Can a Motorcyclist Who Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet Recover Damages After a Greenville Accident?

Motorcycle accidents often result in serious injuries. According to Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, motorcycles are the most dangerous form of motor vehicle transportation. In 2017, more than 5,000 motorcyclists were killed across the country. Thousands more suffered serious injuries that altered their lives forever. If you were in a motorcycle crash, you will likely want compensation for your injuries. If you weren’t primarily at fault for the crash, you’re entitled to recover damages. However, many motorcyclists worry that they won’t be able to recover damages if they were not wearing a helmet.

A helmet is an important piece of equipment for motorcyclists. It reduces the severity of head injuries and the likelihood of death if you get involved in a crash. It’s definitely a smart decision to wear a helmet. However, under South Carolina laws, only cyclists under the age of 21 are mandated to wear helmets and protective eyewear. The law requiring all riders to put on helmets was repealed back in 1980. This means it’s legal to ride without a helmet if you’re 21 or over.

Therefore, whether you were wearing a helmet or not won’t be used to determine whether you were legally at fault. That being said, insurance companies and their lawyers may try to use it against you. It won’t matter if you were over 21 and your lack of a helmet had nothing to do with the crash. You’ll need to work with a competent Greenville auto accident attorney to ensure your rights are protected.

Getting Compensation Following an Accident in South Carolina

While your lack of a helmet shouldn’t affect your ability to get compensation, other factors will. If you want to claim damages, your attorney will look into the circumstances of the crash. That’s how they will determine if you have a valid claim. If someone else was largely responsible for your injuries and other losses, they should compensate you. However, if you contributed to the crash, the amount you can get may be limited.­

South Carolina practices a modified comparative fault system. This applies in cases when more than one party shares responsibility for the accident. Your award is likely to be reduced by the percentage of fault you contributed to the crash. For example, if it is determined that you were 30 percent at fault, your award will be reduced by 30 percent. You can only get compensation if you were less than 51 percent at fault. An auto accident lawyer in Greenville, SC will work to minimize your share of responsibility.

Some of the things for which you can seek damages including:

  • Medical expenses. Motorcycle accidents often result in serious injuries, disfigurement, and scarring.
  • Property damage. You may need to have your bike repaired or replaced. If so, you may be able to get damages for this as well as the cost of a rental.
  • Lost income. If your injuries are serious, you’ll have to miss work while you recover. Some victims have to accept work that pays less while others can never return to their jobs.
  • Pain and suffering. If you have severe injuries, scarring or disfigurement, you may be eligible for this type of compensation.  
  • Punitive damages. These are sometimes awarded by the court to punish particularly negligent defendants.

Important Deadlines You Need to Keep in Mind

After your crash, you will likely be caught up with getting medical attention and trying to make sense of things. However, you’ll need to remember to inform your insurance company about the accident within a day or two. If you don’t report the crash promptly, you may not get the benefits you deserve. Even if you believe the other driver’s insurance provider will compensate you, you should still notify your insurer.

If you intend to file a lawsuit to get compensation, you usually have three years from the date of the accident. However, depending on the circumstances, you could have either more or less time. An experienced car accident lawyer can inform you about what applies to your case. However, you must contact them as soon as possible after your crash so they can begin their investigations. It takes time to build a case and motorcycle accidents can be complex. Your lawyer may need to interview witnesses, contact experts, and review lots of evidence.

Contact Hernandez & Cabra Today to Discuss Your Car Accident Case

If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident in Greenville, SC, give us a call. Whether you were wearing a helmet or not, you deserve expert representation. When you work with an experienced automobile accident attorney in South Carolina, you’re more like to get compensation. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.