Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Columbia, SC
Strom Law Firm’s Columbia Motorcycle Accident Attorneys have represented many victims injured in motorcycle, eighteen-wheeler, and other traffic-related car accidents. We understand motorcyclist’s risks, and we work diligently to hold negligent parties accountable. Please contact our office if you would like to discuss possible representation.
With South Carolina’s frequent warm weather, motorcyclists, not surprisingly, enjoy riding on our state’s roads and highways all year long. While riding motorcycles can be fun and efficient, the activity can also be dangerous. Imagine you are enjoying the South Carolina sunshine on our beautiful roads when a crash occurs and you are lying on the pavement hurt, scared, and alone. Motorcyclists are exposed and vulnerable if they collide with other larger vehicles, and are also vulnerable to single-vehicle accidents, especially due to the condition of the road or road hazards.
All drivers should understand that they should safely share the road with motorcyclists, but there will always be negligent and dangerous drivers on the roads. Defective bikes and dangerous roadways or road hazards also pose significant risks to motorcyclists, as does road construction and construction crews. After a crash, an injured motorcyclist should protect their legal rights and discuss the accident with a Columbia motorcycle accident attorney.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, there was one motorcyclist killed every three days in 2019. Of the 1,641 fatal collisions that year, 123 of those involved motorcycles. There were a total of 2,098 motorcycle accidents that occurred in 2019: 424 involved serious injuries and 1,143 involved other types of injuries.
The Helmet Issue
Whether or not to wear a helmet is a highly contentious issue in South Carolina. Before 1980 it was illegal for anyone to ride in South Carolina without wearing a helmet. According to South Carolina’s Code of Laws, Section 56-5-3660, helmets must be worn by operators and passengers under the age of twenty-one.
In 2019, the Department of Public Safety reported that of the 123 fatalities, only 35 of them were wearing helmets. This includes 3 of the 74 that were 20 and younger and 32 of the 742 that were 21 and over.
The State newspaper article from 2019 addresses the two sides of the argument. While many say there are serious injuries and head trauma from minor collisions where a rider is not wearing a helmet, there are others that report neck injuries caused by helmets and can lessen their vision to their surroundings. The truth of the situation is that a helmet is not a magic solution to end or decrease motorcycle deaths and it takes vigilance of all motorists to ensure the safety of motorcycle riders. According to the CDC, helmets reduce the risk of head injury in a motorcycle crash by 69%.
Other Motorcycle Safety Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 32% of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding, more than drivers of any other vehicle type. In 2017, they report 27% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes did not have valid motorcycle licenses. The Governors Highway Safety Association confirmed motorcycles with anti-lock brakes resulted in 31% less fatal crashes than the same models without.
Columbia Motorcyclists Can Suffer Severe Injuries
There are many types of safety gear designed to protect motorcyclists. However, even a motorcyclist wearing the maximum amount of protective gear is never fully shielded from the possibility of a serious injury if a crash occurs. Even a helmet cannot fully protect from head trauma one hundred percent of the time. Motorcyclists do not have the safety features of a car or truck to protect them, and instead, a car can collide directly with a motorcyclist’s body. While a motorcyclist may be completely under control, it is never possible to control other vehicles or to ensure that vehicles can accurately identify motorcycles on roadways in Columbia.
Even the most protected motorcyclists can be involved in accidents that result in traumatic or fatal injury. The following are examples of injuries commonly resulting from motorcycle accidents:
- Head fractures
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Broken bones and shattered bones
- Damage to muscles, tendons, or ligaments
- Neck and back injuries
- Organ damage
- Spinal cord injury
- Road Rash
It is rare that a motorcyclist will not require some amount of medical care following an accident, and they often need to be transported to a hospital by ambulance. Expenses can add up quickly. Fortunately, the law provides a remedy for an injured accident victim to seek compensation from negligent, grossly negligent, or reckless parties.
Who Caused Your Motorcycle Accident?
In motorcycle cases, a liable party is often one of three types— other drivers and their employers or companies, government entities, contractors or construction crews, or motorcycle manufacturers.
- Drivers – Drivers often negligently cause accidents with motorcyclists. Whether by distracted driving, driving under the influence, failure to yield, or other actions, negligent drivers should be held accountable for causing injury to motorcyclists.
- Government entities – Government agencies are often in charge of maintaining public roads and highways. They undertake this responsibility, sometimes by engaging contract workers or construction crews, and must do so in a reasonable manner. If roadwork is performed negligently or in a grossly negligent manner, whether by failing to repair potholes or large cracks, Strom Law Firm attorneys will work to hold them accountable.
- Motorcycle manufacturers – Sometimes, manufacturers build motorcycles with defects or defective parts. If such defects cause an accident, the manufacturer can be held liable.
The process of filing and litigating a motorcycle accident case will depend on the type of party from whom recovery is sought, the severity of injuries, and other factors. We understand the complex legal issues that arise in each type of personal injury case, and we want to help after your motorcycle accident.
What are Some Long Term Impacts of Motorcycle Injuries?
Because of the devastating injuries that can result from motorcycle accidents, there can be long term impacts that may not be immediately considered by the parties involved. This is why it is important to contact a qualified Columbia motorcycle accident attorney immediately.
Some of the long term impacts can include:
- Loss of time from work
- Chronic pain as a result of the injuries
- Diminished quality of life
- Mental anguish/impairment (depression, stress, PTSD)
- Continuation of care
- Costs of medical equipment during and after rehabilitation
- Loss of consortium with a spouse
Can I Afford a Columbia Motorcycle Attorney?
Oftentimes injured motorists and their families are hesitant to consider hiring an attorney to assist them because they are worried about the costs. This can be a devastating decision as the injured person or their families may not receive the compensation they deserve, if they receive any compensation at all. When you suffer serious injury at the hands of another, you should not have to concern yourself with these financial burdens. The Strom Law Firm offers free consultations to discuss your claims. The personal injury attorneys at the Strom Law Firm will work hard to obtain the settlement you deserve and work the case on a contingency fee basis. This means there is no cost to you as we diligently fight in your claim.
When Should I Hire a Columbia Motorcycle Attorney?
While you generally have three years to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party in South Carolina, it is imperative that you contact an experienced motorcycle attorney immediately. Once the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm have reviewed your case, we will immediately file a claim and start processing the necessary information. It is always best to hire a personal injury attorney as soon after a motorcycle accident as possible.
You should consult with an attorney immediately after the collision occurs. Especially in the event of serious injury, in accidents where fault has not been established, and when the collision involves another motor vehicle or person.
Do I Need an Attorney Even If My Injuries are Not Serious?
Regardless of the severity of your injuries, you should consult an experienced attorney after an accident. Some injuries caused in motorcycle accidents may not be noticed directly after. It is important to seek medical attention following an accident and follow through the treatment plan with a Strom Law Firm attorney who will assist you through the process.
Should I Accept the Offer from the Insurance Company?
You should avoid communicating with the insurance companies. The adjusters are trained in eliciting statements from a party that can devalue their claims. The offer can be used as a starting point for negotiations, but it is never wise to accept an early offer from the insurance company. In claims involving serious injuries, the insurance company may try to settle the claim quickly. They will try to throw out their lowest offer and get the claim settled to avoid any large or future payments. You would be doing yourself a favor by contacting the motorcycle accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm prior to any communication with the insurance company to avoid these types of ploys.
What Type of Compensation is Available to Me?
Several factors determine the type of compensation available to someone injured in a motorcycle accident. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm will look at the details and specifics of your case, settlements and awards in other similar cases, and may hire experts to assist with accident reconstruction or to determine future medical needs.
The most common types of compensation for a motorcycle accident include:
- The severity of your injuries
- Economic losses (ambulance, emergency room, hospital stay, etc.)
- Likelihood of future medical expenses
- Non-economic damages (pain and suffering, mental anguish, scarring and disfigurement, etc.)
What Percentage of My Settlement Do Lawyers Take?
Your experienced attorneys at the Strom Law Firm will never take a cent from you as they work the case. They are paid through the settlement and the percentage is dependent on how far your case goes, whether it settles out of court or is awarded a judgment after a trial. If your case settles, the attorney will recoup their costs and their fee of 33.3%. If your case goes to trial, attorneys will recoup their costs and their trial fee of 40%. Each motorcycle accident case is handled in a way that considers these fees, is specific to your case, and in a way to obtain the best award possible.
Do Insurance Companies Want to Settle Out of Court?
The short answer is yes, insurance companies will want to settle your motorcycle accident claim outside of court. There are many reasons why it benefits insurance companies to settle claims rather than go to trial. There can be hefty litigation costs attached to trial that insurance companies may not want to pay. There is also the unpredictable outcome that could come from a jury trial. Lastly, insurance companies will be able to close their claim file and in a time frame that is much quicker than a jury trial for your motorcycle accident.
How Long Does a Columbia Motorcycle Accident Settlement Take?
A settlement in a motorcycle accident can take some time due to the general serious injuries that such collisions can cause. While the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm will strive to settle your claim as quickly as possible, they will also make sure that you are sufficiently awarded the amount necessary for your case. This determination and process can take time depending on the injuries, the medical treatment involved, and many other factors determining future expenses relating to the accident. These experienced attorneys will also keep in mind the necessary statute of limitations involved in your case so that a lawsuit can be filed in order to continue those negotiations and prepare for trial if necessary.
How Do The Insurance Companies Determine Settlement Amounts?
Insurance companies use a basic formula to determine their offers and settlement amounts. They will not inform you of their formula or the procedure for which they have gotten to their final settlement offer. The insurance companies will use experienced tactics to avoid awarding you a proper settlement in your case. Calling the Strom Law Firm’s experienced motorcycle accident attorneys in South Carolina immediately after an accident will prevent the insurance company from using these tactics to pay a quick, easy settlement.
What Do I Not Say to An Insurance Adjuster?
It is never a good idea to talk to an insurance adjuster without an attorney. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm would prefer to handle all communication with the insurance adjuster from the beginning of the claim. The experienced attorneys will even file the claim for you to avoid any misstatements that could later be used against you.
In the event you have spoken to an insurance adjuster, remember:
- The role of the adjuster – they are not trying to give you the compensation you deserve
- Be brief – do not provide many details of the accident
- If they make an offer right then, do not take it – you will likely not even know your medical expenses in that first conversation.
- Call an experienced attorney at the Strom Law Firm immediately
Motorcycle Safety Tips
Motorcycles are a popular form of transportation and there are many bikers on the road today. If you or a loved one ride a motorcycle, please consider a few tips for safety:
- Always wear a full-face helmet and safe riding gear.
- Make sure your motorcycle is road-ready before you ride – check tires, lights, fluids, and brakes
- Avoid wet or slick roads when possible
- Never drink alcohol and drive – more than ¼ of fatal motorcycle crashes involve alcohol. Please remain sober while you ride.
Know your local laws – these can include helmet use, eye protection, noise restrictions, passengers, lane splitting, etc.
Learn How a Columbia Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Assist You
Motorcycle accidents can leave devastating injuries in their wake, causing untold emotional, financial, and personal devastation to families and individuals. If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash in Columbia, Richland County, or anywhere else across South Carolina, contact us. Our accident lawyers offer free case evaluations, and we do not collect a fee unless we recover for you. Call 803-252-4800 to speak with a Columbia motorcycle accident attorney today or contact us online and find out if we are able to help you.
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