pursue any more money in the future. The compensation you agree to must be adequate, so you are not shortchanged for any accident-related expenses later on.

#3. You may receive a settlement without a court trial

After a truck accident, many injured people are scared and anxious. They do not know what the future holds, and money is a concern. For some people, contacting a personal injury lawyer is the first time they have dealt with the legal system.

The thought of a court trial can be overwhelming, but filing a personal injury claim does not automatically mean that you will have to appear before a judge or jury. Many truck accident lawsuits settle outside of court.

And as the plaintiff the injured party who files the lawsuit you have the final say about going to court. Your attorney can support you and make you aware of your options, but you will not end up in court unless you decide to take that route. And if you do go to court, your attorney will prepare you and help you feel comfortable about the process.

#4. You can file a claim even if the truck driver (or other negligent party) does not face criminal charges

In some accidents, the truck driver or transportation company broke the law. For example, the driver drank alcohol while on duty, or the company failed to perform a routine inspection. This negligence may result in criminal charges. But not all accidents will result in a criminal case.

Your truck accident claim is separate from any criminal proceedings.

The only two requirements to pursue a settlement are:

  1. Someone else’s negligence or carelessness caused the accident that injured you; and
  2. Your injuries resulted in damages for which you should recover compensation, such as doctor bills and emotional distress.

The only way to know if you can seek a settlement is to speak with a personal injury attorney.

Truck Rollovers and What Comes Next

Semi-trucks are massive vehicles that locals frequently encounter on West Virginia highways and streets. When not handled correctly, these trucks present unique and potentially catastrophic dangers to other drivers on the road. Because of their size and weight, semi-trucks can roll over, causing even more death and destruction.

If a truck rollover crash injured you or a loved one, you need a trusted legal advocate at your side. You may recover compensation from the negligent party, and your West Virginia truck accident lawyer may obtain the money you need to get better.

Rollover Accident Statistics

According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, pre-accident collisions cause 74 percent of rollover accidents, whereas a smaller yet surprisingly large number of rollovers (26 percent) result from no collision at all.

We cannot understate the fatality rate of rollover collisions. In a recent year, 28 percent of the total 36,609 vehicle crash deaths happened due to rollovers.

However, it’s not all bad news. Since 1978, the fatality rate of single-vehicle rollovers has gone down consistently across all different types of vehicles. Car companies have steadily increased the quality of their cars and particularly their safety features in response to the number of rollover fatalities, improving the quality of their roofs and the stability of the wheelhouses.

Causes of Truck Rollovers

Top-heavy tractor-trailers are susceptible to rollover crashes. If they don’t slow down entering a curve, the vehicle could topple over. Nearly half of all semi-truck rollover accidents happen for just this reason.

But another common cause of truck rollovers—lack of attention—is also a direct result of human error. Human error plays an outsized role in causing truck rollover crashes.

Lack of driver attention comes in many forms, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Distraction
  • Daydreaming

Another common reason that trucks rollover has nothing to do with the truck driver but instead with the company and employees who loaded the truck: weight distribution. If a trailer is loaded incorrectly or the load is not properly secured, that load can shift during transit and, when the truck enters a curve, can cause the truck to roll over.

Proving Fault

Analyzing the cause of your truck rollover accident is key to ensuring that you file a personal injury claim against the right party or parties. While a lawsuit may be the furthest thing from your mind, it may be the only way for you to avoid financial hardship and having to cover your costly medical expenses.

To prove someone else caused your truck rollover crash, you’ll need to show:

  • Someone else owed you a duty of care
  • They breached that duty of care
  • Because of their breach, an accident happened
  • You suffered injuries

There could be many sources of negligence in a truck rollover crash. To find out for sure the exact cause of your accident, you may need the assistance of truck accident reconstruction experts. They comb through all of the evidence to determine the precise cause. You need a truck accident lawyer to file your claim against the right party or parties who played a role in causing the rollover crash that injured you.

Truck Driver

The most obvious place to look after any vehicle accident is the drivers in the crash. Truck drivers are professional drivers with a responsibility to drive safely and avoid crashes.

But truck drivers often succumb to the same problems other drivers find behind the wheel.

They may:

  • Drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Drive drowsy
  • Text or use their phone while driving
  • Speed
  • Drive too fast for the road conditions

Truck Driver’s Employer

When a truck driver is at fault for an accident, their employer may also be liable. Employers are liable for the negligent actions of their employees while the employee is on the job. So if a truck driver caused a rollover crash, they were likely working. That means the truck driver’s employer may be on the hook for at least some of your expenses.

Trucking companies are also required to take steps to only hire qualified drivers. If the company failed to conduct a thorough background check that would have uncovered prior driving violations, you may hold them liable for negligently hiring a driver who caused a crash.

Shipping Company

The company that loaded the trailer may bear some liability. If the workers loaded the trailer incorrectly, placing too much load on one side or failing to secure the load, it could shift during transit, causing the truck to roll over.

Maintenance Company

Large trucking companies often have in-house maintenance technicians. But smaller companies often outsource the maintenance of their truck fleet to third-party companies. If these companies fail to properly maintain the truck or repair damage, you can hold them at fault.

Act Fast

Over 4,000 people tragically die in truck accidents every year. While not every truck rollover crash will result in death, this statistic shows just how serious these accidents can be, especially to people in other vehicles. Because of the sheer size and weight of semi-trucks, your injuries are probably severe and will require extensive medical care, which is not cheap.

But you should not need to pay for your medical expenses or other financial losses. That’s why you need a lawyer who can file your car accident claim on time. In West Virginia, you only have two years to file your claim. That may seem like a long time, but the longer you wait, the more evidence will go missing and witnesses will forget what they saw. Act fast and give yourself the best chance to make a full recovery.

Contact a Legal Advisor as Soon as Possible

The legal team you choose can make a difference in your truck accident claim. Partner with a trusted and aggressive legal advocate who can fight for you while you focus on getting better.

Did a Dump or Garbage Truck Injure You?

Dump trucks are a regular presence in Morgantown. Major industrial development and upgrades to the infrastructure are not possible without them. The areas around Morgantown Industrial Park, the Star City wastewater treatment plant, and the airport are bustling with these large construction vehicles. Ranging from 15,000 pounds to almost 40,000 pounds fully loaded with loose materials such as sand and gravel, they are not easily maneuverable. They are prone to causing catastrophic damage in an accident.

Solid waste management is a high priority in West Virginia. Residential waste and recycling services are big business—and fleets of garbage trucks navigate travel through the city streets and suburbs daily. Accidents and injuries happen despite federal and state compliance regulations for these large commercial vehicles.

The Potential Dangers of Dump and Garbage Trucks

Children love these behemoths, and tragically they often become victims. Often they are too young to fully understand the dangers of riding a bike or playing around a garbage truck, so when a driver fails to see them, the accidents can have catastrophic results. There are many potential dangers associated with these large commercial and construction trucks:

Frequent stops

A garbage truck may stop 400 to 800 times every day, primarily on narrow and crowded streets in residential neighborhoods. At 32 tons, a garbage truck needs additional time and distance to stop. Some years ago, West Virginia passed Slow Down to Get Around legislation requiring drivers to slow down to 15 miles per hour when passing a stopped garbage truck.

Blind spots

Blind spots reduce a truck operator’s field of vision. Not all waste management vehicles have the latest technology such as{

  • Backup cameras and sensors
  • Safety accessories like driver fatigue warnings
  • Dash cameras

Garbage truck blind spots are in front of and behind the truck, the right side of the cab, and the rear of the driver’s side window; basically, everywhere. A dump truck’s blind spots can be deadly.

In a recent two-year span, 772 people died in construction and maintenance areas. The areas of concern are one travel lane on the left side of the dump truck and two lanes to the right. In addition, large blind spots (20 to 30 feet) in front of and behind the truck form dangerous no zones where truckers can’t see other vehicles.

A truck accident lawyer can help injured parties receive the maximum financial recovery.

Heavy loads and unstable cargo

A shifting cargo makes a large commercial truck unstable. The Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine conducted a crash causation study focusing on rollover accidents.

The results showed almost half of the accidents were the combined result of:

  • Speed
  • The type of load
  • The brakes
  • The road surface

Another major cause of dump truck and garbage truck rollover crashes is the driver’s lack of attention. When it comes to distracted driving, innocent victims suffer the consequences of someone else’s mistakes.

Settling a Claim for a Dump Truck or Garbage Truck Requires Unique Skills

The many victims of a large truck accident may include children playing in the street, a dog-walker, workers in a construction zone, passengers in an automobile, and even the dump truck or garbage truck operator.

Because of the sheer size and weight of these trucks, the injuries are usually severe, financially devastating, and sometimes deadly. Somebody made an error in judgment—the driver, truck owner, the maintenance crew responsible for the upkeep and inspection of the vehicles. It could be all three.

There is much to consider when initiating a compensation claim. A truck accident attorney will take a deep dive into all possible mitigating circumstances.

Did the operator maintain their focus? Did the driver have the appropriate license? Was the driver impaired? Another important question, is who owns the truck? The driver may have leased it from a rental agency, a construction company, the city, county, or state may own it.

No matter who owns the truck involved in the incident, an insurance company stands ready to limit your financial compensation. Large insurance carriers employ both claims adjusters and in-house attorneys. Their prime focus is not paying out large amounts of money quickly. They will offer the least monetary compensation possible and take the most time to do so. Accident victims with an experienced truck accident lawyer advocating for them will stand a better chance of recovering fair and just compensation.

Consider Your Losses

Losing work for an extended period can leave a family both financially and emotionally drained. Many insurance companies hope your immediate financial needs will force you to accept a low-ball settlement offer. Accident victims have a lot to lose. Medical expenses mount up quickly, and when dealing with catastrophic injuries, can last indefinitely. Permanent disabilities can mean modifications to the home, a loss of future income from one’s chosen profession, possible job retraining, and changes in the family dynamic. A truck accident lawyer will take the time to evaluate everything a victim and their family may lose.

It Takes Time

Realistically, settling a dump truck or garbage truck claim can take anywhere from several months to several years. Everything hinges on the circumstances of each individual’s case, the expertise of the victim’s lawyer, and the family’s ability to withstand the test of time. Most cases do eventually settle out of court, but if the total cost of the damages is more than the limits of available insurance policies, a trial may well be the only recourse.

Protect your rights and your future. You have a two-year statute of limitations to initiate legal action following a truck accident. Proving fault and negligence is critical to the successful outcome of any personal injury case. The more time passes, the greater the chance valuable evidence can be lost or destroyed. Contact a truck accident lawyer for a free consultation.

The Most Common Causes of Accidents

Car accidents are stressful and frustrating, especially when your accident was probably avoidable. Someone else slammed into your vehicle because they weren’t paying attention, were violating some law, or driving unsafely. Their actions directly caused an accident where you or a loved one suffered serious injuries.

Many car accidents leave victims like you struggling to get better. Sometimes the injuries are so severe that a person needs lifelong medical care. Even when that’s not the case, victims can face a mountain of medical expenses. But that should not be their concern—it should be the sole responsibility of the negligent driver. That is something a trusted lawyer can help you prove.

Top Causes of Accidents

What follows is more than just a list of the most common reasons people cause car accidents. It’s intended to give you an idea of what caused your specific accident. That’s important to know because it can lead you to file a personal injury claim against the negligent party and pursue maximum compensation from them for your injuries and your suffering.

Over 30,000 people die in car accidents every year. While not every accident will result in death, it shows the frequency and severity of poor decisions made by other drivers.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

People too often decide that they’re fine to drive after having a few too many drinks. That can have deadly consequences. About 28 people die every day because of drunk drivers. And the worst part is, it’s entirely preventable. When a drunk driver gets behind the wheel, their ability to react to certain situations is limited and reduced, increasing the likelihood of an accident.

Distracted Driving

Texting while driving, eating food, fiddling with the radio—all of these distractions can take a driver’s eyes off the road. The number one cause of car accidents, distracted driving takes your eyes off the road for a long time. Traveling at 55 miles per hour, every five seconds you look at your phone, you travel an entire football field essentially blind. The only job a driver has is to drive and when they let themselves get distracted, accidents can happen.

Inexperienced Driving

Young drivers and new drivers alike are also more likely to cause accidents. They simply lack the skills and the experience many other drivers have developed. They don’t know how to properly handle a car or avoid certain situations. When inexperienced drivers encounter difficult situations, they’re more likely to make a mistake that results in a crash.

Speeding

Everyone speeds at some point. Some drivers make it a habit. The faster a vehicle travels, the less time they have to react to a situation. For example, if a driver travels at 80 miles per hour and another car cuts in front of them, they have less time to slow down before hitting the other car.

Poor Weather

Weather plays a crucial role in accidents. Especially in West Virginia, we see all four seasons’ worth of weather. Rain and snow create slick roads and can cause drivers to lose control without warning. Sliding down a road makes it nearly impossible to prevent an accident. That’s why the best prevention is to slow down when the weather turns bad.

Failure to Yield

Running red lights and stop signs are another great way to get into accidents. These traffic control devices are in place for a reason, but not everyone takes them seriously. Some drivers think they are more important or that they can speed up and avoid a crash. Sadly, they’re often wrong.

Aggressive Driving

Tailgating, cutting in front of other drivers, changing lanes without signaling, speeding, and countless other forms of aggressive driving behavior commonly cause accidents. When you encounter drivers like this on the road, and it’s not hard to spot them, let them pass. Don’t try to be a cop and police their poor behavior. The more you engage with them, the angrier they’re likely to become, and the more likely an accident will happen. Protect yourself and your passengers by letting the aggressive driver go on their way.

Poor Road Conditions

Roads themselves can play a part in accidents, too. We’ve all been on rough roads, roads that needed repaving years ago, or roads that have sprung new potholes. These hazards make accidents more likely as drivers attempt to avoid the dangers.

Wrong-Way Driving

While not extremely common, wrong-way drivers can cause serious accidents. These crashes are usually head-on, resulting in tragic injuries to people in all vehicles involved. Paying attention to one-way road signs, those large red signs you see frequently entering an interstate, let you know which direction you need to travel and if you’re doing something wrong. At night especially, if you see headlights coming at you, something is dangerously wrong, and you need to take immediate action.

Contact a Trusted Legal Advisor to Get the Help You Need

No matter the cause, seek legal help as soon as possible after a collision. Accidents leave many victims in pain and facing large amounts of medical debt, but you don’t have to face it alone. An experienced lawyer can make all the difference in recovering the damages you deserve.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Motorcycle accidents are uniquely dangerous compared with accidents involving cars.

In a recent year alone, 5,014 motorcycle drivers died in traffic accidents, despite motorcycles making up a minuscule percentage of the total vehicles on the road in America. Due to this unusual danger, motorcycle riders are subject to numerous laws that directly target them in an attempt to make them safer from harm.

Among these laws include regulations on passengers, eye protection, headphone use, and daytime headlight usage. Arguably the most important, however, are the laws surrounding motorcycle helmets.

Why Are Helmets Important to Motorcyclists?

Just like riding a regular bicycle, motorcyclists use helmets to help protect themselves from harm. As mentioned previously, motorcycle accidents are no joke. As with bicycles, a motorcycle typically does not offer any protection to the operator that a car might, such as cushions, enclosed surroundings, and multiple airbags.

These safety features on cars reduce the number of fatalities and injuries caused during car collisions. With motorcycles, however, accidents are four times more likely to cause injuries and a shocking 29 times more likely to result in fatalities.

The primary reason helmet laws are so prevalent in America is because helmets have been identified as the top preventative tool in motorcycle accidents for injuries and fatalities. Helmets are worn for purely safety purposes, but often motorcyclists will put on special designs or have sleek looks to their respective helmets.

Riding a motorcycle will always hold a certain amount of danger no matter what, but wearing a helmet helps to alleviate this significantly. Motorcycle helmets generally reduce the number of head injuries by 69 percent and reduce the risk of a fatality in an accident by a substantial 42 percent in accidents. Head injuries are some of the most dangerous in vehicle accidents, and any tool that can prevent them brings a significant public benefit.

Motorcycle helmets thus prevent thousands of deaths and even more injuries yearly among motorcycle riders, justifying their generally accepted universal use in most U.S. states.

In addition to this, however, helmets prevent economic losses, including but not limited to:

  • An estimated 17 billion dollars of societal harm yearly
  • A saving of over $500 per registered motorcyclist yearly
  • Millions of dollars in medical expenses
  • Millions of dollars in insurance expenses

How Does the Law Differ From State to State?

Despite the numerous safety and economic benefits resulting from motorcyclists properly wearing helmets, there is no national mandate over helmet usage, and U.S. states substantially differ on this topic.

These distinctions generally fall within three categories: all drivers are mandated to wear helmets, age requirements on who must use motorcycle helmets, and no duty to wear motorcycle helmets. These three are mostly self-explanatory, with the first being all drivers needing a helmet, the second usually meaning only drivers 18 and under needing a helmet, and the very last being no helmets are required.

The overwhelming majority of states have some sort of legislation mandating motorcycle helmets. California, for example, requires anyone who rides a motorcycle to wear a helmet by law, according to Section 27803 of the Vehicle Code. This means anyone at all, including younger people.

On the other hand, Arizona only requires those who are younger than 18 years of age to wear a motorcycle helmet when operating or riding as a passenger, according to ARS 28-964. Purportedly, this is because younger people are more vulnerable to injuries and fatalities from accidents. In these states, not wearing a motorcycle helmet when mandated by law can result in misdemeanors and fines that can reach hundreds of dollars depending on the evaluation of the individual’s case.

Only three U.S. states allow the operation of a motorcycle without helmets no matter what—Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire. These states still generally require eye coverings such as goggles or glasses, but not full-on helmets.

What Satisfies the Requirements for a Motorcycle Helmet?

In addition to helmet laws, all states mandating helmets define what qualifies as a proper motorcycle helmet. For example, if someone rides with a plastic kid’s bicycle helmet on, they most likely won’t satisfy the law or manage to protect themselves.

In California, Vehicle Code Section 27802 defines a proper motorcycle helmet as one that complies with federal regulations, weighs at least three pounds, has a sturdy chin strap, limited protrusions, and a protective inner lining between the head and the helmet.

In Ohio Section 4511.53, the Ohio legislature relies entirely upon the qualifications of the United States Department of Transportation requirements. Different states will have different specific regulations, but generally, a helmet must conform to Department of Transportation standards.

How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?

No one wants to hire a lawyer, but sometimes it becomes necessary. If you have experienced an injury in an accident, now’s a great time to speak with a lawyer about their services and how they may be able to help you recover maximum compensation.

Costs to Hire a Lawyer

The cost to hire an attorney will vary depending on your legal needs. But when you’re injured in an accident, hiring a lawyer should cost you nothing upfront. If you meet with a lawyer who says they’ll charge you an hourly rate to pursue your personal injury claim, find another lawyer.

Contingency

Most personal injury cases run on a contingency basis. That means you pay almost no money upfront, and you only owe your lawyer a fee if they win. In this way, your legal team’s actions and results speak for themselves.

If your personal injury claim is successful, your lawyer will receive the settlement funds and take their portion out of those funds before sending you the rest. You will agree to the percentage the lawyer will get before you receive the funds, so you know well in advance what you will owe your lawyer.

This fee generally ranges between 30 and 40 percent. That may seem like a lot, but your lawyer will need to spend a great deal of money to investigate your case, take depositions, review evidence, speak with experts, and present your best interests at settlement negotiations and in court. This amount also incentivizes your legal team to provide you with strong representation—they are invested in your success and are only likely to take your case if they believe you have a strong chance.

Case Costs

The contingency fee may not cover some minor costs, such as the filing fee for your personal injury claim. Your lawyer cannot pay some filing fees on your behalf.

Some lawyers may try to charge you additional fees, even if you lose. These so-called case costs may include the bill for expert witnesses, travel expenses, and other fees related to your case. Even though you didn’t win, some law firms may try to get some reimbursement from you. Make sure you ask about these costs upfront.

What a Lawyer Does for You

Above all, you need to feel comfortable with your legal team. You have suffered injuries that have altered the course of life, at least temporarily. You need someone you trust to handle your case and work toward getting you maximum compensation so you can focus on your recovery.

Investigates Your Accident

Whatever type of accident you were in, an investigation will be key to understanding exactly how your injuries happened and who caused them. Your lawyer may need to rely on accident reconstruction experts to help review the evidence, especially in more complex cases like semi-truck accidents.

Even in seemingly simple cases like a slip and fall, you still need to know what caused the slippery floor and who is to blame. Establishing fault is crucial because you must file your claim against the appropriate party, or your case could be dismissed.

Negotiates with the Insurance Company

One of the most frustrating parts of a personal injury claim is dealing with insurance companies. They are out to make as much money as possible, not help you recover from your accident.

That’s why you need to have an aggressive and experienced personal injury attorney fighting for you. Your legal team can stand up to the big insurance companies, battling to get you the maximum compensation that helps you avoid paying a penny out of pocket. Nearly half of all personal bankruptcies filed each year result from an inability to pay medical expenses. Don’t let this happen to you.

Meets Deadlines

You must meet many deadlines in your personal injury claim. The most important is the initial filing deadline, called a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations varies by state. Be sure to talk to your lawyer as soon as possible after an injury to ensure they have enough time to prepare your case.

Though most statutes of limitations are years long, consider all of the hurdles you may face on the road to filing a claim:

  • Extended hospital stays
  • Multiple surgeries
  • Long periods out of work
  • In facility rehabilitation
  • In-home care

Each of these items will take time. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that evidence goes missing in your case, and witnesses forget what they saw. You can avoid this by partnering with a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident.

Contact a Trusted Legal Advisor Today

The legal team you choose can make a difference in your personal injury claim. Partner with a trusted and aggressive legal advocate who can fight for your best financial interests while you focus on getting better. In most cases, you can request a free case evaluation and pay nothing until you’ve received the compensation you deserve.

Common Causes of Semi-Truck Injuries and Your Legal Options

Semi-trucks constitute dangerous pieces of large machinery. They can prove deadly if not operated properly. Thousands of people die each year in semi-truck accidents. Most of the time, the victims are drivers and passengers of smaller private-use vehicles that can’t handle a collision with something several times their own weight and strength.

Statistics show that semi-truck accidents result in around 5,000 deaths each year in the United States. Approximately 700 semi-truck drivers and their passengers died in these large-scale accidents

Common Causes of Semi-Truck Injuries

Of course, many things cause semi-truck accidents. It is not only because they have a lot of blind spots and can’t always see other vehicles beside them, or that they overcorrect or undercorrect when making turns and changing lanes.

Let’s go through several more common reasons for these accidents:

  • Driver fatigue plagues truck drivers. Truck drivers can drive thousands of miles in only a few days, as they usually receive payment based on the number of miles that they drive. As a result, many truck drivers want to get as many miles per paycheck. This can serve as a dangerous goal, however. Despite federal regulations that limit the hours a driver can work in a day, this is still a serious, widespread problem. Everybody wants a big paycheck, but when truck drivers decide to put their paycheck ahead of the safety of other motorists, accidents can happen. Public safety should always be the highest priority.
  • Semi-truck maintenance constitutes another common reason behind these deadly situations. Because these are extremely large and deadly vehicles, many regulations require these vehicles to remain safe when out on the road. A lot of things can go wrong with a semi-truck, like tires, for example. You can drive down any stretch of highway and see tires from a big rig shredded on the side of the road. Sometimes, when a tire blows out, it causes the driver to lose control of the truck momentarily. A lot can happen in that short amount of time. Not to mention, if a piece of tire rubber comes flying off of the truck and hits another car, all sorts of damage could occur that will likely result in a serious crash. Therefore, truck companies have to remain compliant with federal regulations. Some of the other issues regarding semi-trucks include problems with the brake system, unsafe use of trailers, and engine trouble.
  • Improper loading of a semi-truck can prove a deadly mistake. If the cargo was improperly loaded because the workers wanted to rush through the process to get back on the road to earn money for miles completed, it could distribute the weight of the merchandise unevenly. Improperly loaded cargo can cause a truck to jackknife, or it can become extremely difficult to maneuver through traffic.
  • Inadequate training of semi-truck drivers constitutes another reason that some drivers may struggle to effectively operate their semi-trucks safely. Countless companies rely on shipping out their products to various stores. You can see advertisements for trucking companies that are everywhere. It is an important industry that is vital to our economy. Sometimes, companies hire inexperienced drivers and put them on too many tasks that may prove difficult to handle, or the drivers may have inadequate training, so they cannot make a rational and educated decision when faced with an emergency. Truck drivers new to this position will generally charge less per mile to deliver the goods. Many companies will look to cut costs and hire people that should stay off the road until they have completed all of the training necessary to safely drive a semi-truck. This constitutes negligent hiring on the part of the trucking company.
  • A distracted driver in any situation constitutes a hazard to other motorists. Truck drivers who get distracted because of long hours and tedious routes create a recipe for disaster. Many times a day, truck drivers check their GPS systems, typing addresses where they need to deliver goods and searching for restaurants where they like to eat. Trying to eat while driving also constitutes a common distraction. When semi-truck drivers engage in these activities, they are distracting themselves. A large-scale vehicle, such as a semi, causes an extremely unsafe environment for all other roadway users when the driver drives while distracted or impaired.
  • For long-haul truck drivers that deliver products year-round, the weather may seem ever-changing as they go from one end of the country to the other. A person can see several types of atmospheric conditions in only a few days. If drivers fail to adjust their driving to the proper weather conditions, drivers can put themselves and other drivers at risk of an accident.
  • Drugs and alcohol constitute the most well-known, accident-causing factors. However, sometimes truck drivers stop to eat and have a drink or two, or they may be under the influence of a stimulant to help them stay awake, which will only impair their ability to effectively maneuver in certain situations.

Semi-truck drivers are in control of an extremely deadly machine. Therefore, they must go through proper training and keep the vehicle in proper running order to drive safely. Anytime a truck driver fails to do everything required to ensure their truck’s safety, they create a potentially deadly environment. Unfortunately, very few people survive semi-truck accidents.

If you or someone you know has sustained injuries or died in a trucking accident, contact a highly skilled, experienced lawyer who can make sure you receive compensation for your injury or loss as soon as you can. You don’t have to go through this alone.

What You Need to Do to Move on From a Head-on Collision

Head-on collisions are not common, but the sheer amount of damage caused by a head-on collision can cause irreparable damage, injury, and even death. When a head-on collision injures you or a loved one, you need to understand how head-on collisions occur, how fault is determined, and whether you can sue for damages caused by another party.

This guide outlines these basics, so you can determine how to move forward with your claim. For more information, contact a car accident attorney near you today.

What Is a Head-On Collision?

A head-on collision, also known as a frontal collision, refers to a vehicle accident where two vehicles traveling in opposite directions strike each other. Unlike other accidents where the primary damage takes place on the side or rear of a vehicle, head-on collisions occur when both vehicles impact at the front. Head-on collisions can occur with any vehicle, including cars, motorcycles, trucks, airplanes, trains, subways, and even ships.

You can usually identify a head-on collision by looking at the vehicle damage. If the front sections of both vehicles have evident damage, the accident was likely a head-on collision. Head-on crashes often cause extreme financial and physical injury due to the combined force of both vehicles colliding at speed, at a single point.

Injuries That Occur in Head-On Collisions

The high level of force involved in a head-on collision frequently causes serious injury and fatalities.

Common injuries that occur in this type of accident include:

  • Whiplash and neck pain
  • Back pain, spinal cord injuries, and paralysis
  • Abdominal injury
  • Chest, rib, and pelvis fractures
  • Head injury, concussion, and traumatic brain injury
  • Foot, ankle, and leg fractures
  • Hand, wrist, and arm fractures

Causes of Head-On Collisions

The main cause of head-on collisions is a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction on the road. This can occur for many reasons, from crossing the middle line to driving the wrong way down a one-way street.

Below are some of the most common causes of head-on collisions:

  • Intoxicated driving
  • Aggressive driving
  • Inattentive or distracted driving
  • Unfamiliarity with the area
  • Medical emergency
  • Loss of mechanical control
  • Poor road construction
  • Missing or insufficient road signs
  • Inclement weather and poor visibility
  • Animals, people, or obstructions in the road
  • Another vehicle pushed the driver into the opposite lane

How Fault Is Determined in Head-On Collisions

With so many potential causes, determining fault in a head-on collision can be complicated. The most reliable evidence comes from examining the exact location of the collision. If one vehicle was moving in the wrong direction when the collision occurred, the driver of that vehicle is usually at fault.

To determine fault, authorities must also consider the conditions under which the collision occurred. If the driver who was going the wrong way was negligent (which is to say they did not use reasonable care while driving), the injured party may sue that driver for damages. In the case of frontal collisions, a driver exhibits reasonable care if they drive in the correct lane, in the right direction, and with appropriate attention to the road and road signs.

If the driver exhibited reasonable care while driving but another driver, an obstruction, or a medical emergency forced them into oncoming traffic, determination of fault becomes more complicated. If you wish to pursue damages for a head-on collision, determining fault is the first step in the claim process.

What to Do if You Are in a Head-On Collision

If you are in a head-on collision, seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Even if you feel fine at the time, be sure to have yourself evaluated by a medical professional. Often, shock and adrenaline will mask severe injuries and you may not feel them until later.

Do not admit fault or sign a waiver without consulting your attorney. The other driver and their insurance company will be working to mitigate their responsibility. Although some drivers immediately admit fault, more often drivers will have different perspectives or memories about what occurred. They may lie to avoid being sued for damages, or all parties may be so injured that nobody remembers how the accident occurred.

Since the drivers may be unreliable or unavailable as witnesses, you may need to gather physical evidence. When rescue teams and law enforcement arrive, they are more concerned with cleanup and medical assistance than with preserving the accident scene. By the time you seek legal assistance, evidence at the accident scene may have disappeared.

If you can, obtain evidence from the site and contact a car accident attorney right away. They can collect eyewitness statements, gather evidence, and even reconstruct the accident scene so you can file a compelling claim against the at-fault driver.

Suing for Damages

When submitting a claim for damages in a head-on collision, you will need to prove that the driver you are suing is at fault due to negligence or breach of duty of care. You must be able to show that their failure to drive responsibly directly caused the accident. In addition, you will need to prove that you suffered financial, physical, emotional, and mental damage due to the accident. This evidence can consist of medical bills, doctor statements, and quantified property damage information, such as a repair estimate.

If you can, take photos and videos of the accident site, including the damage to both vehicles, skid marks, debris locations, and final vehicle locations. Obtain contact information from eyewitnesses, including their names, phone numbers, and addresses. Your attorney can analyze the photographic evidence, driver statements, and witness statements to determine who was at fault. From there, they can help you decide whether you have grounds to pursue damages.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one were in a head-on collision, reach out to a personal injury attorney. A team of compassionate attorneys and legal professionals can work with you to help determine the best way to proceed with your injury suit. Contact a car accident attorney near you today to get started.

Did an Inattentive Driver Not See You in Their Blind Spots?

Blind spot refers to the areas that a driver cannot see in their rearview or side mirrors. All vehicles have some type of blind spot, whether it’s a moped, a car, or a semi-truck.

Some newer vehicles come equipped with blind-spot monitors. While these monitors can enhance safety, they’re not a replacement for manually checking blind spots.

Many blind spot accidents happen when an inattentive driver merges or switches lanes, then strikes a pedestrian or another vehicle.

Do I need an attorney to pursue a blind spot accident claim?

You could attempt to negotiate with the insurance company by yourself.

However, individuals without legal representation may encounter several hurdles.

  • First, the insurance company could determine that you are responsible for the accident, when in fact you are not. As a result, you could end up being sued.
  • Or, the insurance company might offer you a settlement that is a fraction of what you deserve. Don’t be fooled into thinking your injuries are worth much less than they actually are. When needed, personal injury law firms may partner with economic and medical experts to properly evaluate an injury claim.

It also takes a lot of time and energy to handle a personal injury claim. When you hire an attorney, they do the hard work. You can rest and focus on your recovery.

What does a blind spot accident settlement pay for?

A personal injury settlement or award will pay for compensatory damages. These damages are often categorized as either economic or noneconomic.

Economic damages incurred in a blind spot accident

Economic damages are those that have a hard monetary value.

These expenses include:

  • Medical bills for your accident-related injuries
  • Current medical bills such as the ER visit, ambulance ride, diagnostic tests such as X-rays and CT scans, hospital stays, surgery, and physical therapy
  • Any future accident-related medical costs that you will incur for the rest of your life, such as ongoing doctor visits, therapy, and medication
  • Lost income while you recover from your injuries
  • Compensation for any future lost wages, if you can’t return to work at all or can only work in a diminished capacity (fewer hours or less money)
  • Professional services, if you have to hire someone for tasks you normally performed, such as child care, lawn care, and cleaning
  • Necessary modifications to your home or vehicle if you are now in a wheelchair
  • The repair or replacement of any personal property

After an accident, you and your family should not have to worry about money.

Noneconomic damages incurred in a blind spot accident

Noneconomic damages don’t have an objective monetary value, but they still affect your life.

You could recover compensation for:

  • Physical pain
  • Emotional suffering
  • Loss of consortium, if your injuries impact your relationship with your spouse
  • Permanent disfigurement and scars
  • Amputation
  • Loss of sight or hearing

While a settlement can’t undo your injuries, it can make life more comfortable. Many injured individuals feel a sense of closure when they receive compensation for their noneconomic damages.

Will I have to go to court to win a settlement?

Many accident injury lawsuits successfully settle out of court. Personal injury attorneys are skilled negotiators. They can often anticipate what the insurance company will do next, and can stay one step ahead of them.

A personal injury court case is full of uncertainties, for both you and the insurance company. It is difficult to predict how a judge or jury will react to a case. While it may take some time, many insurance companies will agree to a fair settlement.

And as the injured party, it is ultimately your decision to pursue a trial or not. Your lawyer will advise you of your rights and what the trial process would look like. However, your case won’t end up in court unless you want it to.

How much does a car accident lawyer cost?

The cost of hiring an attorney will vary. Many personal injury law firms offer a free consultation. During this meeting, you can ask about attorney fees and other expenses.

When you discuss payment, here are some questions you may want to consider:

  • Do you charge any upfront fees to get started on my case?
  • If I am awarded a settlement, when is payment due?
  • Do you charge a percentage of the settlement, hourly fees, flat fees, or any combination of the three?
  • If I’m not awarded a settlement, what costs would I be responsible for?

Before you hire an attorney, you must understand their fee structure and your responsibilities.

How long does a blind spot accident lawsuit take?

A motor vehicle accident lawsuit can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more. If you’re injured and have bills that need to be paid, that can seem like an eternity. However, a fast settlement may not be a fair one.

You need every penny that you deserve. When you agree to and receive a settlement, you cannot pursue more money later on. Your payout should cover not just your current accident-related expenses, but any future costs as well.

Certain factors can affect how long your case could take:

  • The severity and nature of your injuries
  • Disputes over which party is responsible for the accident
  • If the crash involved three or more parties
  • You decide to go to trial

Personal injury attorneys are on your side. They work hard to negotiate and pursue a settlement on your behalf.

Do minor injuries qualify for a lawsuit?

It’s a myth that only catastrophic or fatal injuries will qualify for a lawsuit. If your injuries require any medical care, time off from your job, or impact your ability to work or live your life, you should speak with an attorney. That is the only way to know if you have a legal case.

And keep in mind that the term “minor injury” is subjective. A single broken bone can still require multiple surgeries, months of therapy, and keep someone out of work.

Also, it is not fair to compare similar injuries between two individuals. How a specific injury impacts one person can be very different from how it impacts another. Recovery time, medical costs, and appropriate treatments will vary.

Get Legal Help After a Blind Spot Accident

Motor vehicle occupants aren’t the only ones who can be injured in a blind spot accident. Pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and mobility scooter riders can sustain injuries when a driver does not check their blind spots.

Motorcycles are particularly susceptible to blind spot crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 41 percent of all motorcycle crashes occur when a driver fails to see the motorcycle.

If you or a loved one were injured in a crash, contact a car accident attorney near you to learn about your legal rights.

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