Motorcycle Accident FAQs

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, in 2012, there were more than 4,250 motorcycle accidents reported throughout the state. That’s nearly 12 accidents per day. When an accident happens, most victims and their families are left with unanswered questions such as how could this happen, why did this happen, and what are my legal rights?

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Motorcycle Accident

What are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents?

In a motorcycle accident the driver or motorcyclist can be at-fault for the crash. Some common causes include drivers entering the rider’s right of way, speeding, driver distractions, bad roads, and reckless driving.

Is lane splitting legal?

Even though riders can share a lane in North Carolina, lane splitting is illegal. Lane splitting allows a motorcycle to ride between cars travelling in the same direction and this is not only dangerous but illegal in North Carolina.

What happens when a driver is involved in a hit-and-run motorcycle collision?

Following a hit-and-run crash, the victim should try to immediately recall and record any information about the accident, including the color, make and model of the vehicle that fled, and any descriptive information about the driver. Filing a report with the police is wise, as it could help quicken the claims process. Finally, if the victim has adequate insurance coverage, they will have to deal with their own insurer to cover property damage, medical expenses and more.

What are some statistics on motorcycle accidents?

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation notes that about 73% of fatal motorcycle accidents occurred on a curve and about 50% were alcohol-related. In North Carolina, the Department of Transportation found that in 2012, crashes peaked in June. An average of 150 fatal motorcycle crashes happen on NC roads annually.

Are sports bikes more dangerous than other types of motorcycles?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, those who drive super-sport motorcycles only make up a small fraction of registered bikers. However, based on the number of registered motorcycles, the rate of death amongst super-sport bike riders is 4 times as high as the rate of death among cruiser and standard bike riders.

Are riders in North Carolina required to wear helmets?

Yes, all riders must wear a helmet.

What if the other vehicle involved in the motorcycle accident was uninsured/underinsured?

If the vehicle that caused your motorcycle accident was uninsured/underinsured, it may be up to your insurer to cover the property damage and medical expenses that you incurred. However, the victim will have to ensure that they have such coverage under their policy. In some cases your insurer may even fight against you and provide inadequate coverage. Having a knowledgeable attorney on your side can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.

If I’m a motorcyclist, how can I best protect myself?

Along with abiding by the rules of the road, motorcyclists can better protect themselves by wearing protective gear such as a motorcycle jacket and gloves along with a helmet. Long-time motorcycle riders may also wish to refresh their skills by taking a motorcycle safety course.

Statute of Limitations – How long do I have to file a motorcycle accident claim?

“Statute of Limitations” is a common phrase and very important legal term. In North Carolina the period of limitation is determined by a statute created by our legislature. It prescribes a period of time within which a claim or cause of action (otherwise your case) must be resolved by settlement or suit must be filed. Once the period has expired any lawsuit filed may be dismissed for failing to comply with the statute of limitations; therefore, it is important that your case be settled or for a lawsuit to be filed within the appropriate statutory time frame. Losing your right to pursue a civil action due to the statute of limitations can be unfair, but most North Carolina attorneys that handle personal injury cases ranging from auto, trucking, pedestrian and motorcycle accidents are familiar with the prescribed statutory time periods.

Generally, the statute of limitations begins to run on the date of the accident. Whether your case involves an auto accident, tractor trailer accident, dog bite, slip fall in a store, or any other injury caused by someone else’s negligence, the time period to file suit in NC is three years. The actual wording of this law can be found at NCGS section 1-52(16). http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/BySection/Chapter_1/GS_1… Please note that if your case settles before the expiration of this time period then this period of limitation will not impact your claim.

Some common causes of action that have a 3 year period of limitation are as follows:

  1. Actions for injury caused by the negligence of someone else (auto accidents, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle or motorcycle accidents, dog bites, slip and falls)
  2. Intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress
  3. Malicious prosecution
  4. Actions for excessive force against an officer or actions against an officer for a trespass under color of his title, 42 USC sections 1981, 1983, and 1985.
  5. Actions for fraud or mistake
  6. Assault, battery and false imprisonment. http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/BySection/Chapter_1/GS_1…

Other important time periods for other types of actions that are less than 3 years are as follows:

  1. Wrongful Death 2 years ( this means that even if the case is an auto case, you have 2 years following the date of the accident to settle or file suit) http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_1/GS…
  2. Libel, slander (defamation) 1 year http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_1/GS…
  3. Retaliatory discharge or demotion in violation of the Workers’ Comp Act 6 months http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_1/GS…

There is one main exception to a Statute of Limitation. The limitation does not begin to run against a person who is under a disability when the cause of action accrues. NC recognizes disabilities based on minority (being under the age of 18) and incompetency. The statute is tolled until the disability is removed or expires. These situations can be very complicated and you should consult with an attorney who is experienced in handling injury cases as to whether a true disability tolls the statute. In a lot of our cases, the disability involves a person who is under the age of 18. Even in these cases, we recommend consulting with an attorney as soon as possible, but definitely prior to the expiration of the 3 year statute of limitations, because the cause of action for medical bills incurred during the minor’s period of minority may expire and bar recovery for some medical expenses.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss any question you have concerning the Statute of Limitations or any other question concerning your case. We look forward to hearing from you.

What are some injuries commonly sustained by motorcyclists?

As bikers do not have the same protection as vehicle drivers, they are more likely to sustain serious injuries such as head trauma, broken bones, road rash, and biker’s arm, just to name a few.

Being involved in a serious motorcycle accident can cause a victim to experience, physical, financial, and mental duress. At Riddle & Brantley, LLP, we are dedicated to helping accident injury victims fight for their right to fair and just compensation.

Fill out the form at the top-right hand corner of this page for a no-cost, no-obligation review of your motorcycle accident claim – your information will remain completely confidential.