Like many motorcyclists across the country, those in West Virginia have been soaking in the summer rays out on the roads. But unlike riders in many other regions, those here must contend with steep hills, wildly winding roads, and an excessive number of large trucks.
Our West Virginia motorcycle accident lawyers are committed to helping to educate the public on the importance of watching for motorcycles, paying attention, and driving sober.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports there are approximately 5,000 fatal motorcycle accidents every year. In West Virginia, there were 29 in a single year, and many hundreds more who suffered serious injuries.
Why Motorcyclists Are at Higher Risk
Motorcyclists are vulnerable in that they do not have the same level of built-in protections that exist for occupants of passenger cars. Operators and passengers have no seat belt to keep them from flying off the bike. They have no air bag system to protect their head, neck, torso, and extremities from the pavement.
Motorcyclists can also be tougher to see, and many drivers aren't looking out for them to begin with. That puts them at higher risk of being involved in a serious crash. As the NHTSA reports, motorcycle riders are 29 times more likely to be killed in a crash than those in passenger vehicles.
West Virginia does not require motorists to carry no-fault insurance. What this means is the at-fault driver will be responsible to pay for victim's medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, most individuals don't have the personal assets to cover those hefty expenses, which is why the state requires them to carry $20,000 in bodily injury liability for one person and $40,000 for everyone injured. Of course, if you've ever spent more than a night in the hospital with serious injuries, you know that won't go far.
Our injury lawyers will explore every avenue in your case to identify all possible defendants. We will also help you pursue uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
While reasonable care must be exercised by all road users, motorcycle operators need to be especially vigilant in order to get to their intended destinations safely. Some motorcycle safety tips, as recommended by the NHTSA:
- Wear the proper protection. This includes a motorcycle helmet. Motorcycle helmets are required for all riders in West Virginia, though lawmakers have toyed with the idea of repealing that provision.
- Ride sober. Free of alcohol and drugs in your system, you are much less likely to be involved in a crash. You need to have all your coordination, balance, throttle control, and be able to shift gears. You must be fully alert.
- Ride responsibly. That means obeying all laws as well as all traffic signs, signals, and lane markings. Assume other drivers can't see you or aren't paying attention. By driving defensively, you improve your chances of avoiding a crash caused by a careless or inattentive driver.
- Make sure your motorcycle is safe. Before every time you ride, check your tire pressure, break lights, signal indicators, and for any signs of gas or oil leaks.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident in West Virginia, our dedicated injury attorneys will help you through the process of seeking the compensation to which you are entitled.