Myrtle Beach is a great spot for motorcyclists. Good weather and ocean views can make for the perfect ride.
There are risks from other motorists, however. If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident, then you already understand these risks all too well. Now, you need to know how to make a fair recovery and how a Myrtle Beach motorcycle accident lawyer can help you through this difficult time.
Motorcycle Accident Victims Face Unique Challenges
After motorcycle accidents, riders face some significant and unique challenges that make it especially important to work with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer.
First, motorcycle accident victims often experience more serious injuries than those involved in other types of crashes. A motorcycle has little protection to offer in an accident, as it lacks virtually all of the safety structures provided by passenger cars and trucks. Riders are vulnerable, and those vulnerabilities can result in a devastating injury during a motorcycle crash.
Second, when pursuing compensation after a crash, motorcyclists are often faced with an unfair prejudice. Law enforcement, witnesses, others involved in the crash, and insurance companies might assume that motorcyclists behave carelessly on the road and are to blame for the accident. While most motorcyclists are safe and responsible drivers, this bias could affect their ability to obtain the compensation they deserve.
A South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Work to Make Sure You’re Treated Fairly
The right attorney for your claim should have the necessary experience to represent you after a motorcycle accident in Myrtle Beach. While you focus on your physical and emotional recovery, an effective motorcycle lawyer will do the legal work outlined below.
Value Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
Before you can seek fair compensation from an insurer or in court, you must know what your case is worth. Your motorcycle injury lawyer will review all of the evidence and help you seek compensation for:
- Medical bills directly related to motorcycle accident injuries
- Costs associated with your rehabilitation after the injury
- Intangible damages such as pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional distress caused by the collision
- Disfigurement or other permanent injuries
- General physical impairment
- Loss of consortium
- Property damage such as your damaged motorcycle
- Out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the injury
- Lost income if you can’t work after the accident
- Potential permanent reduction or loss of income-earning capacity
While physical injuries and emotional distress are key elements in determining the value of your accident, there are several other factors that may be critical to your compensation.
If your Myrtle Beach motorcycle accident was caused by particularly reckless behavior such as driving drunk, additional penalties may apply. In this case, a court may assign punitive damages against the at-fault party, which could impact your settlement amount.
An experienced motorcycle injury attorney can help you even if the accident is partially your fault. South Carolina motorcycle accident law allows for comparative fault, which means if you’re found partly responsible for the accident, your total amount of compensation could be reduced by your amount of fault. For instance, if you were 10% at fault while the other driver was found to be 90% at fault, your financial award would be reduced by 10%.
Effective lawyers will investigate your accident and both identify and gather evidence that can help support your motorcycle accident claims. This can include:
- Police reports
- Eyewitness accounts
- Video surveillance
- Medical records
- Expert witnesses
Notify Insurance Companies
It is necessary to let the insurance companies know that an accident occurred and a claim will be filed. Throughout the entire legal process, the attorney can ensure that deadlines are met. This is important, as failing to file the claim or provide necessary information by certain dates can negatively impact a victim’s ability to obtain compensation.
Prepare for Negotiations
Before you can recover compensation in a motorcycle accident settlement, you must prove that the at-fault driver is liable for the accident. The victim must show that the other driver had an obligation to behave responsibly, that the driver ignored that obligation, and that the behavior caused damages that have negatively impacted the victim.
After a motorcycle accident, you may not fully understand the extent of your injuries and the impact they could have on your life. Thus, it’s important not to accept the first settlement offer you receive from the at-fault party’s insurance company. It’s possible that the severity of your motorcycle accident injuries or complications later on will require more money than the insurance company is offering.
Make a Demand for Compensation
The attorney for the injury victim will make a formal demand, which typically includes a demand letter seeking compensation and provides evidence to support the claim. At this stage, it’s important to understand how much your claim is worth. Seeking too little compensation can be damaging in the future, should you still require medical care or other special considerations.
It’s unlikely that an insurance company will simply agree to the demands of the victim. Because insurance companies are out to save as much money as possible, they will likely attempt to reduce their own liability. An experienced attorney understands insurance company tactics and can stand up for what is right for the injury victim.
Pursue the Claim in Court if Necessary
If the insurance company refuses to provide fair compensation, it may be necessary to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit. Insurance companies have a duty to award payment when warranted, and they can be held accountable under the law if they refuse to respect victims’ rights. Whether you've suffered traumatic brain injuries, road rash, or another motorcycle accident injury, our experienced lawyers can file a lawsuit and fight for your full and fair recovery.
Fight Biker Bias
Something your attorney will look out for during the course of your case is biker bias, which is an incorrect presumption that all motorcyclists are reckless outlaws likely to be responsible for any accident in which they’re involved.
Your attorney will be vigilant for any indications of such a prejudiced attitude and take steps to counteract it by proving that you’re a responsible motorcyclist who was injured by a negligent motorist.
You Can Afford a Myrtle Beach Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
At Derrick Law Firm Injury Lawyers, our motorcycle accident attorneys understand that accident victims are already under a significant amount of physical, emotional, and financial stress. That’s why we offer a free consultation and contingency fee agreement that can help victims obtain the representation they need after being injured in a motorcycle crash.
Our motorcycle accident lawyers work with riders on a contingency fee basis, an arrangement where the client only pays for the attorney’s work if the claim is successful. The accident lawyer will take a certain percentage of the compensation award, and the attorney and client agree on this percentage from the start of their working relationship. The percentage of attorney fees is computed and deducted from the settlement or award before other expenses and costs related to your case are then deducted.
Once the claim is settled, the insurance company issues the settlement funds to the attorney. After attorney's fees are deducted, any additional case-related fees and costs are then deducted separately, and the attorney passes the remaining funds to you. There may also be liens associated with your medical treatment that would be paid out prior to you receiving your funds. If the case is not successful, you will not pay attorney fees and may only be responsible for costs like filing fees, deposing witnesses, and obtaining medical records.
How to Find a Myrtle Beach Motorcycle Accident Attorney Who Will Help You
To begin your search for an attorney, find names of potential motorcycle accident attorneys in Myrtle Beach by asking friends and family, checking the local bar association website, or doing a simple internet search. This can give you a few names of attorneys who might be right for you. Then, set up a meeting. Most injury attorneys offer consultations, so accident victims can meet with the lawyer, ask questions, and understand their claim.
At the consultation, ask questions that will give you an idea of what the attorney does, what to expect, and what kind of rapport you may develop. Some helpful questions to ask include:
- What kind of experience do you have with motorcycle accident cases?
- What is your fee agreement?
- What do you think of the claim?
- What challenges might you face with this claim?
- How do you handle client communication?
- Who will I talk to if I call to share information or get updates on my claim?
We encourage you to learn more about our Myrtle Beach motorcycle accident lawyers even before you schedule a free consultation by reviewing what our clients have to say about us and the results we’ve achieved in other motorcycle accident cases.