Motorcycles offer riders a sense of freedom and adventure that’s hard to find anywhere else. Unfortunately, that freedom comes at a price: motorcycles provide very little protection during a collision.
If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries during a motorcycle accident and someone else’s negligent behavior caused the crash, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. However, motorcycle cases are complex, and there are lots of factors that can affect the value of your claim. Read on to learn about four important factors that could significantly impact the outcome of your motorcycle accident case.
1. The Amount of Insurance Coverage Will Impact Your Ability to Get Compensation
North Carolina is a fault-based state. In other words, the law in our state says that a negligent driver is financially responsible for the injuries he or she causes in an auto accident. If you are a motorcycle driver or rider and you get hit by a negligent driver, your injuries are likely to be much more severe than if you were in a car.
For this reason, motorcycle riders and all other vehicle owners in North Carolina must carry a minimum amount of motor vehicle insurance. All motor vehicles, including motorcycles, must have coverage of at least:
- $30,000 per person for bodily injury claims, up to $60,000 per accident
- $25,000 for property damage claims
- $30,000 per person in uninsured bodily injury coverage, up to $60,000 per accident
- $25,000 for uninsured property damage claims
While many drivers opt for higher policy limits, about 6.5% of North Carolina drivers are completely uninsured, and many more carry only the minimum coverage.
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If you’re injured in a serious motorcycle accident, your damages can quickly exceed the minimum coverage limits mandated by North Carolina law. For example, a spinal surgery such as a fusion or laminectomy can easily cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that doesn’t even include the costs of post-surgical physical therapy and pain management.
When a negligent driver doesn’t have sufficient insurance to pay for your lost income, medical bills, and other damages, your uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage should cover your injuries, up to your policy limits. Because of the prevalence of uninsured and underinsured drivers in North Carolina, we encourage all drivers to purchase a motorcycle or auto insurance policy with UM/UIM limits that are above the state minimum.
2. You’ll Need Strong Evidence Supporting Your Claims
The amount of the recovery for your motorcycle accident claim will depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding the crash. Because insurance companies are for-profit companies, they look for any reason they can find to dispute motorcycle claims and make unreasonably low settlement offers. You’ll need compelling evidence to fight back against these tactics.
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You should always treat your motorcycle claim as if it’s going to trial. This means compiling all the evidence that tells the story of how you got hurt and your subsequent medical treatment, including:
- Medical records that document your injuries, treatment, and functional limitations
- Estimates of your need for future medical treatment
- Witness statements
- Accident reports, crash investigation data, and accident reconstructions
- Lost income calculations
- Engineering assessments of defective car and motorcycle parts
- Documentation of how your quality of life changed after the crash
It’s also important to understand the weaknesses in your claim. For example, North Carolina is a contributory negligence state. You might lose your right to compensation if your own actions, such as failing to observe traffic laws, contributed to your injuries. This is why it’s especially important to work with an experienced attorney who can anticipate a contributory negligence defense and fight back with convincing evidence.
3. You Must File a Timely Claim
No matter how strong your claim is, it’s worthless once the statute of limitations expires. A statute of limitations is a filing deadline established by state law. If you file after the statute of limitations, the court will automatically reject your claim. In North Carolina, you typically must file your motorcycle accident claims within three years of the crash or within two years if the crash resulted in death.
However, you should never wait until the last minute to file a claim. Before a personal injury lawyer files a motorcycle accident claim, he or she must carefully investigate the facts, compile evidence, and assess the value of your claims. This isn’t a quick and easy process.
If you wait too long, you might struggle to find an experienced lawyer who will take your case. You also might lose valuable evidence as memories fade and records are destroyed. For all these reasons, you should consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible after a crash.
4. An Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Increase Your Chances of Getting a Fair Settlement
Insurance companies deny claims and make low-ball offers to victims to increase their own profits. Even though the claims adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company might seem friendly and concerned, he or she is actively looking for reasons to dispute or devalue your claim. And when accident victims handle their own motorcycle claims, it’s easy for them to make mistakes.
Your claim requires a careful analysis of the facts, medical records, and legal issues surrounding the crash and your injuries. At Myers Law Firm, we believe that crash victims should focus on their recovery and let an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer handle the intricacies of their claims. We guide our clients through every step of the litigation process with the goal of maximizing their recovery and supporting them as they heal from the injuries and trauma they’ve suffered.
RELATED ARTICLE: How Do I Know if the Insurance Company’s Settlement Offer Is Fair?
Myers Law Firm: Fighting for Motorcycle Accident Victims in Charlotte and Throughout Mecklenburg County
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed after a motorcycle accident. If you or a loved one are struggling after a serious crash, contact the experienced lawyers at Myers Law Firm. We provide our clients with compassionate advice and aggressive representation, and we handle all personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis, so you won’t pay attorney’s fees unless we help you get financial compensation for your injuries. To schedule your free initial consultation today, fill out our easy online contact form or call us at 888-376-2889.
Facts and statistics: Uninsured drivers. (n.d.). Insurance Information Institute. Retrieved from https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-uninsured-motorists
Wolters Kluwer Health. (2015, September 1). Big differences in U.S. healthcare costs for fixing back pain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150901121052.htm
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject