Just after 2:30 pm on June 3rd, a crash occurred in Charlotte involving a drunk driver and two motorcycles. According to WBTV news, the two motorcycles laid their motorcycles down in an attempt to protect themselves from the oncoming driver, but the car continued forward and hit both of the motorcycles and one of the parties driving the motorcycle. The motorcyclist that was struck was considered seriously injured, and the other motorcyclist suffered from minor injuries.
A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found, “[i]n 2012, there were an estimated 5,615,000 police-reported traffic crashes in which 33,561 people were killed and 2,362,000 people were injured; 3,950,000 crashes resulted in property damage only.” Fortunately, no one in this accident was killed; however these two motorcyclists now fall into the almost 2.5 million people who are injured yearly as a result of a car accident.
While the driver of the car has been charged with felony serious injury by vehicle, driving while license revoked and reckless driving, these charges do not allow for the compensation of victims who have been injured. For this reason, certain accidents involve both criminal and civil liability.
Most accidents result due to a negligent act. To bring a negligence claim against a driver, the plaintiff, or the injured party, must prove that the driver of the vehicle disregarded their duty of care to act reasonably and as a result, the plaintiff was injured. A plaintiff that is successful with their claim may be entitled to damages to help address their injuries.
There are many instances when a driver has violated their duty of care to act reasonably (or drive safely). Negligence claims may be brought in many different circumstances, some examples include driving while distracted, not obeying traffic laws, driving while impaired, or when driving aggressively. While this list in not all-inclusive, it contains some of the more common causes of car accidents.
Courts will often take into account not only the fault of the driver, but also any fault of the person who was injured. This consideration will largely affect the amount of damages received depending on the state you are in. While the extent of the injuries in the case above are not known, there are many potential categories in which a plaintiff may recover, including: general damages, lost earning capacity, lost wages, medical expenses, loss of love and affection, and so on.
It is important to note that the injured party may not always be someone in another vehicle or motorcycle. Occasionally wrecks occur where the injured party is a passenger of the vehicle, and likely a friend of the driver. Insurance coverage varies according to the policy, but often times those policies cover passengers of the vehicle as well. While an injured person may not want to pursue legal action against a friend, it must be remembered that drivers are required to carry insurance for the sole purpose of compensating those that are injured.
What Should You Do?
Accidents happen fast and are often chaotic afterwards. If you are involved in an accident, make sure to give as thorough of a police report as possible, including your recollection of events, what the weather was like, any visibility issues, and so on. These facts are helpful when determining the fault of the accident.
If you have been injured in a car accident, you should contact an attorney regarding your case. Most experienced personal injury attorneys offer a free legal consultation and will work with you to evaluate your options.