The consequences of any crash can be severe, but motorcyclists are more likely to sustain serious or catastrophic injuries because of their exposure to the elements. Proving fault after a collision can be challenging, especially because of the stigma against motorcyclists. If you’ve been in a crash and need compensation for your injuries, a Huntington motorcycle accident lawyer can help. At DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, we have years of experience representing accident victims and helping them get their lives back in order.
Motorcycle Wrecks in West Virginia
In order to fully comprehend the impact motorcycle accidents have on West Virginia residents, let’s take a look at how often they claim lives. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) summarizes state motor vehicle fatal crash and fatality data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Their most recent data for West Virginia is from 2006-2010.
The number of motorcyclist deaths in West Virginia fluctuates significantly on an annual basis. According to the data, 2009 saw the fewest fatalities with 26. The most fatalities happened the previous year in 2008 with 52. That year, 9.5% of total deaths in West Virginia occurred as a result of a motorcycle accident.
The most common factors that were present in crashes involving fatalities include speeding and alcohol impairment. The majority of accidents happened in urban areas at intersections. Distracted drivers and limited mobility also played a significant role in wrecks in Huntington.
Proving Liability After a Crash in Huntington
In order to obtain compensation for your accident injuries, you need to be able to prove the other party caused your wreck. West Virginia follows the traditional fault-based system. This means that the person who is at fault for the crash is financially responsible for the resulting harm. Victims can file a claim with their own insurance company, file a third-party claim with the opposing party’s insurance company, or file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
With most personal injury cases, negligence is a factor in proving fault. To show the other driver was negligent, your lawyer will need to prove that they owed you a legal duty of care, they breached their duty, their actions caused your injuries, and your injuries resulted in recoverable losses. Our attorneys have experience building strong claims on behalf of our clients. We’ll do the same for you.
How to Prevent a Motorcycle Accident
On average, a motorcyclist has less than three seconds to react to an accident before impact. While knowing how to properly use the emergency brake or swerve is important, those maneuvers won’t always prevent a collision. That’s why it’s important to keep the following tips in mind, as well:
- Be alert. When riding a motorcycle, it’s best to assume other drivers cannot see you. Look for spaces in traffic where a car could maneuver without noticing you. It’s crucial to proceed with caution at stop signs and intersections because the majority of crashes happen when another driver violates the motorcyclist’s right-of-way.
- Avoid blind zones. Because of their size, drivers in passenger vehicles and trucks aren’t always able to see a motorcycle in their side or rearview mirrors. It’s important to stay toward the front of other cars, within the drivers’ line of sight. It’s also a good idea to avoid the door zone. If a driver or passenger unknowingly opens their door into your vehicle, you could get seriously hurt.
- Maintain tires. Because motorcycles only have two tires, it’s even more important to ensure tread and tire pressure are where they need to be. The risk of an accident increases when tires are poorly maintained.
- Avoid bad weather. While rain, snow, or ice can impact any driver, motorcycles are more at risk because of only having two wheels. This means that it’s much easier to be thrown off balance. It’s best to only operate a bike when the weather is clear.
- Be aware of escape routes. Being aware of escape routes means noticing spots where you could safely leave traffic in the event the driver in front of you stops short or you’re worried about being rear-ended. This skill is especially important when driving in high-traffic, urban areas.
- Avoid speeding. After alcohol impairment, speeding is one of the most common causes of accidents. This is because it’s easier for a motorcycle to get thrown off balance around sharp turns or corners when going faster than the posted speed limit.
Seek Compensation for Your Injuries Today
Even when you follow the tips above, avoiding a crash isn’t always possible. If you’ve been injured in an accident, seeking compensation isn’t always easy. Proving your claim could be a challenge, especially as a motorcyclist. Dealing with serious injuries on top of that makes your battle even more frustrating. At DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, we recognize those difficulties and we strive to help residents in West Virginia recover from what they were wrongfully put through.
Seeking legal representation from a Huntington motorcycle accident lawyer is the best way to ensure you receive full and fair compensation for your injuries. Insurance companies can be hard to deal with, but when you work with us we’ll handle all the negotiations for you.
To maximize your compensation and get your life back in order as quickly as possible, it’s crucial to hire an attorney soon after your accident. Even if your primary concerns are still recovering physically, we can begin working on investigating your accident and building a claim that proves you were wronged. To learn more about the personal injury litigation process or to schedule a free case evaluation, contact our office today.