Virginia Beach Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
When a careless driver hits a motorcyclist, the motorcyclist takes the brunt of the damage. Motorcycle operators involved in collisions with passenger vehicles often experience traumatic injuries and may find themselves financially unstable as they attempt to recover. The legal team at Deering Hedrick understands the unique challenges that motorcycle accident victims face. Our aim is to protect motorcyclists and help them recover the money they need to pay for their significant financial losses.
Mike Deering and Chris Todd Hedrick are standing by to pursue justice and accountability on your behalf. If you’ve been injured in a Virginia Beach motorcycle accident, contact Deering Hedrick as soon as possible to set up a confidential consultation. Our legal team will meet with you to discuss your legal options and how we may be able to help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Do You Need a Virginia Beach Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
Whether you like it or not, popular media has cultivated the image of the “rebel motorcycle” rider. A reckless, thrill-seeking individual, a bad apple. Of course, this is patently untrue, and the vast majority of motorcycle enthusiasts are ordinary, responsible people. Unfortunately, this well-crafted image of the rebel without a cause is ingrained in people’s minds to such a degree that it can potentially impact your motorcycle accident claim. Insurance adjusters and juries may hold a subconscious bias against you. This bias can affect how much compensation you receive following a collision with another motorist, even if the accident isn’t your fault.
Do you need a Virginia Beach motorcycle accident attorney to handle your claim? If you want to recover fair compensation for your injuries, the answer to this question is yes. A skilled motorcycle accident lawyer works for you, carefully investigating the cause of the accident and building a compelling case for maximum compensation. An attorney can also protect your rights and help you navigate the often time-consuming and challenging process of recovering the money you deserve.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 5,579 motorcycle operators lost their lives in traffic collisions in 2020, while another 82,528 riders suffered injuries. In that time, motorcycle riders accounted for 14 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S. Unfortunately, accidents involving motorcycle riders are also common on Virginia roadways. That same year, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles recorded 1,827 motorcycle accidents and 87 fatalities.
Even more concerningly, data suggests a rise in fatal motorcycle accidents in Virginia, up by at least 17 percent year over year. Riders are encouraged to take safety precautions like wearing a helmet and enrolling in a motorcycle safety course. Motorists are urged to use caution and remain aware of their surroundings when sharing the road with motorcycle riders to prevent causing an accident.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorists often complain that motorcyclists are difficult to spot. While a rider on a bike may be smaller than the typical passenger vehicle, it is the responsibility of every motorist on the road to be aware of their surroundings. Unfortunately, driver error and careless behavior are the leading causes of motorcycle accidents today. Some of the most common causes of Virginia motorcycle accidents include:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue
- Unsafe lane changes
- Aggressive driving behavior
- Failure to yield
- Failure to observe traffic signs and signals
- Lane splitting
Although not as common, mechanical defects and failures can cause significant motorcycle accidents. Poor visibility and inclement weather conditions are also contributing factors that may lead to a motorcycle collision.
Common Injuries Associated with Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle riders have limited protection against the force imparted at impact by a passenger vehicle or large truck. Riders are vulnerable to traumatic and life-altering injuries and are prone to being thrown violently from their vehicles. Some of the most common injuries associated with motorcycle accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neck and spine injuries
- Broken bones
- Facial injuries
- Dental injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Thermal burns
- Road rash
Physical injuries can be catastrophic. However, the emotional burden of coping with those injuries can be immense, causing anxiety and depression. Motorcycle riders may also suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder following a collision.
Compensation for a Motorcycle Accident Case
No two motorcycle accident cases are alike. At Deering Hedrick, our legal team is not interested in settling for the average settlement. We want to secure you the money you deserve – money that will help you recover from this tragic accident. Our focus is on learning the facts of your case and calculating the specific losses for which you can be compensated.
The value of your case can depend on several factors. These include the cause of the accident, the severity of your injuries, and the extent of insurance coverage. Typically, in a motorcycle accident case, you can seek compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Our team is prepared to negotiate aggressively on your behalf. Sometimes, insurers refuse to negotiate in good faith, and we’re ready for that. We can prepare to take your case to court to seek meaningful compensation for your financial losses. Before you discuss your situation with anyone else, speak to an experienced Virginia Beach motorcycle accident attorney. An attorney can review the circumstances of the crash, investigate the accident, and manage communication between you and the liable insurer. Give yourself the compassionate, committed representation you deserve at this critical juncture. Talk to Mike Deering or Chris Todd Hedrick at Deering Hedrick today.
Proving Fault in a Motorcycle Accident Case
Proving fault in a motorcycle accident case takes evidence. Establishing liability is vital to your case because Virginia follows what is known as a contributory negligence regulation for personal injury cases. Under the contributory negligence rule, anyone found to be even slightly to blame for causing a collision cannot recover compensation for their financial losses. A court can find a motorcyclist a mere 2% responsible for the circumstances of a crash and bar that person from recovering compensation.
Often cited as harsh, the contributory negligence regulation binds all court decisions in Virginia. It also heavily influences how an insurance adjuster will evaluate your claim and may lead to a lowball offer.
An experienced Virginia Beach motorcycle accident attorney understands the intricacies of the contributory negligence model and can help you build a strong case for fair compensation. At Deering Hedrick, Mike Deering and Chris Todd Hedrick are prepared to review every aspect of your situation and craft a compelling case based on evidence. Do not try to navigate the claim process or Virginia’s complicated legal system alone. If you receive significant injuries following a motorcycle accident, consult a skilled personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.
Virginia Motorcycle Laws
Before hitting the road on two wheels, you should familiarize yourself with Virginia’s motorcycle laws. First, you must earn a valid Class M, M2, or M3 motorcycle license. If you currently hold a valid Virginia driver’s license, you can add a Class M designation by:
- Passing a vision test
- Passing the motorcycle knowledge examination
- Hold a motorcycle learner’s permit for 30 days
- Passing a motorcycle road skills test
If you complete an approved Virginia Rider Training Program, you can bypass taking the knowledge and skills exams. Classes are available at a variety of locations across the commonwealth.
Virginia law also requires all motorcycle operators and passengers to wear an approved helmet. The helmet must meet all Department of Transportation safety guidelines and include a DOT sticker. The Commonwealth of Virginia also requires riders to use eye protection either in the form of goggles, a face shield, or safety glasses if their bike does not have a windshield. Crucially, their failure to do so cannot be used against them to establish their negligence in the event of a collision.
Although not required by law, motorcycle riders should also consider wearing other protective gear when riding, including sturdy boots, gloves, and a durable jacket and pants. Leather and certain synthetic materials are the best options because they are strong enough to help prevent road rash in the event of a crash or fall. Riders should also consider wearing bold colors or adding reflective material to their gear to make them easier to see on the road.
Staying Safe and Picking the Right Helmet
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates motorcycle operators are nearly 28 times more likely to die in a collision than those in passenger vehicles. Helmets are just one-way riders can help decrease their chances of suffering significant or fatal brain injuries following a crash. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate in one year, helmets helped save the lives of at least 1,872 motorcycle riders. Helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 69 percent. They are also 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries.
However, wearing a helmet can’t save your life if it doesn’t fit properly. Picking the right helmet is crucial. Most motorcycle retailers can help you choose the correct product for your head size and shape. If you measure your head on your own, use a cloth or soft measuring tape and measure just above your eyebrows, bringing the tape measure around the thickest part of your head. Compare this measurement to a helmet sizing chart.
A properly fitting helmet should be snug but not tight. Your helmet also needs to include a chin strap made of durable material. Always check your helmet’s safety rating and beware of unsafe or novelty gear. The back of your helmet should include a DOT safety-certified label.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, replace your helmet. Cracks can develop deep with the material, impacting the structural integrity of the helmet. During a subsequent fall or crash, the helmet may not protect you. Replace your helmet when you notice wear, especially tearing of the chin strap or when the interior foam starts to crumble or lose shape. A helmet can only protect you when you take care of it.
Deadline for Filing a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit in Virginia
Virginia has a tier-like system of deadlines for filing a personal injury lawsuit following a motorcycle accident with a careless motorist. If you want to seek compensation for your medical expenses and other financial losses, you must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident. On the other hand, if you are only seeking compensation for property damage or damage to your motorcycle, you have five years to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
Life can be hectic following a significant motorcycle collision. Time can quickly slip away from you as you focus on your recovery. Unfortunately, if you fail to file a personal injury lawsuit before the deadline, you may miss your opportunity to recover valuable compensation. Filing a case after the statute of limitations expires can result in your case’s dismissal and limits your options for receiving the money you need.
There’s another important reason to act quickly after an accident. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the quicker they can get to work gathering evidence while it’s fresh.
Contact a Knowledgeable Motorcycle Accident Attorney Immediately
A motorcycle accident can change your life in a split second, causing traumatic and life-long injuries and throwing you into financial uncertainty. Following an accident, you deserve aggressive legal representation. Put your case in the hands of an experienced Virginia Beach motorcycle accident attorney. Trust Deering Hedrick. Mike Deering and Chris Todd Hedrick have the knowledge and resources to help you get back on your feet again.
Our legal team wants to help you get the compensation you deserve from the people who hurt you. Contact us today to set up a confidential legal consultation with a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer in Virginia Beach. We are ready to work with and support you during this challenging time.