As a motorcyclist, you love the freedom of getting on your bike and heading out on the roadways. Unfortunately, you are not the only one on the road, and even if you practice ideal motorcycle safety, other motorists can make dangerous decisions. Bikers are overrepresented in fatal crashes and serious injuries, but in many cases, they are not at fault for the crash.
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, the city of Virginia Beach in 2020 alone saw 5,300 crashes, with 26 fatalities and 2,629 injuries. Knowing what steps to take after a crash is vital to covering your medical expenses and lost wages and providing for your loved ones when you suffer debilitating and severe injuries. The motorcycle accident attorneys at the law firm of Montagna Law are here to guide you and fight for the financial compensation you deserve.
After a motorcycle accident, the first thing to do is make sure everyone is safe and gets medical attention. If possible, remove vehicles from the road and get anyone who is not injured out of harm’s way. Call first responders immediately so you can be sure everyone gets medical attention and you can file a police report.
Even if you do not feel hurt, getting looked at by medical professionals is critical, and shows insurance you are taking your accident seriously. Some injuries can take weeks or even months to show symptoms. A police report will serve as an important point of reference for you as your case proceeds.
Next, exchange information with the other driver and any witnesses. Keep calm and do not ever accuse, blame, or apologize for anything at the scene. Take photos of the location and make notes about what happened. Draw diagrams. The more evidence you can gather, the better off you will be.
As soon as you get home, notify your insurance company. Again, stick to the facts. Do not try to tell your side of the story. There will be time for that during your personal injury claim process.
Finally, make the most important call you can: Contact the law offices of Montagna Law. Our phone number is 757-622-8100, or you can use our online contact form. We can negotiate with insurance companies that will try to shortchange you on your compensation and fight for your right to collect damages for the injuries you have suffered in your motorcycle accident case.
Many situations and circumstances can result in accidents between motor vehicles. Many of the same causes of car accidents also affect other passenger vehicles, including motorcyclists on their bikes. Common causes of motorcycle accidents include lane changes, distracted or reckless drivers, poor road conditions, bad weather, and rear-end crashes.
Motorcycle riders are difficult to see, and when motorcycles are on the road, drivers should pay extra attention. Many drivers after an accident involving a motorcycle lane change claim they never saw the bike. You have the right to be on the road as well, and if a driver does not respect your space and causes an accident, you deserve to be compensated.
Distracted driving usually brings cell phone use to mind, and while this is the most common form of distraction, plenty of other activities can also distract a driver. Distracted driving can occur when a driver is reading, checking their reflection in a mirror, fiddling with the infotainment system, or even eating or drinking. Anytime someone takes their attention off the road, they are a danger to others.
Reckless driving involves any irresponsible activity by a negligent driver. Speeding, failing to obey road signs, not giving other drivers enough space, road rage incidents, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, and any other situation that sees a driver behaving in an unsafe way, is reckless.
Poor road conditions range from loose gravel and sand to oil spills to deep potholes that can cause the rider to blow a tire or lose control of their vehicle. Drivers are expected to pay attention to road conditions and adapt their driving accordingly. If they do not, and it causes an accident in which you get hurt, you can hold them accountable for the personal injury you suffer.
Weather conditions create some of the most dangerous and common hazards resulting in accidents all across the nation. Even light rain can cause roadways to become slippery and difficult to navigate. Snow, ice, and even excess heat can all create road hazards. Just as with road conditions, drivers are expected to adapt their driving accordingly, and Virginia law allows an injured driver to file a personal injury claim against a negligent driver who causes an accident through a failure to drive safely.
Rear-end collisions are far more catastrophic than other types of motor vehicle accidents when the vehicle struck is a motorcycle. This is because motorcycles do not have doors or a roof like other vehicles, so the driver has very little protection from the impact. Though there are exceptions, when a vehicle strikes another from behind, the negligent driver is almost always found to be the one in the rear rather than the one that was struck.
A motorcycle crash can result in catastrophic injuries, disfigurement, amputation, and even fatalities because of the small size of the motorcycle and the lack of protection it affords motorcycle riders. The severe injury rate for motorcyclists was far higher than for cars and trucks combined in 2020.
Some of the most frequent injuries suffered by motorcycle accident victims include road rash, burns, broken bones, brain and head injuries, and injuries to the back and spine.
Road rash is a skin abrasion or friction burn that occurs when you scrape against something rough. When a motorcycle rider is thrown from their vehicle and skids on the pavement, road rash of varying degrees almost always results.
Burns are common in motorcycle accidents, either because you impact the hot engine area of the bike or because the bike catches fire when struck. These burns can be debilitating in their severity, resulting in deformities and even functional disabilities.
When another vehicle strikes a motorcyclist, the impact often results in broken bones. Some bones heal completely, while others can result in lifelong disability, depending on the location and severity of the fracture. In many cases, a severe break can require months or years of therapy to regain full function in an injured limb.
Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, results from head injuries and is invisible. The symptoms of these types of injuries do not manifest in bruises, cuts, or disfigurement but in PTSD, emotional trauma, cognitive problems, mental health disabilities, and difficulty maintaining relationships. A traumatic brain injury can create a lifelong disability requiring special care for many years and expensive medical bills.
Spinal cord injuries, or damage to your back, can result in the loss of function in your limbs or even full paralysis. Sometimes the loss of function is temporary; often it is lifelong and can result in persistent, chronic physical pain and permanent suffering.
Yes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said that helmets are 37% effective in preventing motorcycle fatalities.
Virginia is one of the very few states that still use pure contributory negligence. This means that if you are found to have any responsibility for the accident, even 1%, you can be barred from any compensation. That is another reason why it is vital to have a personal injury lawyer in your corner who is knowledgeable about motorcycle accident claims.
In a motor vehicle accident, the two categories of damages are special, or economic, damages, and general, or noneconomic, damages. Economic damages are easy to quantify and cover things like medical expenses and lost wages. Noneconomic damages are harder to value and cover things like pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering refers to both the physical pain and suffering you face and all of the invisible, noneconomic injuries you have sustained from your accident. It tries to put a value on your emotional trauma, PTSD, mood changes, difficulty in maintaining relationships, loss of comfort and consortium, loss of ability to enjoy life, and all the other ways that your injuries have harmed your ability to live your life that are not tied directly to your expenses.
Medical expenses cover everything from your doctor’s office visits to medical procedures like physical therapy and surgery. It covers medication, diagnostics, transportation to and from medical appointments, and the cost of necessary in-home care services, if any. Often, your attorney may wish to wait until you get to a place of maximum medical improvement, or MMI, before finalizing compensation. This allows us to know for certain what your costs will be, which is better than making an estimate that may come up short.
Lost wages refer to everything you have lost financially from not being able to work. It means the wages you have lost from being unable to work since your accident. It also covers the wages you might have earned in the future but now will not because you cannot do your job anymore.
Wrongful death occurs when you lose a loved one due to the negligent actions of another person. In Virginia, only the designated personal representative, or executor, of the estate can file a wrongful death claim unless the victim is a fetus, in which case the mother can file suit. Under a wrongful death claim, in addition to medical costs up to the point of death, you can be eligible to collect damages for burial and funeral expenses as well as loss of comfort and support, and a range of other economic and noneconomic damages.
Insurance companies are not your friend. The adjuster they send to review your case will often at first appear compassionate and caring, but their goal is to get you to sign off on as low an offer as possible or even find a way to get out of paying you entirely. You are not required to speak to them at all. In fact, it is often best to refer them to your attorney. Contact Montagna Law at 757-622-8100 or through our online contact form and let us fight with them so you can focus on getting well again.
When choosing a motorcycle accident attorney, look for someone who has experience dealing with all the unexpected issues that can come up during these cases. Every motorcycle accident case is unique, and a good attorney can think on their feet to adapt to unforeseen situations while at the same time building a strong enough case to avoid surprises.
The right attorney will also have a proven track record and trial experience. They know how to avoid critical mistakes like missing the statute of limitations, which in Virginia is two years from the date of the accident or two years from the date of death in wrongful death cases.
Finally, you want an attorney with a strong legal team and a wealth of resources and knowledge to back it all up. At Montagna Law, we have won millions for our clients over the years, including motorcycle accident cases.
Montagna Law has represented motorcycle riders who have been the victim of careless, reckless, and negligent drivers for years. We have seen customers from all over our great state, in such diverse locales as Virginia Beach, Richmond, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and beyond. Our customer testimonials and track record speak for themselves.
Our legal team puts our client relationship ahead of everything else, and we will fight by your side every step of the way. If you need a Virginia motorcycle accident lawyer who is ready to work hard to defend your rights and get you fair compensation for your motorcycle wreck, do not go it alone, and do not let the insurance companies bully you. Contact the law firm of Montagna Law by using our online contact form or call us at 757-622-8100 for a free consultation and legal advice today.
Jon Montagna received a Bachelor of Arts in Literature from American University in Washington D.C. and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1999. Jon practices law in the Hampton Roads Virginia area.