Due to their design, motorcycles pose an additional risk to their drivers than cars or trucks. Therefore, while a collision between two vehicles could result in serious injuries, crashes and wrecks involving motorbikes are often severe.
If you or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle crash, you might benefit from the counsel of a compassionate Michigan motorcycle accident lawyer. The fallout of a crash may leave you unable to work despite a growing pile of medical bills and other expenses.
However, if another person’s careless, reckless, or malicious behavior caused your injuries, you have a legal right to seek compensation, whether through a no-fault claim or civil lawsuit. Instead of trying to navigate the legal system alone, a dedicated and well-versed attorney could help to guide you through each step.
Pursuing a Claim for a Motorcycle Injury
Depending on the circumstances of a crash, an injured biker may be able to pursue compensation through an injury lawsuit to try to hold a negligent driver responsible. For a successful case based on negligence, an injured claimant must be able to demonstrate that a driver breached the care of duty they owe to others on the road—by speeding or driving under the influence, for example—and that their behavior resulted in a crash.
In tragic circumstances, if a motorcyclist is killed in a wreck, any surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death action against an at-fault motorist. Regardless of the circumstances, a seasoned Michigan motorcycle crash lawyer could help a victim—or their family—to file an insurance claim or gather evidence against a negligent driver for a lawsuit.
Reasons for a Crash
While collisions and accidents with a motorcycle may arise from any number of circumstances, they often involve the careless, reckless, or malicious behavior of another motorist. Common circumstances for a crash include, but are not limited to:
Improper lane changes—such as a driver cutting suddenly into another lane
Distracted driving—examples include a driver on their phone or eating
Driving under the influence
Intersection misunderstandings—a driver speeding through a red light, for instance
Sudden or inappropriate stops
Defective or dangerous road conditions—such as potholes, debris on the street, and other significant dangers
Sometimes, the fault for a collision may rest on both the driver of another vehicle, as well as the motorcyclist. No matter the circumstances, however, the resulting injuries are often serious.
Injuries Following a Motorbike Accident
Motorcyclists have an inherent risk when riding alongside cars and trucks. As a result, accidents can result in severe and life-altering injuries. These include, but are not limited to:
Psychological damage — such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression
Broken and fractured bones
Scarring and disfigurement
Spinal cord damage
Head and brain trauma
Any of these damages may require hospitalization, surgery, extensive rehabilitation, therapy, and other medical care—such as home modifications and lifestyle alterations. Because of this, the victim of a motorcycle crash or collision might benefit from filing a claim for compensation for the physical, psychological, and financial damages they have incurred.
Like motorcyclists, passengers are at great risk of suffering severe injuries in the event of a crash. However, when a passenger is hurt, they might have additional legal options. This is because, depending on the circumstances, they might be able to pursue a claim against the motorcyclist or the other motorist.
When the fault is placed on the motorcyclist, however, passengers are often reluctant to file a claim against them—this is often because of their close personal relationship and a reluctance to complicate things with a claim. Despite this, it is important for an injured passenger to understand that they do not have to file a claim directly against the motorcyclist, but with their insurance company.
However, it is important to remember that the insurance company will only pay the maximum limit on the biker’s insurance policy. When the cost of the injury is greater than the amount paid by insurance, an injured passenger might also be able to rely on their own insurance policy. Essentially, if they have auto insurance and have purchased uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, the policy might provide the remaining balance of compensation. A tenacious Michigan attorney could work with a passenger injured in a motorcycle accident to assess their legal options and pursue the appropriate compensation.
Statute of Limitations on Motorcycle Crash Claims
Depending on the circumstances, there are two different statutes of limitations that might be relevant for a motorbike collision claim in Michigan. Simply put, this is the time limit someone has to pursue compensation.
The first statute pertains to first-party claims, where a one-year timeframe is set on pursuing benefits. These claims are between the injured claimant and the insurance company. Through this claim, a person seeks no-fault and personal injury protection (PIP) benefits.
The other deadline relates to third-party claims, which are lawsuits filed against the at-fault motorist. For these claims, an injured claimant has three years to file a claim. A qualified Michigan motorcycle accident lawyer could help to pursue a timely claim that satisfies these deadlines.
Social Security Disability Benefits
An alternative way for some injured motorcyclists to recover compensation is through Social Security Disability Benefits (SSD) in Michigan. Essentially, any motorcyclist who has been rendered disabled from work after an accident may apply for benefits under this program. However, to be eligible, a biker’s disabling injuries must be expected to last at least one year—or be expected to result in death.
How are Settlements Determined for Motorcycle Injury Cases?
There is no “average” motorcycle accident settlement that is used as a basis for determining the payout amount in your case. Every claim is completely different and based upon a number of factors. Our skilled lawyers weigh many factors to determine the proper amount of your injury settlement. We then discuss that amount with you and proceed to negotiate a settlement with the insurance adjuster. If we are unable to reach a fair settlement with the insurance adjuster, we then may file a lawsuit to maximize the best possible result for you.
Reach Out to Experienced Michigan Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle crash, you are likely traumatized and frightened. Along with the physical pain and emotional trauma of an incident, the resulting medical expenses and additional financial burden may leave you feeling helpless and overwhelmed. A Michigan motorcycle accident lawyer could help.
When a negligent driver or other motorist causes a motorcyclist harm, they may be held legally liable to provide compensation for the resulting damages. However, building a claim alone may be difficult and confusing, especially as you focus on your recovery.
By enlisting the services of an experienced and determined attorney, you could rest assured knowing that you have an ally working tirelessly to investigate your circumstances, gather evidence, and build a persuasive claim on your behalf. Because of the deadlines for filing a claim, however, consider reaching out to a legal professional today to discuss your rights and options.
Michigan Motorcycle Accident References and Resources
The Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. law firm represented me after my serious motorcycle accident. I wish I would have called them sooner because they made things so much easier for me. They answered all of my many questions I had, and always updated me on new information. I would recommend them to anyone due to the great experience and everything they helped me with.