At Joye Law Firm, our legal team is ready assist people who have been injured in motorcycle accidents in South Carolina. Our attorneys have more than 110 years of combined experience helping seriously injured accident victims, including those hurt in motorcycle crashes.
Let us help you, too. Below are some frequently asked questions and answers about motorcycle accidents in South Carolina. For specific answers to your individual questions, Just call Joye Law Firm. You can reach us by phone or fill out an online form for a free consultation and claim review.
Because of the lack of a vehicle’s structure to protect motorcyclists in a crash, it is very likely a motorcyclist will be seriously injured in a wreck. In 2012, only 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the United States were motorcycles, but motorcyclists accounted for 15 percent of all traffic fatalities, 18 percent of all occupant (driver and passenger) fatalities, and 4 percent of all occupants injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The approximately 8.45 million registered motorcycles in the U.S. accounted for only 0.7 percent of all vehicle miles traveled in one recent year, NHTSA says. But, per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists were more than 26 times likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash and five times more likely to be injured.
NHTSA says motorcycles are becoming more prevalent on the roads as an attractive recreational option and because they are less expensive than cars to buy and operate. As gas prices rise, more people are opting to use their motorcycles for transportation, even during colder times of the year. More motorcycle use combined with ever-increasing amounts of traffic on the roads increase the likelihood of serious motorcycle accidents.
In South Carolina, 137 motorcyclists were killed in crashes in 2012, NHTSA says.
Yes. You should contact your insurance company within a day or two of your accident to notify it of the accident. If you eventually pursue a claim via a lawsuit, you generally have three years from the date of your accident in South Carolina. However, each case is unique and time limitations can vary greatly. An experienced motorcycle attorney can determine what time frames apply in your particular case.
If you do not report an accident to your insurance company in a timely manner, the insurer could balk at providing benefits you have been paying for, a Consumer Reports article about car insurance warns. Even if you expect to obtain benefits through the other driver’s liability insurance, you should contact your insurer.
Most cases are governed under South Carolina law (Section 15-3-520), which provides three years to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
But you should act promptly if you believe you have a legal claim for compensation. These are often complex cases, requiring the collection and analysis of information about the motorcycle accident itself as well as your injuries and prospects for recovery.
In many cases, Joye Law Firm hires experts to review technical data. We must also contact and interview the various parties involved in the accident, some of whom may not be available or cooperative.
If you have suffered a serious injury in a motorcycle accident in South Carolina, we urge you to contact Joye Law Firm today to get work on your case started.
There are no up-front, out-of-pocket costs to retain the legal services of a Joye Law Firm motorcycle accident lawyer. We will seek a fee only at the conclusion of your case, and even then only if we have obtained compensation for you.
Our motorcycle accident attorneys work on a contingency-fee basis. This means our legal fees depend on the compensation we obtain for our clients.
If we think your legal claim will be successful and you want us to represent you, we will enter into an agreement specifying that we will retain a percentage of the final settlement or court award in your case as our fee. We will also seek repayment for the expenses required to process your claim, which we will pay for you up front.
This ensures that we accept only cases that we expect to win, and it gives us an incentive to maximize your financial recovery. We’ll begin by providing an initial review and legal consultation about your case that is absolutely free, regardless of whether we can pursue a claim on your behalf.
Just Call Joye Law Firm now or fill out our online form to set up a free initial consultation today.
My life has been so chaotic since my motorcycle crash that I haven’t even thought about a claim. Can I still bring one?
Possibly. You should contact your insurance company within a day or two of your accident to notify it of the accident. If you eventually pursue a claim via a lawsuit, you generally have three years from the date of your accident in South Carolina. However, each case is unique and time limitations can vary greatly. An experienced motorcycle attorney can determine what time frames apply in your particular case.
Most cases are governed under South Carolina law (Section 15-3-520), which provides three years to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. This period may be extended (or “tolled”) under certain circumstances, such as when the victim is a minor or is incompetent.
You should act promptly if you believe you have a legal claim for compensation. Motorcycle accidents are often complex cases, requiring the collection and analysis of information about the crash itself, as well as the victim’s injuries and prospects for recovery. It is best if your attorney can get to work on an independent investigation as soon as possible after the accident.
In many cases, Joye Law Firm hires experts to review technical data. We must also contact and interview the various parties involved in the accident, some of whom may not be available if a long time has passed.
If you have suffered a serious injury in a motorcycle accident in South Carolina, we urge you to contact Joye Law Firm today to get work started on your case.
Days after my motorcycle crash, the other driver’s insurance company offered me a settlement for my injuries. Should I take it?
No. You should not accept an insurance company’s settlement offer without first consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney. The offer is most likely far less than what you deserve for your injuries. Many insurance companies make quick lowball offers in hopes of making valid cases go away.
Once you accept a settlement offer you cannot “go back for more” if your injuries prove to be more serious than you thought they were. Complications, the inability to function at work, the need for further surgeries or treatment and other unanticipated developments could increase your actual losses.
It is crucial that you do not sign any paperwork from an insurance company without discussing the settlement offer with an attorney first. It is unlikely that the offer is fair.
At Joye Law Firm, we know the insurance industry and how it operates. We are committed to helping our clients navigate this process while protecting their right to a fair settlement.
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney from Joye Law Firm can evaluate your case and develop a claim that takes into account all of the compensation you deserve for current and future needs. Once you hire Joye Law Firm, you can turn all of your dealings with insurance companies over to an attorney who is looking out for your best interests.
I wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Can I still recover compensation from the at-fault driver?
Yes. The law says that it does not matter whether you were wearing a helmet when it comes to determining the at-fault driver’s responsibility for covering your damages. However, in the practice, insurance companies and their lawyers may use your lack of a helmet in an attempt to reduce the amount they pay on your claim. Don’t let them get away with it.
South Carolina law requires only people who are under the age of 21 to wear motorcycle helmets and protective eyewear. South Carolina repealed its law requiring all riders to wear helmets in 1980. That means it is perfectly legal for a motorcyclist over age 21 to ride without a helmet in South Carolina.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says a helmet is the most important piece of motorcycle safety equipment. Wearing a helmet decreases the severity of head injuries and the likelihood of death in a crash. The federal government estimates that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of dying in a crash by 37 percent.
While it is a smart decision to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, it is not a requirement in South Carolina. The decision to ride without a helmet should not affect an injured biker’s right to recover compensation from the at-fault driver.
However, insurance companies often try to shift the blame to unhelmeted riders, even if the rider was older than 21 and the lack of a helmet had nothing to do with the cause of the crash. Don’t let them get away with it. The attorneys at Joye Law Firm stand up for the rights of injured motorcycle riders. Contact us now to find out how we can help.
No, not without getting help from a lawyer first. Many times, an insurance company representative will contact you to discuss your case soon after an accident. This is something you should avoid doing by yourself. It is best to turn insurance negotiations over to a skilled personal injury attorney.
The insurance company may ask you to provide a recorded or written statement. Do not do this without the advice of an attorney. In many instances, the facts of an accident are not clear in the immediate aftermath of a serious motorcycle accident. An injured motorcyclist is often on painkillers, in the hospital or recovering at home or with relatives. This is not the right time to begin a conversation about what happened.
You should talk to a qualified attorney first. Your lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation into what really caused the crash. These efforts may include hiring accident reconstruction specialists and other experts to sift through the evidence to determine the cause. Your lawyer can also work with medical experts, life-care planners and others to calculate your losses from the crash. Negotiations with the insurance company should begin only after all of this information has been gathered.
Instead of talking to the other driver’s insurance company, you should call a motorcycle accident attorney like those at Joye Law Firm. It’s best to let a lawyer deal with the insurance companies while you focus on recovering.
Possibly. We would have to investigate the circumstances of your accident to determine whether you have a valid claim, but in general you may seek compensation from the party at fault in a South Carolina motorcycle accident. However, if you share any blame for the accident, it may affect what compensation you may obtain.
When more than one party shares the blame for an accident, South Carolina uses a modified comparative fault system. This means your award may be reduced by the percentage of fault you contributed to the crash, so long you were less than 51 percent to blame.
A lawsuit in a motorcycle accident might seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses. Because motorcycle accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, scarring and disfigurement, this will be the bulk of most claims.
- Property damage. This is money to repair or replace a damaged motorcycle after a wreck. If your bike had custom parts or paint, you should be sure to document this and ask for appropriate compensation. You may also be able recover the cost of a rental vehicle as you await repairs or shop for a new vehicle.
- Lost income. This covers lost salary or wages due to missing work during your recovery or for losses due to a disability that requires you to take work that pays less or prevents you from returning to work.
- Pain and suffering. This may include compensation for specific severe injuries, scarring or disfigurement.
- Punitive damages. This is money sometimes awarded to punish the defendant in cases of particularly egregious or outrageous behavior.
If your case goes to court, the jury will determine what percentage of blame you deserve for the accident, and reduce your compensation accordingly. For example, if you are found to be 30 percent to blame for the crash, your award will be cut by 30 percent. If you bear 51 percent of the blame or more, you will not receive any compensation.
As your attorneys, Joye Law Firm would investigate your accident and work to mitigate any harm your comparable negligence might do to your financial recovery.
In most cases, you will need to seek medical treatment first after a motorcycle accident. In addition to treatment for injuries, seeing a doctor creates medical records that can serve as primary evidence if you pursue a legal claim in your accident. But if you are able, there are additional steps to take to protect your rights after a motorcycle accident.
If possible, you or a companion should:
- Get names, contact information and insurance information from everyone in the accident. If there are witnesses, get contact information for them, too.
- Take photos that will illustrate the accident. This includes pictures of the scene, your bike and its damage, the other vehicles, skid marks, your injuries, damaged clothing, road defects and weather conditions that may have contributed to the accident.
- Cooperate with police who respond to the accident, but do not admit fault or downplay your injuries or the damage to your bike. Ask how to get a copy of the police report and do so as soon as possible.
- If your motorcycle is taken from the accident scene, tell the towing company that every effort should be made to preserve physical evidence. Follow up in writing.
- If you don’t need emergency care, see a doctor as soon as possible for a full examination. Some serious injuries are not apparent right away.
- Report the accident to your insurance company. Decline to provide a recorded or written statement without representation by an attorney.
- Create a file and keep all records of your accident, including receipts for medical treatment or medication of any kind.
You should also contact a motorcycle accident attorney, such as ours at Joye Law Firm. If the accident was someone else’s fault, you may be able to obtain compensation for injuries, damage to your motorcycle and other losses.