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Motorcycle Accidents Personal injuries caused by negligence-based accidents can leave victims physically hurt, emotionally traumatized, unable to return to work, and strained by spiraling medical expenses. For some, these injuries can be life-changing, leaving them permanently disabled. In the worst cases, these accidents take the lives of their victims, leaving grieving family members to face the loss and devastation of wrongful deaths. When you have been injured by someone else’s carelessness, negligence, or recklessness, you may be entitled to compensation under the personal injury laws of North Carolina. Your claim should be pursued by experienced, qualified personal injury lawyers who will seek to recover the highest level of compensation possible for your injuries.

Goldsboro Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

Motorcycles have become an increasingly popular form of transportation. Many individuals travel for work and pleasure on North Carolina roads and highways on their bikes. Unfortunately, riders take an enormous risk when operating their bikes in traffic. Motorists commonly fail to see motorcyclists and cause collisions that can result in devastating injuries or even death for bikers. In any crash involving a motorcyclist and a motor vehicle, it is the motorcyclist who carries the greater safety risk. Without airbags, seat belts, and a steel shell around the body, your chances of walking away from an accident without injury are low. 

When negligence-based accidents happen, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer you can trust to give you the dedicated effort needed for an optimum outcome.

Motorcycle Accident Cases in North Carolina

Even when following traffic laws, driving defensively, and protecting yourself as much as possible, you face potential danger as a motorcyclist. One of the most common excuses motorists use when colliding with a motorcyclist is that they didn’t see the rider. Motorists often fail to share the road or drive with safety in mind around motorcycles. 

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), motorcycle fatalities have been steadily rising in the past decade. In 2020, motorcycle deaths hit 5,579, the highest number since 2011. That same year, 83,000 motorcycle injuries were reported. As noted by III, motorcycles are more dangerous because they are less crashworthy, less visible to others, and less stable than vehicles with four wheels. Motorcyclists must exercise different skills and are at greater risk than passenger car occupants when driving in bad weather and road conditions. 

Common causes of motorcycle accidents include but are not limited to:

  • Distracted Driving: When drivers are not fully focused on the road due to activities like texting, talking on the phone, or using in-car entertainment systems, they may fail to notice motorcycles in their vicinity.
  • Left-Hand Turns in Front of Oncoming Motorcycles: This scenario occurs when a motorist makes a left-hand turn at an intersection, misjudging the speed or distance of an oncoming motorcycle. The motorcycle may collide with the turning vehicle.
  • Drunk/Drugged Driving: Impaired driving due to alcohol or drugs significantly increases the risk of accidents. Impaired drivers may have slowed reaction times and impaired judgment, leading to collisions with motorcycles.
  • Speeding: Excessive speed reduces the time a driver has to react to unexpected situations. Speeding vehicles may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision with a motorcycle, leading to accidents.
  • Tailgating: Following a motorcycle too closely can be dangerous. In the event of sudden braking or a collision, the following vehicle may not have enough time to stop, resulting in a rear-end collision with the motorcycle.
  • Failure to See Motorcyclists: Motorcycles are smaller and less visible than other vehicles, making them more prone to being overlooked by other motorists. Drivers may fail to check blind spots or mirrors, leading to collisions with motorcycles.
  • Unsafe Lane Changes: Drivers who make sudden or unsafe lane changes without checking blind spots may inadvertently cut off motorcycles, leading to collisions.
  • Failure to Yield Right of Way: In situations where the right of way is not established, misunderstandings between drivers and motorcyclists can lead to accidents. Failure to yield or even misjudging who has the right of way may result in collisions.
  • Running Red Lights or Stop Signs: Drivers who disregard traffic signals or signs pose a significant danger to motorcyclists. Collisions at intersections can be particularly severe when one party fails to obey traffic signals.
  • Reckless Driving: Aggressive or reckless driving behaviors, such as tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, or excessive speeding, can lead to dangerous situations and accidents involving motorcycles.

As a result of accidents, motorcyclists can suffer devastating injuries, such as concussions, head injuries, road rash, internal injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, loss of limbs, and more. Some of these injuries can lead to long-term or permanent disability, requiring ongoing medical care and rehabilitation for indefinite periods. 

Such injuries can end a motorcyclist’s future earning capacity and ability to be self-supporting. All of these consequences will require enormous financial resources which may only be available through a personal injury claim or lawsuit.

Do You Have to Wear a Motorcycle Helmet in North Carolina?

While riding a motorcycle in North Carolina you are legally required to wear a motorcycle helmet. It's one of 19 states that has what is known as universal helmet laws. These laws require anyone riding a motorcycle, regardless of their age, to wear a motorcycle helmet. 

Aside from a helmet, other protective gear you should wear while riding a motorcycle includes:

  • A riding jacket (leather or a strong synthetic material)
  • Gloves
  • Pants
  • Boots or special made riding shoes
  • A face shield on your helmet or glasses/goggles

Legal Challenges Motorcyclists Face After an Accident

Motorcyclists can face unique legal challenges when seeking compensation after an accident. These challenges often stem from biases, misconceptions, and the nature of motorcycle accidents.

Here are some legal challenges motorcyclists may encounter:

  • Bias and Prejudice: There can be a bias against motorcyclists, sometimes rooted in stereotypes that associate motorcycling with recklessness. This bias may influence the perception of fault in an accident, potentially impacting the compensation a motorcyclist is entitled to.
  • Severity of Injuries: Motorcycle accidents tend to result in more severe injuries due to the lack of protection compared to enclosed vehicles. Insurance adjusters or opposing parties may dispute the extent of injuries or medical expenses, leading to challenges in obtaining fair compensation.
  • Helmet Use: In some jurisdictions, helmet use is mandatory, and failure to wear one can affect the motorcyclist's ability to claim compensation. Even if not wearing a helmet is not a legal violation, it may be used against the rider in arguing contributory negligence.
  • Limited Insurance Coverage: Motorcyclists may face challenges if the at-fault driver has limited or no insurance coverage. In such cases, the injured motorcyclist might need to rely on their own insurance, such as uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
  • Visibility and Fault Disputes: Motorcycles are smaller and less visible than other vehicles. In accidents involving other vehicles, there may be disputes over whether the motorcyclist was visible or whether the other driver failed to yield the right of way.
  • Lane Splitting Laws: In areas where lane splitting is legal, disputes may arise regarding whether the motorcyclist was lane splitting safely and within the bounds of the law. In areas where it is illegal, the act itself may be used against the motorcyclist in determining fault.
  • Complex Investigations: Motorcycle accidents can be complex to investigate. Determining liability may involve detailed reconstructions and analyses of the accident scene, witness statements, and expert opinions. This complexity can prolong the claims process.
  • Insurance Company Tactics: Insurance companies may employ tactics to minimize payouts, including offering low settlements or disputing liability. Motorcyclists need to be prepared to navigate negotiations or potential legal proceedings to obtain fair compensation.
  • Lack of Legal Protection: In some cases, motorcyclists may face challenges due to the lack of legal protection afforded to them. They may not have the same level of physical protection or safety features as occupants of enclosed vehicles, making them more vulnerable to severe injuries.

To overcome these challenges, motorcyclists involved in accidents should seek legal representation from attorneys experienced in handling motorcycle accident cases. At Strickland Agner Pittman, we take every investigative and legal measure to help you secure the compensation to which you may be entitled in negligence-based motorcycle crashes. 

Learn more about your case and legal options in a complimentary consultation with a Goldsboro motorcycle accident attorney at Strickland Agner Pittman. Send us your contact details online or phone us at (919) 893-0090 to get started. 

Contact Strickland Agner Pittman Today


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