South Carolina law leaves many of the safety choices to the individual motorcyclist. While it may be prudent, it is not an absolute requirement to wear a helmet while on a motorcycle in South Carolina.
Still, the choices that you make while on your bike could affect your legal case in the future. The insurance company will do everything that it can to pay you as little as possible if you suffer a head injury without a motorcycle helmet on.
When you need legal help in a motorcycle accident case in Charleston, contact us at Trey Harrell Auto Accident & Personal Injury Attorney to fight for what you deserve.
South Carolina Motorcycle Equipment Requirements
Since 1980, South Carolina has not required every motorcyclist to wear a helmet. The state was one of the first ones to repeal the universal helmet law.
Motorcyclists and their passengers who are over the age of 21 do not have to have a helmet on when the bike is in operation. Only those under that age must have a helmet.
If the rider must have a helmet, it must be equipped with either a neck or chin strap and be reflectorized on both sides.
Penalties for Breaking South Carolina Helmet Laws
There are penalties for motorcyclists who are pulled over and cited for breaking motorcycle helmet laws. The motorcyclist can be fined $100 and sentenced to up to 30 days in jail.
One of the real dangers is that the failure to wear a helmet can compromise a personal injury claim. The insurance company is looking for any opening that they possibly have to get out of paying you what you deserve. They know that the average motorcycle claim is going to be worth more than the average car accident case, so they are looking for ways to blame you.
Should You Wear a Motorcycle Helmet?
South Carolina law does not require a helmet, but you should then consider whether it makes sense for you to actually wear one. To be clear, whether you wear a helmet is a matter of personal choice under South Carolina law. However, wearing a motorcycle helmet and safety gear reduces the chances of suffering a serious injury in a crash.
Many who wear motorcycle helmets could still be seriously injured or die in a motorcycle accident. Estimates are that helmets are 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle operators and 41% effective for motorcycle passengers. Although the effectiveness rate is not high, these still represent lives saved.
Effects of Not Wearing a Helmet in a Motorcycle Accident
Not only do motorcycle helmets help lower the risk of a fatal injury, they could also protect you from a serious injury. For example, you could hit your head and neck against the pavement if you do not have any protection. The impact could raise the risk of traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries. You could suffer from bleeding on the brain if you were not wearing a helmet.
The Effect of Not Wearing a Helmet on Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
Even though you are not required to wear a helmet by law, you can expect the insurance company to make your case about your failure to have a helmet. Even if their driver was largely to blame for the accident, the insurance company is going to try to make your injuries your fault.
You need a lawyer to push back when you feel like you are the defendant in the case. The insurance company has a financial motivation to blame you to the fullest extent possible because it means that they will pay you less.
There are times when the failure to wear a helmet can hurt your case, even if it was within your legal right to not use one. The insurance company could argue that you would only have suffered lesser injuries had you worn a helmet. Even though they may write you some check, they would try to make it a smaller amount.
To us, every dollar counts in a motorcycle accident case. Even if the insurance company is able to get away with making your injuries partially your fault, you would lose thousands of dollars that you would need in the future. You cannot afford to take any chances.
Need a Charleston Motorcycle Accident Attorney? Contact Trey Harrell
When you have been injured and feel that nobody is in your corner, Charleston motorcycle accident lawyer Trey Harrell is here for you. When insurance companies come for your legal rights, we step up to the plate.
You can count on Trey to be aggressive and detailed when it’s your recovery on the line. Our team leverages our resources to present the most effective voice on your behalf. If you want to speak with a lawyer, schedule your free initial consultation now. You can send us a message online or call us today at 843-636-8739.