Dozens of motorcyclists are killed in crashes in South Carolina, and hundreds are injured every year. These crashes leave both the motorcyclists and their families with dozens of 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. 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 improve your chances of getting the compensation that you deserve.
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 upon 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.
- 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, and are expected to last for a long time.
- Emotional anguish. In addition to compensation for the physical pain that you are suffering, you may also be able to recover damages for emotional anguish 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 a person can be barred from collecting damages in proportion to their own degree of fault.
For example, a motorcyclist may have suffered a head 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 head 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 myriad 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.
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 aggressive 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.