Personal Injury Lawyers utilize the law to force negligent parties and their insurance carriers to pay for victims’ injuries and losses, which may include bodily injury, pain and suffering, lost wages, and property damage. Unfortunately, North Carolina’s contributory negligence law could wipe out your chances of collecting insurance money if it can be shown that you contributed to the collision. Motorcycle accident lawyers are vital to help protect their clients from any unreasonable attempts from insurance companies to shift even partial blame onto the victim. This is just one of many important ways that an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can make a difference for their clients.
What Is Contributory Negligence?
Compared to most other states, North Carolina is very harsh when it comes to motor vehicle accidents where the responsibility for the accident might be split between drivers. A person shown to have contributed even as little as 1% to the accident may lose the right to recover compensation for personal injury or their property damage (motor vehicle). This is known as “pure contributory negligence,” because it does not allow for even a partial settlement.
As you might imagine, under such a strict law, insurance companies will look very hard for a reason to assign even a small amount of blame to you. If an insurer succeeds in proving that you contributed only 1% to the accident, then you may not get any settlement at all.
How Can Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Protect Victims From False Accusations of Fault?
Concerns about your health and finances are normal after getting hurt in a motorcycle accident. You expect insurance companies to pay for your losses, but this expectation could blind you to the risks of answering an insurance company’s questions without legal advice.
Speaking with a lawyer prepares you for engaging with an insurer. You’ll understand that what you say could be held against you. What you may consider to be innocent comments on your part can be twisted into an admission of fault. You can and should allow an attorney like those at the Kellum Law Firm to handle these statements for you. A lawyer can stick to the documented facts and avoid indulging an insurer’s pointed and leading questions. If a statement or deposition is required, which is not unusual with many claims, your lawyer will assist you with how to best truthfully answer their questions, and object on your behalf when the questions are not relevant, reasonable, or easily understood.
What Advice Do Lawyers Give Motorcycle Accident Victims
In general, motorcycle accident lawyers recommend:
- Staying off social media– An insurer could use your statements and pictures shared online to argue that you are not as hurt as you claim. Never assume your social media is private.
- Following your medical treatment plan– Compliance with medical recommendations helps demonstrate that you are striving to recover physically and that your claims of injuries are not exaggerated.
- Keeping detailed records– Economic damages attributable to your accident require receipts, such as medical bills and verification of your lost income. In addition to collecting financial loss documentation, write or record your day-to-day experiences with pain and inconveniences, as well as how your family members are impacted. This information will assist your memory once your case proceeds to court and you need to refresh your recollection with regard to your claims for noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.
- Avoid direct communication with others involved in the accident– one of the most common obstacles to collecting damages in a personal injury case is when statements given to bystanders are misinterpreted. It is important to relay details of the accident only to the police officers collecting information and evidence at the accident scene, but only relay information which you observed or heard.
Can Personal Injury Lawyers Get Bigger Insurance Settlements?
Even weeks after your accident, you might not have a clear picture of how much money you really need to fully recover. An accurate valuation of your claim requires an extensive analysis of your current and future expenses and losses.
Motorcycle accident attorneys have detailed knowledge and experience of what the law allows you to recover. By attempting to handle a claim on your own, you’ll be at a disadvantage, as most people do not have an intimate understanding of personal injury law or just how expensive motorcycle accident injuries can be.
When motorcyclists get hurt, they have a heightened risk of brain damage, spinal cord injuries, disfigurement, and loss of the use of one or more limbs. You’re unlikely to know the long-term cost implications of dealing with these types of injuries and issues, but your lawyer can more accurately project these costs, based on his or her experience in dealing with similar cases and claims, and by hiring experts who can more accurately project your future expenses. Studies indicate that lawyers typically increase the value of accident claims, often significantly, because they know how to calculate case value, using experts when necessary, and how to argue your case for full and fair settlements.
Will a Lawyer Strengthen My Negotiating Position?
An insurance adjuster might act friendly and assure you that the settlement offer is a good deal. However, your lawyer will see the first settlement offer as the opening of negotiations. You don’t have to accept the first offer, and a lawyer will often advise you not to.
You should also consider how a lawyer will insulate you from emotional manipulation during settlement negotiations. On your own, you could be vulnerable to a low offer because you are struggling financially. Your lawyer will help you through these issues and may advise on short-term management strategies for dealing with financial shortcomings as you recover and await a settlement.
In general, serious accidents warrant legal representation, and motorcycle accidents tend to produce costly injuries. High damages will motivate an insurer to fight your claim from every possible angle. You need a skilled lawyer capable of countering the tactics being used against you, to help ensure you are fairly compensated and that you receive a settlement in a timely manner.
The first step is to find a reputable law firm in your area, one with a clear and proven track record of handling motorcycle accident claims in your state. Then, schedule a consultation with an actual attorney, and not a paralegal.
At Kellum Law Firm we offer a free attorney consultation at one of our local office locations, via virtual meeting over the computer, or, we can come to your home or the hospital as may be necessary. We’ll sit down with you and go over the details of the accident and we’ll present you with options for moving forward with a claim. You’ll be under no pressure to retain our services.
Call us today at 1-800-ACCIDENT or click on the link below to schedule a free consultation directly.
“We’re With You All The Way”