Special laws govern mopeds and mopeds in North Carolina. Specifically, under North Carolina law, a moped is defined as a “vehicle that has two or three wheels, no external shifting device, and a motor that does not exceed 50 cubic centimeters piston displacement and cannot propel the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on a level surface.” N.C. Gen. Stat. § 105-164.3 (22). North Carolina has recently enacted new laws that apply to mopeds. Specifically, effective July 1, 2015, mopeds now have to be registered and have a license plate. Effective July 1, 2016, all scooters and moped of any size will be require to have liability insurance. A motorcycle safety helmet is required by law when operating any scooter on North Carolina highways. Since North Carolina follows strict contributory negligence rules, it is imperative that you follow all rules and laws when operating a scooter or moped. If you do not, it could affect your chance at pursuing a claim in the event you are injured by someone else’s negligence. A experience injury lawyer will assist you with navigating those complex legal issues to determine if you have a recoverable claim.
Since the maximum speed that a moped can travel in order to retain its classification as a moped instead of a motorcycle is 30 MPH, they are generally traveling at slower speeds than other traffic. This leaves moped drivers very vulnerable to other traffic, and they are often struck by cars, trucks, and other motorist. Because a moped driver has very little protection other than a helmet, these collisions can lead to very severe injuries and sometimes death. Despite the risk for severe injuries and death, moped riders are a common sight on our roads and the most recent data shows crashes are on the rise: from 239 in 2001 to 671 in 2010.
If you have been injured or if a loved one has been killed on a moped, contact the Law Offices of Robert D. Rouse, III, who are familiar with the laws governing mopeds in North Carolina. They have handled many cases in which riders of mopeds were injured. Generally, insurance adjusters who negotiate moped claims are not familiar with the special North Carolina moped laws. As such, adjusters have denied claims where someone was entitled to damages simply because they were mistaken about what the law requires of moped riders.
Our experience has also shown that juries sometimes do not look favorably upon moped riders. This is largely due in part to news stories which focus on moped drivers operating mopeds because their license has been suspended, often due to DUI convictions or other drinking and driving related charges. It is not uncommon for adjusters to also use this tactic and argue that the damages should be less if a victim has a prior DUI. Adjusters will also sometimes argue that that the insurance company should decrease the value of the claim because of the negative attention moped riders get and the negative attitude a jury will likely have towards a moped operator. As experienced moped attorneys, we know how to respond to these arguments and know how to win moped injury cases. We know how to convince insurance companies and juries to award fair damages to those injured on mopeds. We are not deterred by the negative attention moped drivers receive. The law affords moped riders protection from other motorist and entitlement to money damages when their rights are ignored and they are injured. We will work tirelessly to see that the law is fairly applied in order to protect victims of moped crashes and get them the compensation they deserve.