Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Frequently Asked Questions About Motorcycle Accidents

    Although there are more car accidents than motorcycle accidents each year, the percentage of motorcycle accidents compared to how many motorcycles are on the road is significantly higher. Motorcycle deaths occur 28 times more often than they do for passenger vehicle crashes based on per mile traveled. According to federal statistics, there are approximately 5,000 people killed every year in motorcycle crashes. This represents about 15 percent of all motor vehicle-related deaths each year.

    If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn to speak with one of our motorcycle accident attorneys to find out what legal options you may have. In the meantime, the following are some frequently asked questions regarding motorcycle accidents.

    Who is more at risk of being in a motorcycle accident?

    According to a Brown University study, older riders appear to be more at risk for injuries in motorcycle accidents. Researches cite the decline in reaction time and vision as one reason for the higher risks. They also found that older riders tend to ride larger-sized motorcycles, which also tend to roll over more frequently than smaller bikes.

    Are certain styles of motorcycles that have higher collision losses than other styles?

    According to a report issued by the Highway Loss Data Institute, supersport motorcycles have higher collision losses compared to nine other types of motorcycle classes. The report covered a four-year time period and showed that the overall losses for supersport models indexed at 352, while the average for the nine other styles indexed at 100.

    What are the overall economic losses caused by motorcycle accidents?

    According to a study conducted by the Government Accounting Office (GAO), motorcycle accidents cost approximately $16 billion every year in emergency services, medical expenses, property damage, loss in household productivity, loss of market productivity, and insurance costs. Market productivity produces the largest cost (at 44 percent), followed by medical costs (at 18 percent).

    What safety steps can motorcyclists take to help prevent injuries?

    One of the most important safety steps motorcycle riders can take is always wear a helmet, even if you are riding in a state that doesn’t have a helmet law. (Virginia law requires all motorcycle riders wear helmets).

    According to data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in one year, motorcycle helmets prevented the deaths of 1,172 riders. In that same year, the NHTSA estimates that another 740 riders who died in motorcycle crashes would have survived the crash if they had been wearing helmets.

    What steps should a motorcycle accident victim take immediately following a crash?

    Even if a victim believes their injuries are minor ones, they should still seek medical attention right away. It is not uncommon for serious injuries to have delayed symptoms. These injuries include brain injuries, injury to organs or other internal injuries can have no symptoms until the situation becomes dangerous. Once you have seen a medical professional, you should then consult with a seasoned Virginia motorcycle accident attorney.

    Although it is not required for a victim to retain the services of a motorcycle accident attorney, the reality is that victims are more likely to obtain fair and just financial compensation if they have a seasoned legal professional advocating for them.

    Contact a Skilled Virginia Injury Attorney Today

    Some of the most frequent injuries that clients of a Virginia motorcycle accident attorney suffer include brain injuries, broken bones, paralysis, and spinal trauma. Our accident attorneys understand that the injuries motorcycle accident victims sustain often leave them with permanent disabilities that not only create physical limitations but also result in significant financial losses.

    If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident this year, it is critical not to delay contacting the legal team at Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn because Virginia injury laws have strict rules regarding how long you have to file your personal injury claim. If the statute of limitations expires, you will be unable to collect financial damages for any medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, or any other losses you or your family may be entitled to. 




  • What safety tips should motorcycle riders keep in mind when riding in autumn?

    Many motorcycle enthusiasts say that riding in the autumn is the best time to ride, but there are several things that riders need to keep in mind to stay safe in addition to all the other safety precautions riders should take (i.e. always wear a helmet, wear correct riding gear).

    • Dress in Layers: The weather during autumn rapidly changes from morning, afternoon, and evening. If you are heading out for the day, you will likely encounter a few different temperatures, so it is important to dress in layers. Wearing thin layers instead of one thick one allows riders to adjust their clothes to their own comfort level as the day goes on.
    • Bring Rain Gear: Autumn weather can be unpredictable. The day can start out as sunny and warm and by mid-afternoon, it’s raining and raw. Always pack rain gear when heading out for the day. Make sure the gear is actually waterproof, including gloves, because even a light drizzle can end up soaking unprotected clothing.
    • Watch Out for Leaves: The beauty of autumn is the changing colors of the leaves. But those leaves fall to the ground, creating dangerous hazards for riders, especially if the leaves are wet. Leaves can cause traction issues, as well as cover up road problems, such as potholes.
    • Watch Out for Road Frost: Even when the predicted weather for the day is warm and sunny, mornings in autumn usually start out with frost on the ground. Frost can cause a rider to lose control of their bike. If you are traveling in the morning, try to stay more in the middle of the road where there is less moisture and less frost.



  • What are the chances that a motorcycle accident claim will settle before it goes to court for litigation?

    It is likely a motorcycle accident case will settle since approximately 90 percent of these cases do settle. However, the key to getting a fair and just settlement is to retain the services of a seasoned motorcycle accident attorney.

  • How important is an investigation in a motorcycle accident?

    An investigation is often a critical piece of the lawsuit. Many people erroneously believe that motorcycle riders are risk takers, causing accidents, and causing their own injuries. A thorough investigation will establish fault of the other party and this evidence can be used in a lawsuit. The investigation should include photos of the scene, witness statements, and all law enforcement accident reports.

  • Who can sue for a motorcycle accident injury or death?

    1. The motorcycle operator can sue for injuries. If the operator dies because of their injuries, then their survivors can sue for damages in a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party or parties.
    2. The passenger can sue the motorcycle operator for injuries if the operator was at fault for the crash. The passenger can sue any other party who was responsible for the crash. If they are killed in the accident, their survivors can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
    3. Any victim who is injured by a motorcyclist, including pedestrians, cyclists, other commuters, can file an accident lawsuit against the motorcycle operator. If they are killed in the accident, their survivors can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

  • What should I do if I lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident?

    A Virginia accident lawyer can review the accident at no charge. He can determine if negligence on the part of another party was a factor. If so, you may have a wrongful death case. You could demand compensation for pain and suffering, funeral expenses, loss of consortium and lost wages.

  • What is the difference in the injury rate between motorcycle and car crashes?

    Out of every 100k registered motorcycle accidents, more than 2000 have been hurt in crashes. Out of 100k registered car owners, only 700 have been in car accidents with injuries. You can reduce your chance of serious injury on a motorcycle by wearing bright colored clothing and always wearing a helmet.

  • What is the difference between the costs of medical treatments for motorcycle accidents compared to car accidents?

    One recent study found the cost is almost double. The lack of protection around the motorcyclist means there are is a much higher chance of severe injury. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident because of the negligence of another driver, you should speak to an experienced attorney immediately. You could have long-lasting injuries that could leave you with piles of medical bills and months of lost wages.

  • If my loved one has been in a serious motorcycle accident with a TBI, what are my legal options?

    Your legal options depend on whether another driver was negligent and caused the accident that led to the injury. Note that in Virginia, if the motorcyclist was even 1% responsible for the accident, he or she could be precluded from obtaining compensation for their injuries. However, you still should have the case reviewed by a qualified personal injury attorney in Virginia.

  • How effective are motorcycle helmets in preventing serious head injuries?

    The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reports that helmets are approximately 67% effective in preventing head injuries. However, severe brain trauma can still occur in a motorcycle accident even if you are wearing a helmet. This can occur when the brain hits the inside of the skull. So, even the best motorcycle helmet cannot always prevent a traumatic brain injury in a serious motorcycle accident.