According to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, more than 3,500 motorcycle crashes occurred on the state’s highways in 2013. About 3,000 on those incidents resulted in injury, while 154 ended someone’s life. These numbers exemplify the need for care and safety when operating your motorcycle on the streets of North Carolina. It is helpful to speak with a Charlotte NC motorcycle accident lawyer to discuss your case before dealing with an insurance company.
Some tips for safe motorcycle operation include:
- Always wear your helmet;
- Be visible to other vehicles on the road. Stay out of blind spots;
- Choose protective clothing. Boots, long pants, gloves and leather outerwear can mean the difference between life and death in an accident;
- Keep your motorcycle in proper working order, with no mechanical defects;
- Wear light colored clothing and reflective to enhance your visibility on the road; and
- Don’t weave in and out of traffic.
Motorcycle Accident Lawyers For Charlotte NC
The nature of a motorcycle makes it inherently less stable than a car or truck. Its low profile makes it less visible for the road, while the slim profile makes it less stable when riding on the road. These characteristics contribute to the high rate of injury and death. Driver error is one of the most common causes of motorcycle & car accidents, sometimes on the part of the motorcycle operator, but largely on the part of other vehicle operators on the street. Some operator infractions include:
- Not yielding to motorcycles when changing lanes;
- Following too closely behind the motorcycle;
- Failure to carefully navigate around motorcycles; and
- Operating within the motorcycle’s lane of travel.
Injuries Caused by Motorcycle Accidents
For motorcyclists who are victims of a vehicle accident, the injuries can prove substantial and costly. The openness of the motorcycle places its operator at substantial risk for various types of wounds. Some of the most common are as follows:
Traumatic Head Injuries
When the head is struck by an outward object or hit against a hard surface, injury to the brain can occur. This often happens during a motorcycle accident. Injury to the brain can occur from an object puncturing the matter or the brain moving around violently inside of the skull. The injury can range from mild, manifesting as a temporary concussion, to severe, causing debilitating dysfunction and even death.
This type of injury results from the operator sliding across the pavement. Often, the impact of the crash causes the operator to fly over the handlebars or be thrown from the motorcycle. As the body hits the ground with high velocity, it slides. The pavement scrapes away the outer clothing and eventually the skin. The resulting injuries are cuts, scrapes, deep abrasions, infections, and even nerve damage.
Motorcyclists have a high risk of being thrown from the bike. When faced with this terrifying reality, the common instinct is to extend the arm in an effort to lessen the impact. The result is that the impact largely affects the arm, sometimes causing extensive injury in the form of nerve damage or broken bones.
Damage to the leg is also common among motorcycle accidents. This is especially true in regards to the knees and feet. Shattered and fractured bones are common injuries, which can lead to permanent debilitation.
Approximately 35 percent of motorcycle accidents result in injury to the chin area. This generally occurs when the unprotected face slides across the ground and impacts an object.
The seriousness of these potential injuries can prove challenging when accident victims seek compensation. Financially, the cost of medical expenses and ongoing care can prove devastating and substantially higher than those stemming from an automobile accident. Multiple surgeries, ongoing rehabilitation and numerous doctors visits can add up, along with possible loss of income and vehicle repair. This large financial burden can prove difficult to collect from an unwilling insurance company.
Actions To Take After An Accident
If you are the victim of a motorcycle accident, consider taking the following steps:
- Seek medical assistance for your injuries – Allow yourself to be treated at the accident scene, even if you do not feel that your injuries are serious. If you do not receive treatment at the scene, be sure to seek out treatment on your own as soon as possible. Failure to immediately document your injuries can negatively impact your credibility when seeking compensation.
- Gather information about every vehicle and individual involved in the accident – If you are able, take pictures with your telephone and request contact information from witnesses. Be sure not to leave the scene of the accident prior to the arrival of law enforcement.
- Speak with officers on the scene – Give a general statement about the incident, but refrain from making any admissions of guilt.
- Contact your insurance company and inform them of the incident. Again, provide general information, but refrain from any admission of guilt.
- If contacted by the insurance company of another driver, refrain from making any statements or giving any interviews without the assistance of your attorney. Their goal is to gather information to use against you in paying your claim. One statement could make the difference in the payment of your claim.
- Document the damages to your motorcycle by gathering estimates from reputable repair shops.
- Maintain records of your lost time from work.
- Maintain records of your medical expenses and treatments – Document your appointments, treatments, diagnosis and all costs associated with your care. Don’t assume that any document is too trivial. It is much better to have too much than not enough. Create a medical file and include such items as:
- Receipts of payments;
- Insurance questionnaires;
- Explanations of benefits; and
- Any other documents given to you during the doctor of hospital visits
- The large financial impact of a motorcycle accident adds to the possibility that a court will be required to ensure adequate compensation. Contact an attorney and pursue a confidential evaluation of your case if any of the following exist:
- Significant injuries;
- Questions about your possible fault;
- Significant property damage to your motorcycle; and/or
- Any fatalities.
Motorcycle accidents and their accompanying injuries differ from other types of vehicle accidents and they should be handled as such. When seeking assistance with your claim, contact an experienced Charlotte personal injury attorney who has experience in litigating these types of cases.