Choosing a South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Accidents involving motorcycles are almost always serious, and so is finding the right South Carolina motorcycle accident lawyer. What’s different about motorcycle accident injury cases? What can you do?
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents and “LBFS”
About two thirds of motorcycle accidents involve other vehicles, most likely a car. A common scenario in these collisions is a car turning left in front of an oncoming motorcycle. The resulting head-on or near-head-on collision is among the most dangerous a motorcycle rider can be involved in.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states than when a motorcycle and a vehicle collide, it is usually the other vehicle that initiates or causes the collision by violating the motorcycle rider’s right-of-way.
And the reasoning is almost always the same. “I didn’t see him/her.” Studies show that other drivers claim that they just “don’t see” motorcycle riders. It’s so common that police have developed an initialism for it on their accident reports: LBFS. “Looked, but failed to see.”
Luckily for motorcycle riders, “looked, but failed to see” is not a valid excuse for hurting or killing someone. It’s negligence.
More than 40 years ago, the U.S. Department of Transportation study known as the “Hurt Report” detailed a number of statistics regarding the causes of motorcycle accidents. Here are a few highlights of the report’s findings, which still ring true today:
- Approximately 75% of collisions are with other vehicles, usually passenger automobiles.
- Vehicle failure (3%), roadway defects (2%) and animal involvement (1%) are statistically rare.
- In multiple vehicle collisions, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle right-of-way and caused two-thirds of those collisions.
- The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating cause of motorcycle injuries.
- The most common cause of motorcycle accidents is when the motorcycle proceeds straight, and the automobile makes a left turn in front of the oncoming motorcycle.
- Approximately 98% of the multiple vehicle collisions resulted in some kind of injury to the motorcycle rider; 45% resulted in more than a minor injury.
- The typical motorcycle collision gives the motorcyclist less than 2 seconds to avoid a collision.
You can also check the National Transportation Safety Board’s “Select Risk Factors Associated with Causes of Motorcycle Crashes” document, and the Federal Highway Administration’s Motorcycle Crash Causation Study for even more information.
The overwhelming theme is negligent drivers. Motorcyclists don’t have “fender benders” – they don’t have fenders. Almost any collision can cause a serious injury, and getting compensated for medical bills, pain, suffering, and anything else means dealing with an insurance company. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney in South Carolina can be the key to getting fair treatment.
Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle riders are vulnerable. They can wear protective gear from head to toe and still be grievously injured by careless drivers. In a motorcycle accident, riders often suffer:
- Head injuries. This is especially true when not wearing a helmet. These can range from skull fractures and brain damage, to concussions, amnesia, and dizziness.
- Leg injuries. These can range from amputations, broken bones, fractures and deep lacerations to bruises and swelling.
- Arm injuries. These are sometimes defensive in nature, as the rider attempts to protect him or herself. The results are similar to leg injuries, but also include something known as “biker’s arm” (see below).
- Road rash. This is a very painful soft tissue injury to the skin and muscle. Many will think of a scrape as “road rash” but the truth is that the condition can remove so much tissue as to require a graft and expose the rider to deadly infections.
Biker’s Arm refers to a long list of injuries that bikers receive to their arms during a collision or when a motorcyclist lays down the bike when avoiding a collision. It could be minor or extremely severe.
Sometimes, it’s akin to whiplash or other nerve damage in that the pain doesn’t come immediately. Others, it’s obvious, such as a broken bone, torn ligament or muscle, or even sprains to the shoulder, elbow, wrist, or fingers. If you’re unable to feel or control your fingers properly, lack feeling in the arm or fingers, or have little control over the muscles in that arm, those are all symptoms of Biker’s Arm.
South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Statistics
In 2018, nearly 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in collisions in the U.S. South Carolina has its fair share of motorcyclists, given its population. Here are some sobering facts.
- In 2018, there were 104 motorcyclists killed on South Carolina roads. By November 2019, the last available statistics show there were 113 deaths in 2019, putting 2019 on pace to be the deadliest year in South Carolina since 2016.
- Injuries and deaths spike in the summer. In July 2019, 22 bikers were killed on South Carolina roadways. A total of 76 riders died between May and September.
- According to the DMV, 215,957 riders were registered in South Carolina as of 2019, 23,000 more than in 2018. And South Carolina is a destination state for riders, so the numbers of motorcyclists on the roads is actually higher.
- Riders under the age of 21 are required to wear a helmet in South Carolina. Those aged 21 and older have the option to not wear a helmet.
- South Carolina’s average fatality rate for motorcyclists for the five years ending in 2015 was the second highest among southeastern states. Mississippi was first, but has the fewest registered motorcyclists in the region.
- Of 2,278 South Carolina traffic collisions involving motorcycles in 2017, 1,693 resulted in injuries and 116 fatal collisions. That means about three out of every four riders involved in a South Carolina motorcycle accident were injured, and one of every 20 were killed.
Motorcycle accidents have high rates of injuries. With more and more riders on the road, and more and more distractions for drivers around them, motorcyclists have the deck stacked against them. It can seem unfair, and when a collision happens, riders are the ones who stand to lose the most.
Why You Want an Aggressive South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Who’s looking out for you as a rider? Other drivers? No, they’re looking at their phones. Insurance companies? Quite the opposite, usually. They’re interested in their bottom lines. You’ve got to look out for yourself – or find an ally that will help. An experienced, aggressive South Carolina motorcycle accident lawyer is that ally.
We know how insurance companies operate. They’ll make you an offer, but it’s going to be what’s best for them, not you. They’re not going to tell you what you might be entitled to, or about things like policy “stacking” that could potentially increase your compensation. We’ll explain all of those things to you, so you know your rights.
We proudly represent the riders who come to us. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation, contact us online, or chat with us right now. We know what it’s like. Insurance companies may tell you they can’t help you. You tell them you mean business.