ALEXANDRIA, WOODBRIDGE, MANASSAS AND FREDERICKSBURG
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2008, 5,290 bikers were involved in fatal accidents and 96,000 bikers were injured. In the same year, 82 bikers were involved in Virginia fatal motorcycle accidents.
The public is biased against motorcycle riders - and assumes that most accidents are the fault of the biker. However, as a Virginia motorcycle accident attorney representing bikers, we know the truth. The vast majority of accidents we see are caused by car and truck drivers who negligently do not see the motorcyclist.
One of the most thorough reports on motorcycle accidents, the "Hurt Report" which was commissioned by the Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration agrees with what we have seen. The "Hurt Report" found:
- In two-thirds of the collisions with drivers, the other driver violated the biker's right-of-way.
- Most accidents occurred at intersections.
- The most common reason for accidents was driver failure to see the biker.
Motorcyclists have a license to ride and have specialized safety training. What the general public does not understand is that motorcycle riders have rights -- namely the right to ride without being struck by a larger vehicle. In 2007, NHTSA officially recognized biker's rights by developing the model "Share the Road" program. This program encourages every national/state local organization to make car and truck drivers aware of biker rights, stating what bikers and their accident lawyers already knew:
- Motorcycles are vehicles with the same rights and privileges as any vehicle on the roadway.
- Allow the motorcyclist a full-lane width... Remember that a motorcycle needs the room to maneuver safely. Do not share the lane.
- Nearly 40% [of all crashes involving another motor vehicle] were caused by the other vehicle turning left in front of the motorcyclist.
- Motorcyclists are small and may be difficult to see... which can make it more difficult to judge the speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle.
- Remember that motorcyclists are often hidden in a vehicle's blind spot or missed in a quick look due to their smaller size.
- Allow more following distance, three or four seconds, following a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop at an emergency. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
Many times a biker is struck by a hit-and-run car or truck. The biker is injured but the driver leaves the scene. Virginia law allows the biker to bring a "John Doe" personal injury uninsured motorist claim against the unknown negligent driver. Uninsured motorist coverage is required by law to protect the biker from hit-and-run drivers. The insurance companies that insure the motorcycle and the biker's personal autos provide uninsured motorist coverage.
Virginia uninsured motorist coverage also applies if a biker is injured by an unknown motorist without physically contacting the biker, such as when an unknown driver cuts off the biker causing him to crash into a highway barrier. In "no contact" crashes, the biker must promptly notify his own insurance company or the police in order to make a proper uninsured motorist claim.
To learn more about hit and run accident coverage and Virginia uninsured motorist coverage, please consult Gerald Schwartz's "Master of Advocacy Seminar" book, entitled Auto Insurance Law - How to Get All The Coverage And Beat The Defenses, published by the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. Uninsured motorist coverage is discussed at pages 12-32. To learn more, "click here"
Bikers are likely to suffer devastating injuries or death if involved in an accident caused by a larger vehicle. It is a simple fact that bikers are more vulnerable to major injury because motorcycles do not have the crashworthy protections that cars and trucks afford. NHTSA reported in its latest studies for the year 2007 that "motorcyclists were 37 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash and 9 times more likely to be injured."
As a Manassas motorcycle accident attorney, we see far too often the devastating effects of biker accidents in Prince William County, including:
- traumatic brain injuries
- spinal injuries
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Virginia motorcycle accident lawyer Gerald Schwartz has 30 years experience representing bikers hurt in accidents caused by cars and trucks, from Fairfax and Manassas, and all over Virginia, Gerald Schwartz has been selected for inclusion in Virginia Super Lawyers consistently since 2007.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident, call Virginia Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Gerald Schwartz for a free consultation at 1-800-423-0055.