Motorcycles can be a thrilling and economical mode of transportation, but when you are involved in an accident, your injuries can be devastating. Without the protective features of passenger cars, you may suffer severe trauma, even at low speeds. You need a skilled North Carolina motorcycle accident lawyer to determine who is at fault for your crash and to help you secure the compensation you need.
If you or a loved one have been hurt on a motorcycle from someone else’s negligence, contact the Ricci Law Firm for knowledgeable legal guidance. Our motorcycle accident attorneys have helped clients secure millions of dollars in insurance settlements and jury awards. We offer a free initial consultation to help you understand your options for seeking financial relief.
Causes of North Carolina Motorcycle Accidents
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) reports that 198 people died in motorcycle accidents in 2021, an increase of 12.5% from the preceding year. Motorcycles, mopeds, and motorized scooters are all smaller and harder to see. Many drivers forget the motorcycle awareness slogan, “Look Twice, Save a Life,” before changing lanes or pulling out of a drive.
Other common causes of motorcycle accidents in North Carolina are when drivers commit negligent actions, such as driving:
- Too fast for conditions
- While sleepy
- While distracted by a cell phone or other passengers
- Under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Without obeying traffic laws or signs
- Aggressively (road rage)
- Too close to a motorcycle, especially from behind
On top of these negligent behaviors, bike riders can fall victim to various hazards they cannot control. Common issues that lead to motorcycle accidents include:
- Road hazards such as ice, grease, oil, or snow
- Heavy rains that limit visibility and a rider’s ability to control the bike
- Uneven terrain in construction zones or rural roads
- Debris or objects left on the road
- Faulty or malfunctioning parts
- Incomplete or shoddy repair
- Tire blowouts
- Brake failure
In many of these situations, the motorcycle rider is injured because of someone else’s careless or intentional actions. When their negligence involves you in a collision, you need the assistance of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. Our team can investigate your crash and determine who should be held liable for your damages.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries Are Often Catastrophic
A car crash can be terrible, but motorcycle riders are at a much greater risk for life-threatening injuries and even death. North Carolina requires riders to wear an approved helmet, but even with safety clothing and shoes, the forces at work in a motorcycle accident significantly traumatize the human body.
When your bike hits something or gets hit, you could fall off or be thrown from the bike. Being hurled against the road, a guardrail, or another vehicle often causes grave damage that requires hospitalization. You can suffer major internal injuries, including:
- Lung punctures
- Penetrating wounds to the body
- Collapsed lungs
- Cuts to major blood vessels
- Internal bleeding
- Blunt force trauma
- Bruising, tearing, or crushing of internal organs
- Broken bones
- Fractured jaw or skull
- Closed head injuries
- Muscle tears or strains
Paramedics will diagnose and treat your initial injuries and take you to a hospital. However, in the hours and days after your crash, you may develop additional conditions, including:
- Road rash on your body or limbs
- Neck injuries, such as whiplash
- Organ or system failure
- Blood clots
- Swelling of the brain
- Vision loss
- Hearing loss
- Cognitive function loss
- Surgery to amputate severely damaged limbs
- Paralysis or numbness
As you can see, victims of motorcycle accidents suffer massive injuries that usually require extensive care. After the primary traumas are addressed, many riders face significantly altered lives and years of rehabilitation. When all this comes because someone did not take due care while driving, you must deal with astronomical medical debt in addition to a lengthy recovery.
At the Ricci Law Firm, our motorcycle accident lawyers specialize in taking on the burden of seeking compensation so that you can focus on getting better. We connect you with medical experts who can accurately diagnose your injuries and provide a prognosis for treatment. Calculating a fair and appropriate compensation request allows us to ask for all the financial relief you may need.
Motorcycle Bias and At-Fault Liability
Motorcycle bias is real. Other drivers, insurance representatives, and judges tend to blame the rider when there is an accident. While some motorcyclists may engage in speeding or other risky behaviors, you should not have to suffer because others think the worst. Your motorcycle accident attorney will work hard to maintain your innocence in the minds of everyone involved in your case.
In North Carolina, this can become a factor when filing an insurance claim for your crash. State laws mandate whoever caused the accident must pay for the damages, but if the plaintiff is found to be even 1% liable for their accident, they cannot claim damages.
This means that insurance adjusters will do everything possible to place the blame on you, even if you were severely hurt in your collision. If they can make you look responsible, they do not have to pay. Not paying claims means their company makes more money. The same is true if you are in court. A defendant who can show you are partly at fault does not have to pay.
This is when you need an aggressive, qualified, and capable attorney to protect your right to compensation. We will negotiate with insurance companies and in court, providing robust evidence showing negligence by those who hurt you.
North Carolina Insurance Requirements
All drivers in North Carolina, including motorcycle riders, must carry liability insurance to pay for damages they cause in a crash. The minimum coverage amounts are:
- Bodily injury: $30,000 per person and $60,000 for more than two people
- Property damage: $25,000 per accident
Because motorcycle accident injuries are often significant, your bills may exhaust the amounts a policy covers. Likewise, If you are hurt by a driver who does not carry insurance, you are left without any insurance beyond your own. In these two situations, you may have no option except filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover everything you are owed.
Your NC Motorcycle Accident Claim Could Be Worth a Lot
The high medical bills and lengthy treatment required by most victims of motorcycle accidents mean your expenses can add up quickly. You must secure the financial restitution to pay your doctors, replace your bike, support your family, and potentially adjust to a permanent disability. Paralysis in your 20s means you may need full-time care to live comfortably after another driver carelessly changed your life.
At the Ricci Law Firm, we listen to your story and pull together a list of your past, present, and future damages. This comprehensive estimate allows us to request what you need when negotiating a settlement with insurance companies or opposing counsel. It is your right to ask for every penny you have paid due to the defendant’s wrongful actions.
You can pursue economic and non-economic losses, including:
- Emergency treatment and transport bills
- Hospital expenses such as surgery, ICU, and ERS
- Prescription medications
- Loss of income
- Loss of future earning potential
- Prosthetic limbs and rehabilitation
- Home improvements to accommodate a permanent disability
- Repairs or replacement costs for your motorcycle and other personal property
- Physical therapy bills
- Costs of private In-home nursing care or a rehab center
- Amputation or loss of limb
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Anxiety, PTSD, or depression
- Disfigurement or scarring
- Loss of consortium with your spouse or partner
- Loss of care and guidance for your children
Extreme cases can result in settlements worth millions of dollars to cover care for the rest of your life. However, each situation is unique, and you can trust your motorcycle accident attorney at the Ricci Law Firm to assess your claim honestly. We will fight for every penny you deserve and interpret North Carolina law to your best advantage.
How the Ricci Law Firm Builds Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
Our professional team has years of experience working in the legal system of North Carolina. We know what it takes to deal with insurance companies and to take a claim to court to achieve the maximum compensation possible. You can rest easy knowing that we are working to create the strongest case for your specific situation.
Our motorcycle accident lawyers manage all aspects of your claim, fiercely defending your rights. We include many services as part of our work, such as:
- Working with an independent accident investigator to truthfully describe what happened
- Gathering photographs and videos from all relevant sources
- Collaborating with experts in many fields to explain technicalities and liability
- Obtaining witness statements and testimony
- Filing all pertinent materials promptly and accurately
- Introducing motions to dismiss irrelevant or damaging evidence from being considered
- Objecting to motorcycle bias from any involved party to protect your rights
The critical factor in obtaining a settlement or jury award is demonstrating negligence on the part of the individual or company that hurt you. Your attorney must prove the four elements of negligence:
- The other driver(s) owed a duty of care to everyone else on the road.
- They breached or failed to uphold that duty.
- You suffered injuries and damages as a direct result of their failure to uphold the duty of care.
- You incurred expenses related to your damages and injuries that must be repaid.
Using Evidence to Prove Your Claim
Evidence is crucial to supporting your claim of liability and your need for reimbursement. At the Ricci Law Firm, we believe there are five essential pieces of evidence:
- Injuries: This includes all medical receipts, photos of your injuries, and your pain journal. A pain journal lets you record how the wreck has affected your life emotionally.
- Vehicle debris: Photos and video of the damage to your bike, as well as repair estimates, can show how much property loss you have incurred.
- Witnesses: Statements from those who saw the accident can be invaluable. It is difficult to recall what happened after you have been severely injured, and this testimony often sways a jury to your side.
- Explanation of the accident: Our team will create a timeline of the accident, bolstered by independent investigator reports, witness statements, and footage from various cameras in the area.
- Police report: Law enforcement officers responding to your crash will provide an official description of the event, including any charges against the other driver. This can be robust evidence to use against insurance negotiators or to convince a jury.
Other sources that can help your claim include driving records, cell phone records, information on road and weather conditions, and reports on any construction in the area.
In many instances, your attorney can reach an out-of-court settlement when they show they are determined to fight for your claim all the way. If the evidence is very strong against the defendant, they will want to save the time and trouble of going to trial. You can receive your compensation sooner and begin moving on with your life.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim After an NC Motorcycle Accident
Although science can do a lot to save the critically injured, many bike accidents end in death. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that motorcycle deaths make up 13% of all motor vehicle fatalities. If a crash does not instantly kill a rider, they often pass away from catastrophic injuries soon after. Their families are left with the aftermath when a rider pays the highest price for another driver’s wrongful actions.
In addition to seeking restitution for all the rider’s medical expenses, survivors can file a wrongful death suit to recover other expenses, such as:
- Burial and interment fees
- Costs for cremation
- Funeral costs
- Grief and emotional anguish
- Loss of care and guidance for children
- Loss of companionship for family members
- Loss of income from your financial contribution to the household
- Transporting your loved one to their burial location
In cases of extreme negligence, the judge may choose to award punitive damages. These are rare but are meant to punish the defendant harshly. Punitive damage awards serve as a warning to others against engaging in similar actions.
Other Kinds of Motorcycle Accident Claims
Motorcycle accidents do not always involve a car or truck hitting a bike. In some situations, you may have been the victim of something other than another vehicle. You still have a right to file a claim for compensation or file a lawsuit.
You Were the Only One Hurt
Motorcycles are inherently more challenging to control than four-wheeled vehicles, and their speed means you can approach a potential hazard very quickly. This leaves you less time to react if someone has created a risk. Potholes, debris, unmarked dangers, and various road conditions can cause you to crash.
You may have the option to sue a government agency for failure to maintain the road. You could also sue a driver if their improperly loaded cargo fell in front of you. Other situations include homeowners who do not keep their driveways clear of bushes. If you cannot see a car exiting the drive in time, the homeowner could be held liable instead of you.
Bad Parts or Repair Caused Your Crash
Most bike riders do their own repair work or have a shop they trust. If your mechanic failed to repair or rebuild your motorcycle properly, you could have a claim against them for negligence. You might also have a case if a manufacturer sold faulty parts that malfunctioned or caused your wreck.
You Were the Passenger on the Motorcycle
Not every motorcyclist knows how to handle the added weight and activity of a passenger. Most bikes allow space for another rider, but the driver may still have trouble maneuvering the vehicle safely. Common sense would say not to carry the passenger, but common sense is often not that common.
If you are a motorcycle passenger hurt by the bike operator’s negligence, you can file against their insurance or pursue a personal injury claim in court. You can also file against anyone else who contributed to the collision by contacting a motorcycle accident lawyer at our firm.
Meet with a North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
The catastrophic injuries and property damage you may suffer in a motorcycle crash could leave you with a lifetime of expenses. Your world could be thrown into turmoil as you struggle to recover physically and emotionally. You should not face a financial crisis when someone else is at fault.
At the Ricci Law Firm, we know you and your family have been drastically affected by your crash. Each North Carolina motorcycle accident lawyer in our office makes you their top priority to secure the maximum compensation available to you. We offer six decades of legal experience to our clients.
Our team is ready to start working on your case right away, so do not wait another minute. Contact us through our convenient online form to schedule your free consultation today.