Motorcycle Accidents

Legal Representation After a Motorcycle Accident in South Carolina

Motorcycle wrecks often lead to catastrophic injuries or even a loss of life.

If you have been involved in a wreck while riding a motorcycle as a result of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, you may have suffered serious or even potentially catastrophic injuries, and you may have certain questions you need answered. Motorcycle wrecks are often considered at a higher risk for serious injuries should a collision occur, as individuals operating or riding as passengers on a motorcycle are less protected than those in cars or trucks.

1. Motorcycle Laws in South Carolina- FAQ

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions

Whether you have just got your first bike or have been riding for years, it is important to know the laws that apply to you. While this article gives general information, you should contact an attorney if you have a specific question.


Do I need to Wear a Helmet in SC?
South Carolina doesn’t require motorcycle drivers or passengers who are 21 or older to wear helmets. People under 21 must wear helmets. The helmets must be approved by the Department of Public Safety, must have a neck or chin strap, and have reflectors on both sides. If leaving the state, be aware that North Carolina and Georgia have helmet laws for adults, so check with a lawyer in those states if you need to know the exact requirements. People under 21 must also wear goggles or face screens unless the motorcycle has a windscreen approved by the Department of Public Safety. One of the best ways to prevent motorcycle injury and death is to wear a helmet. Choosing to go without one is simply too risky and irresponsible when considering how easy it is to wear a helmet and how effective it is at preventing injury and death. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, helmets are irrefutably effective at preventing injury and death. According to the source, helmets are scientifically proven to be effective at reducing the risk of brain injury. When considering helmet use, it’s just common sense and a good protective measure against the potential of injury and death.

Do I need a Special Driver’s License for a Motorcycle in SC?
Yes, you must obtain a Class M license from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Are There Any Special Traffic Laws for Motorcycles in SC?

  • You can only ride while sitting upon the permanent, regular seat.
  • To carry a passenger, you must have a motorcycle designed for a passenger, and the passenger can only ride on a permanent, regular seat designed for 2 people, or upon another seat firmly attached to the rear or side of the driver. Unless the passenger is in a sidecar or enclosed cab, the motorcycle must have footrests for the passenger.
  • You must ride facing forward with one leg on each side of the bike.
  • You can’t carry a package, bag, or other item that will prevent you from keeping both hands on the handlebars.
  • You can’t carry a passenger in a position that interferes with your control or view.
  • A motorcycle can’t pass a vehicle in the same lane occupied by that vehicle.
  • You are entitled to the full use of your lane, and it is a traffic violation for another vehicle to deprive you full use of your lane.
  • You can’t ride between lanes or between adjacent rows of vehicles. Don’t cut!
  • If you are riding with others, you can only ride 2 bikes wide in a lane.
  • You can’t attach yourself or your bike, or hold onto, another bike or vehicle on the road.
  • The motorcycle must have a rear view mirror with a good view of what’s behind.
  • You must keep your headlights on.


Can I Get A DUI on a Motorcycle in SC?
Yes. Don’t drink and drive a motorcycle or you are subject to criminal penalties, potential civil liability, and/or severe personal injury. If you find yourself charged with a DUI, schedule a consultation with a DUI attorney at Bluestein Attorneys immediately

2. How Common Are Motorcycle Accidents?

A motorcyclist is killed every 3.1 days in South Carolina

In the state of SC there are 115,143 motorcycle registrations. In 2017, there were 5,172 motorcyclists killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes Nationwide. According to the 2017 South Carolina Traffic Collision Fact Book, one Motorcyclist is killed every 3.1 days in the state of South Carolina.

94%

of the fatalities were drivers

6%

of the fatalities were passengers

2278

total collisions involving motorcycles

1996

persons injured

117

persons killed

469

property damage collisions

3. What Are The Top Causes of Motorcycle Wrecks?

The road, weather and hazards pose a great risk.

Numerous factors can contribute to a motorcycle accident. Because of a motorcycle’s limited crashworthiness, they do not protect a cyclist in a collision. Additionally, road and weather hazards pose a greater risk to cyclists than to automobile passengers. Since the majority of motorcycle accidents involve another motor vehicle, driver impairment and disobedience to traffic laws also play a significant role in motorcycle collisions.

There’s no doubt that riding a motorcycle is an exhilarating experience. But with excitement also comes risk. The truth is that motorcycles are inherently dangerous by nature. There aren’t any seatbelts and there are no protective structures. Plus, motorcycles are far smaller and thus less visible than motor vehicles. Riding a motorcycle is very risky when it comes to personal safety and yet there are about 8.5 million motorcycles on the road according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), people are riding motorcycles now more than ever before.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association reports that more than 51% of motorcycle collisions involve auto accidents.

4. What are Common Injuries Caused by Motorcycle Accidents?

Motorcyclists see more serious injuries than those in an automobile accident.

Statistics show motorcycle riders are sixteen times more likely to die and three times more likely to be injured than occupants of automobiles. We see injuries that are more serious than those in an automobile where the driver and passengers are surrounded by a steel frame and equipped with airbags.

Common motorcycle accident injuries include:

  • Spinal injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Severe road rash
  • Amputations
  • Back injury
  • Neck injuries
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Facial injuries
  • Eye injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Severe burns
  • Knee injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Severe scarring

5. What should you do after a motorcycle wreck?

Remain calm and follow the steps below.

No matter how careful you may be on the road, there’s always the chance that you may find yourself in an accident. Most people don’t think about that possibility and they don’t have a plan in case they are involved in an accident. Having said that, knowing what to do after an accident can make a huge difference to any insurance claim or legal claim you might have against the other driver.

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Step 1

Check yourself and passengers for any injuries.
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Step 2

Collect contact information.
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Step 3

Call the police.
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Step 4

Take pictures and document the scene.
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Step 5

Call your insurance agent.
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Step 6

Contact a motorcycle accident attorney.

6. What are some preventive measures for staying safe?

Proper gear and maintenance are key elements

Whether you’re taking a day trip up to enjoy the mountains or headed down to the coast, it’s important to stay safe! Motorcycle accidents can cause serious physical injury or even be fatal, so it’s essential to take every safety precaution you can. We have a few tips to help you stay safe on your motorcycle.

1

Wear Your Protective Gear

In South Carolina, helmet use is only required by those under the age of 21. It’s not unusual to see many motorcycle riders headed down the highway wearing just a hat or even no head protection at all.

Wear a helmet! Many people believe that helmets don’t actually help. Still studies have shown over and over again that regular helmet use sharply reduces the chance of severe head injuries in case of a collision with another vehicle. Make sure your helmet fits properly, is designed for wear at high speeds, and most importantly, that you wear it every single time. It’s also essential to replace your helmet after every accident.

There’s a reason motorcycle riders are often sporting a leather jacket — long sleeves and thick fabric are far more protective in case of a collision than a thin cotton shirt. When you go out for a ride, be sure to always wear long sleeves and long pants. Leather jackets can help protect your arms and torso from abrasion, and thick-fabric blue jeans or pants can provide the same protection for your legs. You’ll also want to make sure you’re wearing gloves and very sturdy shoes. Never go out on a motorcycle in footwear that doesn’t have protective properties — that means no sandals! If you’re riding in the evening, consider adding reflective patches for extra protection.

Last but not least, consider picking up protective eyewear, such as scratch-resistant goggles. While some helmets come with a face shield, that’s not true for all of them, and eyewear not only helps to keep bug-splatter from affecting you, they can also help protect you from gravel kicked up by other vehicles.

2

Regular Maintenance is Key

Because motorcycles leave their drivers more physically vulnerable in accidents than regular vehicles, it is even more important to keep up with basic maintenance than it is on cars or trucks. Schedule your regular check-ups to match the manufacturer’s recommendations, and take great care with your motorcycle to ensure it is properly maintained and kept up. Make sure any issues, no matter how small, are checked out by a professional.

Before you go out for a ride, check on your tires, lights, and controls every time. Even small mechanical defects can lead to serious accidents while on a motorcycle, so you really can’t be too careful.

3

Stay Alert At All Times

We hate to say this, but larger vehicles have a tendency to ‘miss’ nearby motorcycles when it comes to their side and rear view mirrors. Motorcycles are often small enough to slip into a car’s “blind spot”, leaving the motorcycle driver intensely vulnerable to sudden lane changes or speed changes on the part of the much larger vehicles around them. We recommend taking the following precautions to ensure you stay observant to your surroundings:

  • Always maintain a safe distance between you and other vehicles.
  • Use headlights, even during the day (studies have shown that headlight use reduces vehicle collisions, even on bright sunny days).
  • Be observant of other vehicles, noting those prone to not using their turn signals or other driving issues.
  • Know your own blind spots and check them frequently.
  • Use your horn when needed to ensure you are seen.
  • Stay prepared to react to sudden changes in traffic, animal sightings, or pedestrians.

7. What is the average settlement from a motorcycle accident?

Every settlement is different.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident and you were not at fault or if you have lost someone you love in a deadly crash, you may be entitled to compensation for damages including:

  • Lost income
  • Future lost income
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Existing medical bills
  • Future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation and therapy
  • Special equipment
  • Physical impairment
  • Mental impairment
  • Disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Wrongful death

Like all other automobile accident cases, injured riders look first to the at-fault driver’s insurance company for compensation. Minimum limits of coverage in South Carolina is $25,000 per person. Riders may elect to carry additional insurance because in many motorcycle accident cases, $25,000 is not even close enough to cover medical bills, much less lost wages, pain and suffering, and disability. However, oftentimes there is more than one policy that may provide coverage. Specifically, household members of the at-fault driver may have policies that apply, the injured rider’s own policies may provide additional coverage, or there may be applicable umbrella policies.

8. How Can a lawyer help after a motorcycle accident?

We know the right questions to ask.

At Bluestein Attorneys, we have experience working with those who have been in motorcycle accidents. We’ve made it our mission to ensure our clients here in South Carolina have their individual rights protected.

If you’ve been in an automobile accident, motorcycle accident, or a wreck involving a tractor trailer, we’d be happy to speak with you about your situation. Our personal injury attorneys are here to help.

Reach us by phone at (803) 779-7599 or contact us online to request your FREE consultation!