How is Fault Determined in a Motorcycle Accident in Winston Salem, NC?

Understanding how fault is determined in a motorcycle accident is crucial, especially in Winston Salem, NC, where the roads are bustling and accidents are unfortunately common. At McIver Law Firm, we specialize in navigating the complexities of motorcycle accident cases, helping our clients understand their rights and how fault is assessed in these situations. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact McIver Law Firm to speak with a Winston Salem motorcycle accident lawyer about your case, risk-free! And remember, you pay nothing unless we win your case!

The Basics of Fault in North Carolina

North Carolina operates under the strict contributory negligence rule. This means that if a motorcyclist is found even slightly at fault for the accident, they may be barred from recovering any compensation. This strict approach makes determining fault a critical aspect of any motorcycle accident case.

Investigating the Accident

The apportionment of fault is heavily influenced by the investigation of the accident, as you may expect.  Insurance companies and lawyers will use things like witness testimony and evidence from the scene to argue that their side was not at fault. Here are four key elements that go into the investigation:

Police Reports and On-Site Evidence

After a motorcycle accident, the first step is often to look at the police report. Officers typically respond to the scene and document their observations, including potential causes of the accident. This report can be pivotal in establishing fault.

Witness Testimonies

Witnesses can provide objective accounts of the accident. Their testimonies can be crucial in piecing together the events leading up to the accident and identifying any negligent behaviors.

Surveillance Footage

In urban areas like Winston Salem, surveillance cameras may capture the accident. This footage can be a crucial piece of evidence in determining fault.

Accident Reconstruction Experts

In complex cases, McIver Law Firm often employs accident reconstruction experts. These professionals can analyze the accident scene, vehicle damage, and other evidence to reconstruct how the accident occurred and who was at fault.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents and Fault Assessment

Left-Turn Accidents

A common scenario is when a vehicle makes a left turn in front of a motorcycle. Fault typically lies with the driver making the turn, as they are expected to yield to oncoming traffic. However, if the motorcyclist was speeding or violating traffic laws, they may also be partly at fault.

Lane Splitting

Lane splitting is not legal in North Carolina. If an accident occurs while a motorcyclist is lane splitting, this can significantly impact the fault determination.

Speeding and Reckless Driving

If either party was speeding or driving recklessly, this would heavily influence the fault determination. Speeding motorcycles are often less visible to drivers, increasing the risk of accidents.


Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a significant factor in fault determination. If either party was intoxicated, they are likely to be deemed at fault.

Road Conditions and Environmental Factors

Poor road conditions or environmental factors like inclement weather can contribute to motorcycle accidents. In such cases, fault may be attributed to the entity responsible for road maintenance, or it might be considered an unavoidable accident.

North Carolina’s Helmet Law and Its Impact on Fault

In North Carolina, all motorcyclists are legally required to wear helmets. If a motorcyclist is involved in an accident without a helmet, this can complicate the fault determination process. While not wearing a helmet does not automatically place fault on the motorcyclist, it can impact the assessment of injuries and potential compensation.

The Role of Personal Injury Lawyers in Fault Determination

At McIver Law Firm, our role extends beyond just legal representation. We thoroughly investigate the accident, gather evidence, and work with experts to build a strong case for our clients. Understanding the nuances of North Carolina’s contributory negligence rule is crucial in motorcycle accident cases.

Negotiations and Litigation

Most motorcycle accident cases are settled out of court. Our firm negotiates with insurance companies and opposing parties to reach a fair settlement. If a settlement cannot be reached, we are prepared to take the case to court, where fault will be determined by a judge or jury.

Contact McIver Law Firm to Get a Skilled Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Your Corner!

Determining fault in a motorcycle accident in Winston Salem, NC, is a complex process that requires thorough investigation and expert legal understanding. At McIver Law Firm, we are dedicated to guiding our clients through this process, ensuring that their rights are protected, and working tirelessly to secure the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, don’t navigate this challenging time alone. Contact us today at 336-727-9886 or by completing a contact form to speak with our skilled team of personal injury lawyers.

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