In South Carolina, we are lucky to have great weather throughout most of the year. With a mild climate, it is little wonder that so many South Carolinians enjoy getting out on the open road with their motorcycles. But riding a motorcycle can be dangerous, particularly when it comes to sharing the road with other motorists. In fact, in 2020 alone, there were 1,909 motorcycle accidents in South Carolina – including 113 fatal accidents.
Suppose you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident. In that case, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, whether it is another driver or even a government agency responsible for maintaining the road. Through this type of personal injury claim, you can recover financial compensation for all of your losses, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The Derrick Law Office represents individuals who have been hurt in all types of accidents, including motorcycle crashes. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. Reach out today to talk to a Greenville car accident attorney about your case.
When Can I Sue After a Motorcycle Accident?
In South Carolina, drivers need a special license to operate a motorcycle. Most motorcyclists are skilled drivers, adept at handling various road and weather conditions. What they often can’t account for, however, is how other drivers act when on the road with them.
Motorcycle accidents happen for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle crashes include:
- Vehicles pulling in front of a motorcycle
- Vehicles tailgating a motorcyclist
- Temporary metal plates on the road
- Vehicles merging into a cyclist’s lane without looking
- Uneven road conditions
- Loose gravel on the roadway
- Dangerous or defective parts
- Hazardous weather conditions
When a motorcycle wreck is caused by another person’s careless, intentional or reckless conduct, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Most frequently, these claims are based on a theory of negligence, or carelessness. Negligence is the failure to use the level of care that a reasonable person would use in a similar situation.
For example, consider a situation where a motorist changes lanes on a multi-lane highway without thoroughly checking to ensure that no other vehicle is in the lane. If this lane change causes a motorcycle accident, they could be held liable for any injuries that result.
A motorcycle accident lawsuit may be brought against a driver, another motorcyclist, a pedestrian, a parts manufacturer, or even a city or government agency. The key is to demonstrate that the other party (defendant) acted negligently. If you can prove negligence, then you will be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries.
Questions of negligence can be complicated, particularly when fault isn’t clear-cut. The best way to determine your rights is to schedule a free consultation with a Greenville motorcycle accident attorney. They will listen to your story and offer you advice on your rights and options for pursuing legal action.
Compensation for a Greenville Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accidents often lead to serious injuries, given the relative lack of protection that most motorcyclists have compared to drivers. In some cases, motorcycle crashes may even lead to death. The most common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Road rash
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Loss of limb
- Neck and spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Nerve damage
- Facial disfigurement
- Eye injuries
- Hearing damage
If you are hurt in a motorcycle crash, you may be able to recover damages (compensation) for your losses. There are three types of damages that you may be entitled to economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Economic damages compensate an injury victim for their financial losses. They may include things such as lost wages, reduced earning capacity, property damage, medical expenses, and future medical treatment. In situations involving catastrophic injuries, economic damages may also cover items such as modifications to your home or vehicle to make them accessible.
Non-economic damages are designed to compensate accident victims for their intangible losses. While these damages can be harder to prove, they are no less real than economic damages. Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional trauma, scarring, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Finally, punitive damages are awarded in cases where the at-fault party acted intentionally or recklessly. Because most motorcycle accident cases involve negligence, they are not always available. However, there are certain situations – such as drunk driving crashes – where punitive damages are appropriate as a way to penalize the wrongdoer.
It can be difficult to understand the full scope of your losses in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident. An injury lawyer in Greenville, SC can give you a ballpark estimate of a likely settlement or trial verdict, and then fight to get you maximum compensation for your losses.
Do I Need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
After a motorcycle accident, you may be approached by an insurance adjuster. They may offer to settle the case, tell you that they take full responsibility for the crash, or ask you to sign paperwork. Although it can be tempting to take the initial settlement offer so that you can move on with your life, it will almost always be a mistake to do so.
Insurance companies are in business to make money – not to make sure that you get a fair settlement. The best way to protect yourself and your interests are to reach out to a Greenville motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible after your crash.
Your attorney can take over communications with the insurance company for you, ensuring that you don’t say or sign anything that could undermine your claim. They will thoroughly investigate your accident to build a strong claim for damages. Over the coming weeks and months, they will aggressively advocate for you. Unlike the insurance company, your lawyer is duty-bound to represent YOUR best interests – which means getting you the highest possible recovery as quickly as possible.
Studies show that people who are represented by counsel recover an average of 40% more than people who represent themselves. A Greenville motorcycle accident attorney won’t just accept a lowball settlement offer – they will fight to make sure that you get the money that you need today and in the future.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
Being in a motorcycle accident can be traumatic. Afterward, you may not know what to do or who you can trust. Our law office is here for you.
Derrick Law Office is dedicated to helping injury victims get top dollar for their losses. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t pay anything out of pocket to hire us. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with a Greenville motorcycle accident attorney, give us a call at (864) 531-7765 or fill out our online contact form.
I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet. How Does That Affect My Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
In South Carolina, motorcyclists over 21 are not required to wear a helmet. While it is always a good idea to wear protective gear, not wearing a helmet will not prevent you from pursuing legal action. You can still recover full compensation for your injuries.
At the Derrick Law Office, we work with our clients to help them get the best possible outcome for their claim. Reach out today to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our legal team.
Can I File a Lawsuit If I Was Lane Splitting at the Time of My Motorcycle Accident?
In South Carolina, lane splitting is against the law. But even if you were lane splitting, you could still file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. South Carolina follows the legal theory of comparative negligence. As long as you were 50% or less at fault for the crash, you can still file a lawsuit for your injuries. Your total recovery will then be reduced by the percentage that you were at fault.
If you have been hurt in a motorcycle crash, your best option is to contact a Greenville motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Reach out today for a free consultation.
How Long Do I Have to File a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
In South Carolina, the statute of limitations is 3 years for personal injury claims. This means that, with a few exceptions, you have 3 years from the date of your motorcycle accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Of course, there are plenty of good reasons to start the process early – including making sure that evidence is available and witnesses’ memories are fresh. Call the Derrick Law Office today to schedule a free initial consultation with a Greenville, SC motorcycle accident lawyer.