All traffic accidents carry the potential for serious injury, but motorcyclists are at the highest risk of suffering catastrophic trauma. Helmets, boots, and other gear provide little protection in a collision, leaving riders exposed to serious injuries.
In fact, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely than other motorists to lose their lives in traffic accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). For these reasons, motorcycle accident cases are complex, but there are factors that could influence the value of your claim.
If you or someone you love was injured in a motorcycle accident due to a driver’s negligent behavior, Campbell & Associates can protect your rights and help you recover fair compensation. Call 704-333-0885 or schedule a free consultation today.
1. Purchase Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist Insurance with Limits Above the State Minimum
North Carolina is a fault-based state. This means that motorcycle accident victims with serious injuries should not necessarily ask how much the case is valued at, but how much insurance is available.
The law says that a negligent driver is financially responsible for the injuries he or she causes in an auto accident. Because motorcycle accidents tend to be more severe than car accidents, 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 $60,00 per accident
• $25,000 for uninsured property damage claims
While 87 percent of drivers in North Carolina opt for collision coverage, towing and labor coverage, repair and replacement coverage and uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage, about 10 percent of drivers are entirely uninsured. Many more carry only the minimum coverage required by law.
When a negligent driver’s insurance is insufficient to cover damages, your UM/UIM motorist coverage should cover your injuries, up to your policy limits. That’s why we recommend that all drivers purchase a motorcycle or auto insurance policy with UM/UIM limits that are above the state minimum.
2. Treat Your Motorcycle Claim as If It’s Going to Trial
The amount of recovery will also be determined by the strength of your evidence. Unfortunately, insurance companies are involved in nearly all motorcycle accident cases in North Carolina. Since it’s their prerogative to make money, that can mean searching for even minor disputes in order to delay legitimate claims and offer small settlements.
Motorcyclists also may confront unfair stereotypes that make insurance companies quick to deny compensation. One way to combat unfair bias is to compile the evidence that tells the story of your injuries and medical treatment, including:
• Police reports and crash investigation data
• Photos of the scene and the vehicles involved
• Forensic evidence and expert accident reconstruction
• Eyewitness statements
• Records of your medical treatment and injuries
• Testimony from medical professionals about functional limitations
• Future medical treatment cost estimates
Because North Carolina is a contributory negligence state, you should note that you could lose your right to compensation based on evidence that you contributed to your injuries. For example, speeding or failing to obey traffic laws could weaken your claim.
3. File Quickly Before State Deadlines Expire
Even if your claim is supported by strong evidence, it’s useless after the statute of limitations expires. A statute of limitations is a state law that sets a time limit on your right to bring a lawsuit.
In North Carolina, a civil lawsuit for injury or property damage must be filed within three years. If the accident resulted in a fatality, the family or a representative typically has two years to file a claim from the date of the accident.
In the context of a motorcycle accident case, if you try to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations deadline has passed, the court will automatically reject your claim.
Note that insurance companies operate under different expectations and require you to make a claim “promptly” or “within a reasonable time” after the accident. That usually means a matter of days, or a few weeks at most.
It’s also in your best interest to file quickly as it takes time for personal injury lawyers to conduct investigations, compile evidence and assess the value of your case. Waiting too long could limit your options for an experienced attorney.
A Campbell & Associates Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Increase Your Chances for a Fair Settlement
Insurance claims adjusters may appear to represent your best interests, but he or she is actively looking for reasons to dispute or devalue your claim. At Campbell & Associates Law, we believe that motorcycle crash victims should focus on recovery and allow an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to compile evidence to best represent your claim.
To schedule your free initial consultation today, fill out our easy online contact form or call us at 704-333-0885.