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Charlotte Motorcycle Accident Attorney

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Winning Damages for Motorcycle Accidents in Charlotte, North Carolina, Since 1994

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has reported that for the most recent year studied, 2011, almost 4,000 bikers were injured in accidents, and another 140 were fatally injured.

The Charlotte motorcycle accident lawyers at Auger & Auger have successfully represented motorcycle accident victims in North Carolina since 1994 and have over 40 years of combined legal experience in handling only injury cases.

With so much experience, Auger & Auger Personal Injury Lawyers know how insurance companies operate. A common insurance company response to a motorcycle accident is to claim that the motorcyclist was partly at fault for causing the accident. Our seasoned attorneys anticipate just this type of response and conduct a thorough investigation into the facts surrounding the accident in order to prove liability to the at-fault party’s insurance company.

Injuries Suffered in Charlotte Motorcycle Accidents

We know that the life of a biker can change in an instant. One moment, they can be cruising, obeying traffic laws, and then experience a life-changing accident. Lacking the physical protection of a car, motorcyclists are especially vulnerable to injuries. Compounding the lack of physical protection with the disadvantage of being less visible to other motorists is a potential recipe for disaster. Even though North Carolina requires all bikers to wear helmets, brain injuries remain a frequent injury following a motorcycle accident. Other potential injuries include:

Frequent Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Charlotte

Riding a motorcycle is a risky thing. Bikers and their passengers lack the physical protection of an automobile and are especially vulnerable to other factors, such as road conditions, weather conditions, and not being easily visible to other motorists. Frequent causes of motorcycle accidents include:

Protect Yourself

North Carolina law only requires motorcyclists to carry liability limits of $30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident and property damage of $25,000. These limits apply when you cause injury to another person. But what happens when you are the one who is injured? And what happens when the person who caused your injuries has the same minimum liability limits, or worse, doesn’t carry any insurance? It is up to you to protect yourself, and we recommend the following:

Obtain Health Insurance: If someone else causes you to crash, as long as they have insurance, your medical bills will eventually get paid, up to their policy limits. But most often, they pay after your treatment, not as you receive treatment. You may find yourself at the mercy of collection agencies by the time the at-fault insurance pays. Additionally, some providers won’t treat you unless you have insurance or can pay out of pocket. Worse, you may find that the person responsible for your injuries had no insurance. To best protect yourself, make sure you have health insurance.

Carry Sufficient Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: If the person who causes your accident does not carry liability insurance, your uninsured motorist coverage will cover your injuries, provided that you carry this coverage. If you carry a minimum-limits policy, only $30,000 of available coverage will compensate you for your injuries. When the person who caused your accident has liability insurance but not enough to compensate you for your injuries, your underinsured motorist coverage will apply, assuming that you carry this coverage. With this type of coverage, if the at-fault person has a minimum $30,000 policy, but you carry a $50,000 underinsured motorist limit, there is another $20,000 from which you can seek recovery.

Collision Coverage: This will pay for physical damage to your motorcycle, regardless of who is at fault.

Always Wear A Helmet: In the event of an accident, helmets greatly reduce your risk of serious head injury and death.

Call a Charlotte Motorcycle Accident Lawyer: The sooner you call, the quicker we can get to work protecting your rights. Our goal is to secure the maximum possible recovery for our clients. Your confidential consultation is free, no matter how long it lasts.

Charlotte Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Can Help

If you or a family member has been injured or killed in a motorcycle accident in Charlotte, our motorcycle accident injury attorneys can help you with the following:

At Auger & Auger, we know how difficult insurance companies can be. We know that many people hold an unfair prejudice against bikers, including investigating officers, representatives from insurance companies, and potential jurors. Often, bikers are thought to be reckless, speeding, or drunk. Unfortunately, some statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tend to support some of these biases. But that doesn’t mean they apply to you. Your attorney’s job is to get involved early on in the case to make sure that our injured biker clients are treated fairly and extinguish all preconceived notions by the investigating officer, insurance adjuster, and jury before they can appear.

What is Contributory Negligence, and Why Does This Matter in Your Motorcycle Accident Case?

Why is the other party’s insurance company so interested in blaming you? If they can do so successfully, they will have a legal reason not to pay your claim. In many states, comparative negligence laws apply, in which an injured party can only collect damages if they were less than 50 percent responsible for an accident, and the award is reduced as their fault increases. This is good for the insurance company either way. If you’re more than 50 percent responsible, they pay nothing. If you’re less than 50 percent responsible but more than zero percent responsible, they can at least pay less of your claim.

But North Carolina uses much stricter contributory negligence statutes. If the insurance company can prove you were even one percent at fault, they don’t have to pay anything! This is an even better deal for them, and a much worse one for you. That’s why it is important to secure solid legal representation as soon as possible. We can get to work fighting the insurance company’s claims right away.

How Does The Insurance Company Claim You’re at Fault?

This varies depending on the type of accident you had, but here are some possible scenarios:

  • Many motorcycle accidents happen because cars turn or pull out in front of the bike. In fact, this is one of the most common accidents we see. Sometimes the vehicle driver is distracted, but there are also numerous cases where the driver claims they looked around but didn’t see the biker. Bikes are smaller than cars, so this makes sense. The other driver or their insurance carrier may claim that you could have done more to make yourself visible. Wearing bright colors, using reflective devices on your bike, and using your lights on gray or cloudy days are all good ideas, and you may have been doing just that. Your attorney will work to help you prove that your efforts were sufficient, and the driver should have looked more carefully.
  • Failure to yield. A large number of accidents happen because someone failed to yield. In many motorcycle claims, the two parties disagree about just whose failure it was. Your lawyer will gather evidence and if necessary, may assign an investigator to look for additional witnesses in the area where the accident happened. Often the police officers who respond to a crash don’t have the time to do more than an initial canvas of the area, and may not have the opportunity to talk with every witness. We can go back to the scene and seek out people who may have been present for your accident.
  • As mentioned earlier, sometimes the other driver will exaggerate how fast a motorcyclist was going. This is not necessarily a conscious decision, but could happen due to unconscious bias. Either way, it can be a problem if there aren’t other witnesses or evidence of your actual speed. In addition to seeking out other witnesses, your attorney may look into alternative options for proving that you weren’t speeding.
  • Risky behavior. Sometimes the driver or their insurer may say that you cut them off, split lanes, or were riding in their blind spot. These things do happen, and they are indeed dangerous – but most bikers are aware of the danger and aren’t taking excessive risks. If no witnesses can be found, your attorney may seek out any available video evidence. Traffic cameras are one option, but if your crash happened in a rural area outside the city, there may not be any in place. In some situations, an investigator may be able to track down footage from a bystander or a doorbell camera.

What if You’ve Exhausted Available Insurance Policies and You Still Have Unpaid Damages?

Unfortunately, some motorcycle accidents may lead to multiple serious injuries. If this happens, it could take you months to get back on your feet, not to mention deal with the medical bills. Even with health insurance, you could be drowning in bills for copays or uncovered procedures. Plus, you could be in the hospital and out of work for weeks or even months, depending on your injuries. Additionally, some people may suffer permanent damage or disability as a result of their accident, or may develop chronic pain or other issues. Brain injuries, for example, sometimes result in permanent difficulties or long-term symptoms. All of these things lead to a much higher amount of damages than most insurance policies will pay. In particularly severe cases, it’s possible to exhaust both the other party’s insurance and your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Does that mean you’re out of options? Not necessarily. In some instances, you may be able to sue the other driver directly. If their insurance carrier has accepted responsibility and paid your claim, or we won a judgment against them, it will be difficult for the driver to make a case that you were at fault. The one downside to this option is that it may not be worthwhile in every situation. If the driver doesn’t have many financial assets and can’t actually pay your claim, it isn’t worth the time and trouble of going to court.

In other situations, there may be third parties who have some liability. For example, if a defective helmet or other piece of safety gear failed to perform as advertised, and this contributed to making your injuries worse, you might have a claim against the manufacturer. In other circumstances, there may be a situation where a defective motorcycle part malfunctioned. If you’re unsure about your options for getting your accident-related bills paid, it’s best to consult a motorcycle lawyer about the specifics of your case.

Contact Our Charlotte Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

The experienced motorcycle crash attorneys at Auger & Auger know how the insurance companies work. We know the insurance company will develop theories as to why the biker is at least partially responsible. The sooner you contact one of our Charlotte motorcycle accident attorneys, the sooner we can conduct our own investigation to determine liability, assist you with obtaining appropriate medical attention, and locating every possible source of recovery. Many intersections are now equipped with traffic surveillance cameras, but cities often only retain the data recorded for a period of 7 days, making it critical that you contact a lawyer immediately so those films can be preserved. Call us today at 855-969-5671.

The list of prior client settlement results and client reviews/testimonials, do not constitute a promise of any particular result in any particular case, as each and every case is unique. Each case was handled on its own merit, and the outcome of any case cannot be predicted by a lawyer or law firms past results.

If a recovery or settlement by trial is made, the client will be responsible for costs advanced in addition to attorney fees. Client remains responsible for costs, expenses and disbursements, including medical bills, within the scope of representation. The attorney’s contingency percentage will be computed prior to the deduction of expenses from the total recovery.

The principal office for Auger   Auger Law Firm is located at 717 S. Torrence St., Suite 101, Charlotte, NC. The attorneys and staff of Auger   Auger Law Firm work and process all of the firm’s files at the principal office location in Charlotte, NC. Other office locations listed on our website are satellite offices that are not staffed daily. Satellite offices are operated for the convenience of our clients and who live outside of the Charlotte, NC metro area and are unable to meet with us at our principal office location. All meetings at our satellite offices must be made by appointment only. Phone numbers for satellite offices forward to our principle office location in Charlotte, NC.

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