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Motorcycle Crash & Lawsuit FAQs

Video Transcript

My name is Bill O’Mara. I’m one of the attorneys here at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, and some of the most catastrophic injuries we see are victims of motorcycle accidents. So, I want to take an opportunity here to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about motorcycle accidents. Number one, do I have to carry motorcycle insurance in Virginia? You can actually opt out of carrying. Carrying insurance in many situations, but in doing so, you have to pay a rather substantial fee to the Department of Motor Vehicles. So, usually, you’re better off just spending that money and carrying insurance in Virginia. The minimum insurance limits currently in Virginia is $30,000 of liability insurance. That number is going to go up to $50,000. Minimum insurance in 2025. Why is it important to have insurance if you’ve been in an accident? If the at-fault driver has liability insurance, you’ll be covered for your damages, your losses, and your harm. If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, if that driver has no insurance but you do carry insurance yourself, you’ll likely have something called uninsured or uninsured insured motorist coverage, which will effectively step into the shoes of the at-fault driver and pay you for your damages, your harms, and your losses after an accident. What insurance will cover in a motor vehicle accident or a motorcycle accident will be your medical expenses, both past and future, your lost wages, both past and expected to be incurred in the future, along with what we call the non-economic damages payment for your pain, your suffering, your inconvenience, your fright, and your anxiety about being in an accident. Being injured.

Number two, do I need an attorney if I’ve been in a motorcycle accident? Even if I have insurance? The answer to that question is typically yes. Just because you have insurance doesn’t mean the insurance companies are going to pay you fairly. They’re going to do everything they can to pay you as little as possible. Another issue with motorcycle accidents is that insurance companies are quick to argue that the motorcyclist did something wrong. And the other driver that caused the accident is often, usually quick to argue that the motorcyclist did something wrong. They’ll claim you were speeding, they’ll claim you were being aggressive, and they’ll play off of the occasional prejudices you’ll see toward motorcyclists.

Number three, after a motorcycle accident, what compensation is available to me? You have available to you if you. Can prove that the accident happened through no fault of your own, you have available to you, under Virginia law, a claim for damages under different personal injury laws. That includes payment for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering and inconvenience.

Number four, do I need an attorney after a motorcycle accident, even if my injuries are not serious? That really depends. Every case is different. Each case has to be reviewed on its own merits and its own facts. What you can do is call Cooper Hurley injury lawyers for a free no-commitment consultation. If we feel that you’ll benefit in a material way from having a lawyer represent you and guide you through the process and advocate for you with these insurance companies, or filing a lawsuit and going to court, then we’ll tell you that and we’ll happily take you on as a client. Now, if you’re fortunate enough to have minor injuries after a motorcycle accident, which is often rare, frankly, we will still be glad to chat with you, offer you a free no-commitment consultation, and discuss the process with you generally, and give you some advice. And it is true, maybe if you are injured, your injuries are minor. The decision may be that you not hire a lawyer. You handle the case yourself.

Number five, I wasn’t wearing my motorcycle helmet. Do I still have a case? The answer for a motor vehicle accident is yes. While there is a Virginia law that says you have to wear a helmet if you’re riding a motorcycle, and if you’re not, you are in violation of the law. That law, your violation of that law, had nothing to do with the happening of the accident. So, just because you weren’t wearing a helmet doesn’t mean an insurance company can deny you payment.

Number six, what if I was partially at fault for the motorcycle accident? That can be problematic in Virginia. The reason for that is Virginia is one of only a few states left in the country that follows the pure contributory negligence rules. And what that rule is is that if the person who got hurt was merely 1% responsible, shared any responsibility for the happening of the accident and the resulting injuries, they are barred from any recovery under Virginia law. Other states will apportion fault and reduce the amount of money you’re entitled to. That’s not how it is in Virginia. If you shared any fault, even if the other driver was 95 99% at fault, then you get nothing. That’s why it’s important to protect yourself, to talk to a lawyer and be very careful if you’re going to provide a recorded statement to an insurance company, because they are always looking for an opportunity to argue that you shared even the smallest amount of fault in the accident, because that will get them off the hook and that will relieve them of their obligation to pay you anything.

Number seven, what steps should I take if I’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident? First step would be to call the police. If you’re physically able to, assess yourself physically to make sure you’re okay and get emergency medical care if needed. If you are able to, you should. Preserve as much evidence as you can at the scene. Again, if you’re physically able to, if you’re injured too badly, then this is something that will have to be sorted out after the fact. But getting the names and phone numbers to eyewitnesses, things of that sort are critical to preserve that evidence on the front end because it’s hard to find these witnesses after the fact. Unfortunately, after you’ve gotten to medical care and things have calmed some, you should consult with an experienced motorcycle personal injury lawyer to discuss your rights and options moving forward. My name is Bill O’Mara. I’m one of the attorneys here at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers. We’re experienced in handling motorcycle accident cases. If you have any questions or if you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident, feel free to call us for free consultation. It can be reached at 757-333-3333.

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