Motorcycle accidents are not more common than car or truck accidents, but they do have a greater potential to end in severe injuries or, even worse, fatalities. Negligent motorists often fail to detect a motorcycle prior to impact, and some continue to drive away after causing harm.
Accidents may come with the territory of being a driver, but justice comes with the territory of being a client of the Shelly Leeke Law Firm. If you or someone that you care about has sustained injuries in a motorcycle wreck, our Charleston motorcycle accident attorneys can help you seek justice.
Our firm has an extensive record of success in handling biker accident cases throughout South Carolina and will stop at nothing to ensure you are compensated fairly post-accident. If you want to know what to do after a bike wreck, the value of your claim, or how to prove liability, keep reading or take advantage of a free consultation with us to learn more.
Critical Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Accident
Following a motorcycle accident, it’s imperative to take steps to protect your rights to compensation from the negligent party. These steps include the following:
- Prioritize your safety and health: Immediately following a motorcycle collision, move to a secure resting place if you are able to. Drivers are frequently propelled from or pinned by their bikes and need medical attention. You should seek medical care to ensure that your injuries are not life-threatening.
- Contact the police to file an accident report: Unfortunately, drivers have been known to flee the scene of the accident. Filing a report with the police is necessary to document what you witnessed before impact and the extent of harm.
- Gather photos and witness information: While at the scene of the accident, video footage, pictures, and witness accounts will be solid sources of information to verify your claim.
- Ask a personal injury attorney if your accident qualifies for a settlement: Many victims don’t know their rights as drivers that share the road. South Carolina has comparative negligence laws that can still work in your favor if you contributed to the crash.
Understanding the Most Common Causes of Accidents
The safest advice for a Charleston motorcycle accident lawyer to give to a motorcyclist is to drive under the assumption that motorists are unable to see them. The size and speed of a motorcycle can make it difficult to detect in blind spots and at intersections, which is where 70% of bikers tend to have wrecks. Other common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
This leading cause encompasses negligent behavior such as failing to yield, texting while driving, speeding, and not using signals or proper headlights. As a motorcycle driver, the glare can be blinding, and intersections and distracted drivers both contribute to decreased visibility by motorists.
Extreme weather can increase the chances of an accident occurring, especially for vehicles with less traction, like motorcycles. Operating your bike in slippery or icy conditions with other cars or trucks calls for you to be attentive at all times and extremely cautious. No matter the “caution of care” provided by all drivers, inclement weather contributes to losing control.
Poor road conditions and defective roadways, such as potholes or dangerous environments that lack speed or traffic signs, set the stage for accidents to happen. In cases like this, your accident attorney would investigate whether a municipality was at fault for your motorcycle accident.
Driving Under the Influence
Research from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) found that 36% of the drivers in motorcycle accidents involving drunk drivers were motorcyclists, 29% were truck drivers, and 25% were drivers of passenger cars. Operating any vehicle requires skill and concentration that alcohol, drugs, or other substances quickly dysregulate.
Calculating the Settlement Amount for a Motorcycle Accident in South Carolina
Since no two motorcycle accident cases are ever exactly alike, it is challenging to calculate the typical settlement amount. Some instances might be resolved for $5,000, while others might be resolved for more than $100,000.
After a collision, the following criteria will be highlighted by your motorcycle accident attorney in Charleston to establish the motorcycle accident compensation:
- Medical expenses: If your motorcycle accident resulted in an injury, you might be able to claim the cost of your medical expenses. Additionally, if your injuries are chronic, you might be able to file a claim for any future medical bills as well as any costs associated with changing your lifestyle (e.g., hiring a carer or making amendments to your home).
- Loss of wages: You may be entitled to compensation if your injuries force you to miss work or causes you to lose money. You may also be able to make a claim for a loss of earning capacity, any potential future earnings, or the cost of retraining if your motorcycle injuries make it unfortunate for you to be able to return to work.
- Pain and suffering: Any emotional or bodily pain brought on by your motorcycle accident, like diminished enjoyment of life. Pain and suffering is difficult to quantify, so accident victims who seek such damages often need the help of a personal injury attorney.
- Property loss: Any repair or replacement costs that are necessary if the damage is severe enough to call for professional maintenance will be deducted from the total settlement amount.
- Wrongful death: Under South Carolina Code of Laws § 15-51-10, you may bring a wrongful death claim if a motorcycle accident caused you to lose a loved one. You will receive a settlement from this kind of case that will pay for any burial costs and loss of consortium.
- Punitive damages: In some motorcycle collisions, the responsible individual may have committed a serious offense or be a habitual offender. The judge may award further damages in this situation to penalize the responsible party.
Proving Who Is Responsible for Your Motorcycle Accident
You must establish four things, known as “components” by South Carolina personal injury attorneys and courts, to establish recklessness and show the other driver was at fault.
- Duty of care: Demonstrate that they had a responsibility to drive safely and within the rules of the road
- Violation of duty: Demonstrate that the other driver violated the “standard of care” due to other road users by operating their vehicle recklessly or illegally
- Causing harm: You must sustain some kind of harm
- Damages: Finally, you must demonstrate that the other driver’s violation of their duty to you resulted in the damages you have
When an accident happens, the insurance companies for all drivers and your motorcycle accident lawyers in Charleston will assess and assign blame based on these variables. For either personal injury or property damage resulting from an accident, survivors in South Carolina have three years to file a complaint under South Carolina Code of Laws § 15-3-530.
Seeking Legal Help After a Motorcycle Accident?
The legal team of the Shelly Leeke Law Firm has years of combined expertise in representing bike accident victims just like you. Our supportive and effective motorcycle accident attorneys in Charleston provide high-level dedication to each case to secure fair compensation for clients.
Contact us today and stop worrying about the legalities of your claim. Through a free consultation session, we can discuss the estimated value of your settlement and strategize a strong defense that supports your claim.