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Beach Ball Causes 15-Motorcycle Accident in NC and Might Raise Significant Liability Issues

Multi-vehicle pileups are typically reported in the news as a single collision. From a legal standpoint, however, it is really a series of individual accidents. Having represented numerous clients in these cases, our Charlotte motorcycle accident lawyers can attest to the complex posturing performed by insurers or attorneys as they attempt to prove their clients have no liability for damages that often include severe injuries.

One party rarely carries full liability for the injuries and damages sustained in a multi-vehicle accident. Yet North Carolina law can prevent injury victims with even a miniscule degree of fault from filing claims against more negligent individuals. Nevertheless, achieving justice is possible if you work with a knowledgeable attorney who knows how to analyze the incident and reveal compelling evidence.

How North Carolina’s Contributory Negligence Doctrine Might Apply In Some Cases

In March 2014, FOX reported a 15-motorcycle accident. As a group of bikers rode on U.S. 64 for a charity ride, an object thought to be a beach ball emerged from a car in front of the bikers. The bikers lost control and seven of them went to the hospital, some with severe injuries, including a head injury.

Regardless of whether the object was thrown or came loose from the car, most people would assume it was the cause of all injuries. However, under the law, some or all bikers might have played a role in their own injuries, depending on the answers to the following questions:

  • Did the bikers follow a safe distance from the car and from each other to provide adequate time to respond to emergencies?
  • Were all drivers proceeding at or below the speed limit?
  • Did the biker who sustained the head injury wear an appropriate helmet as required by law?

The news article does not answer any of these questions, but a thorough accident attorney would conduct extensive investigations to uncover the details that can help protect victims’ rights.

Exceptions to the Doctrine Help Keep it Fair

Most states use the comparative negligence doctrine, which determines liability based on the percentage of fault held by each party. Many individuals question whether the NC law is fair. It does, however, provide some exceptions, such as the following:

  • Last clear chance: Victims can pursue damages in cases where their actions may have put them in a precarious position, and another person has time and opportunity to avoid the commission of harm, but fails to exercise that chance to avoid harm.
  • Willful and wanton defendant: Injury victims can often pursue full compensation from anyone who intentionally causes an accident. If someone in the car threw the ball onto the road, they might carry full liability for all injuries.
  • Gross Negligence: When the person causing injury acts with such reckless indifference to the rights and safety of others, the injured victim may be able to recover even if the victim’s own negligence was also a cause of the injury.
  • Children: Children under the age of 7 are deemed legally incapable of being contributorily negligent, and a presumption against contributory negligence arises in children between the ages of 7 and 14.

Anyone who sustains serious injuries in an accident should not leave claims decisions in the hands of insurance companies. It costs nothing to schedule a free consultation with our Charlotte motorcycle accident lawyers to learn about all available legal options. Call us at 844-452-3688, or use our convenient online contact form for a free initial consultation.