Given South Carolina's subtropical climate and scenic backroads, it's not surprising that more than 115,000 motorcycles are registered in the state.
Motorcycles are one of the most enjoyable ways to get around the Palmetto State, but they're also one of the most dangerous ways to travel. In the United States, motorcycles account for roughly 14% of all crash-related fatalities, even though they represent only 3% of the vehicles on the road.
In this article, we'll look at motorcycle accidents in South Carolina, including the laws you need to know about and how you can establish liability after a motorcycle wreck.
In general, every person operating a motorcycle has the same rights and duties as all other motor vehicle drivers. There are, however, certain motorcycle-specific laws that you should know about.
South Carolina's motorcycle-specific laws can be found in Title 56, Chapter 5, Article 29 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. Here are some of the highlights:
A motorcyclist violating any of the above provisions is guilty of a misdemeanor and can be fined up to $100 or be imprisoned for up to 30 days.
You'll receive a citation for driving under the influence (DUI) if you're operating a motorcycle and your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher. If you're under the age of 21, you'll receive a DUI if any alcohol is found in your system.
It's important to recognize that these BAC limits are for per se violations. In other words, if your BAC is above the legal limit, you can be charged with a DUI regardless of whether there's any additional evidence.
However, you can be charged with a DUI even if your BAC is BELOW the legal limit if evidence suggests that your driving ability is "materially and appreciably impaired" due to alcohol.
Every vehicle operator, whether they're a motorcyclist, motor vehicle driver, or bicyclist, has a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid harming others on the road. If a vehicle operator breaches this duty and a collision results, the operator can be held liable.
The legal theory used to hold the at-fault party liable is negligence, and it requires the plaintiff to establish 3 elements:
Though motorcycle wrecks are usually caused by a motorcyclist, motor vehicle driver, or bicyclist, that's not always the case. There are a couple of other parties who may be liable for your accident:
In some cases, the plaintiff is partially responsible for the accident. South Carolina follows the modified comparative fault rule, which reduces the plaintiff's damages by their percentage of fault. Moreover, if the plaintiff is more than 50% at fault for the accident, the plaintiff is barred from recovering any damages.
South Carolina law requires motorcycles to be insured with the same minimum liability insurance as other motor vehicles. This includes:
All other insurance is optional. Common optional insurance coverage includes:
Motorcycle accidents tend to result in more damage than car accidents for 3 reasons:
In South Carolina, motorcyclists can recover 3 types of damages after a wreck:
The NHTSA provides some useful tips for staying safe on a motorcycle:
A personal injury lawyer helps individuals who have sustained injuries in accidents to recover financial compensation. These funds are often needed to pay for medical treatment, make up for lost wages and provide compensation for injuries suffered. Sometimes a case that seems simple at first may become more complicated. In these cases, consider hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer. Read more