Mopeds are like scooters or electric bicycles. They are powered by engines and allow riders to travel much faster than traditional pedal-powered bikes. Today, many South Carolina residents use mopeds as a means of transportation because they are convenient, and they cost less to operate than a car.
Due to the increased number of mopeds on the road, South Carolina enacted a law that took effect in November 2018 which classified mopeds as motor vehicles. As a result, moped owners must register their vehicles with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, and they must have a valid Class G (moped operator’s) license. Riders under age 21 must also wear helmets when they ride.
While mopeds are now just the same as other motor vehicles in South Carolina, not all drivers recognize the rights of moped users. Mopeds can often be involved in crashes caused by negligent drivers who fail to share the road safely with them.
If you recently suffered injuries in a moped crash that someone else caused, or if your loved one died in a moped accident, our motorcycle accident law firm wants to help you. We can provide the thorough, aggressive and compassionate representation that you need and deserve. Contact our Columbia moped accident lawyers today to learn more in a free consultation.
Common Moped Accident Injuries in Columbia
Moped operators do not have the same level of protection as occupants of motor vehicles. Even when they wear helmets, moped riders can suffer devastating injuries upon impact with another motor vehicle or from getting thrown off the bike and hitting the ground. Among the most common injuries stemming from moped accidents which give rise to personal injury claims are:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Burn (or “road rash”) injuries
- Neck injuries
- Head injuries
- Nerve damage
- Internal organ damage
- Soft tissue injuries.
Some severe injuries can be fatal. The family of a moped or scooter rider killed by another party’s negligence may be eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim. The Jeffcoat Firm can review your case and help you to assess all of your options.
What Should You Do After a Columbia Scooter Accident?
The immediate aftermath of an accident can be a confusing time. Still, if you have been hurt in a moped accident, you should immediately take steps to protect your health and preserve evidence that could play a key role in an injury claim. Those steps include:
- Call the police. Do not let the other driver convince you that “we don’t need to get the police involved.” You should call the police so they can secure the scene and investigate your moped crash. Later on, you can order a copy of the accident report.
- Preserve whatever evidence you can from your crash scene. The most effective way to do this is to take multiple pictures of your accident. Photograph your moped, the other vehicle(s), tire marks, debris and other aspects of the scene.
- Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses to your accident. Witnesses won’t stay at the scene long. Typically, they will leave shortly after the police arrive. You should get their contact information as soon as you can (or ask a friend or family member at the scene to do it).
- Get medical attention as soon as possible. You should go to a hospital even if you do not believe you were hurt as some injuries do not present immediate symptoms, including many types of brain injuries and internal organ damage.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. Do not speak to anybody else, especially an insurance company, about your crash. Instead, contact a lawyer. Once you hire an experienced moped accident attorney for your case, the attorney can handle all communication with the insurance companies.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Scooter Accident in Columbia?
In many cases, a moped accident is the fault of another driver. That driver can be responsible for all the damages stemming from the crash. The driver’s liability insurance should cover the damages.
Moped riders should be aware that most insurance companies will aggressively challenge injury claims. An insurance company may insist that the moped operator contributed to or even caused the accident. This is why it is important to have an attorney at your side who will fight hard for you and protect your rights.
The Jeffcoat Firm will thoroughly investigate your moped crash. We can determine the cause of your accident and identify who should be held responsible for it. In some cases, the other driver’s negligence may be distracted driving, speeding, drunk driving or other careless or reckless conduct.
Some moped accidents may not involve other vehicles. Instead, they may stem from issues with the moped itself. In such cases, a manufacturer could potentially be liable for a defective part, or a mechanic could be responsible for making faulty repairs to your moped. It is important to explore every angle in a case.
How Do You Pursue a Moped Accident Claim?
Typically, when you are injured in a moped accident, you will file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. The process typically begins with a demand letter. The letter will assert the insured driver’s liability and state the amount of compensation sought for the victim.
When presented with clear evidence of liability and damages, most insurers will prefer to settle a claim rather than going to trial. However, in some instances, settlement negotiations can stretch out over several months. Your lawyer may need to file a lawsuit when the insurance company is unwilling to provide an acceptable level of compensation. When a lawsuit is filed, your case may eventually be tried in court, and a jury could award you damages.
The Jeffcoat Firm will pursue full and fair compensation for you in your moped accident claim, including compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost income, diminishment of future earning ability, pain and suffering, emotional distress and more. Although we resolve many cases through settlements, we will be ready to fight for you at trial if that is what it takes.
Get Help from an Experienced Columbia Scooter Accident Lawyer
If you suffered catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed in a moped crash in South Carolina, you will want an attorney to help handle your case. Insurance companies routinely try to underpay moped injury claims. Our car accident law firm will work tirelessly for you and pursue every dollar you deserve.
Michael Jeffcoat, a native of Columbia, is a member of the American Association of Justice and the South Carolina Association of Justice. He has been practicing law for more than two decades. To learn more about how Mr. Jeffcoat and our legal team can help you, call or reach us online today for a free consultation.