What Should Be Done After
a Motorcycle Accident?
The first thing you should do after a motorcycle accident is to seek medical attention, even if you don’t think you are injured. If you have an injury that goes undiagnosed and untreated, you may never be able to fully recover from it. Taking care of yourself is the most important step.
You will also need a medical diagnosis and medical bills to file a claim with your own insurance company for medical payment benefits. If you pursue a personal injury claim, you will need this documentation to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer.
Documentation will be vital to a bodily injury claim. At the crash scene, do your best to get the contact and insurance information from the other driver and contact information from any witnesses. Take photos of your motorcycle, other vehicles involved, and the debris at the scene. While events are fresh in your mind, write them down. Later, you will need copies of the crash report, your medical records and bills, and other evidence that supports your claim.
Do not forget to contact your insurance company so it can open a claim. When pursuing a third-party claim against the at-fault driver, their insurance company also needs to be put on notice.
Finally, consult with a personal injury attorney. Your attorney will seek justice and compensation for your injuries, allowing you to remain focused on recovering from these injuries or grieving the death of a loved one.
South Carolina Motorcycle
Laws that May Affect Your Claim
As with anyone operating a vehicle on South Carolina roadways, motorcycle riders must observe and obey the rules of the road. There are, however, some laws that apply specifically to motorcycles for safety. If you violate any of them, the other driver’s insurance company could use that evidence to assign a percentage of fault to you or as justification to deny your claim.
Four key laws include lane splitting, helmets, passengers, and safety equipment.
- Lane splitting, which is operating the motorcycle between lanes of traffic, is prohibited, although two motorcycles may ride abreast in a lane of traffic.
- The state’s helmet laws require that operators under the age of 21 must wear an approved safety helmet.
- Motorcycles may carry a passenger only if the motorcycle is designed to carry one, with a seat and footrests for the passenger.
- All motorcycles must be equipped with rearview mirrors, and riders under age 21 must wear approved safety goggles or a face shield unless the motorcycle has a windscreen.
How is Fault Determined?
To prove fault for an accident, you must prove that the other driver was negligent. Proof of negligence requires establishing that the driver owed a duty of care, that they violated that duty, and as a result of their failure, someone was injured and incurred damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
South Carolina is a modified comparative fault state, so fault can be assigned to more than one person. So long as the other driver’s percentage of fault exceeds yours, you can sue them for damages. Your recovery, though, will be reduced by any fault assigned to you. For example, if you are 20% at fault and the other driver is 80% at fault, your settlement or jury award will be reduced by your 20% of fault.
What if My Loved One is
Unable to File a Claim?
If your loved one’s injuries are incapacitating, a court-appointed conservator may file a personal injury claim in their stead. If your loved one was killed but would have been able to file a personal injury claim against the other person, the executor of the decedent’s estate may file a wrongful death action. Any recovery will benefit the surviving immediate family members or other heirs.