Each day, motorcyclists endure the devastating consequences of reckless drivers on the road. The impact of these accidents imparts physical injuries and loss of life, as well as leaving lasting mental trauma for both the riders and their family members. However, the financial toll of a motorcycle crash can be equally distressing, turning lives upside down in an instant.
In such challenging circumstances, it becomes crucial for motorcycle accident victims and their families to consider their future. Seeking the assistance of an experienced Charlotte motorcycle accident attorney from Price, Petho & Associates is a good first step. We’ve helped countless people across North Carolina who’ve sustained life-altering injuries from vehicle crashes. Motorcycle wrecks in particular tend to be devastating, so working with a lawyer can help ensure that you’re fully protected.
What is the “cost” of fatal and non-fatal motorcycle accidents?
Every accident is different, and the injuries an operator or passenger sustains will be unique to the circumstances. For example, a rider who hits a patch of ice or a porthole while traveling at 15 mph may not be as severely injured as a rider who is hit by a car traveling at 55mph – or by a truck at almost any speed.
Under North Carolina law, you can seek compensation for any “costs” associated with your injuries and other losses. The costs associated with fatal and injurious motorcycle accidents can vary based on the type of wreck.
In a fatal accident, family members can seek the following damages via a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Medical expenses. Fatal motorcycle accidents often involve emergency medical response, intensive care unit (ICU) treatment, surgeries, and other medical procedures. These expenses can quickly add up and include hospital bills, physician fees, medications, and rehabilitation costs. If the victim, even after treatment, passes away from their injuries, then you still have to pay the hospital for the treatment your loved one did receive.
- Funeral/burial expenses. After a fatal motorcycle accident, funeral and burial expenses can be significant, including costs for funeral services, caskets, cremation, burial plots, and memorials.
- Lost income. In the case of a fatality, the deceased’s family may suffer from the loss of the individual’s income, which can create financial hardships and long-term economic impacts.
- Loss of companionship and care. As a surviving family member, you can seek compensation for the loss of society, care, companionship, comfort, and guidance your loved one would have offered, had he or she lived.
In a personal injury claim for a motorcycle wreck, the injured person(s) can seek compensation for:
- Medical treatment. Non-fatal motorcycle accidents can still result in severe injuries that require immediate medical attention, including hospitalization, surgeries, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and ongoing medical care. Motorcycle accidents often leave their riders with catastrophic injuries due to their exposed nature to the elements and larger, heavier vehicles around them. Catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries can be very expensive to treat.
- Lost income. Injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident can lead to time off work, which results in lost wages during the recovery period.
- Loss of future earning capacity. Some injuries may leave you unable to return to your job; others may leave you unable to work at all. This loss of future earning capacity can have significant financial consequences for you and your family.
- Property damage. Non-fatal accidents may cause damage to the motorcycle and other personal property, leading to repair or replacement costs.
- Pain and suffering. Non-fatal accident victims may experience physical pain, emotional distress, and psychological trauma, leading to non-economic damages for pain and suffering.
- Quality of life. North Carolina allows you to seek compensation for the change your injuries have had on your quality of life.
What about repairs to my motorcycle? Are they covered?
Every crash is different. Some folks may walk away with a little scratched-up paint. Others, however, will sustain significant losses. The good news is that you can claim your repair bills as part of your overall damages. The costs of these repairs will depend on:
- Severity of the crash. The more severe the impact, the higher the likelihood of significant damage to the motorcycle. High-speed collisions or accidents involving multiple vehicles may cause extensive damage to the motorcycle’s frame, engine, and other crucial components.
- Type of motorcycle. Different types of motorcycles have varying costs of repairs. Cruisers, sport bikes, touring bikes, and custom bikes may have different parts and materials, which can affect repair expenses.
- Damaged components. The cost of damages will depend on which parts of the motorcycle are affected. Commonly damaged components include fairings, handlebars, mirrors, exhaust systems, wheels, and suspension components.
- Insurance coverage. If the motorcycle owner has comprehensive insurance coverage, some or all of the repair costs may be covered, depending on the policy’s terms and deductible.
- Repair shop rates. Labor costs can vary based on the repair shop’s hourly rates, location, and expertise. It is a good idea to research motorcycle repair shops here in Charlotte to ensure you receive the best service.
If the motorcycle is severely damaged and the repair costs exceed its actual cash value, the insurance company may declare it a total loss. In this case, the insurer will offer the motorcycle owner a settlement based on the motorcycle’s market value at the time of the accident.
Should I settle my Charlotte motorcycle accident claim?
Experiencing a motorcycle accident can be a frightening and traumatic event, and your immediate focus should rightfully be on your health and well-being, especially if you sustain injuries. However, it’s essential to be aware that insurance companies may try to take advantage of the situation by offering you a quick settlement that may be insufficient to cover the true extent of your damages. Dealing with confusing insurance matters, liability concerns, and practical issues can be overwhelming, and that’s why contacting our experienced Charlotte injury lawyers as soon as possible is crucial.
At Price, Petho & Associates, we understand how insurance companies operate, and we’ve seen firsthand how they may attempt to settle claims for less than what victims deserve. Our team of dedicated attorneys will protect your rights and interests, ensuring that you don’t accept an inadequate settlement. We will guide you through the legal process, explaining important laws, such as reporting the accident to a law enforcement officer, that you need to follow. We can also help you access that accident report. By having us on your side, you can rest assured that we’ll fight tirelessly to secure the fair and just compensation you deserve for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Your health matters most, and we’ll handle the legal complexities so you can focus on your recovery.
Our Charlotte motorcycle accident attorneys can even help you to avoid dealing directly with insurance adjusters who may try to settle for the lowest possible amount. We will work tirelessly to secure a fair and full compensation package that accounts for both immediate and long-term effects of the accident. Throughout the process, we will keep you informed and guide you confidently, understanding that motorcycle accident cases may take time to resolve. Should negotiations fail, we are prepared to take your case to a jury. Often, this willingness to try cases, along with our record of successful awards for clients, gives us some leverage when it comes to settling for a just amount.
With one of our dedicated attorneys by your side, you can focus on your recovery and trust that your legal matters are in capable hands. To get started, schedule a free consultation with us by calling or filling out our contact form. Our services extend to clients across Charlotte, Rockingham, and Rutherfordton, and throughout the state. Let us advocate for your rights and seek the compensation you deserve.
Attorney Doug Petho is the owner and founder of Price, Petho & Associates. His primary focus is the litigation of plaintiff’s personal injury suits, and he has successfully tried hundreds of cases to jury verdict involving car accidents, trucking accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents, and work-related accidents. Contact his office in Charlotte today.