When is a Motorcyclist at Fault for an Accident?

Motorcyclists can be found at fault for an accident if they have done something negligent that contributed to the crash.

Drivers of other vehicles commonly attempt to blame motorcycle operators for driving recklessly and causing crashes that result, but motorcyclists are not always at fault. There are many situations where another party is at fault and can therefore be held liable for the injuries and damages a motorcyclist suffered.

Motorcycles offer little protection; a crash brings increased likelihood of serious injuries, including paralysis, loss of limbs, traumatic head injuries, and even death. The lives of survivors and their families may be changed forever, and medical expenses for ongoing treatments and care pile up at a time when the victim may no longer be able to work.

If you or a loved one has been injured or someone has died in a motorcycle crash in North Carolina that was not your fault, a motorcycle accident lawyer  at Lakota Denton can help you get compensation for your losses through insurance or a personal injury lawsuit. While no amount of money can make up for the suffering that comes with a catastrophic injury, a settlement can help by easing your financial burdens and paying for rehabilitation and care.

North Carolina personal injury laws are complicated, and the state has negligence laws that make it essential to prove that the other party was at fault. At this difficult time, when you are struggling to recover from the aftermath of the crash, Asheville personal injury attorney Lakota Denton can take the burden off you by handling all dealings with insurers and the legal hurdles and requirements involved with getting you compensation so you can concentrate on getting on with your life.

Other Parties Will Try to Prove a Motorcycle Rider at Fault

Our motorcycle accident attorneys will help you prove you were not at fault and find all parties who were.

One of the most important things to do when pursuing any claim for compensation is to determine who is responsible for your injuries. This is especially true in North Carolina, because it is one of the four states that use the doctrine of pure contributory negligence (NC Gen. Stat. §1-139).  This means that if you were even 1% at fault, the insurance company may not be legally obligated to compensate you for your injuries. For this reason, it is especially important not to say anything that may indicate that you were at fault or even talk to insurance companies, as they will hold anything you say against you. Instead, let your attorney handle all communications with insurers or anyone associated with your case.

When you hire Lakota Denton, we will get to work immediately investigating your case and looking for evidence to prove you were not at fault. We can help by:

  • Listening to your version of how the accident happened.
  • Investigating the accident scene to gather evidence, such as from tire track marks, photographs, dashcam video, and traffic and security camera footage
  • Hiring experts to reconstruct the accident and testify on your behalf
  • Interviewing eyewitnesses and first responders
  • Examining police, ambulance, hospital and medical records and reports
  • Getting expert opinions from medical professionals, therapists, and life-care specialists as to how your injuries affect you now and into the future and the care which will be necessary
  • Locating all potential defendants who may have been at fault for causing your injuries
  • Handling all communications and negotiations with insurance companies and their attorneys
  • Taking your case to court and arguing on your behalf if necessary.

When Could a Motorcycle Driver be at Fault?

To legally be considered “at fault,” a motorcyclist, driver of another vehicle, or other party must have acted negligently. In a personal injury case, this means that they failed to exercise the amount of caution that a reasonable person would have used in the situation.

Proving fault means showing the following four elements existed:

    • Duty of care – All motorists must follow the rules of the road and drive safely to try to prevent accidents from occurring.
    • Breach of duty – The at-fault party breached this duty of care by actions such as speeding or failing to follow traffic rules.
    • Causation – These negligent actions caused the accident that resulted in your injury.
    • Damages – You suffered damages such as medical bills and destroyed property because of the accident.

    While drivers of other vehicles often try to claim the motorcycle was speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, or otherwise at fault for causing the accident, there are many instances when other parties are to blame. Examples include:

    • Drivers turn left in front of the motorcycle at an intersection
    • Drivers fail to yield the right of way to a motorcycle
    • Drivers cut off the motorcycle while switching lanes
    • Drivers hit a motorcycle head-on while trying to pass another car
    • Someone opens a vehicle door and hits an approaching motorcycle
    • Distracted, impaired, or speeding drivers hit a motorcycle
    • Drivers fail to check blind spots or keep a proper lookout for motorcycles
    • The accident was caused by faulty equipment or roads that were in disrepair.

    Other Possible At-fault Parties After a Motorcycle Accident

    It is important to identify all parties who may be legally liable for the motorcycle accident, as they all may have insurance and assets which can go toward a settlement.

    Possible parties who may be at fault include:

    • The driver of another vehicle involved in the accident
    • The manufacturer of the motorcycle or its parts, if there was a problem with the equipment
    • The manufacturer of defective safety equipment or helmets that failed
    • The government entity responsible for the maintenance of the road if the accident was caused by a hazard in the roadway
    • The maintenance repair company if equipment or debris was left in the roadway
    • The motorcycle rental company or the owner of a borrowed motorcycle
    • The repair shop responsible for inspecting, repairing and maintaining the motorcycle.

    Damage Awards a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help You Recover

    At Lakota Denton, our legal team will do everything possible to show you are not at fault and win an award that covers your damages – the losses you sustained from your injury. In North Carolina, you may receive payment for compensatory damages, which cover both economic and non-economic damages.

    Economic damages are for your costs that have a specific dollar value, such as:

    • Medical, rehabilitation, and continuing care costs
    • Wage losses, current and future if you are unable to work
    • Property damages
    • Costs to modify a home for a wheelchair or other adaptive equipment which may be necessary.

    Non-economic damages are for less tangible losses that are difficult to put a dollar value on, such as:

    • Pain and suffering
    • Emotional distress and mental anguish
    • Loss of enjoyment of life and consortium.

    In some rare cases where the defendant acted in a way that was malicious, willful, or especially egregious, you may also receive punitive damages. These are to punish a defendant and serve as an example to discourage such behavior from reoccurring in the future.

    Amounts of Damage Awards

    There is a wide range of damage awards you can win in a motorcycle accident case, depending on the factors involved. Considerations will be made for:

    • The seriousness, extent, and permanence of your injuries
    • The costs involved
    • Whether you will need continuing care
    • Whether you can return to work and the amount you can be projected to have earned had the accident not taken place
    • Your age and family situation
    • Whether there was a death involved
    • The skill of your attorney to negotiate with insurance and argue your case in front of a judge or jury
    • The availability of insurance and assets of the defendants
    • The individual jurisdiction, judge, and jury for your case.

    At Lakota Denton, we will take all your costs and damages into consideration when coming up with what we believe is a fair settlement amount and fight aggressively to have all your damages covered.

    Steps to Take When Your Motorcycle Accident is Not Your Fault

    Your motorcycle lawyer in Asheville, NC, knows what to do to avoid costly mistakes when your accident is someone else’s fault.

    Contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled personal injury lawyer will guide you through getting the proper medical treatment and ensuring that everything will be paid by the responsible party.

    Get medical assistance and report all symptoms. A doctor’s record documenting your injuries and showing exactly what you were feeling soon after the incident is essential for your legal case.

    Don’t talk to the insurance company if they call. Never talk to an insurance company about your injury without first talking to a lawyer. Insurance companies are out for profit and will try to get you to say something to show that you were at fault, and they use tactics to get you to settle for the lowest amount possible. Let Lakota Denton handle all dealings and negotiations with insurance companies.

    Keep a journal of your symptoms. This may be used for evidence in your case.

    Consistently follow up with medical treatment. Follow your doctor’s advice closely, and keep reporting all your symptoms.

    Call Our Experienced Attorney in Asheville for Help Today

    If you or a family member has been involved in a motorcycle accident in North Carolina, let Lakota Denton fight for compensation you deserve.  Lakota Denton has a proven track record of successfully taking similar cases to trial and obtaining verdicts from juries.

    You can count on honest and hardworking representation when you trust Lakota Denton with your case. We strive to ensure that our clients are fully and appropriately compensated for their injuries, their pain and suffering, and the effects that their injuries have had on their work and family life.

    There are no fees to you unless and until we win your case.

    Don’t delay.  In North Carolina, there is a statute of limitations, a deadline for filing personal injury cases that generally gives an injured person three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. Once this deadline expires, the courts are unlikely to hear your case. (N.C. Gen. Stat. section 1-52).

    Call Lakota Denton at 828-333-5996 for help today. We offer a free consultation to discuss your individual situation, so call to discuss the benefits you deserve. There are no fees to you unless and until we win your case.

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