Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Michigan
The unique experience of riding a motorcycle attracts more enthusiasts annually. With over 8.6 million motorcyclists in the United States, accidents can occur when motorists don’t give riders the consideration they need for a safe trip.
- Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Michigan
- Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
- What is the Statute of Limitations in Michigan for a Motorcycle Accident?
- Compensation You Can Recover as a Motorcycle Accident Victim
- How a Michigan Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help
- Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Law Firm
In 2020, motorcycle fatalities made up 14% of all vehicle accident deaths. Riders and motorists need to act responsibly when on the road. If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle crash caused by another party’s negligence, contact the motorcycle accident attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C.
What Are the Most Common Motorcycle Accident Causes?
Motorcyclists can be challenging to spot when other drivers are not fully aware of them. And they may face hazards that could result in an accident. The most common motorcycle accident road hazards include:
Improper Lane Changes
Motorcyclists often change lanes to let passing cars and other vehicles see them and position themselves for turns. Motorcyclists risk injury if other vehicles conduct unsafe lane changes without signaling or looking at their blind spots.
Blind Spot Negligence
Drivers must properly use mirrors and constantly check blind spots to minimize the chance of striking a motorcycle. When a driver doesn’t see the motorcycle in the next lane and changes lanes without looking at their blind spot, the driver can side-swipe the motorcycle, resulting in an accident.
When drivers text on their cellphones, they can place motorcyclists in danger of an injury or death on the road. In 2019, the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration (NHTSA) reported distracted drivers were involved in 9% of fatal crashes and 15% of crashes resulting in injuries.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol
Alcohol and drugs impair driving and cause reckless driving, leading to car accidents and fatalities. The combination of marijuana and alcohol increases the likelihood of dangerous road behaviors like lane weaving. This can increase the risk of accidents with other drivers, including motorcyclists.
Drivers may be reckless while on the road, such as excessive speeding and tailgating. Since motorcyclists lack the protection of doors, airbags, and safety features of cars, they can sustain severe injuries and even die. According to the NHTSA, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in an accident than vehicle passengers.
When a driver is following a motorcycle closely and the motorcycle rider stops suddenly, it can result in a rear-end collision. If there are other vehicles ahead of the motorcycle, the rider can sustain injuries from getting crushed.
Motorcycle riders are at risk when drivers make left turns ahead of them at an intersection. An NHTSA study of pre-crash factors found that cars turning left accounted for 22.2% of crashes.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcyclists are vulnerable to severe injury in an accident. Depending on the collision’s circumstances, a rider can suffer a bodily injury that includes:
Road rash is a common injury that can occur when someone falls off a bicycle or motorcycle and slides along the pavement. The injured area can appear red and may be painful or bleed. In severe cases, road rash can lead to infection or nerve damage.
Treating road rash typically involves cleaning the wound and protecting it from further irritation with an antibiotic ointment and a bandage. Severe road rash may require professional medical treatment to prevent infections from settling in.
Soft Tissue Damage
Soft tissue damage refers to any damage to the body’s muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Symptoms of soft tissue damage can vary depending on the severity of the injury but may include pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty moving the affected area.
While most soft tissue injuries can heal with time and rest, more severe injuries may require physical therapy or surgery. Soft tissue damage can sometimes lead to long-term pain and disability.
While some scars can fade over time, some can become visible and permanent. Scarring is the body’s attempt to mend a wound by building collagen as a biological sealant. For many people, these scars can be a source of shame and embarrassment, leading to social isolation. Therefore, seeking medical help as soon as possible is essential in minimizing the appearance of scarring.
Motorcycle accidents can cause various neck injuries, ranging from minor strains and sprains. They can also result in more severe conditions, such as whiplash or vertebral fractures. These injuries can sometimes lead to long-term chronic pain.
The type and severity of a neck injury depend on:
- The speed and direction of the impact
- The type of motorcycle involved
- Whether the rider was wearing a helmet
Prompt medical treatment is essential for preventing further damage and promoting healing. This includes a combination of rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), along with physical therapy and pain medication.
Disfigurement can include scarring, burns, amputation, and any other type of physical injury that causes a permanent change to your appearance. To successfully make a claim, you will need to prove that the negligence of another party caused the disfigurement.
Proving a connection between the responsible party’s conduct and the victim’s disfigurement can be challenging. Hiring a knowledgeable law firm with a record of success can maximize your chances of recovering fair compensation that can help you return to a normal life.
Our senior partner, Eileen Kroll, has a background in nursing. Her extensive knowledge in the medical field, combined with her proven track record as a trial attorney, is an asset when connecting your disfigurement or injury to the responsible party’s negligence.
Motorcycle accidents often result in broken bones. The severity of the break depends on the motorcycle’s speed, type of impact, and whether the rider was wearing protective gear. The most common broken bones are in the tibia, followed by the ankle and feet. Broken ribs are also common in accidents involving motorcycles.
The severity of the break depends on the motorcycle’s speed, type of impact, and whether the rider was wearing protective gear. Motorcycle helmets can help reduce the risk of severe head injuries, but they do not protect against broken bones.
Besides wearing a helmet, selecting adequate riding gear can minimize the chance of bodily harm in a motorcycle crash. Protective gear includes:
- Elbows and knee pads
- Chest protector
- Neck collar
- Leg armor
- Hip Armor
- Back Protector
Safety equipment made from hard plastic, kevlar, leather, and canvas can drastically reduce the risk of death, bone breaks, and other injuries.
Treating broken bones typically involves immobilizing the affected limb and surgery to repair the break. Some broken bones require metal pins or screws to hold the bone in place while it heals. Recovery times vary depending on the severity of the break but typically require several weeks or months of rest and physical therapy before achieving full recovery.
Of all motorcycle-related injuries, those to the lower extremities are among the most common. A rider’s lower extremities are vulnerable to injury caused by a falling motorcycle or another vehicle because they are the least protected.
Common causes of lower-extremity injuries include road rash, fractures, and crushing injuries. These injuries can be excruciating and may require extensive medical treatment, such as surgery.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop after a person experiences a traumatic event. Motorcycle accidents are one type of trauma that can lead to PTSD. Symptoms of PTSD include:
- Difficulty sleeping
People with PTSD may also avoid places or people that remind them of the trauma. Motorcycle accident survivors may have trouble getting back on a bike or driving in a car. If you have been in a motorcycle accident, it is important to seek professional help if you have difficulty coping.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Michigan for a Motorcycle Accident?
The statute of limitations is the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after an accident. In Michigan, the statute of limitations for a motorcycle accident is three years. This means that if you are in a motorcycle accident, you have three years from the accident date to file a lawsuit.
If you do not file a lawsuit within this time, you may lose your opportunity to seek damages for your injuries. Contact a qualified motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after an accident to review your case.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine whether the circumstances of the accident will allow you to file a lawsuit. If so, they can ensure that you file your claim within the applicable deadline.
If a loved one has died in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Michigan law defines wrongful death as a fatality resulting from another party’s negligent conduct.
To pursue and win a wrongful death lawsuit, your attorney will need to prove that the other party was at fault for the accident and that there is causation between the negligent party’s actions and your loved one’s death.
While no money can make up for your loss, a successful wrongful death claim can help ease the financial burden of funeral expenses and lost income. In a wrongful death claim, you may seek damages for funeral expenses, future earnings, consortium loss, and medical expenses.
Compensation You Can Recover as a Motorcycle Accident Victim
In Michigan, you have several avenues for compensation after an accident. These include PIP coverage and compensatory damages in a personal injury lawsuit.
Michigan is a no-fault state, meaning that your PIP will cover your medical expenses and lost income regardless of who was at fault for the motorcycle accident. PIP also covers:
- Attendant care (cost of hiring someone to provide personal care like bathing or grooming)
- Medical mileage (cost of transportation to and from medical appointments)
- Replacement services (cost of hiring someone to perform daily tasks such as laundry, yard work, and cleaning)Although PIP does not cover damage to your vehicle, you may be able to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to recover the cost of repairs. Michigan’s no-fault insurance requires drivers to carry a policy with a minimum of $1,000 for property damage for accidents in which they are 50% or more responsible.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
You may seek damages in a personal injury lawsuit if you suffer serious or permanent injuries from your motorcycle collision. Your injuries must satisfy the following criteria to meet the Michigan serious bodily impairment threshold:
- Your injury and symptoms must be objectively observable by others
- Your injury causes impairment of a significant bodily function
- Your injury affects your ability to live your life normally
Examples of injuries that meet the serious impairment designation include spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, dismemberment, permanent disfigurement, and major bone fractures.
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney with Cochran, Kroll,& Associates, P.C., can review your medical reports to determine if you meet this threshold. Our senior partner, Eileen Kroll, is a registered nurse and has spent years in the healthcare field. She knows which elements to consider when determining serious injury threshold and how to prove your injury meets this standard.
With the help of your attorney, you can seek compensatory damages for your injuries. These may include economic, non-economic, and exemplary damages.
Economic damages include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Attendant care
- Follow-up treatment
- Property damage
Non-economic damages you may receive include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
Although exemplary damages are rare in Michigan, your attorney can determine if your case qualifies. Exemplary damages hold negligent parties responsible for malicious behavior and can offer you additional compensation.
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney at our law firm can help you determine what types of financial compensation you may be entitled to recover and will fight to get you the full amount you deserve. We will bring evidence to the trial, like photos, videos, witness statements, and expert testimony, to fight against Michigan’s modified comparative negligence doctrine and prove you are less than 50% at fault for your accident.
How a Michigan Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help
The first thing a lawyer can do is help you determine who was at fault for the accident. This is important because it can help you recover damages from the responsible party. A personal injury lawyer can also help you gather evidence to support your claim, such as police reports, medical records, witness statements, and photos of the accident scene.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, it is essential to seek experienced legal help as soon as possible. Insurance companies are often quick to offer a low settlement to save money, but these settlements rarely cover the full extent of a victim’s damages.
Putting your case in the competent hands of a personal injury attorney can give you peace of mind. It can allow you to recover from your injuries without worrying about submitting paperwork and dealing with insurance companies.
If your case goes to trial, having a qualified attorney fight for your rights gives you the best chance of obtaining maximum compensation for your injuries.
Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Law Firm
Motorcycle accident injuries can take months or years to recover from. Bodily harm, such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, or other catastrophic injuries, may leave you permanently unable to live your normal life. As a negligence victim, you shouldn’t have to pay anything out-of-pocket for your recovery.
When you suffer injuries from a motorcycle accident, reach out to the law firm of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. We can discuss your case and assess your damages so you can gain maximum compensation for your injuries.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at (1-866-642-4529) and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
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.