Raleigh Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Serving North Carolina
Motorcyclists require the same amount of respect and acknowledgement on the road as do any other motorists. Unfortunately, many motorcyclists throughout Raleigh are ignored by other drivers and are often involved in serious accidents due to this type of negligent driving.
Motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than those driving passenger cars, according to the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
When other drivers fail to observe a motorcycle, are driving while intoxicated, or simply do not care, their actions can result in severe and life-altering injuries. A Raleigh motorcycle accident lawyer with experience handling these cases can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. En Español.
Injuries Caused by Motorcycle Accidents
Since a motorcyclist is more vulnerable in a motorcycle accident, they usually sustain more serious injuries than the motorist that caused the accident. Here is more information on the injuries in motorcycle accidents.
Some of the types of injuries that occur include:
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
The most common cause of motorcycle accidents is in a head on collision. According to studies, 56% of motorcycle accidents occur when a motorcycle and a car crash head on. Within this group, many of the accidents are when the car collides with the motorcycle 78% of the time; very few accidents occur by rear ending. This specific type of collision tends to be the most deadly for motorcyclists. Another common cause of these accidents is when a car is making a left hand turn in front of the motorcycle.
As commonly known, cars that are going straight have the right of way, and any left turning vehicles are required to yield until there is a safe distance opening for them. Well, according to statistics, accidents occur for motorcycles left turn accidents account for close to half of the accidents between a motorcycle and a vehicle. Generally, the car will collide into the bike as it is going straight and they are attempting to turn. This can result in a disastrous collision for the motorcyclist.
Frequently Asked Questions About Motorcycle Accidents in Raleigh
There are two priorities after any motorcycle accident. First, you need to protect your physical safety and well-being. Second, you need to preserve your legal rights.
Following these steps after a motorcycle accident can help you stay safe and maintain the viability of your claim against the driver of the other vehicle:
- Call 911. Motorists in North Carolina are required to report any accident which results in serious bodily injury or death (see North Carolina General Statutes § 20-166.1). If you are unable to make the call yourself, the other driver or a bystander should.
- Get Out of Harm’s Way. If it is safe to do so, you should move your motorcycle out of the path of traffic. This will reduce the risk of a secondary collision.
- Wait for Help to Arrive. Before you do anything else, you need to have your injuries assessed by paramedics. You may need to be taken directly to the hospital if it is determined that you are seriously injured.
- Exchange Information with the Driver. If you don’t need urgent medical attention and can stay at the scene, get the driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information.
- Talk to Witnesses. If anyone saw the motorcycle accident happen, get their information and ask them what they saw.
- Photograph the Scene. Take pictures of anything that helps to establish how the accident occurred and what may have caused it.
- Give a Statement to the Police. If a police officer arrives on the scene, provide him or her with your account of the motorcycle accident. Doing so will satisfy your reporting obligations and aid law enforcement in completing a North Carolina Crash Report.
- See a Doctor as Soon as Possible. Just because you weren’t taken to the hospital doesn’t mean you weren’t seriously hurt in the motorcycle accident. You should go to the emergency room or see your doctor the day of the accident – ideally right after you leave the scene.
- Document Everything. Keep any bills, communications from insurance companies, and other paperwork related to the motorcycle accident organized. You should also make notes about what you remember from the accident, your recovery, etc.
- Speak to a Motorcycle Accident Attorney. It is your best interest to seek legal counsel as soon as you can after a motorcycle accident. A Raleigh motorcycle accident lawyer can determine whether you have a viable claim and take steps immediately to start building your case.
Motorcycle accident claims can be complicated. You shouldn’t have to worry about complex legal issues when you are trying to heal from serious injuries or grieving the loss of a family member.
The Whitley Law Firm provides clients with wholehearted care. When you hire our firm, we are committed not only to obtaining the best outcome in your case but providing you with guidance, support, and compassion.
The value of damages in a motorcycle accident case depends on the nature and extent of your injuries, as well as the losses you have suffered. A Raleigh motorcycle accident lawyer can assess the evidence and determine how much your case is worth.
You may be entitled to compensation for the following if you were injured in a motorcycle accident:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- The loss of earning capacity, if the motorcycle accident leaves you unable to work
- Damage to your motorcycle and any other property
- Any costs you pay out of pocket for medications, assistive devices, home and vehicle modifications, medical-related travel, etc.
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Families also have the right to bring claims if a loved one is killed in a motorcycle accident. You may be entitled to substantial compensation for the wrongful death of your relative, including damages for medical expenses incurred prior to death; the cost of a funeral and burial or cremation; loss of income and support, services, and companionship; and more.
In Raleigh and North Carolina as a whole, motorcyclists and their passengers are required to wear a helmet. This is known as a universal motorcycle helmet law, as it applies to all riders of all ages.
Additionally, North Carolina law requires that motorcycle helmets meet the standards set forth by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218. NCDMV summarizes these rules as follows:
- The inner liner of the motorcycle helmet should be approximately 1 inch thick and be made of rigid polystyrene foam.
- The back of the helmet should feature a permanent “DOT” sticker that signifies the helmet meets federal safety standards.
- The interior of the helmet should include a manufacturer’s label that lists the “name or identification, precise model, size, date of manufacture, type of shell and liner construction materials and an instruction label for cleaning and care of the helmet.”
North Carolina General Statutes § 20-140.4(c) states that a fine of $25.50 plus court costs will be assessed to anyone in violation of the helmet law. Although this might not seem like a substantial enough penalty to make a difference, studies show that universal helmet laws do reduce the incidence of serious injuries (especially traumatic brain injuries) and fatalities in motorcycle accidents.
It is important not to assume that you don’t have a motorcycle accident claim if you weren’t wearing a helmet. Not wearing a helmet could result in a ticket and worsening of injuries in the motorcycle accident, but the lack of a motorcycle helmet does not contribute to the collision itself.
The insurance adjuster may try to argue that, had you worn a helmet, the accident would have resulted in less serious injuries. However, this is a subjective opinion. You should speak to a Raleigh motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible if the insurance company tries to deny you compensation because you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
Every motorcycle accident claim is unique. Some cases may be resolved within a few months, while others can take a year or more to come to a conclusion.
What is crucial to know after a motorcycle accident is how long you have to make a claim. The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim (including those involving motorcycle accidents) is 3 years (see North Carolina General Statutes § 1-52). Failure to file a lawsuit within this time limit will likely result in your case being barred, leaving you with no recourse to seek compensation.
A number of different factors can lead to your motorcycle accident case taking longer to resolve. These include the availability of evidence, the severity and complexity of your injuries, issues of disputed liability, the willingness of the defense to compensate you fairly, and more.
It is crucial to start working with a Raleigh motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Our attorneys can protect your legal rights, move negotiations with the insurance company forward, and determine when and if it is time to file a lawsuit.
Motorcycle accidents can take an enormous physical toll on the rider. Serious injuries are common and some motorcyclists even sustain permanent disability as a result of the crash.
The physical effects of a motorcycle accident are fairly well-known. However, the mental and emotional impact of a serious wreck is not often discussed. Severely injured riders are likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is characterized by intrusive, recurring thoughts of a traumatic experience (such as a motorcycle accident). Symptoms of the condition commonly include:
- Flashbacks of the traumatic event
- Distressing dreams in which the patient “relives” the experience
- “Triggers” associated with the event (e.g., feelings of fear when thinking about riding a motorcycle)
- Changes in cognition and memory
- Changes in behavior and personality
Any type of motor vehicle accident can lead to PTSD and other psychological issues. However, the high rate of serious injuries and the lengthy recovery involved after a motorcycle accident both make motorcyclists who have been in a crash more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress.
If you have been diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder after a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. This includes economic damages for the cost of treating PTSD (i.e., psychotherapy, medications, etc.) as well as non-economic damages for the feelings of distress and anguish you endure.
The damages associated with PTSD after a motorcycle accident can be difficult to quantify. A Raleigh motorcycle accident lawyer at the Whitley Law Firm can review your medical records, speak to your doctors, and consult expert witnesses to build a strong claim on your behalf and pursue the full compensation you are due.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV) collects annual statistics on all types of motor vehicle accidents in the state, including collisions involving motorcycles. According to the North Carolina 2020 Traffic Crash Facts report (2020 being the most recent edition), there were 3,306 motorcycle accidents statewide in 2020. That year, motorcycle accidents in North Carolina resulted in 178 fatalities and more than 3,000 injuries.
From 2016 to 2020 (the last 5 years of data collected by the NCDMV), the number of motorcycle accidents in Wake County stayed relatively steady. On average, Raleigh and other areas of Wake County see 247 motorcycle accidents every year. These crashes result in approximately 240 injuries and 8 fatalities annually.
Predictably, motorcycle accidents are at their highest in the summer months and early fall. From May to October, motorcyclists need to take all necessary safety precautions to reduce the risk of an accident.
Many insurance companies have preconceived notions regarding the fault in motorcycle accidents. They frequently blame motorcyclists under a misplaced assumption that riding a motorcycle equates to a level of assumed risk on the roads. A Raleigh motorcycle accident lawyer at our firm can take the time to explain your rights and how we can go about negotiating with the insurance company to obtain a settlement that serves your current best interests and needs you may have in the future.
Contact Whitley Law Firm
A Raleigh motorcycle accident attorney at Whitley Law Firm can provide comprehensive advice and guidance to injured motorcyclists in Raleigh and throughout many other communities in North Carolina.
What Whitley Law Firm offers its clients:
- Skilled litigation attorneys
- More than 80 years of combined legal experience
- A free case evaluation
- An offer to work on a contingency fee agreement
- Law offices in Raleigh and other parts of the state
If you have been in a motorcycle accident, then you need to speak with a personal injury attorney. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.