Motorcycle Accidents Involving Alcohol
Despite the best intentions to make roads safer for motorcyclists and encourage people to stop driving while intoxicated, alcohol-related motorcycle accidents occur annually. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that motorcyclists are increasingly more at risk than drivers with other types of vehicles.
Intoxicated drivers are the most significant contributing factor to motorcycle accidents in the United States. Drunk drivers are more likely to increase their speed to an unsafe level and drive negligently. Unfortunately, alcohol is involved in nearly half of all traffic fatalities including motorcycles and automobiles.Common Types of Alcohol-Related Motorcycle Accidents
Driving while intoxicated increases the likelihood of someone being reckless on the road because it decreases their inhibitions. Common behaviors engaged in by drunk drivers include:
- Riding in the wrong lane.
- Ignoring traffic lights and signals.
- Distracted driving.
- Driving in the wrong lane.
- Aggressiveness on the road.
One of the most common causes of motorcyclist deaths involve unsafe lane changes. In these accidents, passenger vehicle drivers change lanes without properly checking their mirrors and blind spots. Because motorcyclists are more difficult to spot, unsafe lane changes can result in severe injuries and death for a motorcyclist.
Left-hand turns are another common cause of alcohol-related motorcycle accidents. The driver may fail to see the oncoming motorcyclist when making a left-hand turn. As a result, the motorcyclist collides with the passenger vehicle. If the motorcyclist is traveling at speeds over 45 mph, these types of accidents are often fatal for the motorcyclist. Other common causes of alcohol-related motorcycle accidents include the following:
- Poor road conditions
- Swerving in and out of a lane
- Weather conditions such as storms, ice, hail, and wind
- Parking lot accidents in which a car is leaving the parking lot and gets in the way of the motorcyclist
When a driver consumes alcohol and proceeds to drive on the roads, they are already violating the obligation of care they owe everyone else on the road. Under North Carolina law, all drivers owe other drivers a duty to drive reasonably safe. Driving while intoxicated is not only a criminal act, but it is also negligent.
As a result, any victim injured due to the drunk driver’s actions has a right to bring a lawsuit against them for compensation. When bringing a lawsuit for damages due to an alcohol-related motorcycle accident, you will need to prove the following:
- The defendant acted with negligence
- You or your loved one suffer damage due to the accident
Successful plaintiffs are entitled to several types of damages in North Carolina. The damages a plaintiff can recover after a motorcycle accident cover the financial and non-financial losses that have occurred due to the accident. Plaintiffs can seek economic damages for the financial losses incurred due to the motorcycle accident. These are the most common types of damages, and they are easy to quantify. Economic damages include the following:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Property damage
In most cases, medical expenses are the largest portion of the economic damages awarded to the plaintiff. Due to the seriousness of motorcycle injuries, it could take months or maybe even years for you to recover. You may need medical care for the rest of your life. These medical bills can become burdensome, especially when you can no longer work. Luckily, you are entitled to compensation for these expenses when another party was at fault for your accident. The cost of counseling, physiotherapy, and rehabilitation are all included in your medical expenses.Non-Economic Damages
When a drunk driver causes your injuries, you are also entitled to see non-economic damages. These damages are awarded to compensate you for the intangible losses you suffered from the motorcycle accident. Non-economic damages increase your settlement significantly, especially if you hire a competent attorney.
Non-economic damages include damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, and loss of spousal support, consortium, or parental guidance. You may also be entitled to various punitive damages. Intoxicated drivers often engage in risky and reckless behaviors that warrant punitive damages.Contact an Experienced Charlotte Motorcycle Attorney Today
You may be entitled to damages if you or your loved one have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident caused by an intoxicated driver in North or South Carolina. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC as soon as possible to schedule your free initial consultation.