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How is Motorcycle Accident Liability Determined in South Carolina?
Like a several states, South Carolina is an at fault accident state. This means that if a driver causes an accident that driver will be responsible for all damages caused by their actions. This includes financial responsibility for their own medical injuries and property damages and the same damages for anyone else who have damages from the accident.
1. How do I prove an at fault motorcycle accident?
If you are in an accident and think the other driver is at fault you must be able to show that the other driver was negligent. To prove negligence you must establish four factors - called elements by lawyers and judges - prove the other driver was at fault.
- Duty - To establish fault in a motorcycle accident you must show that that the other driver had a duty to operate their vehicle lawfully and with care.
- Breach - After establishing duty, you must then show that the other driver operated their vehicle illegally or carelessly in violation of the "standard of care" owed to other drivers on the road.
- Damages - You must have some sort of damages. In automobile accidents they are normally medical injuries and property damage.
- Causation - Finally, you must show that the damages you have were caused by the other driver's breach of their duty to you.
These factors are the general requirements for any motorcycle personal injury case. The insurance companies for all drivers and "motorcycle accident lawyers" will use these factors as a basis of evaluating and determining fault when an accident occurs. In South Carolina a plaintiff has three years to file a complaint for damages from a collision, whether those damages are personal injury or property damages
2. What type of negligence applies in South Carolina?
In 1991 South Carolina adopted a comparative negligence standard. This means that if a driver is partially at fault in an accident, they can still file a claim to get some type of compensation resulting from the accident. However, rules in the state but a cap on this partial liability. Under this modified comparative negligence standard, a driver cannot recover damages if they are more than 50% at fault. So, if you are partially at fault but less than 50% at fault then you may still file a claim, but your damages may be reduced by the amount of fault assigned to you.
3. What are common causes of motorcycle accidents?
The most recent edition of the South Carolina Traffic Collision Fact Book shows that accidents occur every 3.7 minutes in the state. The top five reasons for these accidents are:
- Disregarding traffic signals and signs
- Failing to yield right of way
- Driving too fast for road conditions
- Impaired driving (alcohol or drugs)
Other contributing factors to accidents in the South Carolina include improper lane usage, distracted driving (changing radio station, eating, etc.) and driving on the wrong side of the road.
All of these factors are a description of the at fault driver. However, motorcyclist should be aware of the specific motorcycle laws in South Carolina to make sure that their driving does not become a contributing factor. Some riding techniques like lane splitting are illegal and could contribute to an accident and potentially affect a rider's claim for damages.
4. Will insurance help me if I am at fault?
Choosing the right insurance is also a critical part riding a motorcycle. While insurance may not prevent an accident from happening, it will help to reduce some of the financial and emotional impact if an accident occurs. The proper insurance policy will cover damages to your motorcycle, other property damage resulting from the accident, assist with medical bills if you are injured, and financial assistance for you and your family if you are out of work or don't survive the accident.
5. How can I prevent a motorcycle accident?
Accidents can't always be avoided. But you can take steps to make reduce your chances of being involved and having an (at fault motorcycle accident) claim filed against you. The proper training, licensing and gear are critical to ensuring that you understand the mechanics of riding and the rules of the road. Embracing these concepts and using them every time you ride will significantly help to reduce your chances of being involved in an (at fault motorcycle accident).
6. What happens if I am involved in an accident?
Accidents will happen. And some reports show that they are on the rise. When accidents do occur the consequences for all involved are potentially life altering and devastating. If you are in an accident contact your (South Carolina motorcycle accident lawyer) to get assistance. A professional familiar with the nuances of these complex issues is a great resource to consult in these situations and can help you determine fault, the cost of damages, and other factors relevant to the resolution of your case.