How Is Liability Determined in Hickory Motorcycle Accidents?
Ultimately, all automobile accidents are not “accidents,” but rather are caused by someone’s negligence. Determining who was negligent is one of the reasons you need an attorney with experience handling motorcycle claims. Whether it’s the driver, the motorcycle manufacturer, the organization responsible for maintaining the road, or someone else, someone, somewhere, was negligent. If a case goes to litigation — meaning if it goes to trial — the jury will decide who is at fault.
Hickory has a unique, but unfortunate, law called “contributory negligence.” It means that if you were in any way responsible for the event that led to the harm, you are held accountable and are not entitled to a dime. In Hickory, it’s all or nothing. It doesn’t matter if you were 99% responsible or 1% responsible: if you contributed any amount of negligence to the event, you get zero.
Our job, then, is to prove to the jury that you are not an at-fault party — that every scrap of negligence came from the other party.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Motorcycle Accident in Hickory— Is It Worth It?
Because of Hickory’s contributory negligence laws, it’s very easy to say the wrong thing and end up talking your way out of compensation. Be very, very careful what you admit to on the scene of the accident. Even if you were doing something negligent — say you’re on your way home from the Speedway, fired up after a really exciting race, going a couple miles over the speed limit — that does not mean that your negligence was a contributing factor to the harm, and you may still be entitled to compensation.
A personal injury lawyer specialized in handling motorcycle accident cases knows what to say and what not to say, and legal representation puts a layer of protection between you and the insurance companies. If you say something to an insurance company, it’s testimony. It’s evidence. If your lawyer says something on your behalf, it’s hearsay, and it can’t be used against you.
Further, insurance companies are interested in paying out as little as they can get away with. They will call you within days, hoping to convince you to settle for a much smaller payment than you are entitled to before you realize the full extent of your injuries and losses. A personal injury lawyer has experience in dealing with these kinds of shady practices. We know how to handle them to make sure you don’t end up responsible for treatment that would have been covered if you had not settled so quickly.
So yes, it is a very good idea to get an attorney to represent you when you’ve been in a motorcycle accident. Not only does it offer you that layer of protection against self-incrimination, but a good lawyer will know all the tricks that the insurance companies use to try to weasel their way out of paying compensation to injured motorcyclists. We know how to fight to protect your best interests. Let us handle the predatory insurance adjusters so you can focus on tending to your injuries.
What Is the Average Payout for a Hickory Motorcycle Accident?
You are entitled to what we call “compensatory damages.” This means that you can receive compensation for whatever it takes to get you back to where you would have been had the accident never occurred. Surgery, physical therapy, exam fees, motorcycle repair, court fees, you’re entitled to all of it.
The minimum limits required by North Carolina law are $30,000. However, we’ve seen clients walk out with over a million and a half. There’s simply no fixed formula to it. There are so many potential factors that can come into play:
- How badly you’re injured.
- How long you’re out of work.
- Cost to repair or replace your bike.
- The level of negligence by the person who caused the collision.
And a whole bunch of other things you may not have thought of.
The more you document about what happened as soon as you can, we will have an easier time determining your compensatory damages and proving them in court.
The best way to start to get an initial sense of what sort of payout you may be entitled to, whether it’s from a settlement or through litigation, is to get a free consultation from a Hickory motorcycle accident attorney. Do it while the details are still fresh in your head. We’ll talk about the specifics of your case and help you figure out your best path forward.
Who Is at Fault in Most Motorcycle Accidents in Hickory?
Most of the time, the at-fault party in Hickory is someone in a car or a truck. These vehicles have blind spots that a motorcycle can easily get lost in. Motorcyclists, on the other hand, have an unobstructed view in every direction, and our relative vulnerability means we’re used to having our head on a swivel.
Beyond that, most drivers simply aren’t watching out for something as small as a motorcycle. Cars are imposing and easy to see at a glance. This is not the case with motorcycles.
Finally, car and truck drivers are more prone to distractions than motorcyclists. Texting, eating, messing with the radio — these are distractions that we on motorcycles don’t face, and the personal injury consequences of distracted riding are much more severe.
That said, it’s often enough that motorcyclists crash their bikes all on their own — usually from taking a curve too fast and spilling over the side. The forests around here are a lot of fun to ride, but those curves can catch you off guard if you’re not careful.
About half of the really serious injuries and fatalities we see don’t involve another vehicle at all. The other half of the time, when more than one vehicle is involved, it’s about twice as likely that someone in a car or truck is to blame.
What Are the Odds of Surviving a Motorcycle Accident?
About 5% of all motorcycle accidents end in death.
That may not sound very high at a glance, but an incredible 75% of motorcycle accidents result in injury, and less than half of those injuries can be considered “minor.” That means that about 19 times out of 20, you’re going to survive. But your odds of walking away uninjured are only 1 in 4.
Of course, it’s not as simple as that. The majority of motorcycle injuries and fatalities are caused by head trauma. Wearing a helmet increases your chance of survival by more than a third.
No amount of money can compensate for the loss of a loved one. Your life is the most important and valuable thing you own. And there is no single thing you can do to increase your odds of surviving a motorcycle accident besides wearing a helmet.
How Long Does a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Take in Hickory?
The length of any lawsuit is another area where a lot of factors come into play:
- Insurance companies like to take their time responding to counteroffers, hoping the statute of limitations will run out on your claim.
- A case that goes to trial will take longer than a case that ends in settlement.
- If more parties are involved, then more insurance companies are involved, which leads to a longer assessment process.
- More witnesses means more testimony, which makes for a longer trial.
- Some juries reach a verdict very quickly, and others just can’t come to an agreement.
There’s no way to know for sure how long any given case will take. Still, most claims that come through our Hickory office tend to be resolved within several months.
What Is the Most Common Cause of Motorcycle Accidents?
The single most common cause of motorcycle accidents is a driver in a vehicle who did not see the biker. Most of these are while the motorist is turning left. Like I said before, we’re small, we’re fast, most motorists aren’t looking for us, and cars are full of distractions.
The bad news is that the motorcyclist is much less likely to survive than the driver of the car, and it’s very unlikely you’ll come away without injury. And the injuries that occur are much more likely to be severe. The good news is that the motorist making the left turn is nearly always found to be the party at fault, and so the motorcyclist is almost always entitled to compensatory damages.
If you are involved in a multi-vehicle motorcycle accident, you have a very good chance of coming out of the courtroom with your losses compensated.
Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Hickory, NC.
Our team of experienced motorcycle accident lawyers, investigators, and case managers are ready to serve you at our Hickory, NC office: