As a biker, you know your motorcycle offers far less protection than an enclosed vehicle offers in inclement weather or would provide in a crash. It can be more difficult for other motorists to recognize your presence, also. Unfortunately, these and other combined factors present an increased risk to you and your passengers. Read on to learn three important statistics we think you might like to know, as well as how to protect your ability to recover financial compensation for your losses if a reckless or negligent driver collides with your bike and causes you to be injured.
90% of Motorcyclist Fatalities Are Male
The largest demographic of fatally injured riders nationwide is 20 to 29-year-old males, followed closely by men aged 50-59. Overall, more than 90% of those who lost their lives in fatal motorcycle accidents were males.
Motorcycle Riders Are Nearly 6 Times As Likely to Die In a Crash
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the fatality rate per 100,000 registered vehicles was 59.34 for motorcycle operators compared to 10.5 for those behind the wheel of passenger cars. When we look at the fatality rate by overall population, in West Virginia there are 2.06 fatalities per 100,000, a rate higher than the national average of 1.6 per 100,000. Motorcyclist fatalities make up 10% of all motor vehicle fatalities in West Virginia.
Wearing a Helmet Decreases the Risk of Death In Crashes by 37%
The simple act of wearing a helmet while riding is a remarkably effective step riders can take to help prevent a fatal injury. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 37 out of every 100 motorcycle fatalities would not have occurred if the rider had been wearing a helmet. For passengers, this rate rises to 41%. Wearing a helmet is the law for all riders in West Virginia – and it could help save your life if involved in a crash.
Main Risk Factors Contributing to Motorcycle Fatalities
The four main risk factors for motorcycle accident fatalities are well known and accepted to be true by most authorities. In every state since records were first collected, the following factors have been repeatedly affirmed as major causes that contribute to the deaths of bikers:
-Failure to Wear a Helmet
-Consumption of Alcohol/Drugs
-Invalid Operator License
Not Wearing a Helmet? You Could be Ineligible to File a Claim
In West Virginia, personal injury and wrongful death claims are evaluated on the basis of comparative negligence which allows for modified comparative fault. What this means is that even if you followed all laws and operated your motorcycle perfectly and were hit by a reckless driver, you could be ineligible to recover compensation (and may be subject to criminal penalties) if you were not wearing a helmet, protective gear, or otherwise following applicable laws and operating the motorcycle responsibly.
If you are found partially at-fault for your injuries, any potential compensation you are eligible to collect will be reduced accordingly. If it is determined that your actions made you 50% or more at fault, you will be ineligible to recover any compensation at all.
Before You Ride, Know the Law
Be sure you are aware of all applicable laws and follow them to protect your rights. We have provided a summary of select laws and links to additional resources to get you started. By taking steps to operate your motorcycle responsibly on the roadways of West Virginia, you preserve your right to pursue fair compensation if you happen to be seriously injured – and significantly decrease your chance of suffering a catastrophic injury in the first place.
Seriously Injured In West Virginia?
Contact Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law
If you were seriously injured or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident in West Virginia, contact Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law. Even if you believe your failure to wear a helmet or another decision is likely to impact your claim, you may still be able to recover some portion of compensation due to you for medical expenses, lost wages, and other expenses due to road rash, a head injury, biker’s arm, muscle damage, paralysis, amputation, broken bones, arm and leg injuries, deep lacerations, burns, nerve damage, and other serious injuries. You owe us nothing unless we recover on your behalf. We offer a free initial consultation to help you understand your options. Our phones are answered 24/7. Time is of the essence, so do not delay. Call: (304) 292-4381.