We Ride……We Understand……
From Peake and Fowler Law Firm, P.A.
By Thomas K. Fowler, Jr.
Who is at fault for my motorcycle accident?
Typically, that is the first question we hear when discussing a wreck with a client. If you were involved in an accident while riding your motorcycle and you have the same or similar questions, we hope some of the pointers in this article will help answer them to your benefit.
It is possible that you lose even though you were hit from behind!
Believe it or not, it is possible that even though you were hit from behind, you may not win your case, because South Carolina is what is known as a “comparative negligence” state meaning that when weighing the fault of an accident, a jury is allowed to compare the fault of all parties. Unfortunately, that includes your actions if you were the driver of your bike. Worse yet, if the jury finds you 51% or more at fault, you lose and will not be able collect any damages.
For example, suppose your rear tire goes flat and causes you to stop without much warning in your lane of travel and the car behind you cannot stop in time….crash!. You later discover that, had you simply checked your tire before you left, you would have seen a big nail sticking out the side which resulted in your having to stop and getting hit from behind. A jury could easily find you at fault for operating with faulty equipment more so than the driver who hit you from behind. If that happens, you recover nothing.
So, how do you avoid being held more at fault in a wreck in this scenario? Very simple……T-CLOCK. This is a safety check reminder published by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and means checking for any problems with your bike’s:
T – tires and wheels
C – controls
L – lights
O – oil
C – chassis
K – kickstand
(check out http://msf-usa.org)
Sounds pretty simple, right? Recently I was in a deposition with someone who had been riding all his life and he had no idea what T-CLOCK meant. Lesson learned – if you had done what you could to inspect for safety in our example above, the likelihood you will be held at greater fault is reduced significantly. Not to mention, of course, you would have been considerably less likely to be involved in an accident caused by equipment failure or malfunction.
Why is this important? Simply because these are standards by which a rider’s conduct may be judged in a case to see what portion of the fault in causing the accident was his/hers. Not using “reasonable care” could cost you dearly.
I do not like to lose the cases I take on, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to lose your case, so pay attention and use care so you won’t be accused of being at fault.
Contact our South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorneys
At Peake & Fowler we ride and we understand the needs of those who ride. We are experienced and skilled South Carolina motorcycle accident attorneys. If we can be of any assistance, please call us at (803) 788-4370 or contact us through our website contact form.
Peake & Fowler