Because of their vulnerability to accidents, motorcyclists must practice defensive driving and caution when operating their vehicle. Unfortunately, not all crashes are preventable—especially when another driver’s negligent actions are to blame. If you or someone you love has sustained injuries in a wreck, a Wheeling motorcycle accident lawyer can review the facts of your case and help you submit a personal injury claim. Doing so will put you on track to receiving the compensation you need to cover the losses you incurred and get your life back in order.
Motorcycle Laws and Requirements in West Virginia
Motorcycle laws are established at the state level. The requirements in West Virginia exist to aid in the prevention of accidents and protect riders. Following the rules of the road can keep you safe. The laws apply directly to motorcyclists and how they operate their vehicles on the road.
In regard to protective gear, motorcycle operators and passengers are required to wear a helmet designed to deflect blows, resist penetration, and spread impact forces. Goggles, a face shield, or shatter-resistant safety goggles are also required. All protective gear must comply with the Department of Transportation or American National Standards Institute specifications.
When riding, headlamps are required to be on at all times. This ensures the motorcyclist is visible to other drivers. Additionally, lane splitting, which is when a motorcycle drives between two lanes of traffic, is illegal.
Even when you follow the laws discussed above, there’s the chance a negligent driver could cause your crash. Whether they were texting and driving, distracted, or intoxicated, you can take legal action and seek compensation for the injuries and financial losses you incurred.
Seeking Compensation for Your Losses
The financial consequence you suffer after an accident can significantly impact your future. If you file a motorcycle accident claim against the party you believe caused your crash, you can seek compensation to cover your present and future losses. Your lawyer will take into consideration how you were impacted monetarily, physically, and mentally.
The majority of claims settle outside of court through negotiations. If, however, the case proceeds to trial, a judge or jury will make the final determination for compensation. Either way, your claim can seek different types of damages, including compensatory and punitive.
The majority of personal injury damages are considered compensatory. This means that the award is intended to compensate the injured party for what they lost in relation to the wreck. Compensatory damages are broken down into two categories: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages are calculable. This means that there are exact dollar figures to add up to determine the total. With noneconomic damages, however, the amount is often based on the extent of the suffering.
Putting a dollar figure on all the consequences of an accident can be a challenge. Your attorney will be sure to take into consideration every aspect of loss, even the ones that aren’t commonly thought of.
- Medical Expenses. Motorcycle accident injuries often result in significant medical bills. Your compensation can cover hospital stays, surgeries, recoveries, physical therapy, medical equipment and prescriptions, and the cost of future care.
- Lost Wages. Serious injuries typically mean time away from work. Even the loss of one paycheck can put you behind. That’s why we’ll make sure your lost wages are included in the compensation you receive.
- Property Damage. Your lawyer will make sure the value of your motorcycle is included in your losses, especially if it was totaled.
- Emotional Distress. Typically linked to fear, anxiety, sleep loss, and depression, emotional distress is associated with serious accidents.
- Pain and Suffering. Compensation for pain and suffering is typically available if you suffered serious discomfort during or immediately after the wreck.
Punitive damages exceed the amount of compensation necessary to cover the victim’s losses. They are typically sought when the negligent party’s actions were particularly reckless. The injured party is only eligible for punitive damages when they’re able to prove with convincing evidence that the defendant was intentionally or unintentionally negligent. Examples of situations that could apply after a motorcycle accident include:
- Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress. This implies the negligent party wantonly, willfully, or recklessly conducted themselves in a way that harmed you emotionally.
- Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. If the driver that struck you was intoxicated at the time, that constitutes evidence of reckless negligence.
- Wrongful Death. Depending on the circumstances, your loved one’s estate could be awarded punitive damages if their motorcycle accident injuries were fatal.
File Your Claim in Wheeling Today
The Wheeling motorcycle accident lawyers from DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC are proud to represent the residents of Wheeling, West Virginia. If the negligent actions of others resulted in a serious accident and injuries, you have legal rights and options to pursue compensation for your losses.
Filing a personal injury claim takes time, so it’s best to get started as soon as possible after a crash. While you focus on recovering from your injuries, we’ll be able to gather evidence, speak with witnesses, and build a claim that proves you were wronged.
If you believe you have a case, speak with our attorneys today. We’ll schedule a free case evaluation, where we’ll examine your situation and determine if you have the grounds to file a claim. Proving fault after a motorcycle accident can be complicated, especially for the motorcyclists, which is why it’s so important to work with experienced attorneys.