Motorcycle accidents are, unfortunately, not infrequent in North Carolina. According to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, there were 3,566 motorcycle accidents in 2018. Of those crashes, 2,806 involved injuries, and 176 resulted in fatalities.
Motorcycles are a popular mode of transportation throughout the country. In North Carolina, motorcyclists travel along the roads every day, especially during the warm summer months. It’s a thrilling experience for bike enthusiasts, but it comes with risks. With no airbag or seatbelt, an accident can cause life-threatening injuries.
In the wake of your accident, you might be facing an ever-increasing stack of medical bills as well as lost wages, if your injuries prevent you from working. If this is your situation, it’s important to hire an experienced Monroe, NC, motorcycle accident attorney to help you with your case.
Don’t hesitate to contact DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P., to speak with one of our motorcycle accident attorneys. You might be entitled to compensation for the damages you incurred. Whether your injury is minor or severe, it’s your right to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions.
To find out more information about our legal services and how we can help you, call us at (704) 291-9200 to schedule a free consultation. Our award-winning, knowledgeable attorneys will listen to your story and review your legal rights and options.
Why Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
Motorcyclists enjoy taking their bikes out for a ride when the weather is beautiful, and the sun is shining. It’s an exhilarating experience and a convenient way to get around. Unfortunately, it can be a dangerous form of transportation. Despite taking necessary precautions, motorcyclists can’t protect themselves from outside elements. If you collide with a car or truck, you could get ejected and suffer debilitating injuries to your head, neck, or back.
Many drivers don’t notice when there’s a motorcycle next to them because of its smaller size. If a driver merges into your lane or attempts to make a turn, they might not see you. Most motorcycle accidents happen because of the other driver’s negligence.
Common negligent behaviors include:
- Failure to check blind spots
- Driver error or inattention
- Passing too closely
- Failure to yield the right of way
Even if you ride safely, there are motorists around you who might not notice you near them or fail to follow traffic laws. It’s essential that you always pay attention to your surroundings and don’t assume other people know you’re riding next to them.
How DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P., Can Help After Your Motorcycle Accident in Monroe, NC
Our Monroe, NC, motorcycle accident attorneys might be able to represent you in your case. When you hire us, we’ll open an investigation into the crash and locate evidence that proves the other party’s negligence.
The relevant evidence we’ll obtain includes:
- Crash reports
- Statements from witnesses
- Video surveillance
- Photos of the crash site and damage to your bike and the other vehicles involved
- Pictures of visible injuries
- Copies of your medical records and medical bills
- Copies of the negligent driver’s liability insurance policy
North Carolina operates under a fault system, which means the person liable for a motor vehicle accident becomes financially responsible for resulting injuries and damages. Typically, you can recover compensation from their auto liability insurance.
It’s a legal requirement for all drivers to carry liability coverage. On the policy, there are limits for bodily injury and property damage. Those limits can cover damage to your motorcycle, medical bills, lost wages, and additional expenses you incurred. We can file an insurance claim on your behalf with the at-fault party’s liability insurance company and negotiate a settlement.
The Differences Between an Insurance Claim and a Lawsuit
When an injured person files an insurance claim or a lawsuit, the goal is to win a monetary award that pays for their damages. There are some differences between the two methods of pursuing compensation.
An insurance claim gets filed with the insurance company. You could file a claim with your insurance, but if the other driver carries a policy, you should seek a settlement from them first. After filing the claim, there’s a process you’ll need to follow:
- Submit documentation to the insurance company
- The insurance adjuster will review everything you send them
- They will either approve or deny the claim
- If approved, you can negotiate a settlement up to the limits listed on the policy
- If denied, you can file a lawsuit against them and the liable driver
Most people will attempt to negotiate a fair settlement from an insurance claim before resorting to a lawsuit. If the insurance company denies your claim, or you’re unable to agree on adequate compensation, you can sue them if you believe you’re entitled to a settlement. You could also file a lawsuit against the other person involved in the crash and seek compensation directly from them.
In North Carolina, all lawsuits for personal injury cases, a category motorcycle accidents fall under, follow a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is three years for a motor vehicle crash. That means you have three years from the date of your accident to sue. The deadline is strict, and if you miss it, you’ll likely lose all rights to pursue a monetary award.
Damages Available in a Motorcycle Accident Claim
When you decide to move forward with an insurance claim, you’ll need to know how much your case is worth. It’s challenging to come up with an exact number; however, there are some factors the insurance company will consider when providing a settlement offer.
There are two types of damages available: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are expenses related to the crash and the treatment you require. Coming up with an appropriate value is simple because there are billing statements, invoices, and receipts to review.
On the other hand, non-economic damages are difficult to calculate. They include intangible losses, such as physical pain, caused by the crash. It’s not easy to calculate, so the insurance adjuster will use their discretion to decide how much money you deserve for your suffering.
When you file your claim, you can ask for a settlement amount that covers the following damages:
- Past and future medical costs
- Lost wages
- Motorcycle repairs
- Lost future earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
There are also punitive damages available if you choose to file a lawsuit. Punitive damages don’t compensate injured victims for their economic and non-economic damages. Instead, it’s a form of punishment against the at-fault party for their negligent actions. It also aims to prevent them from committing similar acts in the future.
There’s no limit on the amount of economic and non-economic damages you can pursue; however, North Carolina law places a cap on punitive damages. The maximum compensation you can receive is $250,000 or three times the amount of your combined economic and non-economic damages.
What Should I Do If the Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
Despite laws requiring all motorists to hold liability insurance, some don’t have any. If you get into a motorcycle accident and find out the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, you can file a claim with your insurance company.
UM stands for uninsured/underinsured motorist. It’s a type of coverage on your policy that can provide financial compensation for damages if the other person doesn’t have liability insurance. It can also supplement your damages if the liable motorist does have insurance, but their liability limits aren’t high enough. UM doesn’t cover property damage, but you can use it to reimburse medical treatment and lost wages.
Two other coverages are available on your insurance policy, although North Carolina law doesn’t require it. If you opted for PIP, you could file a claim for payment of your medical appointments. Personal injury protection (PIP) works like health insurance. You don’t have to pay any upfront costs to receive treatment. When you have an appointment, your doctor will send your bill to the insurance company for payment. You can use PIP up to the limit you chose on your policy.
MedPay is another optional coverage you could purchase. If your policy has MedPay, you can use it to pay your medical bills upfront like PIP coverage. It also comes with a limit and only covers medical costs up to the limit you chose.
How Much Does It Cost to Retain a Monroe, NC Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
If you’re worried about the cost of hiring an attorney and decide to pursue compensation alone, that could end up being a mistake. When the victim of a motorcycle accident works on their insurance claim alone, they can get taken advantage of by the insurance company. You won’t know what your rights are or the settlement amount you’re entitled to.
At DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P., we know you’re already struggling. It’s a stressful time in your life, and we don’t want to add any additional expenses to your plate. That’s why we take motorcycle accident cases on contingency. We don’t charge upfront legal fees or costs for new clients. When you hire us, you won’t owe us any money unless we settle with the insurance company or win your lawsuit.
Our Monroe, NC motorcycle accident attorneys also provide free consultations. You can meet with us for free to talk about the details surrounding your motorcycle crash. We’ll discuss your legal options and let you know how we would proceed if you hire us. If you choose to retain our services, we’ll begin working on your case immediately and try to resolve it as quickly as possible.
We Fight for Justice for Our Clients
At DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P., we care about our clients. We’ll listen to your goals and create a plan to achieve them. Our experience, knowledge, and resources allow us to win the maximum compensation available. We want to help you recover from your injuries and get back on your feet.
If you were the victim of a motorcycle accident, call (704) 291-9200 today to speak with one of our Monroe, NC, personal injury attorneys.
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