A Fairfax, VA, motorcycle accident lawyer can often have a critical role in getting motorcycle accident victims the restitution that they are owed. The idea of paying this restitution may often be met with lowball offers and general resistance by the insurance companies, which are typically responsible for paying these costs based on their contract with the liable party that caused the accident. Fortunately, though, the law does recognize that there is a duty to pay.
At Whitlock Law, LLC, we’ve successfully navigated hundreds of motor vehicle accident claims, including motorcycle accident claims. They’ve been the bulk of cases that our practice has taken on, and that experience has given us a depth of knowledge about these situations that most other firms never reach.
We understand how to work with insurance companies to find a fair settlement, and we know how to navigate the litigation process when that isn’t possible. We do whatever we can to get our clients the restitution that they deserve.
Liability in a motorcycle accident means that someone is responsible for the costs that occurred as a result of the incident. For someone to have this responsibility, though, they must be the cause, or part of the cause, of the accident. In other words, they are liable because, without their negligent actions, the accident would not have occurred.
Despite what many people may initially think, there are a number of different parties who could potentially be liable for an accident. They include:
Should the claim go to court, the key component of the trial will be proving fault on the part of the defendant. Once this fault is demonstrated, you are able to collect damages for the costs that are legitimately a product of their fault.
We can prove fault in these claims by demonstrating that the defendant met the criteria for the three components of negligence, using the evidence that was gathered in our investigation.
When someone is going to act in a way that brings them into contact with others, there is a level of duty that they have to those individuals. This duty is twofold. They need to consider the risks that their actions may place others in danger, and they need to take reasonable precautions to prevent those risks and dangers.
For anything involving motor vehicles of any sort, the duty of care is generally well-understood. There is a high potential for serious accidents and injuries when using motor vehicles, and anyone involved with them has a clear duty to use appropriate caution and behave reasonably carefully. This differs depending on the defendant; drivers, for instance, have a duty to pay attention when operating their vehicles and follow traffic laws.
When someone fails to meet the duty of care that they had in a given situation, that’s considered a breach of duty. Either by the actions that they took or by their inaction, they failed to behave with reasonable caution and put others in unnecessary danger. Of course, what constitutes a breach in your case will depend on the circumstance.
A breach for a driver may be a failure to follow a traffic law, but a breach for the government may be a failure to fix an issue with a road.
Proving a breach means both demonstrating the precise behavior of the defendant in the given situation and explaining why that behavior constituted a breach of duty.
It may be helpful, in some circumstances, to even bring in an expert witness who understands the duty of someone in a particular role or position. They can explain to the court how the defendant’s actions should be considered a breach.
A breach could occur that has nothing to do with an injury. For instance, a drunk driver has committed a breach, but it’s still likely not their fault if another driver ignores a red light and causes a “T-bone” type of accident. This is why, to demonstrate liability, we must be able to show that the injury was a direct result of the breach on the part of the defendant.
We must also be able to show that the accident led directly to the injuries that you suffered. This is because there are times when someone exaggerates their injuries, attempts to claim pre-existing conditions as a product of the accident, or even tries to pass off injuries sustained in a different incident as having been caused by this accident.
Therefore, we must show both the precise extent of the injuries and how they were directly caused by the accident.
Liability means that the defendant is responsible for compensating all costs that were a direct result of their breach of duty. Since it will already have been shown that the breach caused the injuries, to collect restitution, we must show that the costs are a direct result of those injuries.
Proving this will be heavily dependent on providing bills, receipts, and other documentation of these costs, which you should keep a record of. The costs will then be compensated through two forms of damages:
Contributory negligence is a set of rules that are a part of any Virginia personal injury claim, which a motorcycle accident claim would be filed under. These rules allow the defendant the opportunity to argue that the plaintiff was, at least in part, responsible for their own injuries.
They must show that the plaintiff’s negligence led to their injuries. In other words, they must demonstrate that, without the plaintiff’s error, they would have been spared their injuries.
If the defendant’s lawyers are successfully able to demonstrate this, even if the plaintiff is only the smallest fraction responsible for the accident, they may be prevented from collecting any damages. These are significant stakes involved in this portion of the trial.
It is also partially why it’s important that you work with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who understands how to defend against these kinds of claims.
At some point in the process of seeking restitution, you may need to decide whether it would make sense for you to accept a settlement rather than take the claim to court in Fairfax, VA. There are several different factors involved when making this kind of decision, one of which is money.
While we can work to negotiate the strongest settlement offer that we can, it is possible that you could receive more if a trial went perfectly in your favor. That, though, doesn’t always happen, and there are some other advantages to consider with regard to settling for a little less money.
A settlement generally offers the advantage of time. Taking a claim to court can be a long process. In many cases, it could mean delaying the time that you receive compensation for months or even years. For some, who wish to get their funds quickly, this delay can be a tremendous disadvantage of taking a claim to court.
In the case of a settlement, the timing is determined by how agreeable and motivated the two sides are to find an accord. Once that settlement is finalized, you will typically receive the funds within 30 days.
Another real advantage of a settlement is that it neutralizes the element of risk. Taking a claim to court is a risky proposition. While it does potentially hold a greater payout, there is still the possibility that the court may not rule in your favor.
Even the strongest of cases can become subject to the unpredictability of a court trial. With Virginia’s adherence to contributory negligence standards, the risk of ending up with nothing after a trial is even more elevated.
A settlement, though, is a sure thing. You will receive the funds that are agreed upon, and they won’t be subject to contributory negligence standards. For those looking to avoid the risks of a trial and get their funds more quickly, a settlement may be the better option if a sufficient value can be reached.
The impact of a motorcycle crash is seldom minor. The injuries are often significant, just like the costs related to them. These expenses are the responsibility of whoever caused them, or they are at least the responsibility of their insurance company. Although getting fair restitution for your injuries can be challenging, a Fairfax motorcycle accident lawyer may be able to help you do so.
The majority of the cases that we’ve taken on at Whitlock Law, LLC, over the years we’ve been operating have involved motor vehicle accidents, including motorcycle accident claims. We understand what it takes to hold those responsible accountable for what they owe.
Whether through negotiating a fair settlement or following through with the litigation process, we can make a strong case for what our clients deserve. Contact us today to discuss your claim.
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