Among its other unique characteristics, Myrtle Beach, SC, is a vibrant biker hub that hosts swap meets and events like “Bike Week” and “Black Bike Week,” drawing large crowds. Unfortunately, there is also a grimmer side to the story as, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, more than 154 bike accidents were recorded in 2021. 100 were fatal, marking the deadliest year for motorcycle accidents in SC since 1980.
If you or a loved one was the victim of a motorcycle accident, consult a Myrtle Beach motorcycle accident lawyer to explore your legal options. One of these options includes filing an injury claim to get compensation for some of the damages. The following section dives into how South Carolina awards compensation to motorcycle accident victims.
What Makes Motorcycle Accidents Different From Other Types of Casualties?
Motorcycle accident victims face unique challenges compared to car or bicycle crash victims. While motorcycle riders have the same rights as other road users, they’re not always treated equally. Below are some of the unique challenges that make motorcycle accident cases complicated.
Higher Chances of Severe Injury
Compared to car passengers, riders don’t have much separation between them and the road. In most crashes, the rider is knocked off their bike, leading to life-changing injuries or even death. Even the best riding safety gear won’t pad the damage in high-speed crashes.
In fact, according to the NHTSA, motorcyclists are more likely to die in an accident than vehicle passengers. They are also four times more likely to be injured in a crash than the latter.
Some common injuries in motorcycle accidents include broken limbs, spinal cord injuries, Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs), severe burns, concussions, and other serious injuries. As a result, motorcycle accidents tend to have more at stake as the victims typically have life-changing complications.
Motorcycle Riders are Vulnerable to Biases
While motorcyclists have as many rights as any other road user, they’re often subjected to bias from various institutions. For instance, insurance companies quickly conclude that the motorcycle rider was speeding or not wearing a helmet, leading to injuries.
Unique Hazards For Motorcycles
Due to their small size, motorcycles are vulnerable to unique road hazards that ordinary cars or trucks wouldn’t even notice. For instance, a motorcycle hitting a pothole at high speeds might result in a catastrophic accident.
In such cases, you’d have to file an injury claim with the state or correctional company responsible for the road because their negligence led to your accident.
Motorcycle accident cases typically involve serious injuries or even wrongful death. Therefore, the settlements are usually high to cover damages like medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and more. As a result, insurance companies battle to reduce the compensation they should award to the victims.
When Are You Entitled to Compensation?
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, you can file an injury claim to recover the damages you incurred.
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in South Carolina is three years. Therefore, you have to file your claim within three years from the day of the accident; or else you risk forfeiting the compensation you deserve.
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Who Can You Sue in a Motorcycle Accident Case?
Since South Carolina is an at-fault state, the party whose negligence caused the accident is supposed to pay for all the damages, including medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and more, depending on the circumstances.
Here are some of the parties you can sue in a motorcycle accident injury claim:
- The motorcycle manufacturer: If a mechanical error caused the accident, you can use the company that produces it to receive compensation. Additionally, if a fault caused the accident in a third-party part you replaced in the motorcycle, you can sue the specific part manufacturer.
- The government: If the accident resulted from negligence from road hazards like an unmarked road, illegible signs, or potholes, you could sue the government or companies responsible for maintaining those roads.
- The other driver/rider: If a car or truck driver caused the accident by breaking the law or driving carelessly, you can sue them and receive compensation from their insurance companies.
Can You File an Injury Claim if You Were Not Wearing a Helmet?
In some states, riding a motorcycle without a helmet is illegal. In these cases, you cannot file an injury claim.
However, South Carolina motorcycle laws only obligate people under 21 to wear helmets while riding motorcycles. Therefore, you can ride motorcycles without a helmet if you’re over 21.
While insurance companies try to argue that you might be responsible for some of your injuries if you didn’t wear a helmet, they’re not supposed to use that argument to reduce your compensation.
To Wrap It Up
Motorcycle accidents can be devastating for the victims and their loved ones. If you’ve been in a motorcycle crash that wasn’t your fault in Myrtle Beach, filing an injury claim and receiving the compensation you deserve is important.
It’s also important to remember that you have three years from the accident date, so you should file the claim as soon as you can.