South Carolina motorcycle accidents cause riders a unique heartache—damage to, or even the total loss, of a motorcycle they often see as an extension of themselves.

Even if you’re seriously hurt and have more pressing worries like getting medical bills paid and recovering lost income, losing a motorcycle to an accident is adding insult to injury. If you’re hurt, there's key reasons to hire an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to prevent the insurance company from taking advantage of you.

Luckily, riders can often settle property damage claims to repair or replace their bikes without an attorney. 

HERE'S THE EXCEPTION TO HANDLING YOUR PROPERTY DAMAGE CASE ON YOUR OWN: If you got in a South Carolina motorcycle accident due to a drunk driver, you should consult an experienced accident attorney to protect your rights to punitive damages for both your property damage and your injury case.

Here's tips on getting fair value from the insurance company for your motorcycle after a South Carolina accident.

First Things First: Which Insurance Do You File With?

You can file your motorcycle property damage claim with your own insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Using your own company might get it done faster because you’re their customer. Don’t worry, it shouldn’t make your rates increase—that only happens if you’re at fault. But your recovery may be limited by your policy.

Also, you may have to pay a deductible, meaning an amount not covered by insurance. Often, it’s around $500, depending on your policy.

BONUS POINTER: If you tell your insurance company the crash wasn’t your fault, they might waive the deductible—meaning you pay nothing.

Your policy might have other limits on your recovery.  Ask your insurance agent.

If you file with the at-fault driver’s insurance, know that insurance companies usually handle property damage claims pretty reasonably without the need of a lawyer. You can’t count on that for your injury case.

If you’ve got questions about your South Carolina motorcycle accident case, reach out to us for a no-pressure, no-obligation conversation. You can contact us with a live chat, fill out a Get Help Now form, or call toll-free at 888-230-1841.

For Motorcycle Accident Repairs, Here’s Who Chooses the Mechanic

You. It’s your bike. The insurance company doesn’t own it just because some irresponsible yo-yo crashed into it.

The insurance company will probably propose a mechanic. Maybe that works for you. If not, speak up. Get it to a qualified mechanic you trust.

Motorcycles Are Different, and You’ve Got to Prove its Value to the Insurance Company

Even though you did nothing wrong, to get a property damage settlement for the right amount you’ve got to prove the value of the motorcycle and any gear lost or damaged in the crash. It seems like wrongdoers have all the rights. But it’s the law.

Here’s another hard fact: even if your motorcycle is deemed a total loss, the insurance company is only required to pay its fair market value—no matter how valuable the bike is to you or how much you owe on it.

Because motorcycles reflect the individual needs and personalities of riders, they’re often customized. You’ve got to prove the value of any customization or gear. Here are tips to help:

  • Get pictures of the damage. Pictures speak a thousand words, and what they show is often undeniable. Get pictures fast, before the bike gets fixed. Bear in mind this can also be critical evidence in your injury case. Even if you get extra lucky and reach a property damage settlement without any trouble, you need pictures of that bike before it’s totally repaired or, if it’s a total loss, before the insurance company takes it away.
  • For aftermarket items like extra chrome, if you can, make copies of receipts to prove the cost of the purchase. If you don’t have receipts, look online. This could be the starting point for your negotiations.
  • Gear and personal items. Handle this the same as aftermarket items above. I’ve heard can be helpful in assessing the value of gear like helmets and leathers.
  • If your motorcycle is a total loss, be aware the insurance company might shortchange you with inaccurate comps without including aftermarket items. To get better value, consider getting an estimate from a dealer. I’ve also heard can be a useful resource here, and some feel it's more accurate than Kelly Blue Book or National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) motorcycle value .

Now that we’ve covered the most important details, let’s take a 40,000-foot view of items you might recover in a motorcycle property damage settlement.

What’s My Motorcycle Worth in a South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Property Damage Settlement?

In South Carolina, motorcycle accident settlements can cover:

  • Repairs.
  • Motorcycle replacement, if it’s a total loss or “totaled,” meaning totally destroyed or repairs exceed its market value
  • Loss of use. This compensates you for the time you couldn’t use the motorcycle while it was being repaired.
  • Depreciation. Don’t overlook this—“good as new” is just an expression. You’ll never get as much resale value for a wrecked bike. If your bike gets repaired, you can be compensated for the reduction in fair market value after the repairs.
  • Towing fees and storage. One thing you find out after a motorcycle accident is, nothing’s for free. That includes the tow truck company that took your bike and stored it. Be sure to get receipts for reimbursement on these amounts.
  • Punitive damages, in the right case. Most motorcycle accidents don’t incur punitive damages, no matter how bad the injuries are. But some do, especially if you’re hit by a drunk driver.

DON'T FORGET THE EXCEPTION TO HANDLING YOUR PROPERTY DAMAGE CASE ON YOUR OWN: If your South Carolina motorcycle accident was caused by a drunk driver, you should consult an experienced accident attorney to protect your rights to punitive damages for both your property damage and your injury case.

Need Help? We’re Here for You

I’m a Spartanburg, South Carolina motorcycle accident attorney who’s been helping victims for over 20 years. In that time, I’ve realized accident victims need peace of mind, and I offer to provide that whether you hire me or not. The easiest and best way to do that is to empower through education, and I make that easy, too:

Hiring an attorney is a big decision, and you should see what it’s like to work with anyone you consider. To help with that, check out our reviews on an attorney review website we don’t own and Google.

Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg personal injury lawyer. Rob also practices as a workers' compensation attorney.
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