WE ARE ATTORNEYS AND WE ARE RIDERS
WE REPRESENT SOUTH CAROLINA CYCLISTS
HAD A BICYCLE CRASH IN SOUTH CAROLINA?
Contact Ben Dodge to see if the bicycle crash lawyers at Bike Accident Attorneys (BAA) can help. Unlike other lawyers who attempt to represent cyclists, our BAA lawyers actually ride and race their bicycles as well as appear and win in court. Most attorneys are just pencil pushers. We are court room litigators who are passionate about riding our bikes and we have associated local counsel in other states to allow us to help you in your state. Based on our expertise and experience we have also been admitted in other states to appear in court for our bicycle crash clients on a case by case basis. We can help you directly or ensure that you get the quality help you need in your state. Contact Ben Dodge now to see how we can protect your rights.
3 Tips on Choosing the Best Bicycle Crash Lawyer and Avoid Being Scammed
So how do you know if you have the best lawyer? There are 3 things to investigate when hiring a bicycle lawyer that can help you avoid a scammer. Some of that depends on what you think the “best” really means. To me, it is simple. The “best” lawyer will get you to the most advantageous position possible with as little cost as possible. That’s it. Nothing else to it. I have seen too many lawyers give up or miss out on incredible opportunities for their clients because of their own egos arguing the irrelevant issues or pushing too hard in a direction that only generates their own fees as opposed to the results the client would rather have.
The most advantageous position is sometimes not even what the client comes in asking for. I can’t tell you how many times I probably talked myself out of a job in an initial consult because what the client wanted actually puts them in a worse position and I wasn’t afraid to tell them so. It would have been so much easier to just tell them what they desperately wanted to hear, help them feel heard and let them vent a little. All just tell them we better hurry up and rush to court so they can be vindicated. When in reality, that won’t help them at all. So that is what many lawyers do- they try to figure out what the client wants emotionally and then sell them a legal service that matches that emotional need and of course charge them for it based on whatever they think the client is able to pay.
Obviously not all attorneys are this cold-hearted. Many of us actually care. Many of us strive to do right by the client as opposed to just trying to do right by the pocket book.
Here are some general things to watch out for when looking for an attorney, especially a bicycle accident lawyer (I don’t like the word accident, I prefer “crash” – but most of the world uses the term accident and I understand why, so I sue it too). Here are the issues to watch out for:
1) Specific Knowledge
Do they have the specific knowledge required to handle your case? Just because they graduated from law school doesn’t mean they know anything about cycling! In fact, in my opinion, most of the country doesn’t know anything about cycling. It is crazy that all sorts of professionals from police offices charged with enforcing cycling safety to insurance adjusters responsible for finding fault don’t know anything about cycling laws. This is especially true with local rules, ordinances, and even more so with knowledge of local customs and implied expectations of cycling culture and more. Now fast forward to the moment when you are looking for an attorney to help you with your crash (your bicycle accident case) and you see a billboard on the side of the freeway, or a TV commercial, or even a Google search where the words cycling lawyer were used… How much specific knowledge of bicycle cases do you think they really have? Ask them how often they ride? Ask them what their favorite route is? Ask them if they could buy any bike on the planet what would it be and why? These questions will help you quickly identify if they are even remotely plugged into the cycling community and whether or not they have specific knowledge relating to cycling. Why is this important? SIMPLE- as a cyclist you already know that most people (drivers) hate that we are out on the roads. You already have an uphill court battle of public opinion. Being right on some traffic issue isn’t enough for us. Your lawyer must know this intimately in order to successfully navigate the complex negotiations of your case with the insurance company and opposing attorneys and then ultimately in a court room where you can bet no one on the jury will be a cyclist.
Also on the topic of specific knowledge. How many cases like this issue have they handled? What were the outcomes? How confident do you feel with their answers to these questions? Specific case knowledge is helpful. Do they have experience with the opposing insurance company? With that specific police department? With your judge? And on and on.
Specific knowledge is very helpful and you can’t buy it with expensive marketing on billboards, commercials, etc. It is earned with blood, sweat, and sometimes tears through years of experience.
2) Desk or Courtroom
The next thing to investigate is whether or not the attorney you’re thinking about hiring is a desk lawyer (I fondly refer to these lawyers as pencil pushers) or a courtroom lawyer. There is a need for all sorts of lawyers. But unless you are planning on having your bicycle accident attorney draft a will or some contract for you, then you want a courtroom lawyer not a pencil pusher.
I know this is a guess, but in my experience it seems like 95% of lawyers, especially the ones who end up on billboards and commercials, are just pencil pushers. Once their cases get to tough they refer them out to a real lawyer to finish the courtroom stuff for them. Most attorneys talk a big talk in their consult with potential clients about how good they are, but when push comes to shove and they have to actually prove it to you in a courtroom with you watching, their peers (opposing lawyers on the other side of your case) and in front of a judge and jury- they simply freak out and completely drop the ball or settle for less than you should ever take just to avoid the scary courtroom.
Don’t mistakenly hire a pencil pusher. Hire a bicycle accident lawyer who thrives in the courtroom. One simple question to help catch them off guard is ask them when is the last time they were in court? What was it about? What kind of hearing was it? What was the argument they proposed and made to the judge? How did it turn out? These simple questions will help you find out if they are pencil pushers or not. Their hesitation or odd answers are a dead give away that they are likely misleading you on their courtroom abilities and experience.
We are courtroom lawyers, sometimes even going multiple times per week to court. We file lawsuits, we don’t just write a few meaningless settlement letters and sell our clients on how good the settlement is- we prove it to our clients.
3) Do You Recognize Them from a Billboard or Commercial?
Yes I said that right, do you actually recognize them from a billboard or a TV commercial? Why is this even a thing? Well, it sounds harsh but those lawyers out there spending hundreds of thousands of dollars per year (for some they spend that per month) just to recruit new clients may be struggling to get their current and past clients to even refer to them… Yep, what if your lawyer was so good and you were so impressed that you happily sent business to him/or her? See how powerful that is? I’m not saying that everyone who advertises in our line of work is a horrible lawyer. What I am saying is that it is a bit suspect since advertising is NOT cheap and it begs the question as to why they have to advertise in the first place? Is their reputation with their own clients so bad that they have to find an alternative source to finding clients? Possibly. I’m one of those guys who avoids, in fact runs away from any professional I see on a billboard. I’d much rather consult a trusted friend and get their opinion as to whom I should see or NOT see based on their experience.
Not all lawyers who advertise are bad. But like I said, I personally run away from any professional on a billboard or TV commercial. A good old fashioned referral has always proved to be much better much more often. Just sayin’.
These are just 3 of the many things to look out for when you hire a bicycle accident lawyer. Call my office up and we can chat over the phone sometime about all the other million things to look out for like attorney billable hour quotas, bonus structures, professional reputation among peers, and so much more!
We are here for you. We got your back. We protect our own like you’re a member of our tribe. Good luck. Be safe out there and keep the rubber side down.
Contact Ben Dodge and let the lawyers in the Bike Accident Attorneys National Network help you. We will assist you in your case and/or find someone for you in your state that we can trust and recommend. We have your back. We are here for you.
(South Carolina State Flag)
SOUTH CAROLINA BICYCLE ACCIDENT STATISTICS
Percentage of Total Traffic Fatalities
Pedalcyclist Fatalities per Million Population
SOUTH CAROLINA BICYCLE STATUTES
SECTION 56-5-3410. This section reviews how these laws apply to bicyclists.
The provisions of this article are applicable to bicycles whenever a bicycle is operated upon any highway or upon any path set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles, subject to those exceptions stated in this article.
SECTION 56-5-3420. This reviews how bicycles should generally be used on a roadway.
A person riding a bicycle upon a roadway must be granted all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter, except as to special provisions in this article and except as to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.
SECTION 56-5-3425. This section defines bicycle lanes and how they are intended to be used.
(A) For purposes of this section, “bicycle lane” means a portion of the roadway or a paved lane separated from the roadway that has been designated by striping, pavement markings, and signage for the preferential or exclusive use of bicyclists.
(B) Whenever a bicycle lane has been provided adjacent to a roadway, operators of:
(1) motor vehicles may not block the bicycle lane to oncoming bicycle traffic and shall yield to a bicyclist in the bicycle lane before entering or crossing the lane; and
(2) bicycles are required to ride in the bicycle lane except when necessary to pass another person riding a bicycle or to avoid an obstruction in the bicycle lane. However, bicyclists may ride on the roadway when there is only an adjacent recreational bicycle path available instead of a bicycle lane.
SECTION 56-5-3430. This section reviews where on a roadway a bicyclist should ride.
(A) Except as provided in subsection (B), every bicyclist operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable. A bicyclist may, but is not required to, ride on the shoulder of the roadway in order to comply with the requirements of this subsection.
(B) A bicyclist may ride in a lane other than the right-hand lane if only one lane is available that permits the bicyclist to continue on his intended route.
(C) When operating a bicycle upon a roadway, a bicyclist must exercise due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.
(D) Bicyclists riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
SECTION 56-5-3435. This is a new statue; it states that a car must operate at a safe distance from the bicyclist.
A driver of a motor vehicle must at all times maintain a safe operating distance between the motor vehicle and a bicycle.
SECTION 56-5-3440. This section describes how bicycles should be ridden and used.
A bicyclist propelling a bicycle may not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle. No bicycle may be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.
SECTION 56-5-3445. This section, also new, makes the harassing or throwing of an object at person riding bicycle unlawful.
It is unlawful to harass, taunt, or maliciously throw an object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle. A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than two hundred fifty dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.
SECTION 56-5-3450. This prohibits bicyclists from clinging to a car.
A person riding upon any bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled, or toy vehicle may not attach it or them or himself to a vehicle upon a roadway.
SECTION 56-5-3460. This prohibits the carrying of belongings on a bike.
A bicyclist operating a bicycle may not carry any package, bundle, or article that prevents the rider from keeping at least one hand upon the handle bars.
SECTION 56-5-3470. This section describes lights and reflector use on bicycle.
A bicycle when in use at nighttime must be equipped with a lamp on the front which must emit a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear that must be visible from all distances from fifty feet to three hundred feet to the rear when directly in front of the lawful upper beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of five hundred feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.
SECTION 56-5-3480. This section describes the use of hand signals.
(A)(1) A bicyclist shall indicate a right turn by extending the left arm upward, by raising the left arm to the square, or by extending the right arm horizontally to the right.
(2) A bicyclist shall indicate a left turn by extending the left arm horizontally.
(3) A bicyclist shall indicate stopping or decreasing speed by extending the left arm or the right arm downward.
(B) A bicyclist is not required to give signals provided for in subsection (A) continuously if the hand or arm is needed to control the bicycle.
(C) A violation of this section is punishable by a fine of twenty-five dollars.
SECTION 56-5-3490. This section describes the use of a brake on a bike.
A bicycle must be equipped with a brake that will enable the bicyclist to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement. A violation of this section is punishable by a fine of twenty-five dollars.
SECTION 56-5-3500. This section further describes the violation of these articles and penalties.
(A) Except as otherwise provided, in the absence of another violation being cited, a violation of this article by the driver of a motor vehicle is subject to a civil fine of up to one hundred dollars unless a bicyclist is injured as a result of the violation.
(B) In the absence of another violation being cited, a person driving a motor vehicle who violates a provision of this article and the violation is the proximate cause of a:
(1) minor injury to a bicyclist, must be assessed a civil fine of up to five hundred dollars; or
(2) great bodily injury, as defined in Section 56-5-2945, to a bicyclist, must be assessed a civil fine of not more than one thousand dollars.
SECTION 56-5-3515. This section makes considerations for authorized police patrol bicycles.
(A) An authorized police patrol bicycle used as a part of a police bicycle patrol may exercise the privileges of an emergency vehicle provided in Section 56-5-760.
(B) An authorized police patrol bicycle may be equipped with a siren or the officer may utilize a whistle in the performance of his duties, or both.
(C) Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 56-5-760(C), an authorized police patrol bicycle acting as an emergency vehicle is entitled to the exemptions of an authorized emergency vehicle if it makes use of an audible signal meeting the requirements of Section 56-5-4970 or visual signals meeting the requirements of Section 56-5-4700.
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