Determining Liability in a Motorcycle Accident in South Carolina
In 2019, there were 153 motorcyclist fatalities from motorcycle accidents in South Carolina, an increase of 8% from the previous year, even as the national rate decreased slightly. And each year, more South Carolinians register as riders, and the warm climate and scenic riding conditions attract more and more motorcycle enthusiasts from other states. With more riders on the road, collisions are more likely to happen. So, when a motorcycle is involved in an accident, who’s to blame?
Who is Usually at Fault in a Motorcycle Accident?
Some insurance companies might try to paint a picture of daredevil bikers weaving in and out of traffic, speeding, and terrorizing the highways with reckless behavior. But some studies have shown that the majority of multiple vehicle collisions with motorcycles were caused by the negligence of the other driver. The most frequently cited cause of these accidents is generally that the driver did not see the biker.
When motorcycles and other vehicles collide, it is usually the non-motorcycle driver who violates the motorcyclist’s right-of-way.
- One of the most common motorcycle accidents is caused when car drivers turn left in front of a motorcyclist, failing to see the motorcycle or misjudging its speed.
- Failure of car drivers to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is a major cause of motorcycle accidents.
How Comparative Negligence Can Affect Your Potential Compensation
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver’s negligence, that driver and their insurance is usually responsible (or liable) for compensating you for the resulting harms and losses you experienced. If you were partially at fault for the accident, you might still be able to recover damages; however, generally the amount will be reduced by your percentage of liability. This is because South Carolina follows the rule of comparative negligence.
Example: If you are hit by a car when riding your motorcycle, and it is determined that the accident was 20% your fault and 80% the other driver’s fault, the maximum amount of damages you may be able to recover is 80% (100%-20%) of the total damages
In South Carolina, you can only recover damages for your injuries and property damage if you are less than 51% at fault for the accident. If it is determined that you are 51% or more at fault, you will not be able to recover any damages.
If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle collision, consult with an attorney immediately about how comparative negligence may affect your case. And be careful about talking to the other driver’s insurance claims adjusters who may try to get you to say something that can be construed as accepting blame for the accident. An experienced attorney can counsel clients on this as well.
What Are Common Types of Negligence in Motorcycle Accidents?
We know that the majority of motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers, but what are some things these drivers might be doing (or not doing) to cause the crashes? Here are some types of potentially negligent driving that can result in motorcycle accidents:
- Distracted driving – think cell phone usage
- Turning left and cutting off the motorcycle
- Stopping suddenly
- Changing lanes without checking to see
- Merging lanes with the motorcycle in the car’s blind spot
- Opening a car door in the path of a motorcycle
How Do I Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin?
The attorneys at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin know how to fight for the rights of our clients with insurance companies. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident that was caused by the other driver, don’t let the insurance adjuster tell you what you may be owed. Tell them you mean business, and call us at 1-866-900-7078.