Anyone can be seriously injured in an automobile accident. But, the risk is especially pronounced for motorcyclists. Just under 5,000 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Motorcyclists were 27 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a wreck. Many others are seriously injured in non-fatal accidents, resulting in substantial medical bills, lost time from work, and other damages.
If you were injured in a motorcycle crash because of someone else’s negligence, you may have a legal claim. The Loudoun County motorcycle accident attorneys of Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP are ready to help.
What Makes Motorcycle Injuries So Much Worse?
All things being equal, it would be better to be in a passenger vehicle than a motorcycle if you are going to be in a wreck. Victims generally sustain worse injuries on a motorcycle, meaning their damages after an accident tend to be greater. Here are just a few reasons why:
- Motorcycles lack the steel frame of a passenger vehicle
- Riders are directly exposed to asphalt, other vehicles, and road obstacles
- Motorcycles are smaller and lighter in size
- Motorcycles are less stable than passenger vehicles
- Motorcycles are less visible to other drivers than passenger vehicles
- Motorcycles require a special set of physical and mental skills
Why Do Motorcycle Accidents Occur in Loudoun County?
Despite the risks of riding on a motorcycle, all drivers on the road are owed a duty of care from everyone else. A motorcyclist should never have to worry that someone else’s negligence will put their safety at risk. Understanding why motorcycle accidents occur is crucial to establishing fault and claiming damages. Some of the most common causes of these accidents are:
Turning in front of a motorcycle. This occurs primarily at intersections when a passenger vehicle turns left in front of an oncoming motorcycle. Other vehicles could obscure the motorcyclist, or the turning driver may underestimate the speed of the motorcyclist and make a miscalculation.
Lane merging. Motorcycles are relatively small, so failure to check blind spots when changing lanes can have serious consequences. Passenger vehicles have been known to merge right into and collide with motorcyclists or merge so closely to the motorcyclist that they cause the rider to react abruptly and unsafely.
Distracted driving. This is always a risk, and can stem from texting while driving, talking on the phone, and numerous other irresponsible behaviors. However, motorcyclists are at particular risk because they are less noticeable than other vehicles.
Road hazards. From potholes and uneven surfaces to debris falling off the back of other vehicles, objects and conditions in the road can cause serious motorcycle accidents. These are often the fault of third parties, such as irresponsible cargo truck drivers who allow items they haul to fall onto the road.
Driving under the influence. A passenger vehicle driver who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol puts all other drivers in jeopardy, especially motorcyclists. Approximately 30% of fatal motorcycle accidents in 2018 involved alcohol.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Even if a motorcycle accident isn’t fatal, the rider is likely to suffer major injuries. Helmets and protective gear help, but at the end of the day, there’s little standing between a rider and the road, other vehicles, and obstacles. Among the most common motorcycle accident injuries are:
- Broken bones
- Skin abrasions, commonly called “road rash”
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft tissue damage
- Internal organ damage
These injuries only get worse when aggravating factors like speed or the size of the vehicle are added. If you’ve been hurt because of another driver’s negligence, you need the dedication of a Loudoun County motorcycle accident lawyer.
How An Experienced Loudoun County Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help
A skilled motorcycle accident attorney is more than someone who understands personal injury law. An experienced lawyer will also know how to value your case. Motorcycle accidents tend to result in significant damages, including:
- Medical bills for hospitalization, surgeries, follow-up treatments, rehabilitation, and more
- Lost time from work during recovery from the accident
- Lost work productivity and earning capacity due to permanent injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death, in the event the motorcyclist dies
Putting a dollar figure on these damages is no simple task. An expert witness may be called upon to assign a value to not just past or current damages, but future ones as well. Getting these values accurate is important because if your injuries worsen after trial or settlement, or your damages are higher than expected, you won’t get another chance to ask for compensation.
It’s also worth noting that, unlike most states, Virginia operates on a pure contributory negligence standard. This means that if the motorcyclist is even 1% responsible for the crash, he or she can recover no money, regardless of how serious the injuries are. Attorneys who defend other drivers and their insurance companies are notorious for finding any excuse they can to justify a refusal to pay on a claim.
This is especially true for motorcyclists, who often have an unfair stereotype of being unsafe drivers. Also, motorcyclists are required to wear adequate protective gear and follow other traffic rules. So if a defendant’s lawyer suspects you were even the slightest bit negligent, there’s a good chance they will fight any claim tooth and nail.
Contact Our Loudoun County Motorcycle Accident Attorney
You simply can’t afford to take on the insurance company and their lawyers by yourself. Serious accidents demand serious legal representation, and that’s where the attorneys of Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP step up. Call us today to explore your legal options and get started on your case.