Motorcycle Accidents Lawyers in Columbia Are Here to Help You
You don’t expect to be injured in an accident when you head out on your motorcycle, but motorcycle crashes are far from rare. If your accident was caused due to the actions of a negligent or distracted driver or through another issue that was no fault of your own, it’s important to be aware of your legal options.
Being injured in a motorcycle accident can take you off the road for a while and leave you with expensive medical bills. If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, talk to one of our motorcycle accident attorneys to find out whether you can file a personal injury lawsuit and how our firm can represent you through the process.
What Are Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Motorcycle accidents can happen in a millisecond, and it’s not always immediately clear what the cause of the motorcycle crash was. However, eyewitness statements and investigations by the responding officers and the insurance companies can help paint a clearer picture of the events leading up to the accident. Here are a few of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents.
A distracted driver is one of the most dangerous hazards on the road, and unfortunately, cell phone use while driving and other issues don’t seem to be going away. A distracted driver is more likely to not notice a motorcycle before changing lanes and, in general, isn’t aware of their surroundings, which means longer braking times, slower reaction responses, and an increase in the likelihood of an accident for everyone around them.
Drunk drivers and those under the influence of drugs are also major hazards that motorcycle riders face. Like distracted drivers, drivers under the influence will have slower response times and are not as aware of their surroundings. They may be more likely to run red lights and stop signs, drive erratically, and even go the wrong way or be in the wrong lanes.
Operating at Unsafe Speeds
Speeding is one of the leading causes of all types of accidents, including motorcycle accidents. When someone is driving at an unsafe speed for the road and traffic conditions around them, it can mean they don’t have time to slow down, stop, or adjust course for obstacles or slowed traffic ahead.
Stopping Without Warning
Everyone on the road, vehicles and motorcycles alike, is expected to leave an assured clear distance ahead between them and the car in front of them. This is to allow the driver to be able to have enough time and distance to stop if there is an issue ahead, such as a wreck or object on the road that people are going around, without causing an accident. If you were injured because a driver was following too closely, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them as the at-fault party.
Improper Lane Changes
You already know how important it is to make sure the lane is clear, check your blind spot, and ensure that you have enough space to move over before you change lanes. However, motorcycles can be much harder to see than full-size vehicles, and if a driver doesn’t do all of these things before changing lanes, they can increase the chances of an accident. Motorcyclists who use their small form factor to weave in and out of cars inappropriately can also put themselves at risk.
Colliding With Objects
Colliding with objects — other than vehicles — is another leading cause of motorcycle accidents. Because there are only two wheels, it’s much easier for a motorcycle to be thrown off balance and wreck from hitting a pothole in the road or another object than it is for a full-size vehicle. While sometimes these types of collisions are because the rider wasn’t able to maneuver around the object in time, that doesn’t mean that they are always the rider’s fault. If you were in a motorcycle accident where you hit another object but believe that someone was negligent or at fault, you can talk to a motorcycle accident lawyer to see if you have a case.
What Kinds of Injuries Can Motorcycle Accident Victims Incur From a Motorcycle Accident?
Because of how little protection riders have in the event of a motorcycle crash, the injuries they sustain can be quite severe. Motorcycle accident injuries can range from minor to life-threatening and even fatal and can take a long time to recover from fully. Below, we take a more in-depth look at some of the more common motorcycle accident injuries.
Brain injuries are some of the most serious injuries you can get through a motorcycle accident. And while many riders choose to wear a helmet, South Carolina law states that helmets are not required for riders over the age of 21. For those who don’t wear head protection, the risk of a traumatic brain injury as a result of a motorcycle helmet is very high.
Like brain injuries, spinal cord injuries can be catastrophic and lead to permanent issues such as paralysis. Spinal injuries can be difficult to treat and can require multiple surgeries, months of physical therapy, and pricey medical equipment to help support your mobility while you heal. These kinds of injuries also often lead to extended time off of work and medical bills in the tens of thousands.
The impact of a motorcycle crash often leads to broken bones, particularly in the extremities. Legs or arms can get pinned underneath the motorcycle itself, which can lead to crushing injuries. In very serious crashes, it’s possible for a limb even to be amputated during the crash or to need to be removed because the damage is too extensive to repair.
While wearing leather while you’re riding can help reduce the risk of road rash from a motorcycle accident, it’s still possible for parts of your skin to end up exposed to the unrelenting asphalt. While it may be tempting to pass road rash off as a surface-level injury, road rash is extremely painful. It must be treated carefully to reduce the risk of infection, which can quickly become systemic instead of localized to the skin when there is that much open skin.
How Do You Prove Liability or Negligence in Motorcycle Accident Cases?
When you are involved in a motorcycle crash, the police are often some of the first responders on the scene. Once they have attended to the safety of those involved in the crash and blocked off the road for other motorists, they will start to try to figure out what happened. If the parties aren’t seriously injured, they may also take statements from them and ask eyewitnesses to give statements. Usually, the officers will decide who is going to get a ticket there at the scene. However, if the accident is severe or results in a fatality, there may need to be more investigation and even an accident reconstruction to determine who is at fault.
It is the insurance company that makes the final determination for who was at fault for the crash, and this is what you need to know to decide if you can file a lawsuit. You will need to be found to be less than 50 percent at fault for the accident by the insurance company to move forward and seek compensation for medical bills and pain and suffering.
If the case goes to trial, the jury will make another determination of whether they believe the defendant was negligent in their actions and that negligence caused the crash, and whether to award compensation to the victim. If you have questions about how any of this process works, you can talk to one of the motorcycle accident lawyers at Cavanaugh & Thickens, LLC.
What Questions Should I Ask Potential Motorcycle Accident Attorneys?
It’s a good idea to interview any attorney you are considering hiring before you make that leap. You want to make sure that the person you hire is an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer and is familiar with settlement cases, as well as those that go on to trial. Here are a few questions to make sure to cover with any attorney you are interested in hiring to represent you in your case.
- How many motorcycle accident cases have you been involved in?
- How many of your cases are settled out of court versus going through to trial?
- How does your firm handle mediation, arbitration, and other settlement attempts?
- What are the options to recover compensation from the other party?
- What are the elements that must be proven to show fault legally, and what is the standard of proof?
- Do you have experience negotiating with insurance companies?
- How do you handle client communication?
- Do you have testimonials or reviews from past clients I can look at?
If a firm is hesitant to answer your questions, you may want to hold off on hiring them and look for another option. At Cavanaugh & Thickens, LLC, we know that our clients put their futures in our hands when they choose to work with us, and we pride ourselves on earning that level of trust.
When you work with us, we will ensure that you are kept up to date on the details of your case and how things are proceeding through each step.
Call our Columbia law firm at (803) 888-2200 to speak with a member of our team about what your rights and options may be after a serious motorcycle accident. We know how important it is to you to get your life back on track, and we’re dedicated to helping our clients get the compensation they deserve so they can move past the accident and get back on the road.