Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek
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How much is an average Norfolk motorcycle accident settlement?
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk and are considering filing a claim, you may want to know what an average settlement amount would be. Unfortunately, there is no set average for motorcycle crash settlements in Virginia.
Each motorcycle accident case is unique and has its own strengths and weaknesses that affect how much a motorcycle crash victim can expect to receive in their settlement. However, an experienced Norfolk motorcycle accident lawyer can evaluate your case and provide you with an idea of what you can realistically expect to obtain from the negligent driver’s insurance company.
Factors a Lawyer Will Evaluate When Determining How Much You May Receive in Your Motorcycle Collision Settlement
Settling a motorcycle crash claim can be complicated. A knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer will weigh many factors in determining how much compensation you deserve. Here are some issues they will consider:
One of the primary factors your attorney will evaluate is the amount of compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law if you win your case. You can recover your past and future medical costs, property damages, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The total value of these damages will be the starting point in your lawyer’s determination of your claim’s value.
Severity of Your Injuries
The severity of your injuries directly affects the compensation you should receive. More severe injuries that require expensive medical treatment, surgeries, and rehabilitation or result in long-term disabilities tend to result in higher settlements. Your lawyer will consider your medical records, expert opinions, and any long-term impact your injuries have on your health, ability to work, and quality of life when assessing how much your claim is worth.
If the other driver’s negligence in causing your wreck is clear-cut, you will have a stronger case. The at-fault motorist’s insurance company would have a harder time disputing their responsibility to compensate you for your injuries, and you can expect a higher settlement.
Your Partial Fault
Virginia follows a harsh contributory negligence rule, meaning that if you are found even one percent to blame for causing the accident, you may be barred from recovering any compensation. Your attorney will investigate the cause of the crash, gather evidence, and build a solid case to minimize any potential fault attributed to you. However, your level of negligence, if any, can negatively affect the overall settlement amount.
Can I receive punitive damages if I was injured in a motorcycle accident in Norfolk?
If you were hurt in a motorcycle wreck caused by a negligent driver in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas, you can seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. While compensatory damages aim to reimburse your losses, you can be awarded punitive damages in rare cases to punish the at-fault party for their egregious behavior. An experienced Norfolk motorcycle accident attorney can fight with the at-fault driver's insurance company so that you receive the damages you deserve under Virginia law.
What Are Punitive Damages and When Are They Awarded?
Punitive damages are compensation paid to the victim of a motorcycle accident in addition to compensatory damages. They are awarded if the negligent driver acted maliciously or in willful and wanton disregard for others' safety when causing a motorcycle collision.
Punitive damages are not typically awarded in motorcycle accident cases, as they require specific circumstances and evidence of extreme behavior. Here are the purposes of punitive damages:
- Punish the motorist. One purpose is to punish the driver, not compensate the victim.
- Deterrence. Another goal of these damages is to stop the at-fault driver and others from engaging in these dangerous driving practices in the future.
When Can Punitive Damages Be Awarded in Drunk Driving Motorcycle Crashes?
In collisions involving drunk driving, punitive damages may be more likely to be awarded to motorcycle accident victims. However, certain conditions must be established to seek punitive damages in such cases:Intoxication. The at-fault driver must have been intoxicated during the accident, and their blood alcohol content (BAC) must have been 0.15 percent or higher.
- Knowledge of impairment. The drunk driver must have known or should have known that their alcohol consumption impaired their driving abilities.
- Causal connection. A motorcycle accident victim must prove that there is a clear causal connection between the drunk driver's intoxication and their injuries.
How do I prove my motorcycle accident wasn’t my fault?
You must fight back and prove that you were not negligent if you want the compensation you deserve for your injuries. You will significantly increase the likelihood of winning your case if you immediately retain an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer.
How to Establish That You Were Not at Fault in Causing Your Motorcycle Collision
Insurance companies often argue that a victim was partially negligent because Virginia follows a harsh contributory negligence rule. Under this doctrine, you would not be entitled to any damages if you were even one percent to blame for your motorcycle accident.
Fortunately, you can take steps to prove that the other driver was the negligent party. Here are the first steps you should take:
- Call the police. Contact the police at the motorcycle crash scene. The police report will contain helpful information, such as details on how the collision occurred, the officer’s conclusions about who was at fault, and whether any traffic citations were issued.
- Take pictures. Take photos of the damage to the other motor vehicle and your motorcycle, the crash scene, weather and road conditions, your injuries, and anything else you believe could help prove you did not cause the wreck.
- Get contact information. Obtain the contact information of the motorist and their insurance company so you can file your claim.
- Talk to witnesses. You must speak to witnesses about the collision and obtain their contact information at the motorcycle collision scene. Witnesses can help you prove you were not at fault, especially if they are neutral parties with no stake in the outcome of your claim.
- Hire a lawyer. It is crucial to contact a skilled motorcycle accident attorney immediately. They can collect the evidence you need to prove your case and hire an accident reconstruction expert witness if necessary. They can also go up against the insurance company so that you receive the maximum recovery in your settlement.
Do I have to go to court for a motorcycle accident?
However, not all claims are settled quickly or easily. If you want to receive the maximum recovery in your settlement, you should retain an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to negotiate your settlement and advise you whether it is in your best interests to accept it or litigate your case.
Reasons Your Motorcycle Crash Case Could Go to Trial
There are several reasons you may decide you need to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. If you must take this step, keep in mind that most motorcycle accident lawsuits are settled before the scheduled trial date. Here are common reasons you might need to sue the negligent driver:
- Denial of your claim. To deny your claim, the insurance company could raise disputes, such as that you were the negligent party or that another incident caused your injuries. If your claim is denied, you will need to file a lawsuit.
- Low settlement offer. The insurance could offer you far less compensation than you deserve in your settlement. If they refuse to make you a fair offer, you could decide that litigating your claim is your only option.
- Uncooperative insurance company. Some insurance companies are harder to work with when settling a claim. The insurance adjuster could deny your claim for no legitimate reason or engage in delay tactics, such as not returning calls or requesting unnecessary documents, to wear you down and drag out negotiations.
- Statute of limitations. The statute of limitations to file your lawsuit for the injuries you suffered is two years from the date of your motorcycle wreck. If this deadline is approaching and you have not reached a settlement of your claim, you must file a lawsuit to pursue your right to compensation for your injuries.
If you were hurt in a motorcycle crash in Virginia Beach or Norfolk, our skilled motorcycle accident attorneys can collect the evidence you need to win your case and go up against the insurance company for the damages you deserve. Call our Norfolk office at 757-625-1214 or complete our convenient online form to schedule your free initial consultation today to learn how we can help you.
How soon after a motorcycle accident should I hire an attorney?
Reasons to Contact a Lawyer Soon After Your Motorcycle Crash
Although you may feel you have plenty of time to pursue your claim right after your motorcycle collision, there are many benefits to retaining a skilled motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. They include:
- Gathering evidence quickly. A lawyer will know the types of evidence you need to prove your case and will collect it for you before it disappears. For example, you could be unable to locate helpful witnesses, or their memories could fade if their written statements are not obtained immediately.
- Communicating with the insurance company. If you file your claim on your own, you may make a statement that the insurance adjuster can use against you or agree to do something that hurts your case, such as agreeing to give a recorded statement. Once you hire an attorney, they will take over all communications with the insurance company and negotiate your settlement.
- Being certain you meet deadlines. Your lawyer will ensure that you meet all important deadlines, such as the statute of limitations, to file your lawsuit. If you wait to hire an attorney, you could miss a critical deadline and lose your right to pursue your claim.
Were you injured in a motorcycle collision that was not your fault in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Our dedicated motorcycle accident lawyers are here to fight for your rights. Call our Norfolk office at 757-625-1214 or complete our convenient online form to schedule your free initial consultation today.
Should I accept a quick settlement of my motorcycle accident claim?
Why Does the Insurance Company Want You to Accept a Quick Settlement of Your Claim?
You need to understand why the insurance company may offer you a quick settlement of your case. They are most likely doing this because they realize that the value of your claim is high, and they want to save money by trying to get you to accept their first offer. They know that you may find it difficult to pay your expensive medical bills when you cannot work due to your injuries and may want to take advantage of you.
Reasons Not to Accept a Quick Settlement of Your Case
To obtain all the compensation you deserve under Virginia law, you need to wait to settle your claim. Here are three reasons why you should reject the insurance adjuster’s first offer:
- Low-ball offer. The insurance company’s first offer will most likely be for far fewer damages than you are entitled to under Virginia law.
- Your maximum medical improvement. You should not settle your claim until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is the stage in your medical treatment where you have recovered from your injuries or have recovered as much as possible. You won’t know the amount of future compensation you deserve until you reach your MMI.
- Final settlement. The insurance company's settlement will be a complete settlement of your case. If you accept the insurance company’s first offer, you will not be able to reopen your claim if you later discover that your injuries are more severe than you thought or realize that the settlement does not fully compensate you.
You should never settle your motorcycle crash claim without first consulting with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. To learn how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or complete our online form to schedule your free initial consultation today.
What factors could affect the value of my motorcycle accident claim?
Why is this true? It is because each case has its own strengths and weaknesses. Here are the factors you need to know about that could affect the value of your claim.
#1: At-Fault Driver’s Actions
The negligent actions of the other motorist could have an impact on how much your claim is worth. If they were driving at an excessive speed, such as 90 or 100 miles per hour, or were drunk or high on drugs when they caused your crash, this could increase your claim’s value. You may even be entitled to punitive damages if their actions were especially egregious.
#2: Severity of Your Injuries
If you suffered a long-term injury, such as internal organ damage, spinal injuries, or a traumatic brain injury, you could need medical treatments for the rest of your life. You may need to take off work for an extended period of time—if you are not permanently disabled. This can significantly increase the value of your claim.
#3: Amount of Insurance Coverage
The amount of insurance coverage available to compensate you will have a direct bearing on the value of your claim. The negligent driver’s insurance company is only responsible for compensating you up to the motorist's insurance coverage limits.
If this is insufficient to compensate you fully, you may be able to file a claim under your own underinsured insurance coverage if you purchased it. However, your insurance company would also only have to pay you up to your insurance coverage limit. If there is not much insurance coverage, this will reduce the value of your claim.
#4: Your Own Fault
Another factor that profoundly impacts the value of your claim is your degree of fault in causing the motorcycle accident. Virginia follows a harsh contributory negligence law that would prohibit you from recovering any damages if you were even one percent to blame for the collision.
#5: Your Actions After the Motorcycle Accident
The actions you take right after your motorcycle crash will also affect the strength of your case. If you want to have a strong claim against the negligent driver, you should take these five actions right away:
- Contact the police at the scene and obtain a copy of the police report.
- Take pictures of the collision scene, damage to the other vehicle and your motorcycle, and your injuries.
- Get the contact information for the motorist, their insurance company, and eyewitnesses.
- Obtain prompt medical care within 72 hours even if you believe you were not hurt or that your injuries are minor.
- Retain a skilled motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible.
Were you injured in a motorcycle crash in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas? Our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers are here to fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or complete our online form to schedule your free initial consultation today.
What happens if the negligent driver doesn’t have sufficient insurance coverage to fully compensate me?
How Much Liability Insurance Must Motorists Carry in Virginia?
Like other states, drivers in Virginia must purchase a certain amount of liability insurance coverage to compensate victims of a collision they cause. Drivers are required to carry these minimum limits:
- $30,000 for the injury or death of one person or $60,000 for the injury or death of more than one person per accident
- $20,000 in property damages per collision
Options for Recovering Damages Under Your Own Insurance Policy
If the negligent driver only had the minimum insurance required under Virginia law, it would be insufficient to compensate you for all your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering—even if you suffered a relatively minor injury. Depending on the motorcycle insurance optional coverages you purchased, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company. Types of coverage that could help you include:
- Collision. Collision coverage would pay to repair or replace your motorcycle.
- Towing and labor. This insurance coverage could cover the costs of towing your motorcycle or fixing a minor repair, such as a flat tire, caused by the collision.
- Income loss. If you suffer serious injuries that require you to be off work, you can file a claim for your lost wages if you purchased income loss benefits.
- Underinsured coverage. One of the best options for recovering compensation would be to file a claim under your underinsurance coverage. This optional insurance would pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering not covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance company up to the amount of coverage you purchased.
Can You Sue the Other Driver?
Another option is to file a lawsuit against the negligent motorist and obtain a judgment against them. However, it is unlikely that the driver would have sufficient assets to pay you the total amount they owe you. Depending on their financial situation, the judge could allow them to make small payments to you over time.
You need the help of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to determine all your options for recovering the damages you deserve if the negligent driver was underinsured. To find out how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our online form to schedule your free initial consultation today.
How soon should I see a doctor after a motorcycle accident?
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, you need to be examined by a physician within 72 hours of your collision. You should do this even if you do not believe you were hurt. Here are three reasons why this is important for your health and for your claim for compensation from the negligent driver who caused your crash.
#1: You Protect Your Health
You could suffer serious injuries—even if you were in a minor rear-end collision. However, you may not realize you were hurt right away because the symptoms could take days or longer to develop. Common long-term injuries that may not be immediately obvious include:
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
You protect your health and avoid a medical condition developing into a life-threatening emergency by seeing your doctor within 72 hours of your motorcycle accident.
#2: You Strengthen Your Claim
If you must file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you want to do everything you can to build a winning case so that you receive all the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Getting prompt medical care is one way you can strengthen your claim. It will help you show the direct connection between your motorcycle crash and injuries and may make it easier to get the insurance adjuster to offer you a fair settlement.
#3: You Avoid Disputes With the Insurance Company
Even if the insurance company knows they are liable to compensate you, they may try to deny your claim or pay you less damages than you are entitled to for your injuries. You do not want to give them ammunition to dispute your claim.
However, this is precisely what you would be doing if you delayed obtaining the medical care you need. Common arguments the insurance adjuster could raise are that your injuries were caused by another incident or are not as serious as you claim.
Filing an insurance claim after a motorcycle crash can be complicated. You need an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to go up against the insurance company for the compensation you deserve. To learn about our track record of success in these cases and how we can help you, call our Norfolk office or fill out our online form to schedule your free initial consultation today.
When should I settle my motorcycle accident case?
It can be very hard to decide when it is the best time to settle your motorcycle accident claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. You may want to resolve your claim quickly so that you receive your check if you have mounting medical bills and no income coming in to pay them. However, you do not want to accept significantly less compensation than you are entitled to. Here are some considerations that you should consider when making this important decision about your case.
Factors to Consider When Deciding Whether to Settle Your Motorcycle Collision Claim
Most motorcycle accident claims settle without the need to go to a jury trial, and yours will most likely be resolved before trial too. However, you should never settle your motorcycle collision case without first consulting with a motorcycle accident attorney who will be able to accurately value your claim and the strength of your case. They will weigh your options with you and help you make the best decision that meets your goals. Here are some of the factors you should consider whether it’s the right time to settle your case:
- First offer. Is this the first offer by the insurance company? If it is, it is probably a low-ball settlement offer they are hoping you will accept to settle your claim quickly. It is best to wait until they offer a fairer settlement.
- Your injuries. If you suffered serious injuries, which is common in motorcycle crashes, you should wait until you fully recover or learn your final prognosis if you will not make a complete recovery. This will ensure that all your future medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering are including in your settlement. It could take months or longer to reach this stage in your medical treatment.
- Value of your claim. If the value of your claim is higher, the insurance adjuster will fight harder to deny your claim or pay you less than you are entitled to save the insurance company money. This can make the process of settling your claim take longer.
- Complexity of your case. If there are complex disputes that are delaying your settlement, your attorney could need to collect additional evidence, hire expert witnesses, and argue more with the insurance company before they agree to be reasonable. It could be best to wait out the process rather than accept an unfair offer.
- Weaknesses in your case. If there are legitimate disputes in your case, your attorney may advise you to accept a quick settlement that does not fully compensate you. This may be a better choice than risking receiving no money if you go to trial.
- Statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the deadline you have to file a lawsuit. If it expires soon, your lawyer will need to file a lawsuit for you. While your case will still most likely be settled, you may have to go through the litigation process before this happens.
At Tavss Fletcher, we understand how a motorcycle accident can turn your life upside down and the challenges you face in fighting with the negligent driver’s insurance company. We’re here to help you build a strong claim for compensation and to make the best decisions in your case. Call our Norfolk office or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation to find out more about how we can assist you.
Who is liable in a rear-end motorcycle accident?
Many people consider rear-end collisions to be a not very serious type of accident. However, you could suffer long-term injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, internal organ damage, or back or spinal injuries, especially if you are riding a motorcycle when someone rear-ends you.
In most rear-end motorcycle crashes, the driver in the rear would be found to be a fault. Here’s why this is true and exceptions when a motorcycle rider in the lead could be found to blame.
Why the Driver in the Rear Is Often Found to Be Negligent
In most cases, the motorist that rear-ended a motorcycle will be found to be the negligent party. This is because all drivers are required to maintain a safe distance between their vehicle and the one in front of them—including a motorcycle—so that they can slow down or stop suddenly if this becomes necessary to avoid a crash. Unfortunately, this duty is often breached in a rear-end collision. Drivers are often engaged in other unsafe driving practices, such as:
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Aggressive driving
Because the driver in the rear is often presumed to be negligent, their insurance company may not dispute their liability to pay a motorcycle accident victim. However, this does not mean that settling a rear-end collision claim will be easy. The insurance adjuster could dispute the seriousness of a rider’s injuries in an effort to pay them less compensation than they are entitled to in their settlement.
When the Motorcycle Rider in the Lead Could Be Negligent
While it is not common, in some cases, a motorcyclist in the lead could be at fault for causing a rear-end accident. This can happen if they do the following:
- Pull out in front of another car
- Slam on their brakes for no reason
- Reverse their motorcycle
- Drive while intoxicated
- Drive with broken brake lights
- Make an unsafe lane change
- Engage in distracted driving
If you were injured in a rear-end or other motorcycle collision, you need the assistance of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to prove the other motorist’s negligence in causing your crash and the amount of compensation you deserve. Call our Norfolk office or fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free consultation today to learn about your options and how we can help you.
How can an attorney help me if I am injured in a motorcycle accident?
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent driver, you may be wondering whether it would be better to hire a lawyer or to represent yourself when negotiating your settlement. However, the decision is really an easy one.
You would be at a serious disadvantage if you try to settle your claim with the insurance company and could lose out on a significant amount of compensation you deserve. Here's how retaining a lawyer can benefit you.
Five Ways an Attorney Can Help in a Motorcycle Accident Case
It is important to select an experienced motorcycle accident attorney and not a personal injury lawyer specializing in only car, slip and fall, and other personal injury cases. Motorcycle accident attorneys will understand riders' unique challenges when filing an insurance claim after a collision. Here are five ways your lawyer can help you:
- Obtain evidence. Your lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of your motorcycle crash and collect the evidence you need to prove the other driver was at fault. They will also obtain your medical and wage loss records to prove the amount of compensation you deserve for your injuries.
- Value your claim. A skilled attorney who has a track record of success in settling and litigating motorcycle wreck claims will be able to accurately value how much you should receive for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering in your settlement.
- Negotiate with the insurance company. Your lawyer would take over all communications with the insurance adjuster and negotiate your settlement for you. This would prevent you from making mistakes, such as agreeing to give a recorded statement, or agreeing to accept less than you are entitled to from the insurance company.
- Work with lien holders. There could be a lien on your settlement by a health insurance company or medical provider that must be paid out of your settlement. Your attorney may be able to work out an agreement with the lien holder to accept less than what you owe them, which will result in you receiving more money.
- Litigate your claim. If the insurance company refuses to be reasonable or the statute of limitations, which is the deadline to sue, will expire soon, your lawyer would file a lawsuit against the negligent motorist and litigate your claim.
Did you or a family member suffer injuries in a motorcycle crash? Our skilled motorcycle accident legal team understands the complexities in these cases and is committed to obtaining the maximum recovery you deserve in your settlement. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
What happens if I was partially at fault in causing my motorcycle accident?
If you were partially to blame for your motorcycle accident, it is unlikely that you could recover compensation for your injuries under Virginia’s negligence laws. However, you should not assume that you were at fault just because the other driver or their insurance company claims this as a defense to paying you. You need to take steps to protect your rights and prove that the other motorist caused your collision.
What Is Contributory Negligence?
Unlike most other states, Virginia follows a harsh contributory negligence law. It provides that motorcycle accident victims are not entitled to any compensation if they were at all at fault in causing the collision—even if only one percent to blame.
How to Protect Yourself If the Insurance Company Claims You Were Negligent
Not surprisingly, insurance companies love to raise contributory negligence as a defense when motorcycle crash victims file claims in Virginia—even if it’s not true. However, you can take steps to protect your right to compensation and to prove that the other driver was the negligent party. Here are four important actions you should take:
- Take photos. You should take pictures with your cell phone camera of the damage to the auto and your motorcycle, road conditions, weather conditions, your injuries, and anything else that you think might be helpful. Pictures could help your lawyer or an expert witness prove how your collision occurred.
- Obtain contact information. You should obtain the contact information of anybody that witnessed your crash as it happened. Neutral eyewitnesses who have no stake in your claim and who do not know you can provide powerful testimony that can help show that you were not at all to blame for the accident.
- Don’t speak to the insurance company. You should avoid speaking with the negligent driver’s insurance company. The insurance company could get you to agree to give a recorded statement or say something that can be used to claim you were partially at fault. If you must speak to the insurance company, avoid making any statements, such as “I’m sorry,” that could be construed as an admission of guilt.
- Retain an attorney. You should hire an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible after your wreck. An attorney can help collect the evidence you need to prove the true cause of your crash and go up against the insurance company so that you receive the compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law.
What If You Were Partially at Fault?
Even if you were partially negligent for your accident, you may be able to collect some compensation for your injuries. Most cases are settled before they go to a jury trial. In addition, your attorney may be able to use another legal theory to establish the other driver’s liability to pay you damages for your injuries.
Were you or a loved one injured in a motorcycle accident in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk area? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can assist you.
Should I sign an authorization to release my medical records to the negligent driver’s insurance company?
If you must file a claim for compensation for your injuries in a motorcycle accident, the negligent driver’s insurance company may ask you to sign a release to obtain your medical records. They may claim that they need them as part of the investigation of your claim.
While it is true that you will have to submit your medical records, having the adjuster get them directly is not a good idea. You could actually weaken your case. Here are three reasons that you should say no to this request.
#1: You Could Hurt Your Settlement
While the insurance company needs your medical records to settle your claim, they may also have other motives when asking you to sign a medical release. The insurance company’s authorization for medical records is most likely a blanket release that would allow access to all of your medical records.
The insurance adjuster could look through your entire medical history to see if you complained about or were treated for an injury to the same body part hurt in your motorcycle accident. They could argue that your current injuries were due to a prior incident and not your crash. They would use this tactic to try to deny your claim or force you to accept less than the full amount you deserve in your settlement.
#2: Your Privacy Would Be Invaded
Giving the insurance company access to your entire medical history would be an invasion of your privacy. There could be sensitive, private information about you that the insurance company does not need to know to settle your claim and that you have a right to keep private.
#3: Your Records Would Be Incomplete
Another reason that you do not want to let the insurance company obtain your medical records is that they would be incomplete so soon after your motorcycle collision. You could need months or longer of medical treatments before you fully recover or receive a final prognosis if you suffered permanent injuries. You do not want the insurance adjuster to base a decision on how much to offer you in a settlement on medical records that are not complete.
What Should You Do If the Insurance Company Asks You to Sign a Medical Authorization?
If the insurance adjuster asks you to sign their medical release, you should politely say no. Then you should retain an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer immediately if you have not already done so. A lawyer will take over all communications with the insurance company, provide them with the medical records they truly need, and negotiate your settlement.
If you were injured in a motorcycle crash in Virginia Beach or Norfolk, call our office today to schedule a free consultation. Our skilled and compassionate attorneys will explain your options to you, answer your questions, and fight with the insurance company so that you receive the maximum recovery you are entitled to.
How much is my motorcycle accident claim worth?
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, you will need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. Before you take this step, you want to know the value of your claim so that you understand what to expect. It will also help you decide whether it is worth the time and effort it will take to fight with the insurance company for a fair settlement.
How much your claim is worth will depend on the unique circumstances in your case. However, there are some common factors in these cases that can help you determine how much your claim is worth.
#1: Damages You Suffered
One crucial factor that will determine the value of your claim is the type of losses you suffered. In Virginia, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries from the at-fault driver who caused your motorcycle crash. Types of damages you can recover include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Property damages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Wrongful death damages if a loved one was killed in the collision
#2: Liability of the Negligent Driver
In order to hold the motorist who struck your motorcycle responsible for compensating you, you must prove their negligence in causing your collision. If their fault is clear-cut, you will have a strong case against them that will make the value of your claim worth more.
However, if there are real disputes about their liability or you were found to be partially at fault, this could significantly weaken your case. Virginia has a harsh contributory negligence law that would prevent you from obtaining any damages if you were at all at fault—even if you were only one percent liable.
#3: Settlement vs. Trial Value
The value of your claim can also be affected by whether your case is settled out-of-court or through a jury trial. The trial value will most likely be higher than the settlement value.
Why is there a difference? When you take your case to trial, you ask for all the compensation you deserve. However, there is no guarantee on the outcome of a trial, and you may be awarded less damages.
If you settle your claim with the insurance company, you will most likely accept a little less than the full value of your case. You would most likely have to compromise for the certainty of receiving a settlement.
Were you or a family member hurt in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent driver? Our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys can advise you on the value of your claim and fight so that you receive the compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law. To learn more, call our office to schedule your free consultation today.
Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance company after my motorcycle accident?
No, you should not agree to give a recorded statement when you file a claim for compensation for your injuries in a motorcycle collision caused by a negligent driver. It could seriously weaken your case and give their insurance company reasons to deny your claim or offer you less money than you deserve in your settlement.
Why You Should Not Agree to a Recorded Statement
A recorded statement is a tape-recorded session where the insurance adjuster asks you questions that you answer. An adjuster may make it sound like a perfectly reasonable request and that they need as part of their investigation of your claim. However, here is why agreeing to give one is a bad idea.
You Don’t Have to Give a Recorded Statement
You are under no legal obligation to give a recorded statement. Although the insurance adjuster may claim otherwise, they can fully investigate your motorcycle accident and your injuries and settle your claim without a recorded statement from you.
You Could Make Inconsistent Statements
Even if you are trying to be completely honest, you could say something when giving a recorded statement that is inconsistent with what you told the police, your doctor, or others. One reason that the insurance adjuster wants to take your statement is to compare it with other statements you made. Inconsistent statements can be used to argue that you are not being truthful and are not a credible witness.
You Do Not Know How Serious Your Injuries Were
Because the majority of your claim is for compensation for the injuries you suffered in the motorcycle accident, the insurance adjuster would ask you questions about your injuries in your recorded statement. However, it is unlikely that you will understand how serious your injuries are so soon after your crash. The symptoms may not have developed fully, and you do not know yet if you will fully recover from your injuries.
Any statements you make in your recorded statement may not be accurate. However, the insurance adjuster could use what you say to argue that your injuries are not as severe as you claim.
Your Recorded Statement Could Be Used in Court
If you give a recorded statement to the insurance company, it would be transcribed into a written transcript. The insurance company could use your statements against you in settlement negotiations and at your jury trial.
How to Handle a Request for a Recorded Statement
Ideally, you should contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney immediately after your crash and let them handle all communications with the insurance company. However, if you speak to the insurance adjuster before you do this and they ask you to give a recorded statement, politely say no to their request and inform them that you will have your lawyer contact them. Then hire an attorney right away.
Were you hurt in a motorcycle crash in Norfolk caused by another driver? Our knowledgeable motorcycle accident legal team is here to file your claim and go up against the insurance company so that you receive the maximum recovery allowed. To get started, fill out our convenient online form on this page to schedule your free consultation today.
What are Virginia’s motorcycle insurance requirements?
If you are riding a motorcycle in Virginia, you must comply with the commonwealth’s requirements for purchasing motorcycle liability insurance. In addition, having motorcycle insurance is important if you cause an accident or are the victim of one, and the negligent driver does not have sufficient insurance coverage to pay you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Motorcycle Insurance Requirements in Virginia
You do not have to purchase motorcycle liability insurance if you pay a $500 Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) fee. However, you would have no liability insurance coverage and would be personally liable for any injuries to victims or property damages caused in the collision if you just paid this fee.
If you do not pay the UMV fee, you are required to purchase motorcycle liability insurance. The minimum liability requirements for this insurance coverage is:
- $25,000 coverage for one victim’s injuries or death per accident
- $50,000 coverage for bodily injury or death per accident
- $20,000 coverage for property damage per accident
Why You Need to Purchase Additional Insurance Coverage
Having the minimum amount of liability insurance will not sufficiently protect you if you cause a crash. You should consider purchasing additional liability coverage to be certain you do not face personal responsibility if a victim suffers serious injuries.
You should also buy additional insurance coverages to protect you if you are injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver. Types of insurance that you should consider purchasing include:
- Collision coverage. This would pay the cost to repair or replace your motorcycle if it were damaged in an accident.
- Comprehensive coverage. This type of coverage would compensate you for damages caused due to fire, wind, water, theft, or vandalism.
- Uninsured/underinsured coverage. If you purchase uninsured coverage, this would protect you if the at-fault motorist had no auto insurance as required under Virginia law. Even if they have insurance, it may not be sufficient to fully compensate you if you suffer a serious injury—which is much more common in a motorcycle accident. You could file a claim with your own insurance company if you purchased uninsured motorist coverage.
Were you injured in a motorcycle crash in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers are here to answer your questions and explain your options to you. Call our office to schedule a free consultation today to learn more.
Is lane splitting legal in Virginia?
Lane splitting is not legal in Virginia. However, lane sharing is permissible. Here’s what you need to know about lane splitting so that you can protect your right to compensation for your injuries if another driver causes your motorcycle accident.
What Is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle rider rides between rows of motor vehicles going in the same direction as the motorcycle that are traveling at a slow speed or are stopped. Lane splitting is illegal in Virginia and is considered reckless driving. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense that is punished by a jail sentence and fines.
What Is Lane Sharing?
Lane sharing is the practice of motorcycle riders riding side-by-side with other motorcyclists in the same lane. Motorcycle riders are permitted to lane share with other motorcycles in our state.
It can be safer for motorcycle riders to lane share. They are more visible to other motorists when riding in a group in the same lane. In addition, drivers are more likely to keep a safer distance between their vehicles and motorcycles when there is more than one motorcycle in a nearby lane.
What Happens If You Are Involved in a Motorcycle Accident When Lane Splitting?
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident while lane splitting, you may have difficulty obtaining compensation from the at-fault driver who caused the collision. Under Virginia’s harsh contributory negligence laws, a motorcyclist who was at all at fault in causing a crash—even one percent—cannot recover any damages from another driver. However, the lane splitting must have been one of the causes of the crash for this rule to apply.
Contact Tavss Fletcher Today
If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, you need a knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney who will fight for your rights and obtain the maximum recovery you deserve for your injuries. To learn how our legal team can help, call our Norfolk office or fill out the convenient online form on this page to schedule your free consultation today.
How much does a motorcycle accident attorney cost?
One of the most important steps you can take if you suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident is to retain an experienced lawyer as soon as possible to file your claim and negotiate your settlement with the negligent driver’s insurance company. However, you may be reluctant to do this due to worries about how much you will have to pay in attorney fees. The good news is that most attorneys handle these cases on a contingency fee basis so that you will not owe any upfront fees.
What Is a Contingency Fee Agreement?
Once you decide to hire a lawyer, you should enter into a written retainer agreement that clearly states the attorney fees that they will charge you. In motorcycle crash and other personal injury cases, most attorneys in Virginia handle these cases on a contingency fee basis. Here is how this fee arrangement works:
- You do not pay your lawyer any attorney fees upfront when you retain them.
- The lawyer will charge a percentage of your motorcycle accident settlement as their fees. This percentage may be different if your case is settled out of court or decided at a jury trial.
- When your claim is settled, the attorney fees you owe will be paid out of your settlement proceeds before you receive your check.
- You will not be charged any attorney fees if you do not win your case.
Costs of Litigation That You Could Owe
You will also be responsible for paying the cost of litigation if filing a lawsuit becomes necessary. You will owe these fees even if you lose your case.
Some lawyers will require you to pay these costs as they are incurred while others will cover these expenses and deduct them from your settlement. Your contingency fee agreement should specify how you must pay these costs. Litigation expenses you may owe include:
- Medical records
- Expert witness fees
- Court filing fees
- Depositions and transcript costs
- Exhibits for trial
Were you or a family member injured in a motorcycle accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our office to schedule a free consultation with our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys. We can explain how we charge attorney fees in these cases and how we can help you obtain all the compensation you deserve from the at-fault motorist’s insurance company.
What happens if I wasn’t wearing a helmet when my motorcycle accident occurred?
If you were not wearing a motorcycle helmet at the time of your motorcycle crash, your injuries could be much more severe. However, you still may be able to recover compensation from the negligent driver who caused your collision.
Are You Required to Wear a Helmet in Virginia?
Motorcycle operators and their passengers are required to wear a helmet under Virginia’s motorcycle helmet law. The helmet must comply with the standards set by the federal Department of Transportation, the Snell Memorial Foundation, or the American National Standards Institute, Inc. In addition, motorcyclists and their passengers are required to wear one of the following, unless the motorcycle is equipped with safety glass or a windshield:
- Face shield
- Safety goggles
How Does Not Wearing a Helmet Affect Your Right to Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident?
The law requiring motorcycle riders and passengers to wear a helmet and goggles, face shield, or safety goggles specifically provides that the failure to wear them shall not constitute definite proof of negligence. This provision is a crucial protection for motorcycle accident victims because Virginia follows an extremely harsh contributory negligence law.
Under the contributory negligence doctrine, motorcyclists and passengers who were even one percent at fault in causing the motorcycle accident would not be entitled to any compensation for their injuries. However, the insurance company for the negligent driver cannot use the fact that the person was not wearing a helmet or other safety equipment as a complete bar to paying them damages for their injuries.
However, this does not mean that the failure to wear a helmet will not hurt a victim’s claim. All injured parties in motorcycle and other vehicle accidents have a duty to mitigate or reduce their damages. If a victim suffered a traumatic brain injury or other head injury, the insurance company may be able to successfully argue that they failed to mitigate their damages and should receive less compensation in their settlement.
If you weren’t wearing a helmet when you were hurt in a motorcycle accident, our knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyers can explain how this may impact on your legal rights against the negligent driver. We will also aggressively fight so that you receive the maximum recovery you are entitled to from their insurance company. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation to get the answers and legal assistance you need.