Am I Eligible for Compensation if I was At Fault in a Motorcycle Accident?

Jun 21, 2023 | Auto Accidents

At fault motorcycle accident

Motorcycle accident claims are complex cases. A motorcycle accident victim often has more severe injuries than car crash victims at similar speeds. Motorcycle accident lawyers also often need to argue against juror bias in motorcycle accident claims.

If you were at fault in a motorcycle accident, can you still seek compensation? Your motorcycle accident attorney can help you understand how fault affects your case in Virginia.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Several factors beyond a rider’s control can cause a motorcycle accident. Personal injury attorneys fight for financial compensation for injured bikers due to several different reasons. Typical causes of motorcycle accidents that aren’t the biker’s fault include:

  • Windblast or drag from larger vehicles
  • Other vehicles following too closely
  • Flying objects striking a motorcyclist
  • A merging vehicle operator failing to see a motorcyclist in the lane
  • Poor road conditions
  • A parked driver opening their door into a traffic lane and causing a collision
  • Manufacturing defects or mechanical failure
  • A drunk driver striking a motorcyclist


When Is a Motorcyclist At Fault or Partially At Fault for Their Injuries?

Sometimes a biker did cause the accident that led to their injuries. You may be at fault for your injuries if you caused the accident in situations such as:

  • Speeding
  • Lane splitting
  • Changing lanes unsafely
  • Stopping suddenly
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol


As a rider, you may also not be at fault for causing the accident but could be at fault for your injuries in some circumstances. 

All riders in Virginia must wear DOT-approved helmets. If you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, you could be liable for head or neck injuries. Your motorcycle accident attorney can explain how you might be liable for your injuries if your case goes to court.

Contributory Negligence in Virginia

Virginia follows a pure contributory negligence law in personal injury claims. Under contributory negligence laws, victims who are even 1% at fault for their injuries aren’t eligible for financial compensation in an injury lawsuit.

Additionally, Virginia is an at-fault state for accident claims with an insurance company. This means that you must file your injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company first. If the driver doesn’t have insurance, or if they have minimal coverage, you can file with your own insurance company. 

Although not required, you should consider having uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage on your policy. Because Virginia only requires liability coverage, and because many people only have the required minimum amounts, you can benefit from having UM/UIM coverage in cases of hit-and-runs or being struck by someone without adequate insurance coverage.

Financial Compensation Available in Motorcycle Accident Claims

In cases where motorcycle accident claims win in court, financial compensation awards often include:

  • Medical bills
  • Other medical costs (transportation, physical therapy, ongoing treatment, etc.)
  • Lost wages from time off from work
  • Loss of earning capacity for serious injuries
  • Non-economic damages like pain and suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish, etc.
  • Punitive damages if the at-fault driver’s actions were intentional, malicious, or reckless


Contact a Virginia Motorcycle Accident Attorney

If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident in Virginia, contact a motorcycle accident attorney with Geoff McDonald & Associates. We can help you prove fault in your case. Call us today at (804) 888-8888 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a motorcycle accident attorney at one of our offices in Virginia Beach or Richmond, VA.

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 804-888-8888.


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