Who is At Fault in North Carolina Motorcycle Accidents?

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An at-fault motorcycle driver speeds in front of a car causing an accident.

Determining liability in a motorcycle collision can be complex and requires comprehensive investigation. To legally be considered liable or at fault, a driver or a motorcycle rider must have behaved negligently, thereby failing to exercise reasonable care and caution. While police and insurance adjusters will investigate the accident to determine which parties were liable for the accident, personal injury firms working on behalf of an injured party may also conduct their own independent investigations to determine who is at fault in a collision. Personal injury attorneys are especially warranted in cases where fault is disputed or if multiple parties are involved.

At Tatum & Atkinson, “the Heavy Hitters,” we have decades of experience securing millions of dollars in settlements for motorcycle accident injury victims. If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident in North Carolina, don’t hesitate to contact the experienced motorcycle accident injury lawyers at the law offices of Tatum & Atkinson to receive your free, no-obligation case evaluation. Call (800) 529-0804 or contact us online today, and know that you will never have to pay us a penny out-of-pocket, as we will only get paid unless we win.

How is Negligence Determined?

Immediately following an accident, police will generally arrive at the scene to conduct an investigation and prepare a police report. This police report will become a crucial piece of evidence in determining fault. Next, it is common for insurance adjusters and potentially legal teams to perform their own investigations to determine the circumstances surrounding a case. Liability in a motorcycle accident case may be determined through:

  • Police report
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Expert testimony
  • Accident reconstruction
  • Photographs and/or video footage

To legally prove that another party was negligent in a motorcycle collision, you will need to indicate the following:

  • The other motorist owed you a duty of care.
  • The other party(s) breached this duty. Examples include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, texting, and driving, speeding, or failing to yield.
  • This breach caused your accident. A clear link must be established between the liable party’s breach and the collision.
  • You were injured as a result of this collision. This may be proved through medical evidence such as hospital bills, doctor’s notes, care summaries, and more.

Negligent Drivers Often Injure Motorcycle Riders

While many people blame motorcycle riders for motorcycle accidents, a negligent driver is the most common cause of motorcycle collisions. Motorcycle riders are vulnerable to other drivers on the road and roadway hazards which may lead to a single-vehicle crash.

What Percentage of Motorcycle Accidents Are the Rider’s Fault?

Over time, somehow, it has become a common misconception that bikers are responsible for most motorcycle collisions. In many cases, bikers have been blamed for accidents due to a lack of public awareness and a general perception of motorcycle riders being portrayed as “reckless.”  However, nothing can be further from the truth. Statistics indicate that in more than 50% of motorcycle accident cases involving another vehicle, the accident is caused by the negligence of the other party (car or truck driver), who was not paying attention to the motorcycle rider on the road. Furthermore, nearly 42% of motorcycle collisions occurred due to either a car or truck taking a left-hand turn and striking a biker driving in the opposite direction. A study conducted by the University of Indiana reports that around 40% of motorcycle accidents are due to the rider’s negligence, around 58% of crashes were due to another motorist, and 2% of crashes were single-vehicle crashes involving only the motorcyclist.

What Negligent Behaviors Put Motorcyclists at Risk


In recent years, the number of accidents caused by distracted driving has skyrocketed, despite laws being put in place across the U.S. to minimize distracted driving. Although all motorists are at risk when distracted drivers are out on the road, motorcycle riders have a higher risk of death or severe injury if involved in an accident with a distracted driver. Distracted driving includes texting, talking, eating, or drinking while driving.


When under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the chance of being involved in an accident drastically increases. A motorcycle accident with a drunk driver can lead to catastrophic injuries or fatalities.


Tired drivers are just as dangerous as drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Driver fatigue is a leading cause of motorcycle accidents.

Failure to Obey Traffic Laws

Failure to obey traffic lights is reckless and may easily lead to an accident. In addition, if drivers fail to stop at red lights or stop signs, they may accidentally injure motorcyclists.


The more speed a vehicle has, the more impact it will make upon impact in an accident, and the less time the driver will have to react. Speeding drivers are frequently the cause of many accidents which could have been preventable.

Road Rage

When a driver engages in aggressive driving practices such as quick lane changes, aggressive passing, and other aggressive maneuvers, it can easily cause a motorcycle rider to lose balance and control of their bike.

Common Motorcycle Injuries

The most common motorcycle accident injuries are:

Motorcycle Collisions

Although car-to-car accidents are the most common, the costs associated with motorcycle accidents are far greater than any other type of accident. Injuries and insurance claims related to motorcycle accident injuries account for billions of dollars annually in the U.S. Motorcycle accidents can leave families devastated, overwhelmed, and under financial strain.

The costs related to motorcycle collisions may include:

  •   Medical expenses
  •   Future medical expenses
  •   Lost wages
  •   Loss of consortium
  •   Long-term care
  •   Loss of earning capacity
  •   Pain & suffering

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to another driver’s negligence, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages. A lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected after an accident so that you can receive the best outcome possible and the compensation you deserve.

North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Although it is impossible to guarantee safety while riding a motorcycle, ensuring that you take precautions to practice safe riding habits can help protect you and others while riding. However, accidents still occur, and you should never have to pay for another motorist’s negligence. An experienced attorney can answer your legal questions, advise you on your best options, and help determine who is at fault.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, don’t delay reaching out to the law offices of Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters, ‘ today to see what we can do for you. You will receive a free, no-obligation case evaluation with one of our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys to discuss what your legal options are and what steps to take next. Here at Tatum & Atkinson, the ‘Heavy Hitters’, we accept motorcycle accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you will never have to pay attorneys fees out of pocket, and we will not get paid unless you win. Contact us today by calling us at (800) 529-0804 or by contacting us online  to receive your free case evaluation to see what we can do to help you.