Riding motorcycles is a great stress-reliever, especially when you can take off into the mountains of West Virginia for some peace—it really is almost heaven. Unfortunately, not everyone driving a vehicle with four or more wheels looks out for bikers. In some cases, you might avoid an accident if you can see it coming and if you have room to maneuver out of the way. Other times, it happens so fast that you don’t have time to blink, never mind react.
If a West Virginia motorcycle wreck injured you or you lost a loved one in a motorcycle crash, contact Wagoner Desai’s West Virginia motorcycle accident lawyers for a free consultation. We’re ready to help you fight for the compensation you need.
What to Do After a West Virginia Motorcycle Wreck
After a motorcycle accident in West Virginia, you should take the following steps if you can move without incurring further injury:
- Check on others involved in the accident.
- Call first responders.
- Ask others involved in the accident for their contact information, license, insurance, and registration information. If another driver is a commercial truck or other large vehicle drivers, ask to see their CDL.
- Take plenty of photos of the accident scene. Be sure to capture any skid marks and property damage.
- Speak to witnesses to get their version of what they saw.
- Ask witnesses for their contact information. You need their names, good phone numbers, mailing addresses, and good email addresses.
- Even if you feel that you are not injured or that your injuries are minor, seek medical attention. Some serious injuries don’t manifest symptoms until hours or even a day or two later.
- Contact a West Virginia motorcycle accident attorney.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Settle My West Virginia Motorcycle Accident Claim?
While you do not have to hire a personal injury attorney to settle your West Virginia motorcycle accident claim, it’s always best to retain an attorney with experience in motorcycle accidents. Insurance companies are in business to make a profit. Any money they have to pay you impacts the insurance company’s bottom line. Having an attorney on your side can make all the difference in negotiations for a fair settlement.
When you contact an insurance company, the only information you should give them is your contact information, the date, time, and location of the accident, and your attorney’s contact information. Most insurance companies will try to twist your words and use what you say as a reason to deny your claim or to offer you an amount that might not even cover your medical expenses.
West Virginia motorcycle accident lawyers know exactly what to say to insurance company representatives, making it more difficult for an insurance company to twist the facts.
Injuries in a West Virginia Motorcycle Crash
The injuries you might suffer in a West Virginia motorcycle crash could range from seemingly minor injuries such as bruises, cuts, scratches, and scrapes, or they could be as serious as traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries.
Regardless of the type of injuries, you should seek medical attention. Open wounds, including road rash, could become infected and cause additional problems.
Broken bones and many soft-tissue injuries such as sprains, strains, pulled muscles, and torn muscles can take weeks to heal. Compound fractures usually require surgery. Torn and pulled muscles could also require surgery.
Spinal cord and other head, neck, shoulder, and back injuries can cause long-term neurological issues or even paralysis. Even a minor concussion, which is a form of traumatic brain injury, could lead to long-term problems days, months, or even years later.
Medical professionals can perform specific tests to determine whether you have injuries that take their time to cause symptoms, including internal bleeding, traumatic brain injuries, simple fractures, and even burns. In some cases, burns might look red, but after several hours, they could blister and even become infected.
Compensation for a West Virginia Motorcycle Accident
After a West Virginia motorcycle accident, you may be eligible to collect compensation in the form of economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages, also known as special damages, are those that have a clear monetary value.
Economic damages include:
- Past medical expenses for injuries incurred because of the accident and before settlement or the trial award.
- Future medical expenses you expect to incur after the settlement or trial award.
- Past lost wages from the time of the accident until you settle or win a trial award.
- Future wages you expect to lose after a settlement or trial award. Even if you can go back to work in some capacity but your injuries require you to take work that pays less or work fewer hours, you may collect partial lost wages.
- In the case of the death of a loved one, you may receive reimbursement for funeral, burial, and cremation expenses.
- Replacement or repair of destroyed or damaged personal property, including your motorcycle.
Non-economic damages, like economic damages, attempt to make you whole again. Non-economic damages do not have a monetary value but still cost you.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
- Loss of consortium if you can no longer have a physical relationship with your significant other.
- Loss of companionship if you can no longer enjoy family outings and events.
- Loss of use of a body part or bodily function, such as a hand or your eyesight.
- Disfigurement from broken bones, burns, and severe road rash.
- Inconvenience if you can no longer perform household duties, such as shopping or lawn maintenance, and you have to hire someone to do it for you.
West Virginia Motorcycle Accidents FAQs
Getting injured in a motorcycle accident can change your life forever.
In addition to an arduous physical recovery, you may also face a job loss, medical debt, and emotional trauma.
Getting back to normal takes time, no matter the circumstances. Understanding some basic information about motorcycle accidents can help you protect your legal and financial rights while you heal.
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about motorcycle accidents and motorcycle accident lawsuits:
How do motorcycle accidents happen in West Virginia?
Motorcycle accidents have many potential causes, but the bulk of them result from just a handful of factors:
- Poor weather and road conditions. A bike can lose control on wet, icy, uneven, or rough road surfaces far more easily than a four-wheel vehicle, particularly when drivers of other vehicles do not watch out for motorcyclists in problematic road conditions.
- Mechanical failure. Some bike parts wear over time. Others leave the factory in a defective condition that makes them likely to malfunction and to cause a crash.
- Motorist errors. Some motorcycle accidents result from a rider’s mistakes. But, many others owe their cause to mistakes by drivers of larger vehicles who fail to share the road safely and appropriately with motorcyclists, such as when they speed, change lanes without signaling or checking their blind spot, or try to pass motorcycles illegally.
- Drunk driving. Operating any motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is illegal and extremely dangerous, and frequently leads to serious accidents involving motorcycles.
No matter how a motorcycle accident occurs, a skilled motorcycle accident injury attorney can help crash victims recover compensation for their injuries and losses.
Should I call the police after a West Virginia motorcycle wreck?
To begin, you have a legal obligation to call the police if the accident resulted in injury, death, or significant damage to your bike or another vehicle. Failing to comply with that law could result in a criminal penalty.
Calling the police to the scene of a motorcycle accident also summons first responders who can keep order and render emergency medical aid to victims.
Finally, calling the police ensures the preparation of an official report of the accident, which you may need for insurance purposes and your lawyer will likely want to use as evidence in any legal action you take seeking damages.
Should I seek medical attention after a West Virginia motorcycle crash?
Yes. Always. You may think that you feel fine after a wreck, but the fact is that you’re in no position to evaluate your condition.
Many injuries, including serious ones, may not become evident until days or even weeks after a motorcycle accident. If you fail to detect those injuries right away, then the harm they cause may increase and, in some cases, become life-threatening. Only a trained medical professional can make a sound diagnosis and begin providing the medical treatment you need.
Seeking medical care also has other benefits. Experienced motorcycle accident lawyers build their cases around their clients’ physical, emotional, and financial injuries. Medical records prepared by a qualified doctor help to prove those cases.
Who can I sue for my West Virginia motorcycle accident injuries?
Potentially, multiple parties. It all depends on the fact and circumstances of the motorcycle crash in which you sustained injuries.
Motorcycle accident victims sometimes assume that they can only sue others directly involved in the crash (e.g. other motorists, etc.). That is not so. While the parties directly involved in an accident may owe damages for their conduct, liability for a motorcycle accident victim’s injuries and losses can, and frequently does, extend to anyone else whose wrongful decisions or actions contributed to the cause of the accident.
That can include, for example:
- Employers of drivers who get into an accident with a work vehicle;
- Manufacturers of bikes and bike parts who sell defective products that malfunction;
- A bar or restaurant that sold alcohol to an intoxicated patron who then caused a drunk driving motorcycle accident; or
- A government contractor or entity that failed to fix or warn the public about roads unsafe for motorcycle riding.
These are just a few examples. The point is, many individuals, businesses, or entities may have legal liability for the harm caused by a motorcycle accident. To learn who may have liability to you for your motorcycle accident injuries, contact a skilled motorcycle accident injury lawyer today.
What damages are available in a West Virginia motorcycle accident injury case?
Damages generally constitute financial compensation for injuries and losses sustained because of someone else’s wrongful decisions or actions. In a motorcycle accident lawsuit, the injured crash victim can usually seek two basic types of damages: monetary and non-monetary.
Monetary damages consist of compensation for financial harm resulting from a motorcycle accident injury, such as the cost of medical care or income lost when the victim misses work because of an injury.
Non-monetary damages, in contrast, compensate victims for the physical and emotional harm they have suffered because of a motorcycle accident, such as their pain, suffering, and other personal hardships.
In addition to monetary and non-monetary damages, motorcycle accident victims can sometimes ask a court to award them punitive damages. A court usually only awards punitive damages in cases in which the liable party’s conduct was so exceptionally irresponsible that it merits an award of extra damages to the injured party as punishment.
Should I settle my West Virginia motorcycle accident injury claim?
The answer, like many other questions about motorcycle accidents, is it depends on the facts of your case.
What’s certain, however, is that you should always have a lawyer conduct settlement negotiations on your behalf. Hiring a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer as your advocate sends a signal to defense lawyers and insurance companies that you mean business. The mere presence of a lawyer with a strong reputation in motorcycle accident cases by your side can compel the defense to make you a more generous settlement offer.
Do not wait to learn about your legal rights and options after suffering injuries in a motorcycle accident. Contact a skilled, experienced motorcycle accident injury lawyer today.
After an Accident, Call Wagoner Desai, PLLC’s West Virginia Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Today
Money cannot remove the pain of injuries, make up for the challenges of long-term or permanent disabilities caused by motorcycle accident injuries, or bring back a loved one who died in a motorcycle wreck. It may, however, reduce the financial stress of having less income than you need to pay the bills. It also takes care of medical expenses that you otherwise would not have had to pay.
Wagoner Desai, PLLC
265 High Street, 3rd Floor
Citizens Bank Building
Morgantown, WV 26505
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