Virginia roads are a prime destination for scenic summer rides on motorcycles. Although more motorcyclists are on the streets during the warmer months, those in larger motor vehicles still aren't used to seeing them and therefore don't watch out.
Our motorcycle accident attorneys in Roanoke know that according to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) motorcycle riders comprise 11 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state and 4 percent of all injury crashes, even though they comprise only 1.7 percent of the total number of crashes.
The summer months are bar far the most dangerous for motorcyclists. June, July, and August are when crashes spike, and Saturdays have more crashes than any other day. In fact, Progressive reports the top five days for motorcycle accident claims all occur in the summer.
Our Roanoke motorcycle accident lawyers know all riders and drivers need to use vigilance and remain alert no matter what time of year it is, but this is especially true during summer.
Summer Motorcycle Danger
The Insurance Information Institute reports nearly 5,00 people are killed annually in motorcycle crashes and another 88,000 were injured. In fact, when considering per-vehicle-mile-traveled, motorcyclists are 29 times more likely than those in passenger cars to be killed in a collision.
Given that there are more than 8.6 million motorcyclists on the road throughout the U.S. (an increase of 600,000 just from 2009 to 2015), that means serious motorcycle accidents are happening every day, and the number is rising.
Part of why summer is so dangerous is that familiar roads may have been damaged by brutal winters. This can leave unexpected potholes. The other danger s that inexperienced drivers (i.e., high school and college students) have freer schedules and are more likely to be on the roads at random hours of the day, contributing to the risk. Summer is also when we tend to have many parties, including Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day - all involving celebrations that may involve indulgence with alcohol. This can raise the risk as well.
Pursuing Damages in Motorcycle Accident
Recently, a Virginia motorcycle accident in Chesapeake involved an allegedly drunk driver of a sport utility vehicle turned in front of the motorcyclist at an intersection, causing the motorcyclist to strike the side of the vehicle. The motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene while a passenger on that bike has suffered life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the sport utility vehicle was charged with a DUI, and was later released. It's highly possible that the driver may be charged with DUI involuntary manslaughter, a felony offense punishable by a prison sentence under Virginia Code 18.2 - 36.1.
However, as our Roanoke wrongful death attorneys can explain, these criminal charges will have no direct impact on your civil case. In fact, it's not necessary for a criminal case to be filed in order to successfully pursue a civil claim because they involve two different proof burdens. For instance, one may not be convicted of DUI, but could still be deemed negligent in causing a serious crash.
We will work to help you identify all possible defendants and formulate an effective strategy to maximize your chances of recovery.