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Protecting the Rights of Injured Riders

Motorcycle accidents are among the deadliest kinds of highway accidents. Motorcycle crashes often lead to serious injury and death, no matter how many other cars are involved in the accident. Some motorcycle crashes do not even involve motor vehicles, and yet they can still be deadly.

South Carolina roads can be dangerous for motorcyclists. Statewide, more people died on motorcycles in 2021 than in any year in the previous four decades, as reported by News 13. Statistics have shown that riders are in more danger on South Carolina roads than in any other state, according to the Post and Courier.

Hazards motorcyclists face in Charleston and throughout the state include distracted drivers, potholes, and pea gravel. Another serious risk is that too many drivers simply fail to register a motorcycle in the roadway before a crash.

Some of the deadliest roads in Charleston like International Boulevard, US HWY 17, and Interstate 526 are common places for deadly motorcycle crashes. If you ride your bike to work or enjoy riding on a regular basis just for fun, you need to be aware of your options if you should be involved in an accident while you are riding your bike. When you have been injured in a motorcycle accident that involves other vehicles, you will want to be sure to get an experienced personal injury lawyer to help support your case. This is an essential step to take if you want to secure the best compensation for your injuries. If you’ve been injured, call Allen Law at (843) 882-5005 to explore your options.

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- Julian Allen

How Much More Likely Are Motorcycle Accidents Than Car Accidents?

The US Department of Transportation has discovered that the average driver will experience a vehicle accident once every six years and motorcycle accidents are as much as 30 times more likely to be fatal than car accidents. Motorcycles are more susceptible to changes in road conditions and even things like tar snakes on the road can lead to slippery surfaces that cause crashes. To make things worse, many riders do not wear full safety gear and many riders also forget that motorcycles are not as visible as vehicles are to other drivers.

The main reason that motorcycles are more likely to cause deadly accidents is because there is no protection for the rider from the road, contact with other vehicles, or even the forces of gravity and momentum that can impact the body during an accident. Cars offer various protective structures and systems that keep passengers and the driver from being severely injured in most cases. This is not the case with motorcycles and most riders who suffer an accident will face serious injury.

The common reasons for motorcycle crashes are often weather or visibility related. When the weather is very hot or very cold, the road surface can change and make cornering and stopping more difficult when riding a motorcycle. Rainy or snowy and icy weather can also impact tire grip and visibility. Motorcycle riders are also very hard to see when driving in a car, and bikes that hang out in the blind spots of cars and trucks can easily be hit.

What Are the Road Rules for Drivers and Motorcyclists?

Motorcyclists have all the rights and are subject to the same rules as motor vehicle drivers in South Carolina, except for rules that are only applicable to motorcycles. Drivers are obligated to share the road with motorcyclists. They are not allowed to cut them off or crowd them out of a lane. Motorcyclists are entitled to ride in the center of the lane, the same as passenger vehicle drivers.

The following South Carolina traffic rules apply specifically to motorcyclists:

  • Riders must sit on a permanent seat, attached to the bike, and may not carry passengers, except on a seat designed for two people, or on another seat designed for passengers, firmly attached at the rear or the side of the bike. If a motorcyclist is carrying a passenger, the bike must have footrests.
  • No more than two motorcyclists may ride abreast in the same lane.
  • Lane splitting is prohibited. Riders may not pass other vehicles in the same lane or ride between lanes of traffic or rows of cars.
  • Riders under the age of 21 must wear a helmet. On a bike that does not have a windscreen, they are also required to wear goggles or face shields.

When May a Driver Be Held Liable for a Motorcycle Accident Due to Negligence?

Many motorcycle crashes are caused by driver negligence. Drivers of passenger vehicles may be held liable for accidents when they:

  • Drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Text while driving, or otherwise drive distracted
  • Fail to yield to motorcyclists
  • Exceed the speed limit
  • Tailgate motorcycles
  • Cut riders off at intersections
  • Swerve in front of riders
  • Fail to see motorcyclists entering or changing lanes
  • Turn left on a green light directly in the path of an oncoming motorcycle

What Types of Injuries Are Common in Motorcycle Accidents?

In 2021, 154 motorcyclists died on South Carolina roads, representing a 9% increase over the previous year. Riders who survive a crash often suffer serious or catastrophic injuries. Common injuries in motorcycle collisions include:

  • Severe head trauma and brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury and paralysis
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Loss of a limb
  • Fractured bones
  • Scarring and disfigurement

Traumatic brain injuries can result from contact with the pavement during an accident, but even just the force of the collision can shake the brain hard enough to cause a concussion or brain bleeds. Most motorcycle injuries are very serious and can be related to long-term health struggles for those who suffer from them. You could easily be hurt badly enough that you will never be able to work again, and you might suffer long-term pain and discomfort related to your accident.

What to Do After Your Motorcycle Accident

If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident, you will want to get information from the witnesses to the crash if you are able to talk to people who were present during the crash. You might not be able to take action until you are conscious later on in the hospital. If this is the case, you will want to contact a lawyer right away and have them take on the task of tracking down witnesses who can testify on your behalf.

Having a lawyer involved in your case will make all the difference in the outcome if you are suing for compensation related to your injuries. Even if you have been hurt without the involvement of other vehicles, road maintenance issues can be the reason for your fall, and you might be able to pursue the city or county for your medical costs and other compensation demands. Your lawyer can also help you to seek the most favorable settlement after your accident to make sure that you can afford your ongoing medical care.

In these cases, liability must be proven for your case, and your lawyer will make sure that a full investigation is done into your case. You might have been partially responsible for your accident, but in many cases, motorcycles are hit by cars that are completely at fault for the accident. Your lawyer will make sure that the proper parties are held responsible for your accident so that you can seek compensation from the right parties.

How Can a Charleston Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help?

Riders can suffer serious injuries in a crash caused by someone else’s negligence. It is important to recover full and fair compensation to cover your medical expenses, time away from work, and other losses. You are entitled to claim noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress, in addition to your monetary losses. Your best chance of recovering the maximum compensation available is to have an experienced Charleston motorcycle accident attorney handling your claim.

At Allen Law, we have extensive trial experience, on both sides of the courtroom. We have the knowledge, skills, and resources to effectively pursue the compensation you deserve. If you have been hurt in a motorcycle crash that was someone else’s fault, call us at (843) 882-5005. We can tell you if you have a case and what damages you may be able to claim.

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