I had the honor of helping Austin get a settlement after he was gravely injured in a Spartanburg motorcycle accident. When he got hurt, Austin had just turned 24, fresh off a four-year tour of duty as a military policeman with the Marine Corps in Japan. He had returned home to attend USC-Upstate. Ironically, he's pursuing a nursing degree.

How the Motorcycle Accident Happened

On July 12, 2022, around 12:25 p.m., Austin drove his motorcycle through a green light at an intersection on Highway 296 just outside Spartanburg. The at fault driver approached the intersection from the opposite direction and turned left, never stopping to yield the right of way to Austin, for reasons he will never understand. “She just kept coming,” says Austin. He had nowhere to go. She plowed directly into him.

A witness told EMTs that the impact threw Austin 20 yards away. Austin reports, “I saw sky, asphalt, sky, asphalt. I screamed the whole time. Then I see my toe and socks and there's blood everywhere.” 

The investigating officer discovered disabling damage to the Defendant’s car and Austin’s motorcycle, but the property damage adjuster later declared the motorcycle a total loss.

Austin Sustained Devastating Injuries Because of the Crash

He required a week-long hospital stay followed by 11 days in a rehab hospital for these injuries:

  1. Left big toe avulsion [meaning it got ripped off] that eventually required amputation
  2. Left hip broken
  3. Left leg shattered
  4. Suspected broken backbone [Fractured T1 spinous process].

Facing a life-changing injury of his big toe amputation and massive medical bills, Austin and his mother decided he needed a professional to help him with motorcycle accident law.

How Austin Found Us

Austin found us in my most favorite way: he got recommended to us by a former motorcycle accident client who was pleased with his settlement and how we treated him. Anxious about the future, Austin asked me to meet him at the hospital, and I did. 

I answered his questions, but he didn't hire me because he had other lawyers to interview. I supported that. It's a huge case for a young fella, and I wanted him to feel confident and secure in who he selected to lead him through the challenging legal process. So, I applied no high-pressure sales tactics and let him know I'd be there if he needed me. That's how it works with all my potential clients.

Within days, he called back to hire me.

What We Did to Help Austin With His Motorcycle Accident Claim

We entered Austin into our motorcycle accident case process, gathered evidence about how the crash occurred, and obtained copies of his medical records and bills. Most importantly, we learned more about him as a person and how his injuries uniquely affected him.

The Most Important Thing I Did to Help Austin - That He Didn't Expect

In cases like Austin’s, the gravest threat to a settlement is the lack of insurance to cover it. The primary source of motorcycle accident insurance settlements comes from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy. This is called liability insurance. Tragically, South Carolina motorcycle accident law only requires drivers to carry a minimum of $25,000. When you've got a motorcycle crash involving a big toe amputation and multiple broken bones, there's a real possibility a victim can get almost nothing.

Austin was fortunate in two respects. First, the at-fault driver had a solid liability policy of $100,000.Second, he had access to additional insurance for an even bigger settlement from policies most people don't know about. South Carolina motorcycle accident insurance law allows you to get money from your own policy if you have the right coverage. This is called underinsurance, or UIM

Austin didn't even know that was an option. But that's what he hired me for. And there's another problem he needed me to solve.

The problem with underinsurance. You're still dealing with an insurance company. Even though you paid the premiums, they are not going to volunteer to help by alerting you to the coverage. You've got to remind them you have it. And then they turn on you, treating you like the enemy and the at-fault driver like they were the ones who paid the premiums.

I got the coverage information for his motorcycle. While he unfortunately carried the state minimum limits of $25,000, Austin had wisely purchased underinsurance for the same amount. That gave him an additional $25,000.

But I wasn't done yet. 

Using grandma's policy- or any other relative you live with- to get a better motorcycle accident settlement. South Carolina motorcycle accident law provides another layer of protection for crash victims with the right coverage, and the right living arrangement. The law allows you to use your policy and policies owned by relatives you live with. I found out Austin lived with his grandmother. I got her coverage information, and it revealed another $25,000 underinsurance policy.

So Austin got access to an extra $50,000 in his settlement, which he didn't even know existed.

Austin’s Settlement

Our team worked fast to get Austin the maximum settlement of $150,000. We also had to repay enormous medical bills from that. Luckily, Austin had health insurance, which paid those bills at a discount. I was able to negotiate what Austin repaid health insurance in subrogation to a far lower figure that gave him a sizable amount of money in his pocket.

Public Service Announcement to Protect Yourself From a Severe South Carolina Motorcycle Accident

I can't preach this enough: get as much underinsurance as possible to protect you just in case you're the victim of a serious car, truck, or motorcycle accident in South Carolina. The more you protect yourself and your family, the easier it is to financially recover from the potentially devastating effects of a serious accident. And here's exactly what you do:

  1. Call your agent to review your auto insurance policy face to face.
  2. Ask your agent to present you with estimates to increase your coverage. You can only have as much underinsurance as you do liability coverage. To get more underinsurance, you've got to get more liability coverage. You may be shocked at how cheap it is.


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