Proving a Driver Was At Fault for a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcyclists often have a difficult time recovering the compensation they deserve after an accident. Bias from at-fault drivers and insurers represents one of the most serious challenges to success in a motorcycle accident claim.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by a careless driver, you have rights. Although you may be entitled to compensation, it is often necessary to prove that the motorist caused the collision before you can recover damages.
Attorneys at the Whitley Law Firm can help you overcome the obstacles in your case and pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer in Raleigh, Kinston, or New Bern today for a free consultation.
Steps of Building a Motorcycle Accident Claim
Risk-takers, daredevils, scofflaws – these are all common stereotypes motorcyclists face. Although the overwhelming majority of riders abide by the law and do everything they can to stay safe, prejudice on the part of motorists can manifest as careless and even aggressive actions.
More often than not, the negligence of a driver – not the motorcyclist – leads to an accident. There are multiple steps you can take after a motorcycle crash to prove that the driver of the other vehicle was at fault:
1. Seek Medical Attention for Your Injuries
Two scenarios typically arise involving motorcycle accident injuries:
- You are treated by paramedics and released at the scene. In this case, you can take additional steps to build your claim (see below).
- Your injuries are serious and you need to be taken to the emergency room immediately.
Nothing is more important than your health and well-being. Follow the recommendations of emergency medical personnel if they determine that your injuries require prompt intervention. If your injuries are deemed minor, you should still go to the E.R. as soon as possible after leaving the scene of the accident.
Prompt medical care creates a record of the injuries you sustain in the motorcycle accident. Thorough medical documentation helps to establish the nature and severity of the trauma you have suffered.
2. Take Pictures of the Accident Scene
Investigation after the fact can reveal a lot about how the accident occurred. However, there is no substitute for evidence that captures the scene in the immediate aftermath.
Photos are an essential piece of any accident claim. Important details to photograph include:
- Your injuries
- The damage to your bike, as well as your helmet and other gear
- Damage to the other vehicle
- Orientation of the vehicles after the accident
- The condition of the roadway (including debris and damage caused by the accident)
- The layout of the road or intersection
- Traffic in the vicinity of the accident
- Weather conditions at the scene
A picture is worth a thousand words. Photos of the motorcycle accident can be compelling evidence that shows how the negligence of the driver caused the collision.
3. Interview Witnesses
Witness testimony is also key for proving fault in a motorcycle accident. Ask anyone in the area to describe what they saw. Be sure to get their contact information as well, as you and/or your attorney may need to follow up with them as your case progresses.
Memory is a tricky thing. The further we get from an event, the more likely we are to forget and misremember key information. Witnesses are more likely to provide accurate testimony when the memory is “fresh,” which is why it is important to interview those who saw the accident as soon as possible.
4. Provide a Statement to the Police
In North Carolina, the police must be notified of any accident that results in injury, death, and/or $1,000 or more in property damage. You do have the option to report the accident at a later date (which might be the only option if you are seriously injured). However, if you are still on the scene when the police arrive, it is worth talking to the officer and providing a statement as he or she begins the investigation.
You may feel rattled in the wake of a motorcycle accident, which can make talking to the police feel intimidating. However, the information in the police report can be essential for building your claim. It is vital to get your account on record as soon as you can.
5. Secure Surveillance Footage
From private residences to commercial businesses, more and more people are installing cameras to monitor their property. When a surveillance camera is angled in a way that captures the road or intersection where your motorcycle accident occurs, the footage can be enormously valuable for proving the fault of a driver.
Hiring an attorney is crucial for taking the correct steps to obtain footage caught on a camera owned and operated by someone else. It is important to seek legal counsel quickly, as most surveillance systems only retain video for a short time.
How a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help
Motorcyclists who are seriously injured in an accident will be unable to perform many of these steps. If this is the situation you face, establishing fault for the motorcycle accident on your own can be difficult.
An experienced attorney can promptly investigate the crash and collect evidence of the driver’s fault. In addition to taking photos, interviewing witnesses, etc., your lawyer can hire experts to reconstruct the accident. Professional reconstructions can support your claim against the motorist, especially if the case goes to trial.
Other professionals, such as experts in medicine, engineering, finance, and other fields, can provide testimony regarding fault, the seriousness of your injuries, and the damages in your claim. When combined with the evidence you and your attorney gather, expert testimony can go a long way toward proving that you are entitled to compensation from the driver of the other vehicle.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
Insurance companies are more likely to play hardball in motorcycle accident claims. Adjusters, lawyers, and other agents of the at-fault driver’s insurer often pressure injured motorcyclists to settle for less, drawing on the unfair image of motorcyclists as reckless individuals to justify their decisions.
At the Whitley Law Firm, we fight back when insurance companies offer less than your claim is worth or deny your claim unjustly. We have the experience and resources to build a strong case against any and all liable parties, and we pursue the best result on your behalf.
For a free consultation, please call the Whitley Law Firm at (919) 785-5000 today. Our motorcycle accident lawyers serve clients throughout North Carolina from offices in Raleigh, Kinston, and New Bern.