Virginia Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

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Virginia Motorcycle Accident Attorney

A motorcycle accident is a dangerous event. The exposure and size difference means that riders have a significant risk of injury. When this happens, it’s imperative that all the parties that are responsible for the accident be held accountable.

This provides the injured riders with the restitution that they need and encourages safer driving habits from others. A Virginia motorcycle accident lawyer is often critical to ensuring that the victims of these accidents are treated fairly and justly. At Whitlock Law, LLC, our Virginia personal injury lawyers understand just how difficult a motorcycle accident can be for the victims of one.

We have experience in all varieties of motor vehicle accidents in Virginia, including representing motorcycle riders seeking compensation. If you’ve been involved in any kind of motor vehicle accident such as a car accident, consulting a Virginia car accident lawyer can also provide the necessary legal support. We put our experience and depth of understanding of these cases to work, seeking proper compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other costs that victims suffer.

Who Might Be Liable for a Motorcycle Accident in Virginia?

In most motor vehicle accidents, people might assume that it’s one or more of the drivers who are liable, but that’s not always the case. There are a lot of different parties that may be involved with a vehicle on the road, and negligence on the part of any of them could be the cause of an accident.

One of the key tasks that your lawyer can take on is a thorough investigation of the motorcycle accident so that they might identify the liable parties.

Some of the potentially liable entities include:

  • Drivers Who Are Directly Involved in the Accident: In most accidents, the driver of a vehicle directly involved in the collision is to blame. Usually, they were driving recklessly, driving distracted, driving drunk, or violating some other traffic law and, thus, caused the collision.
  • Drivers Who Are Indirectly Involved in the Accident: There are some situations where a driver not directly involved in a collision could be the one responsible for the accident. This is usually because they were engaged in some kind of reckless driving. To avoid a collision with the reckless driver, another driver takes an evasive action that ends up creating an accident with someone else on the road.
  • A Driver’s Employer: There are a number of different drivers on the road who are performing a job function at the time of an accident, usually on a delivery of some kind. There is a possibility that their employer may bear some liability in those situations. This is more likely if there was some kind of policy or company directive, such as unreasonable expectations for delivery times, that made it more likely that a driver would behave recklessly.
  • The Government: Roads, signs, and traffic lights are typically the responsibility of the local or state government. An issue or malfunction with one of these could lead to an accident and the government being the properly liable party. If this is the case, it’s important that you contact a lawyer quickly, as there are often different laws involved that could impact the timing and requirements of the claim.
  • A Parts Manufacturer: Occasionally, a part will malfunction and then lead to an accident. When a defective part is to blame for an accident, assuming it was installed properly and the required maintenance was performed, then the manufacturer of the part could be held liable.
  • A Maintenance Provider: Sometimes, an incorrectly installed part or improper maintenance could be the source of an accident, leading to a repair and maintenance provider being found at fault for the incident.

How Is Liability Proven in a Virginia Motorcycle Accident?

Motorcycle accident civil claims are conducted according to the rules of personal injury claims, which dictate the process for proving fault. To show fault, your lawyer must rely on evidence from the accident, which could include photos, the police report, and witness testimony.

Proving fault will require establishing three different elements regarding the defendant and their actions surrounding the accident.

Duty of Care

To show that the plaintiff had a duty of care means that they had a responsibility to the plaintiff and others to consider the impact of their actions and to avoid creating excess risk for others.

Generally, for anything involving motor vehicles, this concept is fairly simple to establish and easily recognized by the court. Motor vehicles have a significant level of danger involved in the course of their regular use, and anyone involved in the process has a clear duty to be careful.

Breach of Duty

The plaintiff’s lawyer must next demonstrate a breach of duty, which means showing that the defendant failed to meet the duty they had in the situation surrounding the accident. This will be a little different based on the identity of the liable party or parties.

In the case of another driver, it’s likely some violation of a traffic law or the rules of the road. If some other party is liable, though, the breach will be specific to their involvement.

To prove a breach, evidence will need to be presented regarding exactly what the liable party did in the given situation. Once their behavior is established, the court will need to hear precisely why that behavior constituted a breach.

In some cases, this could involve expert witness testimony. For instance, if there is an issue with how a part was installed, it may be helpful to bring in a peer of the defendant to explain how the part should have been installed to prevent the issue.

Cause of Injury

Lastly, it needs to be shown that the breach was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. This makes the defendant responsible for the costs associated with them. Because those injuries are the result of a motorcycle accident, it will usually need to be shown first that the breach was the cause of the accident, and then that the accident was the cause of the injuries that were suffered.

This might seem like an obvious connection, but it’s important to recognize that there are counterexamples. If a car is speeding through an intersection with a green light, that may technically be a form of breach of duty.

However, this breach does not cause an accident if there is a malfunction with the light that causes the street intersecting the speeder’s to also have a green light, creating a collision. The breach must be directly responsible for the accident, not just occurring at the same time as the accident.

The injuries must also be directly related to the accident. Sometimes, there have been incidents where plaintiffs have not been honest about their injuries.

In some cases, they have attempted to pass off pre-existing conditions or even injuries sustained after the accident, in some other incident, as being a result of the accident. Others have also attempted to exaggerate the severity of the accident to receive greater restitution.

To avoid these kinds of concerns, your lawyer needs to show exactly how the accident produced your injuries and the precise nature and extent of those injuries.

What Restitution Is Awarded in a Virginia Motorcycle Accident Claim?

Establishing liability for the costs associated with the accident requires that they be a direct result of the injuries. This connects the causal link back to the breach that the defendant committed. Your lawyer must prove this connection, which is often done through evidence like doctor’s notes, bills, receipts, and other records.

Having these to reference is why it’s important to keep thorough records regarding the costs you’ve faced. The restitution is paid out in different forms of damages.

Economic Damages

Some of the most obvious costs associated with an accident are those that have a direct monetary component, and those are compensated through economic damages. These address the medical bills involved, including:

  • Hospital stays
  • Doctor’s visits
  • Medication
  • Testing
  • Surgeries
  • Physical therapy

Economic damages also include property damage, like the cost of fixing or replacing the damaged motorcycle.

Serious injuries can have further costs, such as lost wages if you missed work because of the accident, which are addressed in this manner. If any of these costs are expected to extend into the future, those medical bills will be estimated and compensated, along with any loss in earning capacity if you are unable to return to work in the same way as you did prior to the injury.

Non-Economic Damages

When someone suffers an injury, the physical impact is only part of what they endure. There are often psychological and emotional impacts that are often proportionate to the seriousness of the injuries. These costs include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of the use of a body part
  • Loss of enjoyment in life
  • Mental anguish

While money won’t correct or solve these issues, it can make them more manageable, as it can reduce concerns and stress in other parts of your life. These losses are given a value and are then compensated through non-economic damages.

Punitive Damages

While not often awarded in motorcycle accidents, there are times when punitive damages could be assigned. These are a referendum on the behavior of the defendant and are awarded when they have been determined to have acted maliciously or otherwise egregiously.

There may be circumstances, such as road rage or intentionally causing an accident, where they may be awarded, but that is only in a handful of cases. When we discuss your case, we may be able to give you a better idea of whether they are a possibility in your situation.

What Is Contributory Negligence?

It’s critical that anyone considering or filing a claim in Virginia be aware of the potential impact that the doctrine of contributory negligence could have on your case. It applies to all personal injury and wrongful death claims in Virginia.

In almost every state, the defendant in a personal injury claim is given the opportunity to argue that the plaintiff bears at least partial responsibility for the accident that they were involved in. The defendant attempts to prove the components of negligence regarding the actions of the plaintiff and show how they at least contributed to the injury.

In most states, if the defendant’s lawyer is successfully able to show the plaintiff’s fault, both parties are assigned a percentage, and the plaintiff’s damages are reduced according to that percentage. In a few states, a plaintiff’s share being 50% or greater can prevent them from collecting any damages. These states, though, operated off of comparative negligence rules.

Virginia state operates under contributory negligence principles. Therefore, if the plaintiff is shown to have any fault at all, it could mean that they are entirely barred from collecting damages.

This procedure of contributory negligence is one legal aspect that can make working with an experienced lawyer so critical to your case. We understand how defendants will attempt to argue for this kind of negligence.

We also know the kind of evidence that can be helpful in defending against such accusations. Being prepared for this possibility is critical to preserving our clients’ rights to collect damages.

When Must a Claim Be Filed After a Motorcycle Accident in Virginia?

A motorcycle accident claim would be filed under the civil laws governing personal injury claims. The statute of limitations for these claims is two years from the date of the accident. However, there are some circumstances when the deadline could be extended or shortened.

For instance, if the defendant is going to be the government, there is a possibility that you will need to take action sooner. Conversely, if the injuries are discovered later, the deadline may be extended.

There is a lot, though, that needs to be done between the time of the accident and filing. It’s better to get in contact with a lawyer soon after a motorcycle accident so that we can give you an idea of when the deadline to file will be in your case.

It also gives us a chance to begin the work of investigating your situation, negotiating with the defendant, and preparing for the possibility of going to court.

Should I Settle My Claim or Go to Court?

For most victims of motorcycle accidents, there will come a point when they will need to decide whether they want to settle the claim out of court or if they want to go through the full court process.

While there are advantages to both options, there are risks as well. What is right for you will depend on the circumstances of your situation. Nevertheless, there are still some general ideas regarding these two options that are worth considering.

The primary advantage of taking a claim to court is that it is the most likely path to receiving the greatest possible financial award. However, it also carries its share of risk as well, which is why it’s also the most likely path to not receiving any restitution.

A settlement, on the other hand, is a sure thing. You will receive the funds that are agreed upon in a final settlement. They also won’t be subject to contributory negligence, which could take away your opportunity to collect damages in a civil trial.

In addition to the way a settlement takes away the risk of a trial, there are also time advantages to consider as well. A trial has the potential to initiate a process that could drag on for months and even years. A settlement, though, could be over quickly.

The primary limiting factor on how quickly it can be resolved will depend on how eager both parties are to find a resolution. Once the agreement is finalized, though, you will likely receive the funds within thirty days.

The time element also has some advantages for those looking to move past the accident. Sometimes, those who are injured in an accident, particularly if they suffered serious injuries, want to move on from the accident into the next phase of life, and getting a settlement done quickly can be helpful in that process.

What Does a Virginia Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Do?

When you hire a motorcycle accident lawyer, like the one at Whitlock Law, LLC, we are responsible for seeking fair compensation for the injuries that you suffered and the costs that you endured as a result.

To do this, we can perform a number of different tasks to give your claim the strongest opportunity for success.

Investigating the Accident

One of our first tasks is to investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident. One of the objectives of this investigation is to identify the party or parties that are liable for the accident. We also need to gather evidence that can be used to demonstrate their liability.

It’s critical that we consider the accident from the perspective of the defendant as well, so we look for evidence that could be helpful in defending against any accusations of contributory negligence on your part.

Negotiating a Possible Settlement

Once we have a firm idea of the details involved in the case, and the extent of the costs that you suffered, we may negotiate with the potentially liable parties, as that may be a better option than taking the claim to trial. There are some advantages to letting us negotiate on your behalf.

The insurance companies that are often on the other side of these negotiations may have a tendency to make lowball offers when they believe that the party on the other side is inexperienced. However, when you have a seasoned lawyer negotiating on your behalf, the insurance representatives will likely recognize that such an inadequate offer wouldn’t get anywhere.

A lawyer negotiating for you also carries the implicit threat that going to court is a very real option for you. This can also mean a more serious negotiating effort on their part. In many cases, the presence of a lawyer can accelerate the process and get you the compensation that you’re seeking more quickly.

Making the Case in Court

In many cases, though, it may not be possible to find a settlement agreement that works for both parties. That would likely mean that we need to file a claim, taking the case to court to get compensation.

If so, we can be prepared to make the argument for the liability of the defendant and demonstrate why you deserve the restitution that you’re seeking. We can also be ready to defend against any claims of contributory negligence, as that may be necessary to preserve your right to collect damages.

What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Virginia?

If you get in a motorcycle accident, there are a few actions that can be done to help a future claim. The priority, though, should always be ensuring that you get a proper medical examination to treat any injuries that you’re facing.

After that, if your injuries aren’t serious enough to prevent you from moving around, getting documentation of the accident can be helpful. Any photos or videos that you take may later be used to demonstrate the negligence of the liable party in court. Additionally, if there are any eyewitnesses, getting their contact information can be helpful.

Get Help From an Experienced Virginia Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

A motorcycle accident can leave you with a lot of uncertainty. Of course, there are issues around the injuries and when they will heal. The financial aspect, though, often weighs heavily on motorcycle accident victims.

Given that the injuries can often be serious, there is often a combination of medical bills and missed work that can be daunting. Those costs, though, are the legal responsibility of the parties that are liable for the accident.

Often, it’s the liable parties’ insurance companies that you will be seeking compensation from. Unfortunately, they often lowball offers to people who are inexperienced in negotiating with them. That’s why working with a Virginia motorcycle accident lawyer may be crucial to receiving the full scope of compensation that you deserve.

At Whitlock Law, LLC, we have managed a wide variety of vehicle accident claims, including motorcycle accidents. We understand the complexity and nuance of these situations and put that experience to work for our clients. Contact us to discuss your motorcycle accident and how we may be able to help.

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