Frequently Asked Questions
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Does my child’s failure to wear a bike helmet invalidate insurance claims from a car crash?
No. The same North Carolina state law that mandates use of bike helmets by children who are 16 years old or younger also states that “no negligence or liability shall be assessed on or imputed to any party on account of a violation.”
This is important because a finding of contributory negligence in North Carolina makes it impossible for an accident victim to collect on personal injury insurance claims or to succeed with a civil lawsuit for compensation and damages.
Do I need to use bike paths in North Carolina? That is, if a driver hit and injured me while I was riding in the roadway, can I file insurance claims?
You do not always have to use bike lanes. That said, you should keep right and understand that cannot legally ride your bicycle everywhere.
North Carolina, like every other state, classifies bicycles as vehicles. This gives bike riders the legal right to use almost all roads and streets. It also makes bike riders responsible for following all traffic laws (with an allowance for speed limits).
However, bicycles are not allowed on interstates or where signs inform riders that they cannot operate. Violating restrictions on bike use make it impossible for riders to collect on insurance claims filed against drivers even when drivers are more at fault for crashes.
What are the most common types of severe injuries when a driver hits a bike rider?
A person on a bicycle enjoys none of the physical protections offered by a car or truck. Even the best bike helmet can only do so much.
Consequently, when a driver collides with a bike rider, the bicyclist is at danger for suffering some or all of the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Skull fractures
- Facial injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Disc fractures and herniations
- Broken bones
- Bruises, cuts and scrapes (i.e., road rash)
When a driver inflicts such injuries, a bike rider can partner with a North Carolina personal injury lawyer to file insurance claims or pursue a civil lawsuit.
A driver hit and injured me while I was riding my bike without wearing a helmet. Can I still file a personal injury insurance claim?
North Carolina state law does not require bike riders who are older than 16 years of age to wear bicycle helmets. Additionally, the statute that mandates bike helmets for children, NCGS 20-171.7, contains a clause that states, “No negligence or liability shall be assessed on or imputed to any party on account of a violation.”
In plain English, you can file a personal injury insurance claim against a car or trucker driver as long as you can prove that the driver caused the crash that injured you while you were riding your bicycle. Your claim may be denied for one reason or another, but the insurance company cannot refuse to consider it just because you did not wear a helmet.