Motorcycle Accidents and Injuries
Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer
Thursday, June 4 marked another motorcycle fatality in North Carolina. When the driver of a minivan rear-ended the vehicle in front of him, it pushed the leading vehicle into oncoming traffic and directly into the path of a motorcyclist heading outbound on South Boulevard in Charlotte.
Earlier this year in Johnson County, a motorcyclist was killed when a government contractor pulled out in front of him on Thanksgiving Fire Road east of Clayton. And last year, of the sixty motorcyclists participating in a charity ride were involved in a multiple-vehicle accident when a beach ball was thrown at or blown into the motorcyclists.
Risk and Responsibility in Motorcycle Accidents
In 2008, North Carolina ranked eighth nationwide for motorcycle accident rates, according to AAA. In 2012, motorcycles, mopeds, and motor scooters or motor bikes made up roughly one percent of all crashes in North Carolina, yet comprised over nine percent of the fatalities. Though the 2013 statistics touted an 8.1% decrease in the number of motorcyclists killed, as a class, deaths among motorcyclists, moped drivers, and those on motor scooters or motor bikes actually increased, while the percentage of such accidents relative to total accidents in North Carolina actually dropped.
The exposed nature of a motorcycle leaves its riders dramatically more vulnerable to injury. But whether motorcyclists are more frequently responsible for collisions or accidents during operation remains unclear. N.C. Governors Safety Highway Program traffic records coordinator John Stokes concluded that improper riding skills were a factor in 51 percent of the crash fatalities involving motorcycles from 2005 to 2008. However, a 2003 study by the National Highway Safety Administration suggested that in accidents involving both cars and motorcycles, the drivers of the automobiles were either solely or more responsible for the accident than the motorcyclist fully 80% of the time.
Limits on Recovery for Injuries in North Carolina
North Carolina differs from most states with respect to how fault impacts the amount of damages an injured party will receive. North Carolina is one of only four states still enforcing a “pure” contributory negligence or fault scheme. What that means is that in North Carolina, if the motorcyclist is even slightly at fault—even one percent responsible for an accident—he or she is not entitled to recover damages from the party who was ninety-nine percent at fault. (Many states, including South Carolina allow recovery by an injured party as long as his or her responsibility for the accident is not greater than that of the person he or she is suing. The amount the injured party will recover is simply reduced by his or her own level of fault, represented by a percentage established by the judge or jury.) For that reason, a motorcyclist injured in an accident needs a lawyer who will ensure that fault will properly be assigned exclusively to the driver of the vehicle involved in an accident.
Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law:
The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability. We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly. Call 877-BICE-877 today or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.