Motorcycle in Charleston

Hundreds of motorcyclists are killed in crashes in South Carolina, and thousands more are injured every year. These crashes leave both the motorcyclists and their families with questions about what will happen next—will injuries heal completely? Will the injured person be able to return to work? Will exercise and activities ever be possible again? How will medical bills be paid? What if we cannot afford to live?

These questions—some of which are not easy or possible to answer—can haunt an injured motorcyclist and their family. At Joye Law Firm, our experienced North Charleston motorcycle accident lawyers cannot promise that you will return to the life that you had before your crash, but we can promise to advocate on your behalf to receive the compensation that you deserve.

Our North Charleston office opened in 1968. Since then, we have remained committed to our community, and have earned various accolades for our dedication. Most recently in 2023, we were voted Best Law Firm by Charleston City Paper. The Charleston Animal Society honored Joye Law Firm with a Community Ambassador Award in 2019. Mark Joye, the Head of our Litigation Department, assumed the role of President of the Charleston County Bar Association in 2024.

Joye Law Firm Fights for Injured Motorcyclists in North Charleston

Our North Charleston motorcycle accident lawyers stand up for the rights of injured motorcyclists to make sure they get the compensation they’re entitled to under the law.

In one example, our client experienced a life-changing motorcycle accident on Folly Road in Charleston, leading to the amputation of his leg below the knee after another driver made an illegal turn in front of him. Due to the severity of his injuries and the complex surgeries he underwent, his wife sought the counsel of Joye Law Firm to protect their family’s future.

Our team’s thorough investigation and legal actions, including attending traffic court and negotiating with the insurance company, resulted in a $2,000,000 settlement with a structured payout for our client. This strategy not only secured the necessary funds for our client’s medical and future healthcare needs but also ensured justice was served by holding the responsible party accountable.

You can see more examples of how we’ve helped our clients by checking out other case studies.

What Are Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, common causes of motorcycle accidents include:

  • Driver Inattention: Drivers of cars and trucks may not see motorcycles due to their smaller size, leading to accidents, especially at intersections.
  • Speeding: Excessive speed by either the motorcyclist or other vehicles increases the risk of accidents and the severity of injuries.
  • Lane Splitting: Motorcyclists riding between lanes of traffic can lead to accidents, particularly if other drivers are not expecting this maneuver.
  • Impaired Driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a significant factor in motorcycle accidents.
  • Left-Turn Accidents: Vehicles making left turns might collide with motorcycles when they misjudge the motorcycle’s speed or do not see it.
  • Hazardous Road Conditions: Potholes, uneven road surfaces, loose gravel, and wet or slippery roads can be more dangerous for motorcycles than for cars.
  • Inexperienced Riders: Lack of experience in handling a motorcycle can lead to errors, contributing to accidents.
  • Faulty Equipment: Mechanical issues or lack of proper maintenance of the motorcycle can lead to accidents.
  • Weather Conditions: Fog, rain, and other weather conditions can reduce visibility and road traction, increasing the risk for motorcyclists.
  • Tailgating: Following too closely behind a motorcycle can lead to rear-end collisions, especially if the motorcyclist has to stop suddenly.

Understanding these risks can help in promoting safer driving practices and reducing the number of motorcycle accidents in Charleston and surrounding areas.

What Are the Legal Rights of Motorcycle Accident Victims in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, motorcycle accident victims have several legal rights, including:

  • Right to Compensation: Victims have the right to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering from the at-fault party.
  • Right to File a Lawsuit: If a fair settlement cannot be reached with the insurance company, victims have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party.
  • Right to Legal Representation: Victims can hire an attorney to represent them in negotiations with insurance companies and in court.
  • Protection Under Comparative Negligence Law: Even if the victim is partially at fault, they can still recover damages as long as they are not more than 50% responsible for the accident.
  • Statute of Limitations: Victims have a specific time frame, typically three years from the date of the accident, to file a lawsuit.
  • Right to Fair Treatment: Victims are entitled to fair treatment from insurance companies and the right to an investigation of their claim.

What Should I Look for in a Charleston Motorcycle Accident Attorney?

It’s important to choose the right lawyer to represent you after your motorcycle accident. However, finding the right lawyer isn’t always easy.

Looking for these traits can help you identify a capable and compassionate lawyer who can help you maximize compensation:

  • Experience: Choose an attorney with specific experience in motorcycle accident cases, as they can have unique complexities compared to other vehicle accidents.
  • Track Record of Success: Look for an attorney with a proven track record of successfully handling and winning motorcycle accident cases, including securing fair settlements and verdicts.
  • Knowledge of South Carolina Laws: The attorney should be well-versed in South Carolina’s traffic laws, insurance regulations, and the specific legal nuances related to motorcycle accidents in the state.
  • Client Reviews and Testimonials: Check reviews, testimonials, and references to gauge the attorney’s reputation and the satisfaction of their previous clients.
  • Communication Skills: Choose an attorney who is a good communicator, keeping you informed throughout the process and explaining legal concepts in an understandable way.
  • Availability and Accessibility: Ensure the attorney is available to handle your case promptly and is accessible for consultations and updates.
  • Fee Structure: Understand their fee structure and preferably work with a lawyer on a contingency fee basis, meaning the lawyer only gets paid if you win your case.
  • Comfort and Trust: It’s important to choose an attorney you feel comfortable with and can trust, as you’ll be collaborating closely.

It’s also important to hire a local attorney after a motorcycle crash. A local attorney is more familiar with the local court system, treating physicians, and geography that could have contributed to your wreck. Our firm has offices across the state and the attorneys in our North Charleston office are familiar with the legal landscape in Charleston, Colleton, Berkeley, Dorchester, Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, Bamberg, and surrounding counties.

Damages Available in a Motorcycle Injury Claim

If you are injured in a motorcycle crash, you deserve compensation for every loss that you have suffered.

Through negotiations with an insurance adjuster, or by bringing your case to court if an out-of-court settlement is not possible, you may be able to recover compensation for:

  • Medical Expenses: Medical expenses often make up the bulk of economic losses experienced by the victim of a motorcycle crash. Staying in the hospital, undergoing surgery, and seeing specialists can total hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the injury. Sometimes, a person will incur medical expenses for the remainder of their life due to their need for ongoing treatment.
  • Lost Wages: A motorcyclist who is involved in a crash is incredibly lucky if they are able to return to work the next day, or even the next week after a crash. This is especially true for motorcyclists who work on their feet and do not have a desk job. If you are unable to return to work because of the extent of your injuries, you deserve compensation for lost wages and lost benefits, both present and future.
  • Property Damage: If you have lost any property as a result of your injury, you can seek compensation for this. In a motorcycle crash, you may be entitled to the value of your motorcycle and other belongings damaged in the wreck.
  • Pain and Suffering: Pain and suffering is a type of non-economic damage. This type of damage is much more difficult to calculate than economic damages, and will likely be more if injuries are severe, cause disability or impairment, or are expected to last for a long time.
  • Emotional Distress: In addition to compensation for the physical pain that you are suffering, you may also be able to recover damages for emotional damages related to the injury.

If a motorcycle crash results in death, surviving family members may seek damages for the value of the deceased’s lost wages, funeral and burial expenses, loss of consortium, and more by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Determining Fault in a Motorcycle Wreck

Determining fault in a motorcycle accident is an essential component of the claims process and the process of filing a lawsuit. This is because South Carolina is a fault or tort liability state. This means that the not-at-fault party can pursue a claim against the at-fault party. As such, a motorcyclist who is involved in a crash will likely need to demonstrate the fault of the driver who hit them in order to recover compensation from that driver’s insurance.

In the event that the motorcyclist is found to have contributed to the accident in any way, the injured motorcyclist’s damages can be reduced. South Carolina is a comparative negligence state, which means that if a case goes to trial, damages can be reduced in proportion to their own degree of fault.

For example, a motorcyclist may have suffered a traumatic brain injury in a crash—one of the most common injury types. If the motorcyclist was not wearing their helmet at the time of impact, then it may be argued that the motorcyclist committed an act of negligence, thereby contributing to their TBI injury (this is true despite the fact that South Carolina has no motorcycle helmet law for riders 21 and older).

Knowing this, an insurance adjuster may try to put the fault of the accident—at least in part –on the shoulders of the injured motorcyclist. An attorney can help you to determine and prove fault by:

  • Obtaining a Copy of the Accident Report: The accident report filed by the police may provide key details about what happened and who was at fault.
  • Interviewing Eyewitnesses: An attorney can help you to track down and interview key eyewitnesses who may be able to shed light on what happened and may have testimony regarding the fault of the other driver.
  • Working With Accident Reconstruction Experts: Sometimes, determining fault requires the help of accident reconstruction experts. These experts travel to the scene of the accident and, using all relevant evidence, reconstruct how the accident occurred.
  • Organizing Any Physical Evidence: A motorcycle crash leaves behind many types of physical evidence, including a damaged motorcycle, damaged vehicles, debris, broken parts, skid marks, and injuries, amongst other things.

How Long Do I Have to File a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Charleston?

It is important that you report your motorcycle crash to your insurance company as soon as possible. In most cases, the statute of limitations for bringing forth a civil action in South Carolina is three years from the date of injury. If you miss the statute of limitations, you will likely be permanently barred from recovering damages.

Frequently Asked Questions About South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Claims

Q: How much does it cost to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer?

A: Most motorcycle accident lawyers, including the ones at Joye Law Firm, work on a contingency fee basis. This means they only get paid if you win your case or secure a settlement. The fee is typically a percentage of the awarded compensation. There are no upfront costs, but it’s important to discuss the specific fee structure during your initial consultation.

Q: How long do motorcycle accident claims take to resolve?

A: The timeline for resolving a motorcycle accident claim can vary widely depending on the complexity of the case, the severity of injuries, the clarity of fault, and the insurance companies involved. Some cases settle in a few months, while others can take a year or more, especially if they go to trial.

Q: How do I know whether I have a case?

A: To determine if you have a valid motorcycle accident case, consider whether another party was at fault if you sustained injuries, and if you incurred financial losses or pain and suffering. An attorney can help evaluate the specifics of your situation.

Our Charleston Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Are Knowledgeable and Experienced

Understanding the claim system and your rights after a motorcycle injury can be confusing. To assist you in navigating the process, proving fault, and standing up against an insurance adjuster, reach out to our dedicated motorcycle accident lawyers in North Charleston today. A consultation with our law offices is free—just pick up the phone and call us directly, or fill out our online form today.