Hughey Law Firm AttorneysRiding a bicycle is a rite of passage for many children, and many go on to become avid cyclists in adulthood. South Carolina is the perfect location to enjoy a ride in the warm and sunny weather, or to depend on a bicycle to commute to and from work. Whether you live in Charleston, Greenville, Spartanburg, Columbia, or elsewhere in the state, you know South Carolina is bicycle-friendly. Yet, the pleasure of cycling or the convenience of going to and from work on a bike quickly loses its luster when careless drivers cause bike accidents and put cyclists at risk for injuries, potentially death. Read on to learn more from our experienced South Carolina bike accident lawyers.

If you have suffered injuries, or your child was in a bicycle accident, South Carolina law entitles you to seek compensation for damages related to your injuries and associated losses. However, South Carolina cyclists must comply with the same standards and regulations as motorists, sometimes complicating the insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits. A South Carolina bicycle accident lawyer knows how to apply the law to your case and can guide you on the best path for your circumstances.

Contact our skilled South Carolina personal injury accident lawyers at Hughey Law Firm online or at 843-790-7312 for a free consultation to discuss the details of your bicycle accident, your injuries, and the ways we can assist you.

Hughey Law Firm Advocates for Bicycle Accident Victims

Hughey Law Firm’s commitment to client advocacy, professionalism, and case preparation has earned them state and national recognition. Additionally, we have recovered tens of millions of dollars in damages from settlements and jury awards for accident victims, including those who have suffered injuries in bicycle accidents. Recent traffic accident case results range from $225,000 to more than $5 million.

It is impossible to guarantee a specific outcome for your bicycle accident claim because each case has unique circumstances that impact its value. However, Hughey Law Firm continues to advocate on behalf of bicycle accident victims, and has the resources and the knowledge to aggressively pursue the best outcome possible for the specific circumstances of our clients. Call us today to see what we can do for you.

South Carolina Cycling and Traffic Laws

South Carolina’s popularity as a destination for cycling has led to comprehensive laws for cyclists.

We cannot cover them in detail here, but below is a broad overview of critical laws that, when broken, can lead to a dangerous or deadly bicycle accident:

  • Cyclists must yield to pedestrians at controlled and uncontrolled intersections.
  • Cyclists must signal their intentions at intersections with a hand signal.
  • Cyclists must not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic when driving on a highway.
  • Drivers must exercise due care and yield to oncoming bicyclists.
  • Cyclists must use bike lanes when available, and motorists must yield to cyclists and not block bike lanes.
  • In South Carolina, cyclists can proceed through a red light if they have stopped for 120 seconds and ensured it is safe to proceed.
  • Motorists must maintain a safe operating distance between themselves and cyclists.

The state has not created an abundance of specific laws for motorists, making cycling even more dangerous in some cases.

Bicycle Accidents Lead to Severe Injuries

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 1,000 cyclists lose their lives each year in traffic accidents across the United States. Bicycles provide little to no protection from motor vehicles, or from the pavement, during a collision.

Common bicycle accident injuries include:

  • Cuts. Getting a cut or two does not typically fall under the umbrella of a serious injury. However, severe bicycle accidents can lead to deep wounds that leave permanent scars. When scars occur in highly visible areas of the body, accident victims sometimes suffer mental anguish from embarrassment and humiliation. Cyclists who get thrown from their bikes can also suffer deep wounds and cuts related to road rash injuries when their body slides across the road.
  • Dislocation. When a driver in a truck or passenger vehicle strikes a bicyclist at high speed, joint dislocation is a real possibility. Cyclists often break a fall with their arms, resulting in the joint dislocation of one or both shoulders. Dislocated joints are painful and often include soft tissue damages, such as torn muscles and ligaments. Cyclists who experience joint dislocation have the potential to fully recover but sometimes suffer from permanent nerve damage that leads to chronic lifelong pain and discomfort.
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). South Carolina does not have a helmet law. Bicyclists who are involved in a traffic accident and are not wearing a helmet can suffer life-threatening injuries. Accident victims who are lucky enough to survive often suffer permanent brain damage, causing them to struggle with cognitive functions, motor skills, emotional issues, and more. Helmets help prevent brain injuries, but even those with helmets can suffer a brain injury when a motor vehicle hits them. Children on bikes who suffer head injuries in an accident are especially at risk for a TBI, often leading to developmental issues.
  • Neck injuries. Cyclists who fall off their bike during a collision risk severe neck injuries if their head strikes the ground at the wrong angle. Neck injuries can be minor strains and sprains, but the most severe injuries include fractured cervical vertebrae, herniated discs, nerve damage, and torn muscles and/or ligaments. Cyclists who suffer neck injuries sometimes cope with headaches, pain, and discomfort for weeks, months, or years.
  • Back injuries. Bicycle accident victims sometimes face debilitating back injuries such as broken vertebrae, bulged discs, and slipped discs. Back injuries are among the most serious of accident injuries; they typically come with pain and discomfort that is not easy to treat. Severe back injuries typically require one or more corrective surgeries that typically do not eliminate the pain. Accident victims with severe back injuries need to follow a pain management regimen just to get through the day. Sometimes this includes dependence on addictive painkillers and cortisone shots. In other cases, some back injury patients have a pain management device implanted in their bodies.
  • Spinal cord injuries. The vast majority of spinal cord injuries happen in traffic crashes, including bicycle accidents, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC). Full body paralysis from the neck down—tetraplegia—is the most common spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries are especially serious because the cells in the cord do not regenerate like many other body cells, which means spinal cord damage is often permanent. Bicycle accident victims who suffer a spinal cord injury often need ongoing treatment and care. The most severe spinal cord injuries also typically confine victims to wheelchairs for life. The complications that come with paralysis make spinal cord injuries among the most costly of all injuries a cyclist might experience in a bicycle accident.
  • Amputation. During bicycle accidents, cyclists’ arms or legs can get pinned under a car or truck. Depending on the circumstances, accident victims might lose blood flow to their affected limb(s). Doctors typically take every measure possible to restore blood flow to crushed limbs and give accident victims a chance for a full recovery. Yet, when restoring blood flow is not an option, doctors are forced to amputate to prevent the spread of infection, which ultimately leads to death. Those who suffer an amputation have to deal with the physical and emotional pain of their loss. Learning how to function with a prosthetic limb also poses frustrations and challenges for accident victims.
  • Organ damage. Cyclists have no protection between their bodies and the vehicles which strike them. Moderate to high-speed accidents can do a lot of internal damage when an accident mangles a cyclist’s body. Broken ribs can puncture the lungs and other organs, leading to life-threatening organ damage and internal hemorrhaging. Left untreated, organ damage is often fatal. Severe accidents sometimes cause permanent damage to vital organs that require treatment and care for life.

Recovering Damages After a South Carolina Bicycle Accident

If you have suffered injuries in a bicycle accident because a negligent driver struck you, South Carolina law permits you to bring a lawsuit for damages related to your injuries as long as you do so within the three-year statute of limitations.

If you reach a settlement before litigation, or the court rules in your favor, you may recover any of the following losses incurred as a result of your bicycle accident:

  • Medical treatment expenses including ambulance services, emergency room treatment, hospitalization, diagnostic tests, surgery, followup care, prescription medication, and travel to and from the doctor/hospital.
  • Estimated future medical treatment costs when a bicycle accident leads to permanent injury or a permanent condition that requires ongoing treatment and continuous nursing care.
  • Rehabilitation expenses for specialized care from physical therapists, occupational therapists, mental health professionals, and others who help accident victims cope with their injuries.
  • Lost wages from time away from work due to bicycle accident injuries, hospitalization, and/or rehabilitation.
  • Lost earning capacity when a permanent injury or condition from a bicycle accident prevents a victim from returning to work or seeking future employment.
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering.
  • Loss of consortium with a spouse, if applicable.
  • Scarring and disfigurement, especially common in cases where amputation occurs.
  • Punitive damages, if the at-fault driver acted purposefully or with gross negligence.

If you lost a loved one from fatal bicycle accident injuries, you might also qualify for compensation depending on your relationship with the deceased. South Carolina law permits eligible surviving family members to seek compensation for damages related to the loss of their loved one by bringing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Survivors typically receive compensation for burial and funeral expenses, as well as compensation for damage to their relationship with the deceased. For example, widows and widowers can receive compensation for loss of companionship, and minor children can receive compensation for loss of parental guidance and support when they lose a parent.

A South Carolina bicycle accident attorney can determine your eligibility for compensation in a wrongful death suit, and answer any specific questions you might have. Contact Hughey Law Firm for a free consultation today.

Insurance Companies Fight Bicycle Accident Claims

The at-fault driver’s insurance company may go the extra mile to deny or devalue your claim to avoid financial responsibility for damages related to your bicycle accident. Insurance companies are businesses like any other, and they generally prefer to preserve their money.

Some insurance company tactics or strategies you may face throughout the claims process include:

  • Placing some or all of the blame on you for the bicycle accident.
  • Placing all the blame on a third party, such as a city for poorly maintained roads or bike paths.
  • Denying your claim on a technicality or administrative error, such as filling out the wrong form.
  • Arguing you really did not suffer injuries because you had a preexisting condition.
  • Arguing your injuries are not as bad as you claim or as your doctor has reported.

You can protect yourself from potentially dubious tactics and increase your likelihood of receiving compensation for damages from a bicycle accident by hiring a South Carolina bicycle accident attorney. Our South Carolina bicycle accident lawyers understand how insurance companies operate, have the experience to anticipate tactics the defense might use against you, and know how to best protect your rights.

South Carolina Bicycle Accident FAQ

If you have suffered serious injuries in a bicycle accident in South Carolina, you’re not alone. Many victims have been in your shoes with the same questions and worries. How do I protect myself and my finances? How do South Carolina’s laws protect me? What’s my next course of action?

If you have questions about your specific claim, contact an experienced South Carolina bicycle accident attorney at Hughey Law Firm as soon after your accident as possible to get a better idea of how much compensation you deserve and how to file a claim.

1. How do I know if I have grounds for a South Carolina bicycle accident claim?

You may have grounds for a South Carolina bicycle accident claim if someone else’s negligence caused your accident, and you suffered injuries in the accident. For example, if a distracted driver struck you, causing broken ribs or a dislocated joint, you may have grounds for a claim. On the other hand, you do not have grounds for a claim if the driver’s negligence caused you to have to stop abruptly or even damaged your bicycle, but did not cause you to suffer a serious injury. If you think you may have grounds for a claim following a bicycle accident in South Carolina, consult our attorneys as soon after your accident as possible.

2. Who pays my medical bills after a South Carolina bicycle accident?

As the injured party, you will need to make arrangements to pay your medical bills following a bicycle accident. A South Carolina bicycle accident claim can help alleviate some of the financial strain and provide you with compensation for those medical bills. However, it can take time to settle your bicycle accident claim. In the meantime, you will need to work with your medical care team to make payment arrangements.

In addition to waiting for your South Carolina bicycle accident claim to settle, you do have some options that will help you handle your medical bills. You may, for example, want to use your health insurance to help cover the bulk of your medical bills, especially if you suffer serious, long-term issues, including spinal cord injury and traumatic brain damage. Talk to your insurance provider to learn more about how your health insurance can help cover some of your medical expenses.

3. Do I have to go to the hospital after a South Carolina bicycle accident to seek compensation for my injuries?

Any time you suffer injuries, even what you believe minor injuries, in a bicycle accident, you should pursue medical attention as soon after the accident as possible. By visiting a hospital or urgent care center, you can have a full evaluation that will give you a better idea of the extent of your injuries.

Some injuries, including spinal cord injuries, may not show clearly immediately after the accident. Adrenaline can even camouflage your injuries, preventing you from realizing how much damage you suffered until it wears off. Sometimes, bicycle accident victims walk around with serious injuries for days or even weeks before they recognize the full severity of those injuries.

If you do not go to the hospital, however, you can still seek compensation for your injuries. You may, however, face questions about exactly when your injuries occurred or how you know they happened during the bicycle accident. Talk to an attorney as soon as possible to learn more about how to handle seeking compensation for your injuries if you did not seek medical care immediately after your accident.

4. If I wasn’t wearing a helmet, but suffered a traumatic brain injury, can I still seek compensation?

South Carolina does not have a statewide statute requiring helmet use on a bicycle. However, wearing a helmet can decrease the risk of head injury by as much as 48 percent in an accident. You should always wear a bicycle helmet when riding, especially if you ride on or near the road.

That does not mean, however, that you cannot seek compensation for your injuries, even if you suffered a traumatic brain injury when not wearing a helmet. Contact an attorney to learn more about your legal right to compensation, regardless of whether you chose to wear a helmet at the time of the accident.

5. How can I determine who contributed to my South Carolina bicycle accident?

Hire us to investigate.

Multiple parties can contribute to bicycle accidents or increase the severity of your injuries.

They include:

  • Mechanical damage to your bicycle. Mechanical damage to your bicycle can cause an accident or increase the severity of the accident. If a manufacturer’s defect caused the mechanical damage, you may pursue compensation from the bicycle manufacturer or, in some cases, from a repair shop that recently worked on your bicycle, but failed to repair it properly.
  • Mechanical damage to the other driver’s vehicle. During a tire blowout, drivers may struggle to control their vehicles well enough to avoid you. Likewise, brake failure can make it impossible for the driver to stop in time to miss hitting you. You can pursue compensation from the vehicle manufacturer, in the case of manufacturer’s defect, or from the owner of the vehicle, if different from the driver. Consult an attorney to learn more about how mechanical failure could contribute to your accident and whether you have grounds to pursue compensation for that failure.
  • A driver working at the time of the accident. Did you suffer injuries in an accident with a driver on the clock at the time of the accident? The driver’s employer may share liability for the injuries you suffered. For example, if a truck driver exceeds the federally limited number of hours he or she can spend behind the wheel each day at his employer’s orders, you may have the right to pursue compensation from the driver’s employer. Likewise, you may have the right to pursue compensation if the driver’s employer fails to properly maintain the vehicle, or if the employer continues to employ a driver who has a long history of causing accidents.

To determine what contributed to your accident, consult an experienced South Carolina bicycle accident attorney. An attorney can conduct a full investigation into the factors that contributed to your accident and locate the evidence you need to file a claim.

6. Do I have to have an attorney to seek compensation after a South Carolina bicycle accident?

You should always have an attorney to go to bat for you when you need to seek compensation for any type of claim, including a South Carolina bicycle accident.

An attorney can help your case by providing much-needed peace of mind during an incredibly difficult time in your life.

  • An attorney can help collect evidence from the scene of your accident. From talking to witnesses to looking for video footage that can help make it easier to identify exactly what happened during your accident, an attorney will fully evaluate all the circumstances contributing to your accident and help search for the evidence you need to prove it. An attorney can often access areas you cannot reach on your own.
  • An attorney can give you more information about the compensation you deserve and help you make better decisions about your claim. Many South Carolina bicycle accident victims do not realize all of their rights following a serious accident. You may not, for example, fully realize how much compensation you really deserve for your injuries, especially if you suffer severe, life-altering injuries, including back injuries or traumatic brain injury. An attorney can help give you a better understanding of the compensation you deserve, which will help you make better, more thought-out decisions about when to accept a settlement offer.
  • An attorney can take over negotiations and deal with the insurance company for you. You have appointments to juggle and a recovery to keep up with. You should not have to juggle interactions with the insurance company that covers the driver who caused your accident at the same time. An attorney can take over those negotiations on your behalf, freeing up your time and energy for the other, more important tasks you have to deal with. At the same time, you will have peace of mind since you can leave your claim in the hands of someone you can trust.

7. What if the other driver’s insurance company offers me a settlement in my South Carolina bicycle accident claim? Should I take it?

A settlement offer, especially immediately after your accident, can seem very tempting. You may have a lot of worries about your medical bills and the other challenges you will face, especially if you have to miss work for a long time as a result of your injuries.

Do not take that offer without talking to an attorney.

Many times, insurance companies will get in touch with accident victims and issue a settlement offer soon after the accident, before you have a chance to get a full picture of your rights and what that settlement could mean for you. If you accept that offer, it will prevent you from seeking further compensation against the liable party. All too often, that offer fails to reflect the compensation you really deserve for your injuries. An attorney can help you better understand how much compensation you really deserve, which will allow you to make a better-informed decision about whether or not you want to accept a settlement.

8. How long does it take to settle a South Carolina bicycle accident claim?

You can assume that it will take some time to settle your South Carolina bicycle accident claim, though how long it takes to settle your claim may depend on several factors. Many of those factors, you cannot control. Talk to your attorney to get a better idea of how long it can take to get the compensation you need.

Your lawyer may need to consider:

  • How much compensation did you ask for? After your accident, you will need to ask for compensation based on the extent of your medical bills and your financial losses related to the accident. You should not limit the compensation you ask for because you fear it will take a long time to settle your claim, but you should acknowledge that some insurance companies will drag their feet before issuing your settlement if you need to seek substantial compensation for your injuries.
  • How long will it take your doctors to determine how much you can recover? In the case of some types of injuries, it may take time before your doctor knows how much you will eventually recover. Severe burns, including severe road rash, for example, may lead to several complications along the path to recovery. Your doctors may also not know your eventual prognosis until you have progressed as much as six months past your accident. Your attorney may recommend waiting until you have a full picture of how much your medical expenses will cost and how much you will recover after your accident before you file a South Carolina bicycle accident claim, since both increased medical bills and increased disability can influence the compensation you deserve.
  • How much does the insurance company want to negotiate? Often, you may need to go through several rounds of negotiation with the liable party or the liable party’s insurance company before you can arrive at an agreement that fits both your needs and theirs. Each round of negotiation you go through can add to the time it takes to reach a settlement and get those funds in your hands. If you need to go to mediation or court, it can also add more time to your claim.

9. Will I have to go to court to settle my South Carolina bicycle accident claim?

Most accident claims, including South Carolina bicycle accident claims, settle out of court. However, you should prepare for the possibility that you will need to take your claim to court to get the full compensation you deserve. Having a Hughey Law Firm attorney on your side from the beginning can help pave the way to a more successful claim.

Get the Legal Counsel You Need From Us After a South Carolina Bicycle Accident

Sustaining severe injuries during a bicycle accident often leaves victims and their families in impossible financial situations, adding a layer of stress on top of the physical pain of injury. The dedicated legal team at Hughey Law Firm understands the challenges our clients face in the aftermath of a serious bicycle accident and are here to advocate for you.

Contact us at Hughey Law Firm online or at (843) 881-8644 for a free case evaluation. Let a South Carolina attorney with experience in bicycle accident cases review your case, determine the viability of your case, and advise you on the best course of action going forward.

Get the Legal Counsel You Need From Us After a South Carolina Bicycle Accident

Hughey Law FirmSustaining severe injuries during a bicycle accident often leaves victims and their families in impossible financial situations, adding a layer of stress on top of the physical pain of injury. The dedicated legal team at Hughey Law Firm understands the challenges our clients face in the aftermath of a serious bicycle accident and are here to advocate for you.

Contact us at Hughey Law Firm online or at (843) 881-8644 for a free case evaluation. Let a South Carolina attorney with experience in bicycle accident cases review your case, determine the viability of your case, and advise you on the best course of action going forward.

Client Testimonial

“Thank you Hughey Law Firm! It was a pleasure to work with you on my case! From the beginning, every contact I had with your firm was professional, kind, helpful, and painless! I always felt kept in the loop, and important to you as a client. If you are looking for a personal injury attorney with integrity, I would highly recommend Hughey Law Firm!”

Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Karen C.
Read more reviews on Google!