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How Is Liability Determined In A North Carolina Motorcycle Accident?

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Understanding Fault in Motorcycle Accidents

If you’ve ever gotten into any sort of motor vehicle accident, you probably didn’t think it was your fault. It’s very rare when someone would admit that they caused a North Carolina motorcycle accident. Not only would admitting that cost you money, but it would also make you look bad. Sometimes our ego, more than anything else, causes us to point the finger at someone else.

This is true for motorcycle accidents as well. Car drivers complain that motorcycle riders are reckless and inconsiderate. 

How Is Liability Determined In A North Carolina Motorcycle Accident?

Ask someone who’s never ridden a motorcycle what they think about who have and they won’t have many good things to say. Sure, part of us envy motorcycle riders’ ability to strap on their helmet and throw caution to the wind. But for the most part, people tend to have negative views of motorcycles.

People like to complain that motorcycle riders drive too fast. They like to weave in and out of traffic. They also like to get out of bumper to bumper traffic by riding on the shoulder. And, this is true for a lot of bikers. That doesn’t mean that all motorcycle riders are reckless. If you are someone who drives a motorcycle, you know this. A car driver is just as likely to cause a motorcycle crash as the person driving the bike.

Your North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Will Review Your Case

Before you file any sort of legal claim, you’ll have to sit down and meet with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. They’ll look at the facts of your case to get an idea of whether or not you even have a legal claim.

When you talk to your lawyer during your initial consultation, be honest. The defendant’s lawyer is going to have access to more information than you may think. You don’t want your motorcycle accident lawyer to get blindsided halfway through your case. This is why you need to tell them everything you know about the crash.

One of the best sources of information for your injury lawyer is the police report. Without it, your lawyer will be at a serious disadvantage. This is why it’s so important that you call the police immediately after your motorcycle accident.

Why is the Police Report So Important to Your North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Attorney?

As mentioned above, one of the most valuable sources of information about your accident is the police report. When the police arrive at the accident scene, they’re going to conduct a thorough investigation. They’re going to put all of their findings into something called a police report.

Some of the information contained in a police report includes:

  • Description of the accident scene
  • Pictures of the cars and the road
  • Description of road conditions
  • Contact info and statements of any witnesses
  • License and insurance information for the drivers involved
  • Notations about any tickets or citations issues, as well as any arrests made
  • Any correspondence from the other driver’s insurance company
  • Your own statement

After looking at the police report, your North Carolina motorcycle accident lawyer will have more questions for you. Answer them as best as you can. If you don’t remember something, let them know. Don’t fill in the gaps in your story. Your attorney will conduct something called discovery where they can get information the defendant’s lawyer intends to use in court. Sometimes, this information is more useful than you may think.

You May Be Deemed Partially at Fault

As mentioned earlier, very rarely will a driver stand up and admit fault. That would be very foolish. Most people realize that nobody is ever 100% at fault. Even if your bike was parked at the time of the crash, you could’ve been in an illegal parking spot. Or, maybe you were parked but have easily moved out of the way of the other vehicle.

North Carolina follows something called the contributory fault rule. This means that if you’re found to be partially at fault, you won’t be able to collect damages. Even if the court finds that you’re just 5% at fault, your claim may be barred. Your North Carolina motorcycle accident knows this. So does the defendant’s lawyer.

This will have a significant impact on your case. It’s also one of the reasons why more than 90% of all car accident cases in North Carolina end up settling.

Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in North Carolina

If you’re hurt in a motorcycle crash, you probably won’t be in a position to do much about your claim. Have a family member call our office at (704) 286-0947 so they can set up a consultation with an experienced North Carolina motorcycle crash attorney. If need be, we can have someone reach out to you directly. This way, you can focus on getting better instead of fighting with insurance companies.