South Carolina is known as one of the most biker friendly areas of the country. Unfortunately our roads are becoming more congested, and our drivers more distracted, resulting in higher risks for motorcycle riders. The serious motorcycle accident and injury of rapper Fetty Wap shows how risky motorcycle riding can be. Common injuries resulting from a motorcycle accident include road rash, broken bones, head and neck injuries, and in some cases death. The South Carolina Office of Highway Safety reports that motorcycle fatalities accounted for 10 percent of the traffic fatalities on the road, but only 1.7 percent of crashes.
The good news is there are steps motorcycle riders can take to reduce the risk of being in an accident. Even though wearing a helmet over the age of 21 is not required, wearing one can greatly reduce the risk of injury in motorcycle accidents. 69 percent of South Carolina motorcycle riders killed in crashes in 2010 did not wear a helmet. Other measures include getting professional training, being aware of and avoiding road hazards, maintaining the bike, and not sharing lanes with cars.
How is Liability Determined in Motorcycle Accidents?
South Carolina follows the comparative negligence standard of liability for all automotive accidents. A person is negligent when he or she behaves in a careless manner and causes injury to another person. An individual can recover damages from another party up to the percentage that they are at fault. For example, if one driver contributes 70 percent to the cause of an accident, the other driver will only be able to collect 70 percent of damages.
Helmets Reduce Injury Risk in Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcyclists have more risks and safety issues to consider than automobile drivers. Even though helmets are not required for those individuals over the age of 21, the use of one will play a factor in determining your liability. It is widely recognized that wearing a helmet will reduce the neck or traumatic head injuries when an accident occurs. The South Carolina Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (CODES) show that riders reduce the probability of a traumatic head injury by 71 percent if they are wearing a helmet. An opposing party or car accident attorney will not hesitate to use this information when trying to reduce the damage award you may be entitled to.
Lane Splitting May Increase Risk of Being at Fault in Motorcycle Accidents
Lane splitting is another factor unique to motorcycle riders and the determination of their liability in an auto accident. Motorcyclists have full use of the traffic lanes, but are prohibited from engaging in lane splitting under South Carolina law. Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle rider drives on the traffic line in order to maneuver through traffic. The courts may not look favorably on your case if the accident involves lane splitting and may increase the percentage to which you are at fault.
The motorcycle accident attorneys of Anderson, Moore, Bailey and Nowell regularly handle motorcycle and automobile accidents, and are here to help evaluate and advise you on your case.
This blog is intended for general informational purposes only, and is not intended to serve as a substitute for talking to one of our lawyers here at Anderson, Moore Bailey and Nowell. In fact, the first step you can take towards resolving your problem is to have a face to face conversation with one of our lawyers. Our consultations are free, they are confidential, and we can almost always schedule you an appointment the same day we receive a call.