Justin Lovely: Hey everybody. Welcome to the Carolina Justice Report brought to you by the Lovely Law firm and South Carolina Law TV. I’m one of your hosts, Attorney Justin Lovely. And my lovely wife, Ms. Amy Lawrence-Lovely, wife and law partner. We’re going to talk to you about motorcycles today. We’re going to give a brief overview in this episode. Again, look for our newsletter, a hard newsletter and our e-newsletter. If you want to sign up, just let us know or comment. Without further ado, let’s get started, Amy.
Amy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s do. Okay, so a lot of people don’t know this about us, but we’ve been riding motorcycles since we were little kids. I had my first motorcycle at five years old, which sounds crazy now that we have babies that are little. I mean, we’ve got a six year old and an eight year old. The idea that I was running motorcycle at five, I’m going to strangle my parents later. They put the love of riding a bike very early, at least on me and my brother and my sister. You’ve been riding dirt bikes since you were a kid as well?
Justin Lovely: Yeah, we grew up …
Amy Lawrence: We grew up riding bikes, and so when we’ve got adults, it was just like the natural progression to keep riding bikes.
Justin Lovely: Right, and we grew up with dirt bikes. We had little XRS, enduros and took off riding our whole life. I didn’t grown up wanting to be a motorcycle injury lawyer.
Amy Lawrence: I never got past [crosstalk] wasn’t tall enough. Huh?
Justin Lovely: Do what?
Amy Lawrence: I said I never got past an XR80. I never got bigger than the XR80, because I wasn’t tall enough to ride.
Justin Lovely: Yeah, definitely don’t want to ride a bike that doesn’t fit, for sure.
Amy Lawrence: No, no, no, no. For sure. All right.
Justin Lovely: But yeah, we didn’t grow up wanting to be a motorcycle injury lawyers, but that’s the hand we’ve been dealt now, so we need to help people.
Amy Lawrence: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. We’ve done this revamp of our motorcycle injury division, got a new logo, all this really cool stuff, because I mean, we’ve got to have some street cred here. It’s a really cool logo. Matter of fact, you’ll find it on our Facebook page. It’s really bad ass for lack of a better word. We’re excited about that. We have a lot of people here in Myrtle Beach that come to us. They need help, because they’ve been in a motorcycle accident. The majority of those accidents that we do are catastrophic. It breaks our hearts. I mean, there’s nothing … I mean, just people call us and like, “We need you to come to the hospital.” A lot of times it’s our friends, because we’ve gotten to know so many people in the community. It just, it kills us. I know you do the majority of that work of the motorcycle stuff, so let’s talk about that. Tell us about what are we seeing, what are like the threads, the commonalities when we get these motorcycle accidents in.
Justin Lovely: Yeah. Well, a lot of people don’t know this about us, but that’s how we got into personal injury law. 10 years ago, our first injury case …
Amy Lawrence: That was our first injury case.
Justin Lovely: Yeah, our first injury case was a motorcycle case. Unfortunately, in that case there was a minimum policy at play. That is the worst thing for a motorcycle rider. I speak at these clubs. We send our associates to these motorcycle clubs. We go to rallies. We tell every rider. We go to the Harley Davidson dealership. We got to any rider who will listen to us. That insurance issue is the worst thing for rider. Again, you’ve probably heard about me speak it and harp on it in the past, state minimums in South Carolina are only 25,000 bucks, 50,000 for the whole accident. On a motorcycle, remember, there’s no helmet law here in South Carolina, so if you go down, it’s going to be the, the accident, it’s going to be bad. That ER bill will suck up that money real quick. A common thing we see is inadequate insurance. Obviously that’s tough.
Justin Lovely: The other thing we have to overcome here in Horry County is the biker prejudice. That’s a big issue. People think, “Hey, these bikers are outlaws.” No, they’re just like you and me. I mean, people ride on the weekend.
Amy Lawrence: They’re average [crosstalk 00:04:03]. My daddy, right?
Justin Lovely: Right. They’re just, they’re good people.
Amy Lawrence: Professional guy who likes to ride a bike and look cool.
Justin Lovely: Best people, salt of the earth people. We love getting out in the community, the biker community and meeting them and talking to them and just really hearing about their story and their life. We have a lot of veterans who ride. A lot of veteran community riders down here. Yeah. I mean, we thank them for their service. They do a lot of good for the community. Biker prejudice is a real thing. We have to always think, keep that in mind when we’re working a case, if we had to put something that’s significant money in front of a jury down here. But of course, we go to trainings that we go to twice a year. I’m with that I’m a president elect of that NAMIL Association, the National Academy of Motorcycle Injury Lawyers. This is a big topic that we discuss, and we meet. We’re actually meeting in August in Milwaukee. We’re going to discuss this prejudice issue for two whole days with attorneys from across the state.
Justin Lovely: Getting back to your question, yeah, those are probably the two big things that we see with our motorcycle docket.
Amy Lawrence: Okay. If you’re in a motorcycle accident, what should you do?
Justin Lovely: Well, first thing, call 911. Hopefully you’ve been riding in a group. I tell everybody don’t ride alone, especially down here at the beach during tourist season. Do not ride alone. I know everybody wants to get the wind therapy and get out there on the road. Don’t ride alone. You’ve got to ride in a group.
Amy Lawrence: You know what? When I bought my first bike, as an adult, my mom and dad were really upset because I was 20 years old. I made a pact with my dad that I would always ride in a pack. I would never go alone. I would never run alone because they just won’t see me. Right.
Justin Lovely: Yeah, and that’s the thing, they just won’t see you. Our brains are not … When we get in a car, the driver, this is like a phenomenon that people have studied, they’re not trained. You’re trained to see a car. You’re not trained to even see that bike. It could be right there, right next to you, and your brain won’t pick it up. It’s crazy. They’ve done brain studies about this.
Amy Lawrence: They’re looking for a mass.
Justin Lovely: Right, so when you’re riding in a group, you do see it, because you’re hearing the rumbling, the thunder of 10 bikes coming down the road. That can definitely help you out. What was the question? We went off on a different topic here.
Amy Lawrence: Sorry, I diverted to my daddy. I apologize. Okay. What do we do if we get into a motorcycle accident?
Justin Lovely: Yeah. So yeah, absolutely. Call 911, obviously. You need to try to secure the scene and take as many pictures as possible. The big thing with these motorcycle accidents, if you are dealing with a catastrophic claim, and if you go down alone or if a fellow rider goes down in your pack, try to figure out who these witnesses are, because the rider may be taken off on an ambulance before the cops even get there to start working the scene.
Amy Lawrence: 99% of the time that’s exactly what happens. When you’re riding in a pack, everybody has to be responsible for gathering this information and getting pictures, names, whatever.
Justin Lovely: Right.
Amy Lawrence: A lot of times it’s just as easy as pulling out your camera and taking pictures or recording the situation.
Justin Lovely: Right. We need all that evidence. We need that, because here’s an issue. The cop’s, going back to biker prejudice, could find the rider at fault, even though it wasn’t his fault. The rider can’t speak up for himself. It’s imperative, and we’ve turned the tide several times here in this office, once they call and contact us and then we get our investigation team on there. We have two, we have a detective that we use retired from Raleigh. We have a special forces officer from the army that’s one of our investigators. When we turn those two guys loose, and they start getting the full picture, we realize, “Wow, this wasn’t the riders fault. This was this car. This was this truck.” If any little picture, witness statement, anything that we can do, can turn the tide.
Amy Lawrence: A lot of times it’s that little thing that turns the case. Right.
Justin Lovely: Right, right. That can be going from getting no recovery to getting several thousand dollars. It’s very important to protect the biker and the rider’s family that we secure those scenes.
Justin Lovely: Another thing that we need to do after the accident, bikers always … We’re tough, right? We’re tough guys. We ride motorcycles. Follow the doctor’s orders. I always see the rider not wanting to deal with the doctor’s telling them to do or not telling the doctor everything that is hurting them. If you’re having sleepless nights, if you’re having memory loss, I mean, tell that to your doctor on these follow-up appointments. I mean, you could have a brain injury, not even know it. A lot of times we won’t see those brain injury or mild traumatic brain injuries manifest until six months, a year after the accident. If you don’t document it, it’s going to be harder for us to prove in court or pre-suit to get you paid for it. Follow the doctor’s orders. Don’t try to be tough. If you’ve got to go to an ortho, go to an ortho. If you’ve got to go to physical therapy, go to physical therapy. Don’t miss your appointments. Let’s just follow doctor’s orders that way we can work the claim up and get you full for your case. That’s a big issue with these motorcycle wreck.
Amy Lawrence: Well they try to be tough. It goes back to my daddy. Everybody wants to be tough. Nobody wants to say what’s really wrong, because which it’s not a sign of weakness at all, but in their head it is. Then you turn around and six months later, you can’t shake the headaches and you can’t remember. Your short term memory goes.
Justin Lovely: Right. The classic insurance defense, gap in treatment. God, that’s the war. I hate that. We’ve always got to overcome that. They’ll say, “Oh well, he told you to go to an ortho, but you didn’t go. You went a month later. Well that wasn’t caused from the motorcycle wreck. It was caused from something else.” No, it was caused from a motorcycle wreck. I mean, come on. But yeah, we have to overcome those biases, those issues all the time. Of course through this video and the book that we’ve written and our community outreach, we try to get this word out, so hopefully these mistakes don’t happen as frequently as we see.
Amy Lawrence: Yeah. Okay. How do you report a motorcycle accident?
Justin Lovely: Well, you’re going to get an FR10 forms, just like a car wreck. In any car wreck, the trooper or the highway patrol, county cop, Myrtle Beach police, whoever the officer is on the scene is going to fill out this initial incident report, give you the FR10 form. That’s the form that will have the preliminary insurance information on it. We will use that to start your claim up, send that to your insurance company, send that to the DMV to get the actual police report with the full details and maps on it and everything and get the case started.
Amy Lawrence: Okay, and we get this a lot and this is so, so important, but what do you bikers need to know about how much coverage of insurance they should have?
Amy Lawrence: It’s the same, but for motorcyclists this is the most crucial thing ever.
Justin Lovely: Right. Let me just preface this. Our cars are getting safer, right? Cars are getting collision avoidance systems. They’re getting automatic braking, rear backup cameras, multiple airbags. People are more protected in a vehicle by far. Motorcycles, with the exception of the ABS, you know, automatic antilock braking systems that are coming out and some of the new transmissions with the Yamahas and stuff like that, there’s not really any safety features. If you go down on a motorcycle and you’re not wearing a helmet, which again, in South Carolina, you’re not required to wear a helmet, but …
Amy Lawrence: We highly recommend it, yeah.
Justin Lovely: Right. We can recommend it, but I mean, you’re your own person. You can wear it or not. Your injury is more likely than not going to be catastrophic in nature. So that $25,000 at fault liability, the guy hits you is not going to go far. You can’t count on that guy to have a million dollar policy to cover your insurance.
Amy Lawrence: They never do.
Justin Lovely: Or cover your health bills. Right, rarely do they, rarely. I’d say maybe 10% of our cases, it was adequate on those motorcycle cases. You have to increase what’s called your UIM, under insured motorist coverage. If you’re a biker listening today or watching today, when you get off this videocast, I encourage you, get on the phone to your insurance company and raise those limits as high as you can afford.
Amy Lawrence: Yeah, call us. We’ll look at your deck page until exactly what you should have and why it’s important and all that stuff too, yeah.
Justin Lovely: Right, right. Again, I always say this too, if you’re not going to do it for yourself, do it for your kids, do it for your wife, do it for your family, because they’re the ones that gonna be left holding the bag if you go down and you really messed up. The under insured motorist coverage will step into the shoes of the at fault driver, and basically will pay up to those policy limits. You may also be able to stack those coverages. What I mean by that is if you have $100,000 on your bike, UIM and you have two cars at home, we might be able to stack those and turn that into $300,000 of coverage in your home, or excuse me, attributable to the accident for your injuries. With those stacking laws that we have in South Carolina, with the collateral source rule that you’ve heard me speak of in the past, those kinds of rules can help us maximize the recovery for a rider in the event they’re hurt.
Amy Lawrence: Makes [crosstalk] .
Justin Lovely: So every dollar is going count with a motorcycle accident.
Amy Lawrence: We do a lot of motorcycle accidents. What do you see as like a common cause of these accidents?
Justin Lovely: Well, the most common cause that we’re seeing is the, is the left hand turn, the merge turn, and you just run into the biker. That’s kind of what you were saying earlier, Amy, is that they don’t see the biker. They literally do not, the brain’s not seeing them. They’re riding right there, but they just turn into them. They just turn the wheel, go right into the bike. The bike goes down. I think the latest data is showing that’s like 40% of all motorcycle accidents is caused by that.
Amy Lawrence: Heartbreaking when you see those.
Justin Lovely: Yeah. I mean, you see the T-bones. You see the rear enders. those are a little bit more rare, but the failure to yield turning is the biggest issue. Another common thing that we’re seeing lately, especially here with rural roads here in the Horry County, once you get out of Myrtle Beach and get down to the farmland out in, you know, Aynor, Lowyrs, going down towards Georgetown, and even if you’re doing some local riding here in these communities on these back roads, is the grass clippings or gravel.
Amy Lawrence: People don’t realize that, yeah.
Justin Lovely: Yeah, people don’t understand this, but there’ll be a guy who mows the grass like a jackass and he’s putting all his clippings or they’re blowing out in the road. Here comes a bike around a curve. He hits that grass or gravel. He’s going down. The land owner’s responsible for that. That’s a real common thing.
Amy Lawrence: Yeah, I remember when I was riding when I was a kid, I was probably 13. I hit grass clippings. I laid my … my bike slid and laid down. I still have scars on my right leg from it. People always ask me about it. I’m like, “Motorcycle accident.” They’re like, “Oh yeah, really?” I’m like, “No, no, no. Really. I slid on grass clippings.”
Justin Lovely: The damn road rash, if you’re not wearing the leathers. I mean that’s a catastrophic injury in of itself. It can get nasty. Yeah, those are definitely the two common ones that we’re seeing, at least down here at the beach. I mean, you’ll see some, some trucking accidents. We don’t have a lot of interstate driving down here, so not a lot of truck accidents down here. The big issue is people riding alone. We’ve got the tourists that come down here, don’t know the roads, definitely don’t know the riders on the roads. Again, it’s a sad thing, because we’re hearing that in the news. It sounds like every time we turn on the damn news there’s a biker falling. You just got to really protect yourself. Wear a helmet if you can and just be aware and understand that these, the cars … If you know that the car is not going to see you, so when you get on that bike, you’ve just gotta think to yourself …
Amy Lawrence: You’ve got to just acknowledge that from the get go that they don’t see you.
Justin Lovely: He’s not going to see me. You’ve got to be aware of that. [inaudible] ride as a pack. We can’t preach that enough. Again, if you’re riding on a Saturday morning or something like that by yourself around some of these windy roads out in Aynor or out in any kind of farm land where they might be cutting grass, just be aware of that.
Amy Lawrence: Yeah, we’ve had a lot of fatalities here in Horry County lately. Those motorcycle accidents. Matter of fact, we just had one the other day with the city of Lowrys employee. He was a great man. People ask us all the time, “Do you see a lot of fatality accidents? What are the percentages and is it different from car accidents?”
Justin Lovely: Right? It’s very different. Again, it goes back to … Remember in a car, you’ve got the safety features of the vehicle and all the collision avoidance systems that you do not have on the motorcycle. You’re totally exposed on a bike. Okay? I’m probably already telling you what you already know when you learned in your driving class or down at Harley. You probably already know this. Again, you’re totally exposed.
Justin Lovely: The National Highway Traffic Safety Commission does studies on this. They don’t just study the numbers. What they do is they count it in two ways. I want to read here, so I get the verbiage right. They measure it per hundred thousand registered vehicles. So how many fatalities? That’s how they compare to the cars. Then they also measure it per vehicle miles traveled. If you’re asking what’s the difference in fatalities to a car? If you measure it by per registered vehicles, you’re six times more likely to be in a fatal accident on a bike. Then at per vehicle miles traveled, 28 times more likely to be in a fatal accident. I mean, it’s significant.
Justin Lovely: I think a lot of that’s common sense, but if you can protect yourself as much as you can by just using common sense, wearing a helmet riding in a pack, wearing bright colored clothes, having a loud muffler.
Amy Lawrence: Leathers.
Justin Lovely: I mean, tons of tips. I mean, all those little safety tips, it really adds up. I mean, I know a lot of times, again, we’re going back to this. We’re trying to be tough and be cool and everything, but at the end of the day, we want to have fun and be tough and be cool, but we also want to be alive and be safe.
Amy Lawrence: [inaudible] with our families. Yeah, we also want to get home to our families at the end of the day. I mean, you wouldn’t survive without me.
Justin Lovely: Right, I’d be on my motorcycle right now instead of being on this podcast, this and video cast. Yeah, you’re absolutely right.
Amy Lawrence: Oh, okay. Who do we sue after a motorcycle accident that’s not our fault?
Justin Lovely: Well, you’re going after the at fault driver. The at fault driver. There may be a landowner situation. It could be a truck driver situation if it’s a truck. Could be the a owner operator of a truck. We saw that. That was in the news lately with that New Hampshire wreck with the jarhead accident. I did a podcast on that. That was a damn nightmare.
Amy Lawrence: Nightmare.
Justin Lovely: They’re even going after the DMV in that case, because they gave a guy who was supposed to have his license suspended from drinking and driving, they gave him a damn CDL. He mowed over seven motorcycles. Every case is different. We’re going to go through it. We’ll do a deep dive investigation, but trust that we will go after whoever could potentially add any small bit. We’re going to go after and get a recovery.
Amy Lawrence: I see this in all of our personal injury cases. So many people say, “But I’m a good person. I don’t want to sue people.” What people don’t really realize is, is that yeah, no one discounts that you’re not a good person, but we’re not going after it unless they’re just a gazillionaire. We’re not going after personal assets. We’re going after the insurance policy. This is why we buy insurance. This is why we have all that crazy insurance on our cars. I think, we’ve got like, what, $2.3 million? This doesn’t mean everybody needs to go hit us. Okay? But we carry a lot of insurance, because my biggest fear is that I would hit someone, and we wouldn’t have enough money to pay for it, for them to have their care and whatever they need. This is why we have insurance. Do not ever hesitate to bring these kinds of claims, because this is why people have insurance. This is why we have it.
Justin Lovely: Right, absolutely. I mean, why are you paying for it if you’re not going to file a claim on it? I mean, you’re not going after … I mean, now, we do a background check on all our at fault drivers and an asset check. If we’ve got a lot of exemptions here in South Carolina for their personal home, some of their, their primary car and things like that. If it ever comes that there is a significant assets to go after, then that would be the rare case that we do go after them personally. Depending on the …
Amy Lawrence: By and larger, we’re going after insurance policies, right, which is why we have them.
Justin Lovely: Right, right. Probably 90% of the files, it’s all insurance claims. Again, going back to this, I mean, and if they only … The other side of that, if there’s only $25,000 to get, you’ve got 1 million bucks of insurance when you might have a $3 million motorcycle claim, but if they’re judgment proof and only have $25 grand, that’s all you’re going to get. We see that a lot. That’s why you have to protect yourself with that UIM coverage. I mean that’s it. That’s your only bite of the apple and that’s all there’s going to be to get.
Amy Lawrence: Crucial. Okay, so when we see motorcycle accident victims, what can we do to help them? If we see him on the road? I know that we do, what is the triage classes that you do, that you sponsor? We sponsor.
Justin Lovely: Yeah, so we sponsor this. If you’re a member of a motorcycle club or you ride at all, just keep looking at our calendar and you guys can sign up for this class. We partner with Road Guardians. Road Guardians is an organization. They are a biker group. What they do is they train EMS people, representatives in all the different areas all across the United States to do real detailed, specific accident scene, lifesaving training. Basically what happens is, and this is a crazy stat, EMS people to be licensed as an EMS, just your basic EMS person only goes through 15 minutes or so of helmet removal training, tourniquet training. I mean, a lot of times when they roll up on a motorcycle crash, if it’s bad, they don’t even know what to do. We sponsor the Road Guardians courses. They come in. We’re going to try to get one over at the Harley Davidson dealership. It’s small classes. It’s only 20 to 30 people. It’s real one on one with the instructor.
Amy Lawrence: But they teach you what to do, how to do a tourniquet.
Justin Lovely: Exactly. They’re going to do hands on. If you go down, you can save yourself or you can save your riding partner.
Amy Lawrence: How to [crosstalk] neck. Yeah, yeah.
Justin Lovely: They teach all that. We sponsor it. We’re going to do one for the Combat Vets Association coming up. Any kind of club, I’ll tell them, we’ll put one on for them.
Amy Lawrence: Reach out to us, for sure.
Justin Lovely: Yeah, we’ll get our scheduling lined up, and we handle those. Then we do a general class at the Harley dealership. We’re trying to start. That’s for anybody who rides. Another class that we’re doing is also for first responders here in Horry County, because we want them to have the extra training.
Amy Lawrence: Yeah, absolutely.
Justin Lovely: And police officers. So we’re working, we’re going to try to get that started here at the Myrtle Beach Police Department and in our local EMS. Again, they’re not getting all that training. They have to do their continuing education courses every year. We’re going to provide that for them as a community service through the Road Guardians Association and through the Lovely Law Firm.
Amy Lawrence: Awesome. Okay, so how does the Lovely Law Firm, how do you help motorcycle accident victims? What do you do? Tell us.
Justin Lovely: Well, the first thing, I don’t know if you’ve got, it’s probably backwards cause we’re recording this, but Amy and I wrote this book, The Riders Guide to South Carolina’s Motorcycle Laws. That’s available as a download at our website. Also, I’ve got the hard copies. We give them to everybody.
Amy Lawrence: We do.
Justin Lovely: If you want one, just comment. We’ll send you one. We handle it all. We handle the accident scene investigation. We handle the insurance claims. We file all your reports for you. We get your medical treatment set up. We handle any kind of medical liens you may have. If you need to treat and don’t have health insurance, we can get you set up on a letter of protection with a provider. We support your community if you’re riding with your organization. Anything at all that you need as a rider, that’s what we do. Of course, in the injury claim process, we take it from start to finish from signup to trial if we have to. That’s what we did. We handle it all.
Amy Lawrence: Yeah, we do. Okay Justin, tell us how everyone can reach us.
Justin Lovely: Yeah, so you can reach us at (843) 839-4111. We’re available on our website, justiceislovely.com. Office 1053 London Street here in Myrtle Beach, off 38th and Grissom. Or you find us here when we do these videocasts. Stay tuned for our podcast that’s going to be coming out. We’re going to deep dive into these issues with not only just Amy and myself, but community leaders, and we’ll have some rider organization, people who want to speak. We really plan to get the community involved in that podcast, to really get the word out and get the safety message across.
Amy Lawrence: Absolutely, absolutely. All right guys, thank you so much for joining us. We’ll see you soon.