More than 3,500 auto accidents involving motorcycles occurred in North Carolina in 2013. Most of them resulted in injuries (about 3,000), and 154 resulted in death (North Carolina DMV). It is essential to be as safe as possible when operating a motorcycle. You should always wear a helmet, stay out of blind spots and remain visible to others, wear protective clothing, stay caught up with the maintenance of your motorcycle, wear light-colored and reflective clothing, and avoid weaving in and out of traffic. Other drivers may not be as mindful about your safety, however. If you find yourself in an accident you need to contact a Charlotte motorcycle accident lawyer.
Remember that a motorcycle is not as stable as other types of vehicles. It is less visible, and more likely to lead to injury or death in an accident. Should an accident occur with another car, you will need to contact a skilled personal injury lawyer in Charlotte. The attorneys at Ted A. Greve & Associates have years of experience in dealing with motor vehicle accidents of all kinds and are here to help. Just because you were riding a motorcycle does not mean that you deserve to suffer serious injuries, with no consequences for the other driver. Call our offices today at (844)387-8677 to obtain the compensation you deserve for your damages.
What Are Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
The most common cause of auto accidents involving motorcycles is driver error. It may be your error, as the operator of the motorcycle, or it may be the error of other drivers. Common causes of motorcycle accidents include drivers failing to yield to motorcycles when changing lanes, following too closely, failing to navigate with care, and driving in the motorcycle’s travel lane.
What Are Common Injuries Motorcycle Accidents Cause?
When auto accidents involve motorcycles, the injuries are often substantial, serious, and very expensive to treat. The medical bills alone can devastate the life of the victim. They are typically much higher than ordinary auto accidents and can involve multiple surgeries, years of rehabilitation, and numerous specialists to address injuries. Finally, you may be out of work for a long time and face overwhelming financial burdens while struggling with the insurance company to obtain the compensation that you are entitled to.
It is terribly common for motorcyclists to endure serious and expensive injuries, such as traumatic head injuries, road rash, biker’s arm, leg injuries, and facial disfigurement.
Traumatic Head Injuries
When the head is struck by an object or slammed into a hard surface a traumatic head can occur. The head can be punctured, damaging the brain, or the brain can be violently shaken within the skull. This can cause mild concussions or severe brain damage, depending on severity. In some cases, these injuries result in significant disability or even death.
Road rash occurs when the motorcyclist slides or is dragged across the pavement. This can happen when the operator is thrown from the bike and slides across the road when landing. This can decimate outer clothing before destroying the skin with cuts, scrapes, deep abrasions, infections, and even nerve damage in some cases.
The injury that occurs when a motorcyclist instinctively extends his or her arm to lessen the impact when throwing from the bike is referred to as biker’s arm. This instinct does little to help in a motorcycle accident and generally results in extensive arm injuries, including broken bones and damaged nerves. Leg injuries are also common motorcycle accident issues, with the knees and feet being most at risk for shattered and fractured bones. Finally, about 35% of motorcycle accidents will lead to facial disfigurement in the chin area. This happens because the face and chin are not adequately protected and can suffer the effects of sliding across the ground and/or impacting an object.
What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
There are many things that you can and should do after an auto accident involving a motorcycle in Charlotte, NC.
The first step is to seek medical assistance. Accept emergency treatment, no matter how serious you think the injuries might be. If you do not accept treatment at the scene of the accident, seek a full medical evaluation as soon as possible. If you don’t do this or if you fail to document your injuries and expenses, then you may be unable to prove them later.
Before leaving the scene of the accident, you should obtain the information of each vehicle involved and all witnesses. Take pictures of the accident, write down your version of what happened. Stay at the scene until law enforcement arrives. When they do, offer a general statement, but avoid saying anything that might indicate fault on your part. You will also likely need to obtain a copy of the police report.
Next, you’ll need to contact your insurance company to let them know about the incident, without making any statements that might indicate fault. Then, you need to contact an attorney. Because motorcycle accidents have such a significant impact, you should have legal representation when attempting to recover fair compensation. Especially if there are serious injuries, questions about fault, costly property damage, or any fatalities from the accident.
You will likely be contacted by another driver’s insurance company. When this happens, you should not answer questions or give statements without talking to a Charlotte car accident lawyer. Anything you say could be used against your claim. You should maintain all records from lost time from work, damage repairs, and medical treatment and expenses. Hold onto receipts of payments, insurance questionnaires, explanations of benefits, and all other documents that you receive.
Should I See a Doctor Even Though I Was Not Injured During a Motorcycle Accident?
No matter the perceived extent of your physical injuries, it is always a good idea to have yourself fully examined by a doctor if you have been involved in a motorcycle accident. In moments of extreme danger, the body releases adrenaline that can override your capacity to fully gage your physical conditions. This means that other injuries, possibly very serious injuries, may not be fully tangible until later. These conditions may become worse if not immediately examined by a medical professional.
Your doctor will be able to examine you for internal injuries you may have suffered in the accident but are simply not as visible or easily recognized as a broken arm, for example. Furthermore, having yourself fully examined by the doctor will help solidify your case. If you wait too long, it is possible for the insurance adjusters to suggest your injuries were not actually related to the accident. The doctor’s examination provides a solid timestamp and irrefutably connects the injuries to the accident.
What Are the Different Types of Compensation I Am Entitled to Receive After a Motorcycle Accident?
Even with the use of proper protection for the head and eyes, motorcyclists are still in danger of a wide variety of other injuries from an accident. Unlike a motorist in a car, the motorcyclist does not benefit from the variety of protective systems in an enclosed space, like side-impact airbags, seatbelts, and a cradling seat. For this reason, even a relatively minor accident means that the motorcyclist will be impacting hard pavement and suffering considerably worse injuries that will take a considerably longer time to fully recover from. If you have been injured in an accident, you are entitled to certain compensation for your injuries and damages.
When pursuing a case against another motorist for acts of negligence it is best to do so with the help and support of a qualified motor accident attorney. This professional will be able to negotiate the following types of reparation.
If you’ve been the victim of another road user’s negligence, you might want to consider working with a motorcycle accident attorney for the following types of reparation:
Compensation for economic damages will cover all medical expenses that you were forced to pay in treating injuries and fully recovering from your accident. Economic damages will also cover any wages lost because of time spent recovering rather than working. Under North Carolina Law, you are entitled to economic damages totaling the amount of cash lost in expenses and wages resulting from the accident. This is where a lawyer will be able to go over medical and salary financial records to produce an exact figure that will sufficiently cover your loss.
In addition to the economic damages incurred in an accident, it is quite likely, there is often other tangible damages that are a direct result of physical injuries incurred in the accident. Things like paralysis, disfigurement, coma and the loss of a limb are all common in motorcycle accidents and can dramatically alter a person’s life and have significant implications on their professional, personal and social future.
For these damages, there is no exact cash amount that can restore the motorcyclist to their former life, but non-economic compensation seeks to do what it can to relieve some of the financial issues their life-changing injuries will present. A reputable motorcycle accident attorney can help to quantify these numbers and protect your interests in this complex case.
In other cases, the at-fault driver may be punished with punitive damages which are applied for the sole purpose of punishing the other motorist. These damages are often awarded if the motorcyclist has suffered extreme injuries and lifelong impairment. For these situations, it is very important to work with a lawyer that has extensive experience in working with these cases and has the resources and skill to establish outright negligence or malicious intent.
Compensation for any of these damages is possible, but much of the details will be determined by the specifics of the accident and the extent of injuries and damages. Never forget that claims for compensation for injuries and damages must be made before their respective deadlines.
What Determines the Value of My Case?
No two accidents are exactly the same and there will be many individual factors that determine the value of every individual case. Some of the factors include:
- Severity and nature of injuries
- Aggravating factors such as drunk or reckless driving
- Permanent impairment, disfigurement, injury, or scarring
- Amount of insurance coverage available
- Amount of wages lost
- Cost of medical bills
- Rider’s contribution to the accident
- Recovery time
In order to build a solid case, it is imperative that your lawyers are working with all the details to properly calculate your coverage. The amount of coverage you can receive is the most important factor in a case like his and this is why it is important that all the details are collected and properly introduced to the case by a professional lawyer. You can see some of our motorcycle safety tips that include pointers on maximizing the amount of cover you can expect from a case.
How Can a Motorcycle Accidents Lawyer Benefit My Compensation Claim?
In addition to experienced advice as well as a professional perspective on your advantages and disadvantages in seeking settlement or pursuing legislation, your motorcycle injury lawyer will be able to properly file your claim within the necessary deadline laid down by the law requirements of the State of North Carolina.
Motorcycle accidents occurring in and around the city of Charlotte are given a two-year time frame in which the plaintiff must file a motor vehicle accident claim. Four years are given to file claims for property damage. If you are considering hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer, you can discern their level of professionalism if they are sure to inform you of these important deadlines.
If you hope to discuss making a claim for compensation from the insurance providers of the other driver involved in the accident, it is best to do so with a working knowledge of the comparative negligence rule (used to determine the percentage of fault in an accident. Imagine you were at least partly to blame for the accident, a good lawyer will be a considerable benefit in negotiating this crucial detail. Attempting to negotiate this without experience and knowledge of motorcycle accident law can be especially difficult.
Furthermore, any case made to claim your coverage will only be as strong as the quality evidence that supports it. A qualified and experienced motorcycle accident attorney will have the capacity to gather the right evidence to build a strong case in your favor. This may require a variety of different operations including accessing police documents and conducting other investigative work.
One such operation will be revisiting the scene of the accident with an expert who can recreate the event and provide an authority’s testimony. Your lawyer may also interview eyewitnesses and examine other evidence such as the pictures of the accident itself, the position of the bike and any traffic signals in the vicinity.
Finally, your attorney may also offer you counsel and emotional support on certain particulars relating to the aftermath of this event. They may even make resources available to aid you during this recovery period. Working with a personal injury attorney you trust and feel good about is important to maximizing the benefits of a legal professional.
How Much Do Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Charge?
A reputable motorcycle accident lawyer will often work on what is known as a “contingency fee”. This plan considers that the aftermath of an accident is always an especially difficult time financially. The contingency fee means that unless the case is actually a success and your compensation is granted, neither you, the client, nor your lawyers will make any cash at all. This means that you are not charged for their full examination of your case, expert representation and negotiations or any of the other resources they may invest into your case –– unless we win, then we all win together.
Because, the client is not asked to pay anything upfront or later down the line, financial concerns should not be an obstacle to professional representation from a qualified motorcycle accident lawyer.
How Long Do Motorcycle Crash Cases Take to Settle?
This can vary from case to case as well. In our experience, we have found that a motorcycle accident case is typically settled within 8 months. But some can take as long as a few years and others are completed within a few weeks. The Charlotte motorcycle accident lawyers at Ted A. Greve & Associates will always do our best to bring these cases to a full conclusion as fast as possible.
What to Look for in a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you were hurt in a motorcycle crash, it is important to speak with a motorcycle accident lawyer Charlotte, NC residents trust. An attorney knows the true value of your case and can help you go after the compensation you deserve. Choosing the right lawyer to handle your case can be tricky. Here are some important qualities to look for in a motorcycle accident lawyer.
- Specific experience. First and foremost, it is critical to find a lawyer with experience. The lawyer you hire should have specific experience handling motorcycle accident claims. He or she will be aware of the unique laws in your state and know the true value of your claim.
- Honest. It is also important to choose a lawyer who is completely honest with you. Your lawyer should not just tell you what you want to hear. If there are weaknesses in your case, your lawyer should be upfront with you from the beginning. Also, he or she should be honest about fees. There should not be any surprise fees along the way.
- Good communication skills. The lawyer you hire should also know how to communicate well. He or she should be able to explain complicated legal jargon into language you can understand and take the time to answer all of your questions. Your lawyer should also be able to reach and return your messages in a timely manner.
- Strong negotiation skills. Many motorcycle accident cases get settled out of court. Your Charlotte, NC motorcycle accident lawyer may spend a lot of time negotiating a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Insurance companies care about their bottom line first, so they may not be willing to give up a fair settlement so easily. That is why it is crucial to find a lawyer who has strong negotiation skills. He or she should know the true value of your case and not get intimidated by the insurance company’s tactics.
- Compassionate. Getting into a motorcycle accident can be a traumatic experience. These accidents often result in serious injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, broken bones and road rash, that require a long recovery time. A motorcycle accident can also cause you to develop emotional injuries, like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. As such, it is helpful to work with a lawyer who is compassionate about your situation. He or she should understand that you are going through a tough time and offer words of encouragement.
- Trial experience. Although most motorcycle accident claims get settled out of court, there is always a chance that your case can go to trial. If the at-fault party’s insurance company is not willing to offer you the compensation you deserve, it may be in your best interest to take your case to trial. Therefore, it is important to hire a Charlotte motorcycle accident lawyer who has trial experience. He or she should feel comfortable presenting your case in front of a judge and jury.
Schedule Your Consultation with Our Trusted Charlotte Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today
Remember that motorcycle accidents are not like ordinary car accidents. There are differences in the injuries and the losses. You’ll want to have an experienced Charlotte motorcycle accident lawyer who knows the ins and outs of motorcycle accident cases. Contact Ted A. Greve & Associates at (844)387-8677 to fight for your right to recover compensation.