Motorcycle accidents can be tragic and often fatal. In the year 2010, there were 1,819 reported motorcycle accidents in South Carolina alone. As a matter of fact, fatalities from motorcycle accidents accounted for nearly 10 percent of all the traffic fatalities in 2010. If you are injured while riding a motorcycle, and if you can establish that another person was at fault, you might be eligible for substantial compensation.
South Carolina’s Negligence Law
To be awarded such compensation, an injured person (plaintiff) involved in a motorcycle accident must be able to prove that another person (defendant) caused the accident. In brief, the plaintiff must establish the five elements of negligence. First, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff. If the defendant was another driver on the road, South Carolina will presume a duty was owed. Drivers owe the duty of responsible, safe, driving to all the other travelers on the road.
Second, the plaintiff must show that the defendant breached, or violated, this duty; for instance, by presenting evidence that the defendant’s reckless driving caused the accident. Third, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s breach was the actual cause of the accident. Fourth, the plaintiff must show proximate cause. This means that the plaintiff must show that his injury was a foreseeable cause of the defendant’s breach. Finally, the plaintiff must be able to show damages or an injury. In South Carolina negligence claims, damages will not be presumed.
South Carolina’s Contributory Negligence Law
Unlike some states, in South Carolina it does not matter if you were partially at fault for your accident. South Carolina is a comparative negligence state. In South Carolina, even if you were partially at fault for your accident, you may still be compensated as long as your fault does not exceed the fault of others. Thus, if you are less than 50 percent at fault, you are still entitled to recovery. Yet, your total recovery will be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault. In determining fault, the court will look at evidence from the plaintiff and the defendant; and then the court will hear witness testimony and listen to arguments from both sides.
Bringing a successful personal injury claim from your motorcycle accident will entitle you to various types of damages. Here is a non-exhaustive list of types of damages recoverable in a motorcycle accident case:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Statute of Limitations
You must act fast if you seek to pursue a negligence lawsuit in South Carolina. That’s because there is a statewide three-year statute of limitations. This means that you only have three years to file your lawsuit from the date of accident. If you miss this three-year deadline, you are most likely barred from filing your negligence lawsuit.
Hire an Attorney for your Case
Have you been injured in a motorcycle accident? For your best shot of being adequately compensated, hire an experienced attorney from the Solomon Law Group. Our attorneys can be reached at 803-219-8870 and are conveniently located at 3501 North Main Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29203.