Compensation for a South Carolina Motorcycle Accident
Whether you’re a lifelong rider who descends upon Myrtle Beach every year for Bike Week or just someone who enjoys a weekend ride, there’s no question that motorcycling is a proud tradition in South Carolina. But when a motorcycle accident happens, the consequences can be devastating.
Motorcycles are small and lightweight compared to even the most compact car. Because riders don’t have the same steel shell of protection around them the way motorists do, their injuries are often catastrophic and sometimes fatal.
In South Carolina, one motorcyclist is killed in a crash every three days, according to the state Department of Public Safety. Motorcycles were involved in nearly 2,000 crashes in a recent year, resulting in more than 100 deaths and 1,600 injuries.
South Carolina law allows accident victims to seek compensation if someone else’s recklessness caused their injuries. An experienced S.C. motorcycle accident lawyer from Stewart Law Offices can help you seek justice.
No matter how difficult or complex your case may seem, our legal team has the knowledge, drive, and resources to fight for the full and fair amount of compensation you’re owed. Schedule a free consultation today by calling or visiting our contact page.
Should I Settle with the Insurance Company or Hire a Lawyer?
The majority of motorcycle accident claims are settled out of court in an agreement with the liable party’s insurer. However, the road to a fair settlement is rarely a smooth one. It’s wise to work with a lawyer who can examine the facts, gather evidence, and negotiate aggressively on your behalf.
Insurance adjusters use a wide range of tactics in an attempt to deny motorcycle accident claims or minimize payouts. Hiring a lawyer ensures that, regardless of whether you reach a settlement or end up taking your case to trial, you have someone in your corner who’s looking out for your best interests.
How Can Liability Affect My Motorcycle Accident Claim?
Obtaining compensation in a South Carolina motorcycle accident case depends upon successfully proving that another party is at fault for the crash. It’s also possible to secure compensation if you share fault for the wreck, but that’s where claims get tricky.
South Carolina uses a doctrine called comparative negligence to determine liability for personal injury cases (which includes motorcycle accident claims).
In cases where more than one party is to blame for a crash, fault will be assigned as a percentage to each liable party. If you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, your damages will be reduced by your percentage of responsibility for the crash.
In South Carolina, you can still obtain compensation if you are 50 percent or less at fault for the motorcycle accident that injured you.
Types of Damages in a South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Claim
South Carolina law allows motorcycle accident victims to pursue multiple kinds of compensation from whoever was responsible for causing the crash. This compensation can be broken down into two broad categories, which are:
- Economic damages: These are losses that generally relate to the money you lost as a result of the accident. Economic damages can be awarded for your past, current, and future medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, the cost of home renovations to accommodate a new disability, any assistive devices (e.g., wheelchairs, walkers, etc.) that you may need, and more.
- Non-economic damages: These are your losses that are harder to calculate. They include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, loss of emotional and household support, and other less tangible damages.
The final category of potential damages in a motorcycle accident claim is punitive damages. Punitive damages are aimed at deterring particularly reckless parties, and they’re only awarded in court in especially egregious cases of negligence or reckless behavior.
Should I Settle or Should I Go to Court?
While the total value of your losses doesn’t change depending on whether you settle or take your case to court, there are some factors worth noting if you’re thinking about going to trial.
Settlements are faster, less costly, and provide you with certainty – a settlement is a guaranteed sum of money. However, settlements come with strings attached. Nearly all settlements contain provisions that prevent you from seeking additional compensation after your case is settled. This generally means that a settlement may be less than what you could potentially receive if you took your case to trial and won.
Going to court could make sense if the at-fault party’s insurance company fails to offer you a reasonable settlement. In addition to the economic and non-economic damages that you could recover, you could also potentially seek punitive damages in a court case if your case warrants it.
Trials, however, can be risky. Many people have unfair biases against motorcycle riders, which can sometimes make it hard to win over a judge or jury. While you could potentially recover more compensation if you win your lawsuit, you could also come away with nothing. A skilled motorcycle accident lawyer can discuss the pros and cons of trial with you.
What is the Average Settlement for a Motorcycle Accident?
There is no such thing as an average settlement for a motorcycle accident. Every accident is different, and the value of your claim will depend on a range of factors: The extent of your injuries, whether anyone else in your family was injured in the accident, how much money you lost due to missing work after the crash, the value of any property that was lost or destroyed, and how much physical pain and emotional anguish you’ve suffered.
The more you lost in the accident and the more evidence you have to show the extent of those losses, the greater the value of your claim.
How a Lawyer Can Get Me the Compensation I Deserve
An attorney is a huge asset in any motorcycle accident claim. To obtain compensation for your claim, you’ll need to gather as much evidence as possible, negotiate with the lawyers and insurers of other parties involved in the accident, fill out a great deal of paperwork, and make sure you don’t miss any important deadlines. That’s a lot of work to do while you’re recovering from serious injuries. Once you hire a motorcycle accident lawyer, he or she can do the heavy lifting for you. All you have to do is focus on healing from your injuries.
South Carolina gives you three years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit for damages. If you miss this deadline, you will likely forfeit your right to compensation. However, it’s a good idea to speak with a lawyer well before that time limit expires. Investigations take time, and it’s best to gather evidence and collect witness statements while they’re fresh.
How Stewart Law Offices Can Help Me
Why choose Stewart Law Offices? Here’s what we have to offer:
- Experience: We’ve been in practice since 1995, giving us decades of experience handling all manner of injury claims. This deep background means we know how to put an appropriate value on your case and fight so that you are not under-compensated.
- Commitment: We firmly believe everyone is entitled to quality legal representation if they’ve been injured. That’s why we operate on a contingency fee basis for personal injury claims. This means that you don’t owe us any money unless we win.
- Compassion: At Stewart Law Offices, we treat clients like family. You can trust that your case will be treated with the same dignity and respect that we would give to our own loved ones.
- Attention to detail: We will investigate your case thoroughly, leaving no stone unturned as we build a strong case for maximum compensation.
- Communication: We know how important your motorcycle accident case is. You can trust us to reply to all of your questions and concerns in a timely way.