South Carolina boasts a large proportion of motorcycle riders among those who use its roads. While most people are safe drivers, motorcyclists do have a disproportionate rate of injury and fatality if a crash occurs. If you are hit by a car or another motorcyclist, you may be able to get compensation, depending on the facts of the situation. However, there are significant obstacles to overcome before you can triumph in court.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety’s most recent data shows 1,819 motorcycle crashes in 2010. That is approximately 1% of all vehicle crashes, but the number of fatalities, 81, is roughly 10% of the state’s deaths. Motorcyclists aged 19 to 24 were the demographic with the highest percentage of emergency room visits per 100,000 (128) and those aged 45 to 52 had the highest rate of hospitalization. There are a number of reasons for this disproportionate impact.
The main reason is that motorcycles are simply not as large as cars. Drivers may not see motorcyclists, either because of their speed or small size. Motorcyclists may also wind up in a car’s blind spot, either by chance or due to lane splitting. Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist weaves in between lanes of traffic, and while it is illegal in South Carolina, it still occurs.
Another reason is required protection, or lack thereof. There are no passenger restrictions in terms of age, and South Carolina does have stringent helmet laws, but only for those 21 and under. It has been proven that helmet laws reduce fatalities on the road, but there is evidence to suggest that these laws may prevent some injuries while causing others. Helmeted motorcyclists may take more chances on the roads, believing themselves protected.
If you are injured in an accident involving a car, you may have an uphill battle even if the facts are on your side. Routinely, jurors and even the police may exhibit evidence of bias against motorcyclists. Pop culture depictions of motorcyclists as gang members and rebels leads to inferences of negligence, or even dangerousness, which can be detrimental to your case. It is possible for a jury to find against you simply because they distrust motorcyclists.
If you know the common arguments, it is far easier to defeat them. For example, many people characterize motorcyclists as dangerous or reckless because motorcycles are routinely very loud – they associate the unpleasant sound with an unpleasant person. However, this is a completely inappropriate basis on which to find against an accident victim in court. The facts are always your best weapon – medical records, photographs and statements from unimpeachable witnesses to attest to your character are integral. Character evidence should not be necessary, but better to prepare for something that may never come than to be surprised.
A Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help
If you have been injured by an accident with a car, sometimes a professional is the difference between getting compensation and being left with nothing. The experienced accident attorneys at Callihan & Syracuse will fight for you. We have a long history of excellence. Contact us for a free consultation at our Charleston office today.