Charleston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Charleston is a beautiful tourist destination which is great for the local business and attractions, but it also means more cars traveling our local streets and highways. It also means more accidents. As motorcyclists share the city’s busy streets with so many other vehicles, they risk serious accidents and injuries. When an accident occurs, bikers sustain serious, catastrophic and life-threatening injuries. Truck drivers and private passenger vehicle drivers often leave an accident scene with no injuries at all.

The speed and weight of the vehicles involved make the difference in a motorcyclist’s post-accident outcome. When a car or pickup truck crashes into a motorcycle at even moderate speeds, the impact can send the biker flying to the pavement. When a large truck makes contact, the weight difference often makes fatal or catastrophic injuries inevitable.

2017 National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration data documented 145 motorcyclist fatalities on South Carolina roads. Motorcyclists who survive major crashes incur high medical bills and income losses. They often spend their lives adjusting to physical, psychological, and emotional impairments.

At Hughey Law Firm, we believe that negligent drivers should pay for the injuries they cause. Our attorneys know South Carolina’s vehicle codes and liability issues. We understand that injured motorcycle victims encounter unfair biases. We’ve worked hard to eliminate the non-relevant issues and we’ve resolved our clients’ cases based on the facts.

We Get Results

Our attorneys handle injured plaintiff’s cases only. We fight to recover the damages they need to survive. As each case is unique, we can’t guarantee a specific settlement. Our attorneys have committed our experience, skill, and firm’s resources to pursue justice for our clients. While each case is unique and it is not possible to guarantee a particular outcome in advance, our past results nonetheless demonstrate our commitment to achieving successful outcomes on our clients’ behalf.

  • Truck/motorcycle accident, $2,025,000: Our client was injured when a truck struck his motorcycle.
  • Trucking accident, $5,425,00: Our client sustained catastrophic injuries when a large truck collided with his pickup.
  • Dram shop/wrongful death case, $2,000,000: Our deceased client was killed by a drunk driver. We settled his case on behalf of his estate.
  • Trucking accident case, $5,425,000.00: Our client suffered facial injuries and a spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia. We mediated the case and resolved it for $5,425,000.00.

Motorcycle Accident Injuries

When a motorcyclist is involved in an accident with a larger vehicle, they often sustain significant injuries. The NHSTA’s statistics reveal that motorcycle fatalities occur 28 times more often than accident fatalities in other vehicles. Other than helmets, bikers have few protections from injury. A biker is always vulnerable to traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other catastrophic injuries or conditions, including:

  • Spinal cord trauma
  • Complete paralysis
  • Partial paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Severe abrasions and “road rash”
  • Nerve damage
  • Disc injuries
  • Eye injuries
  • Multiple fractures
  • Traumatic amputations
  • Internal organ damage
  • Fatal injuries

Who Is at Fault For the Injuries From a Motorcycle Accident?

The negligent driver in an accident is responsible for the injured driver’s damages. That becomes a complex concept when a vehicle/motorcycle accident occurs. Biases against bikers sometimes affect a vehicle driver’s pre-accident perceptions and actions. Vehicle drivers often fail to check their blind spots and don’t “see” motorcyclists when they enter or exit a roadway. They make left-hand turns without noticing or considering a motorcyclist right-of-way. Other parties may also share liability for a motorcyclist’s injuries:

  • Product manufacturer: When a motorcycle or helmet manufacturer’s defective product contributes to an accident or injury severity, they share liability for the damages.
  • Maintenance company: A company that improperly maintains or repairs a motorcycle or other vehicle shares liability for any accident-related damages.
  • Vehicle owner: A motorcycle or vehicle owner share responsibility for the damages their vehicle causes even if they weren’t involved in the accident.

What Damages Can an Injured Motorcyclist Recover?

Our clients’ injury settlements can include economic damages and general damages. Courts also occasionally award punitive damages based on the individual facts of the case. We determine our clients’ economic damages by totaling their out-of-pocket expenses. As motorcyclists often sustain injuries that require long-term medical care, we require an economist’s projections to determine future costs. Economic damages may include the following:

  • Current and future income losses;
  • Diminished earning capacity;
  • Current and future treatment and pharmacy costs;
  • Prosthetics;
  • Ramps and mobility aids;
  • Physical, emotional, and occupational therapy;
  • Medical transportation;
  • Household assistance; and
  • Funeral and burial costs.

Evaluating general damages isn’t as simple as totaling bills and lost wages. They include financial damages for emotional, psychological, and lifestyle issues. General damages include these and other subjective considerations:

  • Pain and suffering;
  • Anxiety;
  • Emotional distress;
  • Spousal and relationship issues;
  • Loss of bodily functions;
  • Temporary and permanent disabilities;
  • Scars; and
  • Disfigurement.

In some cases, a jury may award punitive damages under South Carolina 15-32-510. For a successful punitive damage award, the plaintiff must demonstrate “clear and convincing evidence” of the defendant’s “willful, wanton, or reckless conduct.”

Can Drivers Defend Themselves When They Cause Motorcycle Accident Injuries?

When a claim involves catastrophic injuries, an insurance company may choose to defend a case when settling is the reasonable option. When an insurance company allows litigation to proceed, it’s often an effort to encourage a lower settlement. Continued litigation forces a plaintiff to incur ongoing court costs and fees. Insurers and/or defendants may use several common strategies to reduce or discharge liability for a plaintiff’s injuries, including:

  • No negligence – If a vehicle driver convinces a jury that he wasn’t negligent, the jury might decide that the plaintiff shouldn’t receive damages.
  • Comparative negligence: If a defendant driver convinces a jury that the injured motorcyclist was also negligent, South Carolina’s Modified Comparative Fault statute allows a damage reduction based on the negligence percentage. If a plaintiff is 51 percent at fault or greater, he recovers no damages.
  • No defect – A motorcycle or motorcycle helmet manufacturer may plead no defect to allegations that their product contributed to or caused an accident. Maintenance and repair companies use the same strategy in convincing a jury that they didn’t perform defective repairs or maintenance.
  • Damage dispute – An insurance company may reduce the potential damage amount if they convince a jury that their insured didn’t cause some or any of the damages.

Our lawyers have dealt with many defendants and their insurance companies, and we understand their tactics. We address courtroom defenses by documenting the evidence and resolving legal and liability issues early on. Our attention to detail has helped us overcome typical insurance company strategies and achieve positive outcomes for many of our clients.

Charleston Motorcycle Injury Attorneys

If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, we want to discuss your case. Hughey Law Firm attorneys have represented clients in the Charleston metro region and in communities throughout South Carolina. We’re also licensed in North Carolina and Georgia. Our attorneys handle cases on a contingency basis, meaning we don’t collect a fee until we resolve your claim.

Give us a call at (843) 881-8644 or complete our online contact form. We’ll schedule a free consultation to determine if we can help you.

Contact Hughey Law Firm

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