Phelan Petty Represents Bikers and Other Vulnerable Road Users
Drivers must share the road responsibly and courteously with motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users. Unfortunately, many drivers do not give motorcycles the extra space and consideration that they need. When a negligent car or truck driver hits a motorcycle, the rider often suffers life-altering or fatal injuries, while the driver who caused the wreck may walk away mostly unscathed.
At Phelan Petty, we understand how motorcycle cases differ from other motor vehicle crashes. We use our knowledge and experience to help victims of motorcycle crashes get the compensation they deserve, so that they can start their recovery with one less thing to worry about.
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Motorcycle Crashes Are a Serious Problem in Virginia
In 2017, motorcycle crashes in Virginia doubled, causing 107 fatalities. Although we saw a slight decrease in 2018, the Commonwealth is still experiencing higher-than-average crash and death rates.
Get the Facts: 2018 Motorcycle Crash Stats
In 2018, there were 1,792 motorcycle crashes in Virginia, with almost 1,500 injuries and 90 fatalities. According to recent data:
- Most motorcycle crashes occurred on non-interstate roads
- 20 to 30-year-olds made up 30% of all deaths and injuries
- Only 6% of motorcycle drivers had alcohol in their system
- Nearly 40% of motorcyclists were not cited for any improper driving actions
Motorcycle Collisions Cause Devastating Injuries
Riding a motorcycle is inherently dangerous but can be a convenient and enjoyable mode of transportation as long as everyone follows the rules. Injuries caused by motorcycle multi-vehicle collisions are often devastating, with the riders taking nearly all the damage, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spine and back injuries
- Severe road rash and lacerations
- Fractured limbs, ribs, or skulls
- Soft tissue injuries to tendons, ligaments, and muscles
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Depression and anxiety
Because motorcycles lack many of the protective and safety measures of other motor vehicles, the injuries riders sustain are often extensive. These injuries can require intensive surgeries and medical treatments, rehabilitation and physical therapy sessions, and months off of work to recover.
Medical expenses and lost wages can add up fast, which is why working with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney is crucial to recovering the compensation you deserve.
Calculating the Value of Your Motorcycle Accident Case
Because of the devastating injuries that victims usually suffer, motorcycle accident cases can lead to large settlements and jury awards. However, because Virginia is a fault-based state, you will need to establish the other driver’s negligence and your damages first.
As mentioned in the previous section, motorcycle crashes can cause severe injuries to riders. Brain and back injuries can have a permanent effect on a victim’s livelihood. Even fractures and lacerations can result in lost work and an inability to care for your own needs. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your claim, you may be eligible for economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
These are the medical bills, lost wages, and other tangible expenses that you accrued due to your motorcycle crash. Because motorcycles lack protections, these damages can be anywhere from a few thousand to a few million.
Pain and suffering you experienced, the inability to live your life to its fullest; these are examples of non-economic damages. Non-economic damages provide compensation for the non-tangible consequences of your crash.
When the at-fault driver was very reckless or intentionally injured you, the court can award punitive damages. Unlike other forms of damages, they aim to punish a wrongdoer for egregious conduct.
Insurance Companies Try to Shift Blame to Responsible Bikers
Virginia operates under a strict theory of contributory negligence. If you contributed at all to the crash, even by only 1%, the insurance company can deny your claim for compensation.
For example, suppose you are driving on a residential street, going 5 mph over the speed limit. As you enter an intersection, a car speeds through a stop sign, crashing into your motorcycle. Under these circumstances, the insurance company may try to assert contributory negligence, arguing that your speeding contributed to the crash.
Insurance companies aggressively assert comparative negligence in motorcycle claims, hoping to take advantage of unfair stereotypes of about bikers. To combat these strategies, you need help from a skilled injury lawyer who can refute the insurance company’s victim-blaming with persuasive, fact-based evidence.
Do I Have to Wear a Motorcycle Helmet in Virginia?
While Virginia does have a mandatory helmet law, failure to wear a helmet is neither negligence per se nor evidence of contributory negligence. However, you may still face significant challenges if you decide not to wear a motorcycle helmet, since the insurance company may argue that you failed to mitigate your damages.
More importantly, studies clearly show that motorcycle helmets save lives and can reduce the severity of motorcycle injuries. At Phelan Petty, we strongly encourage people to wear a helmet every time they ride a bike.
We Focus on the Most Complicated and Catastrophic Motorcycle Accidents
Not every lawyer in Virginia has the skills and knowledge needed to handle a complex motorcycle claim. At Phelan Petty, we understand that these claims require intense attention to detail, sophisticated analysis, and insight from reputable experts. That is why we have built a reputation as one of Richmond’s most respected motorcycle injury firms.
We know that bikers face subtle bias, even if they have followed all of the rules of the road. Furthermore, we have extensive experience calculating damages and compensation in catastrophic injury claims. To get your free, personalized case evaluation, contact us today.
Phelan Petty Advocates for Motorcycle Crash Victims in Richmond and Throughout Virginia
At Phelan Petty, our accident attorneys have experience working specifically with motorcycle accident claims and getting victims the compensation that they deserve. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle crash, contact us today. Our team of experienced accident lawyers will listen to your story, assess your claim, and educate you about your legal options, all at no cost to you.
2018 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts. (2019). Virginia Highway Safety Office. Retrieved from https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/safety/ crash_data/crash_facts/crash_facts_18.pdf
Virginia Code §46.2-910 (2014). Retrieved from https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title46.2/chapter8/section46.2-910/