For motorcyclists, few things are greater than the sense of freedom that comes with riding on the open road. Unfortunately, the relative lack of safety features offered by motorcycles puts riders at risk every time they share the road with other motor vehicles. When a motorcycle accident collides with cars, trucks, SUVs, and other vehicles, the motorcyclists are the ones who are most likely to sustain severe, life-altering injuries and fatalities.
If you were injured or if your loved one died in a motorcycle accident, the road to recovery and healing can be extremely challenging. At Pringle & Herigstad, P.C., we believe that you deserve justice and fair financial compensation for your losses. Since 1909, our firm has been fighting for the rights of ordinary individuals throughout North Dakota. Our personal injury attorneys understand the difficulties you face, and they know how to help.
Are Motorcyclists Covered by North Dakota’s No-Fault System?
When it comes to standard car accident claims, North Dakota follows a no-fault system. This means that injured accident victims do not need to prove that the other person or party was at fault for the accident to recover compensation. Instead, they can file a claim with their own auto insurance providers and be paid for specific economic losses under their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
However, motorcycle accident cases are different.
In North Dakota, motorcyclists are not required to carry PIP coverage. They are required to carry the following coverage:
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident
- $25,000 in property damage liability per accident
- $25,000 in bodily injury uninsured motorist (UM) per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury uninsured motorist (UM) per accident
As a result, injured motorcyclists cannot necessarily turn to their own auto insurance providers for compensation after an accident. If you have elected to purchase PIP coverage, you may be entitled to file such a claim, but if you have not, you will need to bring a claim against the at-fault party and/or seek compensation through your UM coverage.
Who Is At Fault In A Motorcycle Accident?
Because it is often necessary to file a third-party claim against an at-fault driver after a motorcycle accident, establishing liability is critical. Typically, though not always, liability falls with the person or party who caused the accident. And, frequently, this is the other driver involved in the accident, not the motorcyclist.
Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Speeding (by both other motorists and motorcyclists)
- Distracted driving, including texting while driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Unsafe or unlawful turns, passing, and other maneuvers
- Disobeying traffic control devices, such as stop signs and signals
- Reckless and/or aggressive driving
- Sudden turns, stops, merges, etc.
- Dangerous road/weather conditions, including ice and rain
- Auto defects, construction defects, and road defects
Motorcyclists are often thought of as dangerous, risky drivers. People confuse the risks associated with riding a motorcycle with the actions of motorcyclists themselves, but at Pringle & Herigstad, P.C., we know that this is simply not true. Our North Dakota motorcycle accident attorneys know how to push back against common misconceptions that paint motorcyclists as inherently unsafe drivers and have successfully represented injured motorcycle riders against major insurance companies and before local courts throughout the state.
Why You Need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Motorcycle accident claims tend to be more complex than other auto accident cases for several reasons. For one, most motorcycle accident victims suffer severe injuries, such as brain injuries and spine injuries, requiring extensive medical care. The cost of treating these types of injuries can be exorbitant, meaning these claims are often high in value. Because of this, insurance companies are heavily interested in disputing and underpaying motorcycle accident claims. Without a skilled attorney on your side, you might make mistakes that ultimately jeopardize your recovery, leaving you struggling with current and future damages for months or even years.
Another thing that makes motorcycle accident claims so complicated is the unique insurance laws that apply in these types of cases. Motorcycle accidents are not like regular car accidents; you will need to prove that another person or party was not only at fault but also more at fault than you were for the accident to recover compensation. Under North Dakota’s modified comparative negligence rule, you cannot file a claim and recover compensation if you were 50% or more at fault for the crash.
We strongly recommend that you contact an experienced North Dakota motorcycle accident attorney at Pringle & Herigstad, P.C. as soon as possible after the accident. We can discuss your legal rights and options during a free initial consultation, either in person at one of our three office locations or over the phone for your convenience.