Hurt in a Motorcycle Crash?
Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Represents Victims of Driver Negligence
Motorcycles provide relatively little protection for their riders, as compared to cars and trucks. As a result, motorcycle accident injuries are often much more serious than those caused by other collisions. North Carolina law does include several regulations to promote motorcycle safety. However, many times negligent drivers cause motorcycle accidents by driving recklessly or failing to yield the right of way to motorcyclists. Often, distracted or negligent motorists may overlook motorcycles altogether, causing serious and potentially fatal crashes.
Were you injured in a motorcycle crash? Did you lose a loved one in a fatal motorcycle accident? Did a negligent driver argue that he or she did not see you, or blame you for a collision? If so, an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve. At Riddle & Brantley, LLP, our attorneys do not accept excuses for motorcycle crashes. We aggressively represent victims of motorcycle wrecks to recover compensation from the responsible party. We have even represented motorcycle passengers who have sustained serious injuries in these types of crashes. In one such case, we obtained a settlement of $1.05 million for a guest passenger whose severe motorcycle accident injuries resulted when the driver lost control of the bike. However, every case is different, and past successes do not guarantee future results.
Our Experience Representing Victims of Motorcycle Accidents
One of the main challenges of any type of motor vehicle accident case is proving fault. Often, the police officer who responds to a car vs. motorcycle crash will cite the at-fault driver, typically the other motorist. However, sometimes the motorcyclist cannot make a statement due to severe injuries or wrongful death. When this happens, we work with our investigators, some of whom are retired N.C. State Highway Patrol officers, to locate witnesses and take photos of the scene. This can help us prove that the operator of the vehicle violated the rules of the road and was at fault.
In some wrongful death cases, our attorneys can assist surviving family members in obtaining criminal charges against the at-fault driver. In North Carolina, negligent drivers who cause fatal motorcycle accidents usually face charges of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. However, if the operator of the vehicle was impaired, he or she could face much more serious charges. We have appeared in court on behalf of family members and also support family members during the criminal case and disposition of the charges.
What Are the Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries?
Most of the motorcycle accident injuries our attorneys have seen involve crashes at intersections. In these cases, the operator of another vehicle typically either runs a stop sign or traffic signal or pulls into the path of the motorcyclist. The result of this kind of driver negligence is often a motorcycle crash. Sometimes, a motorcyclist may attempt to “lay down” the bike to avoid such a collision, which can also cause injuries.
Although some motorcycle accidents result in soft tissue injuries, such as road rash, it is far more common that a collision between a motorcycle and a vehicle is so devastating that the result is permanent, traumatic injuries or wrongful death. Some of the most common motorcycle accident injuries include:
What Are the Motorcycle Laws in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, motorcyclists must follow the same basic rules of the road as operators of other vehicles. However, there are several laws which pertain specifically to motorcyclists.
Most operators of vehicles may not know that the law entitles a motorcycle to the full use of a lane, just like any car or truck. Therefore, no motor vehicle shall be driven in such a manner as to deprive any motorcycle of the full use of that lane. In addition, two motorcycles may lawfully operate abreast in one single lane at the same time. However, motorcyclists shall not ride more than two abreast in one single lane. (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-146.1).
North Carolina also requires that motorcyclists keep both the headlamps and rear lamps their bikes illuminated at all times while the motorcycle is in operation on the highways or other public vehicular areas. (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-129).
Most importantly, North Carolina requires all motorcyclists and moped drivers to wear safety helmets. These helmets must comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Likewise, this law limits the number of passengers on the motorcycle or moped to the number of persons it was designed to carry. (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-140.4).
Motorcycle Safety Tips for Riding in North Carolina
As a motorcyclist, there are a few things that you can do to decrease your chances of being in an accident, especially a single-vehicle crash. Common hazards that you may encounter include:
- Uneven surfaces. Broken pavement, bumps, potholes and debris in the road can create dangerous driving conditions. Try to avoid these obstacles by slowing down and going around them. If you cannot go around an obstacle like this, then approach it as close to a 90 degree angle as possible. Slow down and keep the motorcycle in an upright position. Also rise slightly off the seat with your weight on the foot pegs; absorb the shock with your elbows and knees. Just before you hit the uneven ground, slightly roll on the throttle. This will lighten the front end. After a hard impact, pull off to the side of the road (when safe); check the bike for any damage.
- Wet surfaces. Wet pavement, gravel, mud, snow and ice are all tough surfaces to ride on since there is little traction. Steel plates, manhole covers and lane markings are also slippery when wet. To ride safely on wet surfaces, reduce your speed, avoid sudden moves and use both brakes. Make sure to squeeze the front brake slowly so the front wheel does not lock. Also, use gentle pressure on the back brake. When it rains, ride in the tire marks left by other vehicles; the middle of the lane may be very wet.
- Ice and snow. Try to avoid roads covered in ice and snow. If you must go out on an icy surface, then drive slowly. If possible, coast very slowly and stay off the brakes. Attempting this maneuver at any speed other than the slowest of speeds could be very dangerous. Additionally, stay alert for black ice and slippery patches that may be difficult to see.
- Railroad tracks. Should you be riding over railroad tracks or pavement seams, it is safer to ride straight within your lane. Turning to take tracks head-on at is dangerous. This path could carry you into another lane of traffic. Cross any track or road seam that runs parallel to you at a 45 degree angle. After crossing, make a sharp, quick turn back into your lane. Edging across the tracks could catch your tires and throw your motorcycle off balance.
- Grooves or bridge gratings. Maintain a steady speed and ride straight across these kinds of surfaces. You may feel uneasy and your motorcycle may wander slightly, but know that this is usually not hazardous. If you cross at an angle it may cause your bike to zigzag, creating a dangerous situation
Riddle & Brantley, LLP wants all drivers on the road to drive safely, including motorcycle riders. However, if you are involved in a motorcycle accident in North Carolina, then our attorneys are here to help.
Hurt in a Motorcycle Crash? Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
At Riddle & Brantley, LLP, we handle all types of motorcycle accident cases involving injuries from road rash and broken bones to catastrophic brain and spinal cord injuries. As a team of dedicated lawyers and staff, we consider the full impact of these injuries when fighting for compensation. This includes past and future medical expenses as well as lost wages, pain and suffering and more.
Whether a negligent driver forced your bike off the road or caused a collision, we can help. Our lawyers will work hard to protect your rights and explain your legal options. When Justice Counts®, we can guide you through your insurance claim and/or personal injury lawsuit.
If your injuries prevent you from coming to one of our North Carolina offices in Raleigh, Jacksonville, Kinston or Goldsboro, our attorneys or representatives will visit you in the hospital or at home. We also offer flexible appointment times and are available 24 hours a day, every day, to answer your questions.
To learn more about our law firm, we welcome you to contact us at (800) 525-7111. Otherwise, simply complete the a free case evaluation form.