Most of these accidents are the fault of motor vehicle drivers, but insurance companies for motorists will often try to find any way possible to claim that an accident was the fault of a bicyclist. One way this is accomplished is by simply getting a victim to unknowingly admit to fault during a phone conversation, which is exactly why you should not speak to any insurer until you have legal representation.
Call at 866-783-9278 or contact us online to arrange your case review.
Call Your South Carolina Bicycle Accident Law Firm For a Free Consultation
Stewart Law Offices represents injured bicyclists in South Carolina and many other surrounding areas of South Carolina. You can have our lawyers review your case and help you understand all of your legal options as soon as you call us or complete an online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Motorists’ Responsibilities to Bicycle Riders
Under South Carolina Code § 56-5-3420, a person riding a bicycle on a roadway is granted all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a motor vehicle. Drivers in South Carolina are expected to pass bicycles with caution and provide at least 3 feet of clearance.
When streets have bicycle lanes, bicyclists are expected to use them, and drivers are prohibited from blocking the bike lanes. When there is no bike lane, a bicyclist must ride as far to the right of the road as possible.
South Carolina Code § 56-5-3445 prohibits harassing, taunting, or maliciously throwing an object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle. An offense is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of at least $250 and/or up to 30 days in jail.
Cycling Accident Injuries
Bicyclists are not required by law to wear helmets, which may help reduce or prevent certain kinds of head injuries. In many accidents, helmets do very little to reduce other types of injuries that bicyclists may suffer.
Some of the possible injuries people sustain in bicycle crashes include but are not limited to:
- Neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Nerve damage
- Road rash
- Muscle strains
Serious crashes can result in fatal injuries. If a bicyclist dies because of injuries caused by another party’s negligence, family members could be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party.
South Carolina Bicycle Accident Statistics
The South Carolina Traffic Collision Fact Book reported that one bicyclist is killed every 15.3 days in South Carolina. According to the South Carolina Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Analysis, 4,570 reported crashes involving bicycles occurred between 2009 and 2017. The 18 fatalities in 2017 were the second-highest total of this period.
According to the analysis, there were:
- 817 crashes (17.9 percent) involving bicyclists between 50 and 59 years of age
- 683 crashes (14.9 percent) involving bicyclists between 40 and 49 years of age
- 507 crashes (11.1 percent) involving bicyclists between 30 and 39 years of age
- 992 crashes (21.7 percent) involving bicyclists between 20 and 29 years of age
- 799 crashes (17.5 percent) involving bicyclists between 10 and 19 years of age
Fatalities reported between 2009-2017 included:
- 20 bicyclists between 60 and 69 years of age
- 45 bicyclists between 50 and 59 years of age
- 32 bicyclists between 40 and 49 years of age
- 18 bicyclists between 30 and 39 years of age
- 11 bicyclists between 20 and 29 years of age
Compensation for a Bicycle Accident Case
Many bicycle accidents are resolved through settlements that are intended to cover the lifetime of expenses a victim incurs relating to their crash. A lawsuit may be filed, however, when settlement negotiations do not produce an acceptable offer.
A jury can award compensatory damages to a victim who proves their case by a preponderance of the evidence (the greater weight of the evidence required in a civil lawsuit for the jury or judge without a jury to decide in favor of one side or the other). Compensatory damages usually refer to a combination of economic damages and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages relate to tangible costs that can be readily calculated and proven, such as medical expenses, lost income, and property damage. Noneconomic damages, on the other hand, are more subjective, typically including pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and emotional distress.
Punitive (or exemplary) damages can also be awarded in certain exceptional cases, such as those in which the defendant engaged in willful, reckless, or wanton conduct. Drunk driving is an example of the kind of situation that could involve punitive damages. State law limits punitive damages to three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000.
How Our Law Firm Can Help After a Bicycle Accident
If you sustained serious injuries or your loved one was killed in a bicycle accident in South Carolina, you should not have to deal with the hardships created by another party’s negligence. Help is available. Stewart Law Offices can immediately commence an independent investigation of your crash to determine the cause, preserve key evidence, and identify liable parties.
Our firm represents bike accident victims in Rock Hill, Spartanburg, Columbia and Beaufort and surrounding areas throughout South Carolina.