South Carolina Bicycle Accident FAQ
Every year, between 16 and 20 bicyclists are killed in motor vehicle accidents in North Carolina. Many more become seriously injured and experience lifelong effects. Unfortunately, North Carolina is among the least safe for bicycling and walking. Between 2007 and 2011, 4,700 bicycle motor vehicle accidents and over 12,000 pedestrian accidents were reported to authorities. Many of these bicycle accidents could have been prevented by safe driving habits.Discuss Your Bicycle Accident Case With an Attorney
Unlike passenger vehicle drivers, bicyclists do not have the protection of a metal vehicle to shield them from injury. Cyclists only have the clothes they are wearing and their helmets, exposing them to significant bodily injuries. You may be entitled to compensation if you or your loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident in North Carolina or South Carolina. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, can help. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation and learn more about your rights.Common Causes of North Carolina Bicycle Accidents
As mentioned above, most bicycle accidents could be prevented if people used reasonable care and drove safely on North Carolina roads. Most bicycle accident lawsuits involve a defendant who acted negligently and caused the accident. Negligence refers to failure to use reasonable care under the circumstances. When an injured bicyclist can prove that the defendant acted negligently and caused their injuries, the victim may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.Hit-and-Run Accidents
Hit-and-run accidents are among the most common motorcycle accidents in South Carolina and throughout the United States. Drivers who are negligent and reckless may swerve into a bicyclist, causing them injuries, and then drive off without stopping to check on the victim. Failure to stop and call the police is a crime in North Carolina, especially when someone is injured.
The consequences of hit-and-run accidents for a bicyclist can be severe and involve head injuries, broken bones, and spinal cord damage. We are covering compensation in these cases can be challenging. If you have been injured as a bicyclist by a hit-and-run driver, you need an experienced attorney on your side who will aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve.Hazards on the Road
Hazardous road conditions are another common cause of bicycle accidents. Any type of hazard that disrupts traffic flow can be challenging to see for anyone. These types of hazards are challenging for bicyclists to see. Since bicyclists have little to no protection, dangers on the road can be hazardous. If a road hazard has injured you, you may have a right to file a claim against the city or municipality responsible for maintaining that area; however, you only have a limited amount of time to bring a claim against them. Discussing your case with an attorney as soon as possible is wise, so you do not lose your opportunity to pursue compensation.Distracted Driving
As with any other automobile accident, distracted driving is a common cause of bicycle accidents. Drivers are more distracted than ever by cell phones, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, and high-tech motor vehicles. With our busy lives, people are tempted to focus on texting or talking on the phone instead of on the road. Distracted driving is always dangerous. However, it can be even more dangerous for bicyclists and motorcyclists. Bicycles and motorcycles are more difficult to see. When a driver is distracted, the driver may not see the bicyclist in time to prevent an accident. Sometimes, the driver claims they never saw the bicyclist because the driver was distracted.Drunk Driving
Drunk driving is another common cause of bicycle accidents. Driving while intoxicated reduces a driver's ability to recognize and respond to dangerous conditions appropriately. For example, an intoxicated driver may misjudge how far away a bicyclist is from their vehicle, causing them to collide with the vehicle. Drunk drivers have also been known to cross into other lanes of traffic, causing head-on collisions.
They may fail to use their blinker and swerve into a bicyclist when making a lane change. These incidents can also involve a driver using prohibited controlled substances or abusing prescription medication. We recommend discussing your case with an attorney if a drunk or intoxicated driver has injured you. Drunk driving is considered negligent, and you may be entitled to compensation.Who is responsible for my bicycle accident injuries?
Whether you pursue an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, you must show that the defendant's negligence caused your injuries. This process is called determining fault. In a bicycle-car accident, determining fault is essential to know who must pay damages and how much they need to pay. In South Carolina, bicycles are considered vehicles, and bicyclists must obey traffic laws. Additional laws apply to bikes only, and these can vary by municipality.
When a bicyclist or driver violates traffic laws, the injured party can use this violation to prove that they were acting negligently to hold them accountable. When the plaintiff who becomes injured can hold the defendant liable, the plaintiff is entitled to damages including:
- Medical bills, both current and future
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Property damage
Sometimes determining fault takes work. Perhaps both parties involved in the bicycle accident had some level of fault. Drivers' and cyclists' errors cause some bicycle accidents. In these cases, courts will examine the evidence to determine who is more at fault and who will pay damages. South Carolina uses a legal doctrine called comparative negligence.
Under this doctrine, even if bicyclists were only partially responsible for the accident, they could still receive compensation. They must show that they were not more than 50% responsible for the accident. The percentage of fault is important because it affects how much compensation the plaintiff will be awarded. Suppose a bicyclist was found to be 20% responsible for the accident. The driver was found to be 80 percent responsible for the accident. In that case, the cyclist would get 80% of the full damages instead of 100%.What should I do after a South Carolina bicycle accident?
If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, the most important thing you need to do is get medical attention. After you receive medical attention, we recommend discussing your case with an attorney. Do not accept a settlement agreement without an attorney reviewing it.Contact a South Carolina Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we understand how devastating a bicycle accident can be for you and your family members. We fight so hard for bicycle accident victims to obtain the compensation they deserve. If you or your loved one have been seriously injured in a bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation through an insurance settlement or a personal injury lawsuit. Contact our South Carolina bicycle accident law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation and learn more about how we can fight for you.