Orangeburg Man Faces Felony Charges in Motorcycle Accident

motorcycle accident

Suspect Arrested on Felony Charges for Manslaughter, DUI After Motorcycle Accident

motorcycle accidentA man from Orangeburg now faces felony charges related to a motorcycle accident that killed the off-road bike’s driver.

The suspect, 41-year-old Shareef Shabazz, may also face criminal charges for possibly beating the driver after hitting the dirt bike.

Shabazz went before a magistrate on Monday, March 31st, on a criminal charge of felony driving under the influence involving death. His bond was set at $75,000.

According to Orangeburg County Chief Deputy Coroner Sean Fogle, the victim, 36-year-old Travis Morgan, died from blunt force trauma and internal injuries caused by the motorcycle accident.

Highway patrol investigators say the motorcycle accident occurred around 7 PM on Sunday, March 30th. Shabazz ran his Chrysler into the back of Morgan’s Kawasaki off-road bike. Although Shabazz was not injured in the motorcycle accident, he was taken to a local hospital for examination “because he was beat up after running over the victim.”

Shabazz could face additional criminal charges if the motorcycle accident is ruled intentional. Many of Morgan’s relatives, who live in the area where the accident occurred, think that the felony DUI was intentional. However, investigators are still examining evidence.

Motorcycle Accident Injuries and Fatalities

A motorcycle accident typically involves serious, and sometimes fatal, injuries to the driver.  Many times, these accidents are the result of careless conduct by individuals driving automobiles and other larger motor vehicles. The injuries sustained as a result of a motorcycle accident are typically serious, often permanent, and sometimes deadly.

The amount of compensation that a person injured or killed in a motorcycle accident receives depends upon several facts, including the financial losses, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.

Typical causes of car and motorcycle accidents include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, automobile defect, failed maintenance, failing to be careful, speeding, running stops signs or stop lights, failing to yield the right of way, not paying attention because of using cell phone or PDA, adjusting radio or DVD player, or eating while driving.

If a loved one dies as a result of the negligence, reckless, or intentional conduct of another, you may be entitled to bring a claim for wrongful death. A wrongful death lawsuit asserts a claim against a person who can be held legally responsible for a death.  Surviving family members may be entitled to damages; money that can help with the expenses caused by the loss of their loved one. Common wrongful death claims arise as a result of a:

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Car and Motorcycle Accident Death and Injury Cases

Although many of the people we represent in these cases are from right here in South Carolina, our lawyers routinely take clients from throughout the Southeastern U.S. and, in certain types of product liability or pharmaceutical cases, from across the country as well. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed through no fault of your own, whether from a defective product or in a car accident, you may have a wrongful death case. Contact the South Carolina wrongful death attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free, no-cost consultation today. 803.252.4800

SC House Passes Moped Safety Bill

moped safety

Concerns About Moped Safety Lead to New Bill

moped safetyThe South Carolina House of Representatives passed a new bill on Tuesday, February 4th, to improve moped safety across the state.

The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SC DMV) defines a “moped” as “a cycle with pedals or without pedals and with a motor of not more than fifty cubic centimeters. Its power will not exceed two brake horsepower and the motor is not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed in excess of thirty miles an hour on level ground.”

The new bill requires moped drivers to wear reflective vests, and the moped itself must have a tail light that continuously flashes while the vehicle is in motion. The moped safety bill also makes it illegal for drivers to take their mopeds on roads where the speed limit is 45 miles per hour or more – mopeds cannot go above that speed, and it is unsafe for them to enter faster traffic.

Reportedly, the moped safety bill gained momentum after a state representative almost had an accident involving a moped driver.

“I was on a 55 mile-an-hour roadway, four-lane, and it was almost dark and I came up on a moped doing about 30. And I barely saw the light. I tried to switch to the left lane, almost hit another car that was coming up,” says Rep. Bill Whitmire, R-Walhalla. “So it’s mainly to protect not only the moped driver but the automobile drivers as well.”

After that, Rep. Whitmire sponsored the bill to help make changes in moped safety, and the bill was filed in early December 2013. However, critics of the legislation believe the bill is going too far.

“I think there’s been between 90 and a hundred deaths in the last few years of moped drivers, so that’s my main focus for this,” he says.

According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, 92 moped drivers have been killed in vehicle accidents across the state in the last 3 years.

“There’s a difference between requiring the equipment of a vehicle, to have certain safety precautions. I think it’s a different step if you require the rider of that to have vests or helmets or what not. So to me, it just is incremental step to those kinds of things,” says Rep. Rick Quinn, R-Lexington.

South Carolina moped rider Travis Harmon agrees that moped safety is important, but he thinks it should be a personal choice to wear a reflective vest.

“I think it’s probably going to make riding a moped a lot safer here in South Carolina. I also think it’s a horrible encroachment on our civil liberties. This is a state where to ride a motorcycle you don’t even have to have a helmet,” says Harmon.

Columbia moped dealer Justin Clark also doesn’t like the reflective vests legislation.

“If you see somebody in a reflective vest, you have to get right up on them to actually see it to start with. That’s basically too little too late, in my opinion,” he says. “Now the flashing red light, I agree with that a lot. I like that whole idea. I think it’ll bring attention a lot more, just like a cop car or an ambulance …That’s going to catch your attention a lot more than just a regular tail light on a moped,” he added.

The moped safety bill must pass the Senate next, then go to the governor for final approval before it becomes law.

The Strom Law Firm Accident Attorneys Can Help with Moped Safety and Accident Lawsuits

The Strom Law Firm’s South Carolina bicycle, moped, and motorcycle accident attorneys will carefully analyze all aspects of the sequence of events, road conditions, and mechanical factors which led to the collision. If you have suffered a serious personal injury, or the wrongful death of a loved one due to another person’s negligence, call The Strom Law Firm, LLC at 803.252.4800 or contact us in Columbia, South Carolina, for a free consultation.

Charleston Reps File Motorcycle Helmet Safety Legislation

helmet

Three State Reps Have Filed New Legislation to Require Helmets for Motorcycle Safety

helmetThree state representatives have filed new legislation to require helmets for motorcycle drivers and passengers in response to a recent spike in motorcycle accident deaths.

On Wednesday, January 14th, Reps. Wendell Gilliard, Carl Anderson, and J. Seth Whipper, from Charleston, filed House Bill 4500, which proposes a helmet requirement for motorcyclists in the Palmetto State.

“This is about saving lives,” said Gilliard on Thursday, January 15th. “I feel like that’s one of the things I was sworn to do.”

Fatal motorcycle accidents have gone up in South Carolina since 2010. That year, there were a reported 81 deaths in motorcycle accidents. In 2012, that number rose to 110, and last year it reached 121.

Part of the reason for the spike, according to Gilliard, has to do with the state’s growing population. When previous motorcycle safety legislation was passed, he says, there was not as much business and not as much traffic. South Carolina requires those under 21 to wear motorcycle helmets, but that measure alone is not enough to promote better safety.

“The only way to be safe is to wear a helmet,” he said. “It’s better to be safe, to be proactive, than to be sorry.”

However, similar legislation has been filed before and it never left committee. In 2012, former Senator Ralph Anderson, from Greenville, filed a similar bill but it never went out of committee for a vote. Governor Nikki Haley also threatened to veto the bill, provided it was voted into law by the Senate and House.

A biker’s rights group called ABATE has also learned about the potential new legislation and asked its members to voice their opinion about mandatory helmet laws.

“We believe there’s a freedom of choice that motorcyclists across the state should be able to choose,” said Chad Fuller, an attorney and spokesman for the group. “We don’t advocate not wearing a helmet. We don’t believe that helmets save lives. Education saves lives.”

Lowcountry Harley-Davidson also released a statement about the motorcycle safety legislation:

“While we encourage motorcyclists to wear protective gear while riding, the Harley-Davidson brand is built on freedom. We believe that the individual rider should have the freedom to choose whether to wear a helmet or not.”

Motorcycle Accident Injuries and Fatalities

A motorcycle accident typically involves serious, and sometimes fatal, injuries to the driver.  Many times, these accidents are the result of careless conduct by individuals driving automobiles and other larger motor vehicles.

The amount of compensation that a person injured or killed in a motorcycle accident receives depends upon several facts, including the financial losses, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.

The Strom Law Firm Accident Attorneys Can Help with Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits

The Strom Law Firm’s South Carolina motorcycle accident attorneys will carefully analyze all aspects of the sequence of events, road conditions, and mechanical factors which led to the collision. If you have suffered a serious personal injury, or the wrongful death of a loved one due to another person’s negligence, call The Strom Law Firm, LLC at 803.252.4800 or contact us in Columbia, South Carolina, for a free consultation.

Browns DL Breaks Arm in Motorcycle Accident

South Carolina Accident and Injury Attorneys

USA Today reported that Cleveland Brown defensive end Marcus Benard broke his arm in a motorcycle accident Monday night, shortly after the team’s practice ended coming off their bye week.

Coach Pat Shurmur told USA today that Benard is undergoing more tests and evaluation. The 26-year-old wrecked his motorcycle on Interstate 71 about 90 minutes after the Browns wrapped up their first practice in preparation for Sunday’s game in Oakland.

Benard, who played in all four games this season, will likely miss a lot of time and may have to go on injured reserve.   However, it appears he was lucky to avoid a more serious injury.

Ohio authorities say they are still investigating Benard’s crash.  It’s not yet known if any other vehicles were involved in the incident.

Last year, Benard led the team with 7½ sacks.  However, it has been a rough year for the NFL player.

In November, he was hospitalized after fainting in the locker room before a practice.  He did undergo tests, which ruled out any heart problems or other major medical conditions.  He claimed the incident was related to stress caused by the impending birth of his son.

Unfortunately, the Browns have a history with motorcycle accidents that some know all too well.

Seven years ago, tight end Kellen Winslow sustained near-deadly injuries when he wrecked his motorcycle while doing tricks in a parking lot near his home.

Marcus Benard overcame long odds to make it to the National Football League. He was signed by Cleveland as an undrafted free agent in 2009.

He spent the first nine weeks of the season on the practice squad before being promoted to the active roster.  At the end of last year, he sacked Ben Roethlisberger twice as Cleveland upset Pittsburgh.

By: Pete Strom, South Carolina Accident Attorney