Charleston Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Representing bikers throughout West Virginia
Motorcyclists have the right to ride their motorcycles on the highway. Unfortunately, other drivers often refuse to share the road. Motor vehicle drivers’ speeding, tailgating, and other careless actions put bikers at high risk. The Charleston motorcycle accident attorneys at Calwell Luce diTrapano PLLC support bikers’ rights to ride safely. When injuries do occur, our lawyers are determined to recover the compensation you deserve from the negligent drivers.
Tips for riding safely in and around Charleston, WV
Motorcycles provide more than a means of transportation — they inspire a sense of freedom and control. However, they do not provide the same protections as a car. Bikes lack seatbelts, airbags, and the sturdy body structure of automobiles that absorb impact forces and would keep riders from being thrown. Nonetheless, you can take important steps to protect yourself by wearing special gear designed to minimize injuries in case of an accident. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s “Fool’s Gear, Cool Gear” campaign recommends the following safety gear:
- Helmet to reduce risk of head injury
- Face shield to keep debris from flying into your eyes and face
- Abrasion-resistant long-sleeved jacket and long pants to prevent skin injuries
- Gloves to control the bike and protect your hands
- High boots with sturdy tread to protect your ankles and provide stability when you stop
- Reflective colors to increase visibility to other drivers
Of course, your bike also has to be safe. So, be sure to perform a visual inspection of your headlamp, brake light, turn signals, mirrors, and especially your tires prior to every ride. Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that motorcycle fatalities have declined (from 4,976 in 2014 to 4,594 in 20015), as have total crashes (from about 92,000 in 2014 to 88,000 in 2015), riders must remain vigilant about safety.
West Virginia helmet law and comparative negligence
West Virginia passed a universal helmet law in 1971 that requires all drivers and passengers on a motorcycle to wear a helmet that is accepted by the American National Standards Institute, Snell Safety Standards, or the U.S. Department of Transportation. You can be confident in a helmet with a DOT sticker on the back. But never purchase a used helmet even if it looks like it’s in mint condition. Helmets are designed to absorb impact by breaking down like the crumple zone of a car. A helmet that’s been knocked around may look fine on the outside, but its interior cushioning won’t be able to fully protect your head from impact. For that reason, you should also plan to purchase a new helmet every two to three years.
Although not everybody agrees with mandatory helmet use, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that helmets are 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcyclists and 41 percent effective for their passengers. (Six percent of all motorcycle fatalities are passengers.) But a helmet can also save your court case. If you are in an accident and suffer a head injury while you are not wearing a helmet, a court could decide your negligence contributed to the worsening of your condition. Under the state’s comparative fault law, you may not be able to recover compensation for the full extent of your injuries.
How our Charleston motorcycle accident attorneys help crash victims
No matter how many precautions you take and how safely you drive, you can still become the victim of an accident when others act recklessly. Motorcyclists are at risk of serious injuries, which include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neck and spine injuries, including paralysis
- Severe skin lacerations
- Internal organ damage
- Compound bone fractures
- Loss of limbs
Do not delay in consulting our law firm if you are injured in a motorcycle accident. Our attorneys immediately conduct a thorough investigation of your case while evidence is fresh. Also you must file your lawsuit within West Virginia’s statute of limitations or you forfeit your rights to compensation.
When you hire our firm, you have access to both our dedicated Charleston personal injury lawyers and countless top-notch experts, including medical doctors, accident reconstructionists and traffic engineers. Our longstanding relationships with these experts help us build your case and provide compelling testimony if your lawsuit proceeds to trial.
Consult our Charleston motorcycle accident lawyers if you get injured.
For more information about recovering damages after a motorcycle accident, call Calwell Luce diTrapano PLLC in Charleston at 304-400-6558 or contact our law firm online to schedule an appointment. Our lawyers recognize that your injuries may prevent you from traveling to our law offices; we can schedule home or hospital visits at your request.