Knowing how traffic laws affect motorcycle accident claims in Charleston is not just a matter of safety. If a motorcyclist in Charleston or anywhere in South Carolina fails to follow the rules of the road, that could significantly affect any ensuing civil case they file.
A traffic violation opens them up to an argument that they either partially contributed to causing the accident in part or are wholly at fault for it, which respectively may diminish the amount of money available for them to recover or be a complete bar to their claim. While a dedicated motorcycle accident lawyer could contest these kinds of allegations, it is always best for them not to be a factor in the first place.
Using Traffic Violations to Demonstrate Fault
If a motorcyclist was obeying traffic laws and did everything they were supposed to be doing, and therefore did not contribute to the accident in any way, they may have a much stronger case against another driver who did not follow traffic laws and safety rules and, because of that, caused the accident. That general principle is true in any motor vehicle accident case, whether it involves one car hitting another car, two motorcycles, or any combination.
The fact that somebody was charged with a traffic infraction in and of itself can be helpful when it comes to settlement negotiations, and certainly when it comes to proving to the at-fault driver’s insurance company that their insured was in fact at fault. However, in court, being charged with such a violation is not necessarily going to prove that somebody was at fault.
If the person that is charged with the traffic violation goes to court and pleads guilty, certainly that guilty plea would be important evidence that could be used in a civil case to recover monetary damages for the motorcycle driver. That being said, the infraction and the charge itself does not prove anything. For it to really matter in court, there would need to be a conviction of that traffic offense by a jury or a guilty plea by the at-fault driver in front of the court.
Staying Updated on Changes to Local Laws
People can stay updated on new motorcycle laws that may impact them if they are ever involved in an accident by going online and checking the South Carolina driver’s manual, especially the section that addresses motorcycles, mopeds, and other motorized vehicles. From time to time, they should stay up to date on what changes—if any—may have occurred in the law since the last time they took a driver’s license test.
Most, if not all, of the rules and regulations that apply to motorcycle drivers come from a statewide set of rules of the road contained in the common law of South Carolina, which includes both case law developed over the years and statutory law that has been passed. While law enforcement may announce when changes to common law occur, it is generally up to individual citizens to be aware of these changes and act accordingly.
Best Practices for Mitigating How Traffic Laws Affect Motorbike Crash Cases
The best practices for motorcyclists to avoid complicating their claims would simply be to follow the traffic rules. When they do follow the traffic rules and there is an accident, any evidence they are able to gather at the scene—photographic evidence as well as names and numbers of witnesses—may be more influential to the outcome of their claim.
Preserving this kind of evidence can also be very important to proving that a motorcyclist was acting appropriately and is therefore not partially or fully liable for their own damages. In this way, being aware of how traffic laws affect Charleston motorcycle accident claims could be crucial to recovering a sufficient amount of damages, or any damages at all.