Chapel Hill Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

If you or someone you care for has been injured in a wreck while riding a motorcycle, learn more on how a Chapel Hill motorcycle Accident Lawyer can help you recover your losses.

The Bishop Law Firm takes pride in representing injured victims. We offer free case reviews and we do not get paid unless you win. For more information about our firm read About Us.

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Chapel Hill Motorcycle Riders

While motorcycles can be great fun, they offer little protection to riders when compared to car passengers in a car crash. This is frightening considering the number of self-reported distracted drivers in North Carolina, those who were texting and driving, using cell phones while driving, though under 18, and drunk or otherwise inebriated drivers, putting everyone's life at risk.

While a motorcycle helmet is required by North Carolina law and reduces the risk of head injury, a helmet offers little protection compared to an enclosed vehicle against traumatic brain injuries.

This lack of physical protection while riding a motorcycle, in addition to the negligence of other drivers, can result in very serious injuries or a fatal motorcycle accident.

The composition of Chapel Hill's population is unique as it is a college town with around 32,000 of the residents being students aged 20-22 years old.

Studies have shown that younger individuals tend to have more accidents due to higher risk factors: lack of driving skills, lack of driving knowledge, lack of experience, lack of maturity and environmental factors (Via NIH).

Given the fact that the population of Chapel Hill is made up of potentially inexperienced drivers, accidents and especially motorcycle accidents are more likely to occur. Extra caution should be used when riding a motorcycle in Chapel Hill.

According to the DOT, in 2022, there were 1,076 car crashes, 563 injuries and 5 fatalities in Chapel Hill. Unfortunately, each year, these numbers include injuries and deaths from motorcycle accidents (WRAL).

If you are injured in a Chapel Hill accident due to the negligence of someone else, it is important to get an experienced motorcycle accident attorney on your side as soon as possible. They can help make sure that the insurance company is doing what they are supposed to do and cover all bases for you, so there won't be any surprises later down the road.

By collecting information about your case, our motorcycle accident lawyer in Chapel Hill, NC can help you file a personal injury lawsuit (if necessary) to recover motorcycle injury and accident-related damages.

North Carolina Law on Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcyclist duties are discussed in the North Carolina Department of Transportation's Motorcyclist Handbook. Per the handbook, studies show that most riders involved in crashes under-brake the front tire and/or over-brake the rear; as well as they do not separate braking from swerving or did not choose swerving when it was appropriate.

Everyone operating a vehicle on the road has a duty to act reasonably under the circumstances. A failure by a vehicle operator to act reasonably is a breach of this duty and results in negligence. Violation of traffic laws are an excellent example.

Negligent parties whose actions harm others are responsible for the damage that they cause.

However, North Carolina is one of the four (Alabama, Maryland and Virginia) remaining contributory negligence states. This means that the motorcycle accident victim must not be at fault at all in order to recover for their accident injuries.

Contributory negligence often results in unfair outcomes for victims but is the law in our state. One exception to contributory negligence is the “last clear chance doctrine”. The last clear chance doctrine can help victims if the at-fault party had the last opportunity to change course and avoid injury. 

If you have been injured in an accident through no fault of your own, you can recover the costs of your missed time from work, medical expenses, and be compensated for your pain and suffering. Future medical expenses and lost wages should also be included if warranted.

Punitive damages are awarded to punish the at-fault party for egregiously wrongful acts. Drunk drivers who harm others while behind the wheel may be liable for punitive damages. However, simply causing an accident due to distracted driving may not rise to the level of “egregiously wrongful.” 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What to do if there is a motorcycle accident? If you witness a motorcycle accident, pull over to a safe location and call 911. Describe to them what you saw, let them know if someone is hurt. It is our immediate impulse to rush to the aid of an injured person but be careful! You do not want to block traffic and potentially cause another accident or attempt to move the injured person as you may cause them further injury. Also, providing a witness statement when the police arrive can help tell the victim's story when they cannot speak for themselves.
  2. How long after an accident can you sue in North Carolina? NC has a three-year statute of limitations from the date of injury. If your loved one was killed in the motorcycle accident, you have two years from the date of death to bring suit. 
  3. How painful is a motorcycle accident? Every accident is different, but motorcycle accidents result in more severe injuries which will be more painful than car accidents. Injuries can range from road rash, broken bones, brain damage and even to death.
  4. How is fault determined in a motorcycle accident in NC? After a motorcycle wreck, the police officer will usually cite the at-fault party and put a description of the accident on the bottom of the 2nd page of the accident report. In some cases, no one receives a ticket, but it is still clear who is at fault. In other unfortunate cases, it’s difficult to tell who is at fault. If this is the case, the insurance adjuster will claim that their insured is not at fault. This usually results in arbitration for property damage claims and litigation for those who seek compensation for injuries sustained. 
  5. How much compensation do you get for an accident? The amount of financial compensation you receive after a motorcycle accident in a personal injury claim depends on the severity of your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, pain & suffering and future anticipated losses. This number is impossible to know without knowing all the details of your accident and medical care for your injuries.

What to do after a Chapel Hill Motorcycle Accident

After your Orange County motorcycle crash, you should seek and follow all medical advice. If your doctor tells you to rest, take medicine, use crutches, etc., do so. Photographs of your damaged motorcycle and the car that hit you should be taken as well (if possible).

In addition, photographs of your injuries immediately after the accident as well as photographs as you heal with dates will help tell the story of your journey to recovery. Also, document your missed days from work and what your pay would be on those days.

You should read Ways to Prove Pain & Suffering Damages. If you choose to post about your accident on social media, do not include accusations or assumptions regarding the cause of the car wreck or the at-fault driver(s).

After an accident, you need to obtain the police report. In Chapel Hill, you should reach out to the officer who came to the accident scene, the Chapel Hill Police Department (their phone number is 919-968-2743) or the North Carolina Department of Public Safety for State Highway Patrol accident reports or the NC DMV.

The motorcycle crash report needs to be closely evaluated to make sure no misstatements were included. If there are errors, you will need to reach out to the officer that completed the report as soon as possible. This can prove to be difficult in certain circumstances, but Chapel Hill motorcycle accident lawyers can help.

Filing your property and personal injury claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company should be your next step. Dealing with the insurance company's claims adjuster should be a simple process, but many times insurance adjusters will delay or deny that their driver was liable due to various reasons, including visibility or driving conditions.

They may even try to say that the injured Chapel Hill motorcycle victim is at fault when the accident was clearly caused by the negligent driver (their insured). Insurance companies can also try to settle your claim quickly to avoid paying for all your medical treatment. This can leave a victim with unpaid medical expenses and nowhere to turn for future medical care.

If warranted, accident reconstruction specialists should be used for the accident investigation. Investigating accident location, skid marks (or lack thereof), road conditions, black box data, traffic signal data and collision images can help when presenting motorcycle accident claims to an adjuster or jury.

Speaking with an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer about your motorcycle collision will ensure you receive fair compensation.

Injuries Caused by Chapel Hill Motorcycle Accidents

Unfortunately, motorcyclists involved in vehicle accidents tend to sustain the most severe injuries of all car accident victims. Helmets are required in NC, but motorcycle accident victims can still sustain a traumatic brain injury even with the use of a helmet.

Per NSC, in 2021, over the last 10 years, motorcycle "deaths have increased 19%, while death rates have increased 29%. The number of motorcycle fatalities now stands at 5,932 and the rate is 30.05 per 100 million vehicle miles."

Unfortunately, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and wrongful death are common injuries in motorcycle accidents. For more information read about North Carolina Catastrophic Injuries.

Recovering from your head and brain injuries can be a daunting task, let alone providing medical records, lost wage statements, other supporting documents and negotiating with the insurance company. This is where many injury victims decide to call a Chapel Hill personal injury lawyer for their motorcycle accident claim.

For a discussion on Chapel Hill car and motorcycle accident injuries, read our below pages:

How can Chapel Hill Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Help?

Our Chapel Hill motorcycle accident lawyers and car accident attorneys can help you recover compensation, including the cost of your medical expenses, lost wages, pain & suffering as well as the cost of any future necessary medical treatment while allowing you and your family to focus on your recovery.

The Bishop Law Firm does not get paid unless we win motorcycle accident injury claims. We are motivated to help you be fairly compensated for your losses as well as be compensated for emotional trauma that injured motorcyclists all too frequently experience.

Can the at-fault party's insurance company say the same?

Contact our team of knowledgeable and skilled Chapel Hill motorcycle accident attorneys today for a free case evaluation at (919) 615-3095 or start online now.

Related articles: North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

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