The main difference between motorcycle wrecks and car crashes or other types of personal injury cases is that motorcyclists are far more likely to be killed or seriously injured than the drivers or passengers of other types of vehicles.
But there are other differences as well – enough that you should make sure that you are talking to an experienced motorcycle crash lawyer if you have been seriously injured in a crash or if your family member has been killed by a reckless driver.
Below, we will discuss the differences and similarities between motorcycle crash cases and personal injury cases in general in South Carolina, including:
- Increased motorcycle fatalities and higher medical expenses for survivors,
- Bias against motorcyclists that may affect the decision-makers in your case,
- Higher and sometimes out-of-the-ordinary property damage claims, and
- Some ways in which motorcycle cases are like other personal injury claims.
Motorcycle Wrecks Cause More Fatalities and Serious Injuries
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are approximately 28 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than people who are in car crashes.
While motorcycles account for around three percent of registered motor vehicles, 14% of traffic fatalities are motorcyclists.
It’s not just the increase in fatal crashes for motorcyclists. Because motorcyclists are exposed to the open road and don’t have a protective steel cage around them, serious injuries are more common in motorcycle crashes than in other types of traffic collisions – injuries like:
- Road rash from sliding on pavement,
- Concussions and traumatic brain injury (TBI),
- Nerve damage and spinal cord injuries,
- Broken bones, and
Motorcycle Crashes Result in Higher Medical Bills for Survivors
The medical expenses for survivors of a motorcycle crash may be significantly higher than the medical expenses for survivors of an automobile crash – for the same reasons that there is a higher rate of death or serious injury.
The high stakes in motorcycle crash wrongful death cases or cases where the survivor requires multiple surgeries or long-term care and treatment means that the insurance companies are going to fight liability and damages in court, denying claims whenever possible or delaying payment for as long as possible.
Insurance Companies, Court Personnel, and Juries May be Biased Against You
Many insurance company representatives, court personnel, judges, jurors, and even attorneys have an implicit bias against motorcyclists because they think we are reckless or somehow at fault simply because we ride motorcycles.
They are wrong, and your attorney needs to understand how to talk to insurance company representatives, court personnel, and jurors about SC law on motorcycle liability to defuse their implicit biases whenever possible.
Your motorcycle collision attorney at the Boles Law Firm is a third-generation rider who devotes a significant amount of his time to representing motorcycle crash victims in South Carolina.
The insurance company knows that they cannot argue “assumption of the risk” or “comparative negligence” simply because a plaintiff chose to ride a motorcycle or because the plaintiff chose not to wear a helmet.
Property Damage Claims are More Likely to be Disputed by the Insurance Company
In most personal injury cases, the property damage claim is not disputed. In most cases, you can recover the damages for your vehicle separately from the personal injury claim, and, most likely, won’t need an attorney to help with the property damage claim.
If your motorcycle had custom work done to it, though, this could be different in a motorcycle crash claim.
The insurance company might be happy to cut a check for repairs to your bike, but are they offering to fully compensate you for the property damage? You are entitled to:
- Diminution in value,
- Factory-approved parts,
- A certified mechanic,
- Replacement of upgrades and improvements to the bike,
- Replacement of custom work to the engine, forks, handlebars, mufflers, seats, or other parts,
- Replacement of a custom paint job, and
- Replacement of any other custom work you have done to your bike.
How are Motorcycle Wrecks the Same as Other Types of Personal Injury Cases?
In many ways, motorcycle crashes are similar to other types of personal injury cases and car wrecks, including:
- The categories of damages that you are entitled to receive, which could include medical expenses, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, scarring or disfigurement, wrongful death damages, and punitive damages,
- The court where you file the action – magistrate court when the claim is no more than $7500; the SC Court of Common Pleas when the claim is more than $7500, or federal court when the jurisdictional requirements are met,
- The procedure for making your motorcycle crash claim – in most cases, submitting a demand for payment to the insurance company along with documentation of liability and damages,
- The procedure for filing suit if the insurance company does not pay, including the discovery process, depositions, and pretrial motion practice, and
- The procedure for trial and appeal, although our strategy at trial may be different than other types of personal injury cases.
Your SC motorcycle crash attorney at the Boles Law Firm has the experience that you need to investigate the crash, negotiate with the insurance company, litigate your case when necessary, try your case to a jury when necessary, and argue any necessary appeals.
Need a Motorcycle Crash Lawyer in South Carolina?
The motorcycle crash attorneys at the Boles Law Firm can help you investigate your crash, gather the evidence you will need in court, negotiate with the insurance companies, and recover the maximum compensation that you are entitled to for your injuries.
Call us at 843-576-5775 to schedule an appointment for a free consultation at our North Charleston or Walterboro offices or send us a message through our website.