Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Although riding a motorcycle is an enjoyable and relaxing pastime, it has inherent risks. Motorcycles offer the thrill of riding close to the road under the open sky, but they provide less protection than cars. Even the best motorcycle gear and helmets can only offer limited protection, especially since motorcycles don’t have seatbelts or airbags.
If you’re involved in a motorcycle accident, it’s essential to understand your rights are different than those of automobile drivers. You may have less protection through your insurance, especially since you’re not required to have no-fault insurance like Michigan automobile drivers.
Whether your accident is being investigated by Michigan State Police or is under another jurisdiction, the evidence in your case will eventually be available for you to use in a civil lawsuit if needed. To win your motorcycle accident claim, you’ll need an experienced legal team that understands the complexities of accident claims in Michigan.
How Severe are Motorcycle Accident Injuries?
Our motorcycle accident lawyer team acknowledges there is no way to eliminate risk in driving a motorcycle. Motorcycles simply have much less protection than other types of vehicles, and the rider’s body is subjected to most of the impact.
Serious accidents can happen to even the most skilled bikers because most often, it is the other driver who is to blame. Most motorcyclists employ every possible safety precaution and are defensive drivers.
Motorcycle accident injuries can include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Internal injuries
- Bone fractures
- Contusions and soft tissue injuries
- Road rash and other lacerations
Sadly, it isn’t rare for motorcyclists to die of their injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in accidents nationwide in 2018. If you’ve lost a loved one to a motorcycle accident, the sudden grief and financial hardship can add up fast, devastating your family’s future.
Michigan’s Complex Laws
Michigan has laws that define what rights a biker has if involved in an accident. Because Michigan law does not consider a motorcycle to be a motor vehicle, there are significantly different motorcycle accident victims’ rights than for victims of automobile accidents.
One of the most significant differences is that motorcyclists do not need to carry no-fault insurance in Michigan, as they are not considered motor vehicles. Instead, motorcyclists must hold liability insurance, which covers bodily injury, death, or property damage. You can also purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, which includes any physical injuries you sustain regardless of fault, but this is optional.
This makes collecting benefits more complicated. In most cases, you will be unable to collect compensation for damage to your motorcycle because it is not legally considered a motor vehicle. However, if an uninsured automobile driver hits you, you may be able to sue the driver for damages.
Collecting compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses is also complicated, even if you’re not at fault. The amount you receive depends on your insurance company’s coverage levels. If a lawsuit is possible in your case, you will need assistance from a lawyer at our law firm who specializes in motorcycle accidents.
When a Motorcyclist is At Fault
If you are found to be at fault in an accident while riding a motorcycle, you may be held personally liable for certain damages. This is true whether you hit an automobile or another motorcyclist. However, the financial costs can be exceptionally high if you hit another motorcyclist, especially if they don’t have PIP insurance to cover their injuries.
In any case involving a collision between two motorcycle riders, the conflicts between insurance carriers and the resulting bills are sure to be high. You need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to help you get compensation for your injuries from any parties who owe it to you.
Contributing factors may include excessive speed, poor weather, failure to maintain the proper following distance, lane splitting, alcohol use, and much more. If there are any disputes about the chain of events that caused the accident, you might not be able to win compensation without significant legal help.
When an Automobile Driver is At Fault
Sadly, automobiles sometimes strike motorcyclists due to lack of caution, making them clearly at fault for the accident. When the automobile driver is at fault, the motorcyclist may be able to sue them for certain damages, including:
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Serious impairment or disfigurement
- Any medical bills in excess of the motorcyclist’s own coverage
These costs can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. In wrongful death cases, the family of the victim may also bring a lawsuit.
Proving fault in a collision with an automobile is not always simple. Like with any accident, the circumstances that caused the accident may be disputed, even if there were other witnesses present. Having a strong legal team on your side can make a difference to the outcome of your case.
Getting Help After an Accident
Because of the differences between motorcycle and automobile laws, it is very easy for motorcyclists to suffer financial losses after an accident. Calling a reputable personal injury attorney at a law firm specializing in motorcycle crashes is the only way to protect yourself in the face of such complex laws.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. specializes in multiple types of car accidents, wrongful deaths, and personal injury cases. Our team has the specialized knowledge needed to ensure all necessary evidence has been gathered and determine what legal action should be taken to protect your interests and future.
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident in Michigan, don’t wait until the medical bills start arriving to reach out for help. We’re here to support you as you recover. Call us at (866) 868-3779 for your free case consultation.
Ways to prevent motorcycle accidents
According to research by our motorcycle accident attorney team, in an average year 166,000 Americans will be hospitalized as a result of a motorcycle accident. 4,700 of these people will die. Many others will be crippled for life. Three primary reasons have been identified. A motorcycle is harder to see than a car; a motorcycle offers little or no protection for its rider; and a motorcycle’s handling is tricky—if it skids, it often spills.
Follow these simple safety tips to avoid being seriously injured or killed in a motorcycle accident:
- Always wear a helmet.
- Never ride a motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Ride with extreme care. Steering, accelerating and braking require skill and a high degree of coordination.
- Drive defensively. Do not expect that car drivers will give you the right-of-way.
- Avoid the center of the lane – where debris and oil droppings from cars accumulate
- Wear a proper outfit – gloves, a jacket and boots will also protect you.
- Always ride with your headlight on. If permitted by traffic laws do this even in daytime. The headlight will make you more visible to other drivers.
- Apply reflective tape to your helmet.
- Maintain your bike regularly. Make sure the brakes are in order. Do routine chain and engine checks before riding.
- Wear eye and face protection.
- Follow all rules of the road.
- Watch out for other vehicles coming from driveways and side streets.
- Don’t let anyone ride with you until you are a skilled rider.
- Instruct your passenger to keep his her legs away from the muffler to avoid burns.
What to do after an accident
Your response immediately after an accident may prove crucial in preserving the evidence essential to winning a claim. If possible, get the following information. If you are conscious, but cannot do it yourself, then ask someone present to gather the information for you.
- Name, address, and telephone number of the other driver(s).
- Driver’s license number(s) and insurance information of the other driver(s).
- Make, model and year of the other vehicles(s) and check the vehicle registration. Take down the vehicle owner’s name and address, if it is a person or corporation or entity different from the driver. If it is a company vehicle, write down the name and address of the company. If it is a leased or rented vehicle, write down the name, address and telephone number of the rental company.
- Give the other driver(s) your name, address, driver’s license number and insurance information.
- Look around immediately and identify any and all possible witnesses to the accident. Ask for their names, addresses, telephone numbers (both home and work), and where they work. If they do not want to get involved, take down their car license plate number and state.
- Listen carefully to what the other driver(s) say about the events leading up to the accident and write it down.
- Call the police, or have someone else call the police immediately. The police will generally interview all drivers and take witness statements from all witnesses still present. The police may also collect vital physical evidence and make important skid or debris measurements useful in “reconstructing” the point of impact and vehicle speeds upon which the auto driver’s liability will often turn.
- Ask the police officer to find out where the other driver was going. If the driver was on an errand for his or her employer, “in the course and scope of his or her employment,” you may find you have another good “potential defendant.”
Defective road claims
Some motorcycle accidents are not caused by motorists but by a road defect. These defects could be the result of faulty road design, disrepair, inadequate maintenance, or failure to remove a road hazard.
A claim against a public entity for defective road repair or inadequate design is often subject to complex filing requirements. In addition, the timeline for filing these claims is much shorter than those allowed for the pursuit of other legal actions.
Often, an attorney will have to work hard to establish that the responsible party either knew of the road defect or reasonably should have known about the defect. These are known as the doctrines of “Notice” and “Constructive Notice.” Contact Cochran, Kroll & Associates if you feel that there may be a road defect claim.
No-fault and third party claims
Michigan No-Fault benefits generally are available to Michigan motorcycle accident victims. No-Fault benefits are intended to provide medical benefits, wage loss, attendant care and replacement services to injury victims.
No-Fault benefits can be critical to the economic survival of the seriously injured, and Michigan law only allows one year to establish a proper claim for these benefits and secure necessary payments. Determining the proper insurance company responsible for paying no-fault benefits to an injured cyclist can be complicated.
The most obvious claim available to those seriously injured in a Michigan motorcycle accident is that arising from the negligence of the at-fault vehicle in the collision. Most motorcycle injury accidents are the fault of negligently driven automobiles.
Michigan law requires that a lawsuit against an at-fault driver/owner in a collision be filed within three years of the date of the accident. In Michigan, such a lawsuit would be for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
In order to prevail in an ordinary Michigan motorcycle injury case, the injured party will have to demonstrate that the other motorist involved was more than 50 percent responsible for the accident. A legal term frequently used to describe this concept is to say that it is necessary for the injured party to demonstrate that the person being sued was “negligent” as defined by Michigan law. You should call Cochran, Kroll & Associates for help to determine whether you have a Third Party claim.
When things go wrong
If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle accident contact Cochran, Kroll & Associates for a free consultation.
The attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates have the skills, legal knowledge and experience needed to protect you and will seek to win payment for their clients’ injuries, expenses, and loss.
An attorney will lead you through the steps needed to recover actual damages and may even assist in punitive damages being awarded. Actual damages are intended to restore a victim’s financial situation to a position roughly equivalent to what it was before the motorcycle accident occurred.
Levels of responsibility
Actual damages can be awarded for medical bills, lost income, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, mental stress, permanent disability and similar hardships.
Punitive damages, above and beyond those actually incurred by the victim, are intended to punish the guilty party for reckless or inappropriate behavior. Punitive damages also can function as a deterrent for others.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates will seek payments for expenses resulting from the motorcycle accident, and ensure justice by pursuing punitive damages.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates devotes its practice to representing individuals who are the victims of accidents, burn or work place injuries, nursing home abuse, or medical malpractice. Essentially, if a person has been involved in any tragedy involving negligence and requiring compensation, Cochran, Kroll & Associates will provide whatever legal services are required.
Above all else, seek justice
Victims should not hesitate from filing a lawsuit for fear of filing a frivolous lawsuit. That is propaganda created by the insurance industry. Let your attorney, not an insurance agent, determine what’s frivolous and when justice should be pursued.
In America, a jury makes a decision on damages after hearing all of the evidence. The jury award is designed to compensate the injury victim. A fundamental right of all Americans is a trial by jury, allowing our fellow citizens to hear our case and to make a decision. Do not give up any of your rights as a citizen!
Statutes of limitation limit the length of time you have to file a lawsuit. If you fail to file a lawsuit within that time period you may forever be denied the justice due you.
If you believe you are a victim of a motorcycle accident, let Cochran, Kroll & Associates fight for your rights. There is no obligation for case evaluation and no fee is charged unless a recovery is made.
The Law Offices of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. is dedicated to representing individuals and families who have suffered catastrophic losses as a result of injuries, disabilities and death. The firm does not represent insurance companies or corporations but instead bases its practice upon representing individuals and families.