Every year, hundreds of vulnerable bicyclists sustain injuries in collisions with vehicles. Some never recover from these injuries, leaving behind devastated families. Most bicycle accidents are preventable and stem from negligent drivers or dangerous city crosswalks. If you or a loved one was in a bicycle accident in the Charleston area, come to HawkLaw in Mount Pleasant for legal counsel. You may be eligible to recover your losses by filing a claim against the party responsible for your accident.
Charleston Bicycle Laws
Bicycling is an excellent way to get around the city, but it can be dangerous as well. Understanding your rights and responsibilities as a cyclist in South Carolina can keep you out of legal trouble and avoid an accident altogether. Always talk to a Charleston bicycle accident lawyer about the applicable laws and rules in your specific case. Here are a few general rules to keep in mind while cycling in the city:
Bicyclist rights.Bicycles are vehicles under Charleston law. This gives bicyclists the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers, except when there are special provisions for bicyclists (i.e., riding in bike lanes, wearing a helmet, etc.). Cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic, use signaling, and obey all traffic signals.
Drivers to exercise due care. Section 56-5-3230 of South Carolina’s bicycle laws state that vehicle drivers must exercise due care to avoid colliding with bicyclists. This includes using a horn or other audible signal to prevent a collision. Motorists must also maintain a safe driving distance from the bicycle at all times.
Gear and equipment. Bicyclists must have front lamps with white light to ride at night, as well as a red reflector on the rear of the bike. Bikes must also have working brakes. In South Carolina, bicyclists over the age of 21 do not legally have to wear helmets. Riders under the age of 21 only have to wear helmets on low-powered bikes.
Negligent drivers can cause bike accidents by ignoring roadway rules, failing to yield right of way, texting and driving, and through a number of other errors. If a driver breaks any roadway rules or other applicable laws, resulting in a collision with a bicyclist, the injured victim has the right to file a claim against the at-fault driver. Filing a claim with the driver’s insurance company or through the South Carolina civil courts can result in compensation for your injuries and property damage.
What to Do After a Bicycle Crash
Directly after a bicycle crash, it’s important to look after your health. Seek medical attention immediately for any injuries. Even if you don’t feel injured, visit a doctor and explain what happened. You may have suffered an injury with delayed symptoms, such as a concussion.
Once you’re on the mend from your injuries, look into the legal aspects of your crash. If it was a hit and run, find out if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance through your car insurance company. This can cover your damages in spite of the other driver failing to stick around and give you his/her information. If the other driver stopped and filed a claim, you will likely hear from his/her insurance company within a day or two of the incident.
An insurance claims adjuster will likely try to get you to settle your case for as little compensation as possible. You may want to accept the settlement to avoid the court claims process, but consult with a Charleston bicycle accident lawyer first. Often, a personal injury lawsuit can result in greater compensation in negligence-related accidents.
Contact a Charleston Bicycle Accident lawyer Near You
At HawkLaw, we offer confidential, free consultations* after bicycle accidents in Charleston. You can explain what happened and hear your legal options. Call (843) 429-5529 to get in touch with our local attorneys in Charleston and throughout South Carolina today!
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