Bringing a Bicycle Accident Claim in South Carolina
Although you may think of most traffic accidents as involving cars, a surprising amount of collisions in South Carolina involve a car and a bicycle. In fact, South Carolina is one of the top ten states for bicycle accidents. These car-bicycle collisions are especially dangerous to the individual riding the bike, who has none of the protections of the vehicle driver. For this reason, this type of accident is more likely to result in a fatality. This is particularly true, as South Carolina is one of only 13 states not to require bicyclists to wear helmets. However, given South Carolina’s comparative negligence laws, it’s always advisable to wear a helmet.
What Comparative Negligence Means for Bike Accidents
Under South Carolina law, a defense to a negligence claim is comparative negligence. This means that if a driver hits a biker and the biker sues the driver to recover for damages, the driver can assert that some thing or things that the biker did were also negligent and contributed to the accident that caused their injury. For instance, the bicyclist may not have been adhering to the proper traffic protocols, such as signaling before turning or changing lanes, wearing headphones while riding that prevented them from hearing a honking horn, or have otherwise been distracted. One of the biggest issues raised in assessing comparative negligence is the bicyclist failing to wear a helmet that would have prevented the injury. While South Carolina does not legally require bicyclists or motorcyclists to wear a helmet, the other party can still assert a failure to do so as a basis for establishing partial liability; particularly in the instance that the injury would not have occurred but for the lack of a helmet.
Reducing the Risk of Bike Accidents
As the majority of bike accidents are with cars, it will take effort and conscientiousness on the part of both drivers and bicyclists to reduce the number of collisions. In general, it is important for both drivers and bicyclists to leave each other adequate space and remain focused and non-distracted while driving. It is also critical for both drivers and bicyclists to understand proper driving protocols and to follow all legal guidelines. Many car-bike collisions are caused by bikes turning without signaling, or by cars switching lanes and side-swiping a bicyclist that was in their blind-spot. It’s important for bicycles to act like cars, and for cars to give bicyclists the same space and respect they give other cars on the road.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in an accident in South Carolina due to someone else’s negligence, it’s important that you talk to an experienced Columbia personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A personal injury attorney will be able to assess your unique circumstances and determine the best course of action for you to seek justice and financial retribution for your injuries. The Stanley Law Group is ready to advocate for you and fight for you to get the best possible outcome. Schedule your complimentary consultation today.