Picture of a bookcase at a divorce and criminal defense law firm in Pinehurst, North Carolina

What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident?

Motorcycle drivers often need to be even more vigilant than other drivers. If you are planning on hitting the road on two wheels anytime soon it’s important to arm yourself with the necessities, and that includes knowledge of what you should do in case you are involved in an accident. Even if you aren’t a motorcycle driver yourself, knowing how to respond if you are ever near the scene of a motorcycle accident can make all the difference in that moment. 

Picture of a motorcycle for the article about what to do after a motorcycle accident.

Immediately After the Motorcycle Accident 

The moments right after an accident of any kind can be chaotic. Here’s a quick guide to make sure you get the important stuff done following a motorcycle accident. 

1. Prioritize Safety and Seek Medical Attention

The first and foremost concern after a motorcycle accident—after any accident, really—is safety. Even if injuries seem minor, it's crucial to seek medical attention promptly by calling 911. Some injuries may not be immediately obvious, and a comprehensive medical exam can help make sure all parties are given the all-clear, and that all injuries are properly documented. 

2. Move to a Safe Location and Report the Accident

If it’s possible without jeopardizing anyone's safety, move yourself and your motorcycle to a safe location away from oncoming traffic. Once in a secure area, contact law enforcement to report the accident. 

In North Carolina, you are legally required to report any accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000. Even in cases that don’t meet these criteria, it is a good idea to report the accident so that there is documentation of it. 

Don’t forget to obtain a copy of the police report—it might be vital for insurance claims and potential legal proceedings.

3. Gather Information and Document the Scene

In addition to the police report, you’ll want to get information like names, contact information, insurance details, and license plate numbers of all parties involved. Again, this can be helpful when it comes to filing an insurance claim and any other legal proceedings that might follow. 

Evidence from the scene can also be helpful, as long as it can be gathered safely. Contact information from any witnesses, photographs of the accident scene, and any other relevant details might be valuable evidence in the event of a dispute.

This also applies to events, injuries, and costs accrued after the accident but still as a result of it. Keep records of all medical bills, prescriptions, and treatment plans. Maintain a diary detailing your pain levels, the impact of injuries on your daily life, and any emotional distress experienced. Retain all communications with insurance companies and medical professionals. 

4. Notify Your Insurance Company

It’s best to inform your insurance company about the motorcycle accident as soon as possible, so that they can begin processing your claim. Provide them with accurate and detailed information about the incident. 

Cooperate fully with your insurer, but be careful about accepting blame or making statements that could be used against you later. Remember that North Carolina follows a contributory negligence rule, where a claim may be barred if the injured party is found even slightly at fault. This is where it’s best to begin seeking legal advice for your claim and your case. 

5. Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney

Considering the complexities of motorcycle accidents and the potential for severe injuries, consulting with a personal injury attorney is a wise step. An experienced attorney can guide you through the legal process, help determine liability, assess damages, and negotiate with insurance companies. In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is generally three years from the date of the accident, making timely legal consultation crucial.

North Carolina Motorcycle Laws

When you get on a motorcycle in North Carolina, you’ll be subject to a set of rules and regulations designed to ensure safety on the roads. Whether you're a seasoned rider or a newcomer to the world of motorcycles, being aware of these laws is crucial to enjoying the open roads responsibly.

Helmet Laws

One of the fundamental motorcycle laws in North Carolina revolves around helmet usage. According to state law, all motorcycle riders and passengers must wear a helmet while in motion. This requirement is in place to safeguard riders from head injuries and enhance overall road safety. Helmets must comply with the standards set by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to ensure their effectiveness.

Motorcycle Endorsement

To legally operate a motorcycle on North Carolina roads, riders must obtain a motorcycle endorsement on their driver's license. This entails passing a written test and a skills test, demonstrating the ability to safely maneuver a motorcycle. Alternatively, individuals can complete a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic Rider Course, which exempts them from the skills test upon successful completion.

Insurance Requirements

North Carolina law mandates that all motorcycle riders have liability insurance coverage. This coverage ensures that riders are financially responsible in the event of an accident where they are at fault. Having the appropriate insurance not only complies with the law but also provides financial protection for both riders and other parties involved in potential accidents.

Contributory Negligence

North Carolina is what’s known as a “contributory negligence” state, which means that if an injured party is found even minimally at fault for an accident, they may be barred from recovering damages. This strict approach to fault allocation underscores the importance of responsible riding.

In the context of motorcycle accidents, contributory negligence can have significant implications. If, for example, a rider is involved in a collision and is injured but was not wearing their helmet, they may face challenges in seeking compensation for damages.

North Carolina Motorcycle Bias

There’s one last thing that can make the already stressful period following an accident even more stressful: Motorcycle bias. This phrase refers to the not-so-fair tendency many companies, individuals, and lawmakers have to view motorcyclists negatively. 

From a legal perspective, biases may arise during investigations and court proceedings. There is a prevailing stereotype that motorcyclists are inherently reckless or prone to speeding, which can unfairly color perceptions of fault in accidents. The legal system's understanding of motorcycle dynamics, road-sharing dynamics, and the specific vulnerabilities of motorcyclists can sometimes lag behind, contributing to biased judgments. This bias may lead to an uphill battle for motorcyclists seeking compensation, especially in jurisdictions where the legal doctrine of contributory negligence is applied, as even a small degree of fault on the part of the rider can bar them from recovering damages. An experienced attorney can be a valuable partner when it comes to the challenge of overcoming that bias, and spotting the potential effects of it in your case. 

Final Word: What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident

Navigating the aftermath of a motorcycle accident in North Carolina should always start with safety. Getting everyone out of harm's way, seeking medical attention, reporting the accident should always be the first steps, just as they are in any other accident. After this, the process of gathering evidence, making your case, and filing your claim are not far behind. 

Consulting with a personal injury attorney can provide invaluable guidance through the exhausting complexities of insurance claims and potential legal proceedings. By taking proactive measures and seeking professional assistance, motorcyclists can pave the way for a smoother recovery process, both physically and legally. 

Book your complimentary initial 30-minute legal consultation with a car accident attorney at Van Camp, Meacham & Newman either online or by calling us at  910-295-2525.

Disclaimer: The information seen on this website, including the article above, is not legal advice or legal counsel. If you wish to speak to a motorcycle accident lawyer who serves RaleighFayettevillePinehurstSanford, and beyond, contact our North Carolina attorneys directly using our online form or by calling 910-295-2525.

Van Camp Law Firm in Pinehurst, North Carolina

Contact Our Pinehurst Law Firm Today

Please call  910-295-2525 or fill out our form below.
Your Name(Required)
*Free consultations excludes Domestic/Family law.
By submitting this form, you are consenting to our privacy policy.
By contacting us, no attorney-client relationship is created.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.