In South Carolina, the term ‘bike accident’ is used to describe both motorcycle and bicycle accidents. On average, there are 508 bicycle crashes every year in the state–only 3% of these crashes are fatal, but the majority of accidents result in injuries. For motorbikes, the number of accidents is even higher—and many of these are indeed fatal; about 154 motorcyclists died in 2021 as a result of an accident.
If you were in a bicycle accident, don’t dismiss it because it wasn’t as serious as motorcycle accidents usually are. It’s still important to reach out to a Columbia bike accident lawyer and be well-informed on what to do to prove who is responsible and get the compensation you deserve.
What to Do After a Bike Accident
Legal experts recommend taking the following actions immediately after an accident:
- Stay at the scene and wait until medical personnel can look you over for any major or minor injuries such as lacerations, whiplash, broken bones, a concussion, etc.
- Call the police if there are any injuries or vehicle damage.
- Take pictures of the accident scene, if you can.
There’s a very good chance that you might not notice minor injuries until the adrenaline rush from the accident wears off. So, take your time and get yourself checked by a medical professional, even if you feel completely fine.
You might also want to contact your insurance company to report any loss and damage. Many car insurance companies do not cover damage caused by bicycling accidents. If this is the case with your insurer, get in touch with the company that issued your homeowners or renter’s insurance–they may cover damages caused while bicycling and other sporting activities.
As for your personal medical bills, these can be covered through your medical insurance or with personal injury protection. Keep in mind that it is an insurance company’s job to make money, and you might find yourself in a drawn-out struggle when trying to get compensated. For this reason, it can be extremely difficult to get properly compensated without the help of a qualified personal injury attorney on your side.
What Is a Personal Injury Attorney?
A personal injury attorney is a lawyer who represents you when you are injured in an accident. Their job is to pursue fair compensation whether it’s for property damage, pain and suffering, or medical expenses.
Legal Process After a Bike Accident
The legal process after a bike accident is initiated by filing a legal complaint, usually by an attorney. Your legal representative will incur some initial fees to begin the process, document your complaints and demands, and register the case in a court of law. Any other parties involved in this accident will also be notified.
Once the complaint is filed, the discovery process will begin. In this stage, the plaintiff (the one who files a complaint) and the defendant (the one against whom a complaint is filed) ask oral or written questions of each other. The purpose of this is to investigate the situation and find out who’s responsible for the damage.
During the discovery stage, the involved parties can also negotiate with one another and reach a compromise. This can be done through a mediator or formal correspondence, depending on the preferences of those involved.
Fortunately, most personal injury lawsuits get settled through mediation. However, if a case has no room for negotiation, it proceeds to the trial stage. At this point, the jury or the judge assesses evidence from both sides and makes a decision.
Those who are not in the legal profession often have a slew of questions after being involved in a bicycle accident. These questions could include:
- How long after an accident can you file a complaint in South Carolina? You have approximately three days to file a complaint after an automobile accident in South Carolina.
- Is South Carolina a no-fault state? No–South Carolina does not follow no-fault law. You can file a complaint against the driver who caused the accident if you’re less than 50% responsible for it.
- How long does an insurance company have to settle a claim? Generally, an insurance company should complete its investigation and get back to you within thirty days of receiving your claim. If they need more time, they will let you know in writing. If they request an extension, you can expect them to get back to you after forty-five days.
The legal process can be very confusing. If you or a loved one is involved in a bicycle accident, contact Strom Law to make sure your rights are protected and that you are adequately compensated for any injuries or damages you incurred.
Want to find out if car insurance covers bicycle accidents? Be sure to read our recent post.