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Motorcycle Accidents

You need to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands the state’s motorcycle laws, and who can get you the benefits and compensation you deserve.

Michigan is a beautiful state in which motorcyclists can enjoy spectacular vistas and the freedom of the open road. Whether for pleasure or practicality, thousands of Michigan residents own and operate motorcycles. However, as more and more bikers hit the roadways, there are also a growing number of auto accidents and truck accidents involving motorcycles that cause very serious injuries and sometimes the tragic loss of life.

Unfortunately, the number of motorcycle accident fatalities continues to rise. In 2016, there were more than 5,200 motorcycle accident deaths in the United States. In fact, 2016 was the deadliest year on record for motorcyclists since 2008.

Here are some facts about motorcycle accidents:

  • About 75 percent of motorcycle crashes involve collisions with a motor vehicle (usually a passenger vehicle).
  • Only about 25 percent are single-vehicle collisions where the bike collides with the roadway or a fixed object.
  • In more than half of all motorcycle-vehicle crashes, the driver of the vehicle violates the motorcycle’s right of way.
  • The primary cause of motorcycle accidents is motorists who do not see the motorcycles in traffic.
  • More than 90 percent of motorcyclists involved in accidents were self-taught or learned to ride from family or friends.
  • Nearly one-half of all fatal motorcycle collisions involve alcohol.
  • More than 50 percent of riders in an accident had less than five months’ experience with the motorcycle.

Likewise, the number of Michigan motorcycle accident deaths is also concerning. In 2017, there were 2,964 motorcycle accidents in Michigan. Of these, 133 were fatal and 2,105 involved injury to the motorcyclist.

What Should I do if I’ve Been in a Motorcycle Accident?

In order to secure just compensation for all of the losses suffered in a motorcycle accident, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. That’s why you need a motorcycle accident lawyer at Sommers Schwartz.

Victims of motorcycle accidents often require a lifetime of medical care and extensive rehabilitation. While no-fault benefits may be available to pay for some of the medical expenses, only a portion of wage losses may be covered, with no compensation for pain and suffering.

Motorcycle Insurance in Michigan

Motorcycles are not defined as “motor vehicles” by Michigan’s auto no-fault law. This means motorcyclists are not required to purchase no-fault insurance for their bikes.

However, motorcyclists are required to purchase liability insurance (commonly known as PLPD coverage). This type of insurance provides coverage in case the rider is at fault for a collision and causes bodily injury, death or property damage. Not purchasing motorcycle liability insurance can result in serious penalties, including a fine.

One question that often arises in Michigan motorcycle accidents is whether an injured rider is entitled to no-fault insurance benefits. The answer to this question is yes, as long as the injury was caused by the operation or use of a motor vehicle. Contact between the motorcycle and the vehicle, however, is not needed for no-fault coverage to be triggered. Rather, for no-fault coverage to apply, the motor vehicle must have been a “significant factor” in causing the crash.

Note, too, that if motorcycle liability insurance is not purchased, then an injured biker is automatically disqualified from receiving no-fault benefits.

When no-fault coverage applies to an injured rider, the benefits are typically paid by the insurer of the vehicle that caused the injuries. The benefits include: 1) unlimited lifetime coverage for allowable expenses (products, services, and accommodations reasonably necessary for the injured person’s care, recovery or rehabilitation); 2) wage loss up to three years; and 3) replacement service expenses for three years.

When the Other Driver Causes the Accident

Victims of Michigan motorcycle accidents often require a lifetime of medical care and extensive rehabilitation. While no-fault benefits may be available to pay these expenses, only a portion of wage loss may be covered, with no compensation for pain and suffering.

When no-fault benefits do not compensate for all the losses suffered in a motorcycle accident, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit against the driver who was at fault for the crash. In these suits, two types of damages may be recovered:

  • Noneconomic loss for serious impairment of body function, permanent serious disfigurement or death (i.e., pain and suffering).
  • Excess economic loss (loss of income that exceeds no-fault wage loss benefits).

In cases involving the death of a motorcyclist, the decedent’s estate may also file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver.

Lawyers With a History of Success

The legal team at Sommers Schwartz has secured more than $1 billion in compensation for our clients in a variety of matters over the last 45 years. Not only are we known by the valued clients who have entrusted their cases to us, but also by other lawyers who recognize us for the outcomes we achieve and from whom we regularly receive referrals. Quite simply, we are lawyers’ lawyers – and we’re extremely good at what we do.

When it comes to your pursuing legal rights and securing the recovery you deserve, don’t take chances. Contact Sommers Schwartz today.

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