Motorcyclists are a class of driver at special risk. Unfortunately, not enough fellow motorists pay attention to motorcyclists on the road and accidents occur all too frequently. South Carolina is a haven for motorcyclists but there are some disturbing statistics about riding in the Palmetto State. What are your rights if you have lost a family member in a fatal motorcycle accident?
South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Statistics
All around the country, there are disturbing motorcycle accident statistics. It is no different for South Carolina. These include:
- There were 107 motorcycle fatalities in South Carolina in 2012;
- Motorcycles accounted for less than 2% of traffic accidents but accounted for 13% of fatal accidents in 2013; and
- A motorcycle rider is killed in South Carolina every 3.4 days, according to the Department of Public Safety.
You may be asking yourself why so many motorcyclists are killed compared to car drivers. There are a number of reasons.
Why Are Motorcycles Involved In So Many Fatalities?
There are many reasons why motorcycles are more likely to be involved in fatal crashes. Among them are:
- As the popularity of motorcycles increase, inexperience of the rider and/or the passenger is a growing factor;
- Failure to be seen by other motorists due to the smaller size and relative speed of motorcycles;
- Poor weather conditions and adverse road conditions impact motorcyclists more seriously;
- Impairment from alcohol impacts functions that ensure safe operation for motorcyclists (such as balance, speed control and hazard recognition) that, while important for car drivers, are more imperative for motorcycle operators;
- Motorcycles lack key safety equipment available in regular motor vehicles such as safety belts and air bags and while helmets can help, they are not nearly as effective as a car’s safety features; and
- What would be a fender bender in car can result in catastrophic injuries where a motorcycle is involved..
With all this being said, what do you do if a loved one is involved in a fatal motorcycle accident?
Right To Recovery In Fatal Motorcycle Accidents
Even with all of the dangers and statistics stated above, riding a motorcycle in South Carolina is just as legal as driving a car. You should not have to fear for your life every time you saddle up. However, if something unthinkable does happen, you do have the right of recovery if you lose a family member due to someone else’s negligence in a motorcycle crash.
South Carolina has a comparative negligence rule. This means that an injured party may still recover even if they are partially at fault in an accident. For example, if motorcyclist Bob is injured by driver Joe and the jury finds Bob was speeding 5 miles an hour over the speed limit but Joe was asleep at the wheel, they may find Bob 20% at fault and Joe 80% at fault. An award for Bob of $100,000 would result in a judgment of $80,000 due to Joe being 80% at fault. It is important to note, though, that South Carolina’s comparative negligence rule bars recovery for a plaintiff if they are more at fault than the defendant.
A personal injury case involving a fatal motorcycle crash is tough for those involved. It is often a complex case, involving experts who theorize about why the accident happened and who was at fault. Motorcyclists are often blamed when it truly isn’t their fault. If you find yourself or your family in this situation or involved with any traffic accident in South Carolina, you need serious representation to protect your rights. Experienced attorney Dan Pruitt has over 20 years getting accident victims the results they deserve. Give him a call today at (864) 232-4273 to set up your free consultation.
Dan Pruitt is a Personal Injury Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from University of Georgia, and has been practicing law for 25 years. Dan Pruitt believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.