When's your next adventure?
In between the 3,288 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, there are farms, mills, wineries, and other attractions… not to mention gorgeous lake views. In particular, Michigan motorcyclists love Tunnel of Trees Road in the Straits of Mackinac, the East Coast Cruise along Lake Huron, and Copper Harbor Run on the Keweenaw Peninsula.
While recreation is important, it's also crucial to be aware of the risks.
However, if you're a motorcyclist injured in an accident, it's important to understand how the Michigan legal system treats liability (fault) and insurance. Those are the main factors that will determine how much money you can recover to pay for your injuries.
First, these are the basics for how you would recover damages after any vehicle accident — motorcycle or otherwise. Before we get into laws and rules specific to motorcycles, it's good to know the background for how a Michigan personal injury financial recovery works.
In every personal injury lawsuit, there's at least 1 plaintiff (injured person), at least 1 defendant (the person or entity that caused the injury), and an injury that costs money. At the most basic level, you must have those 3 elements.
A personal injury lawsuit must also include the following in order to establish negligence:
The civil court system seeks to provide a plaintiff with damages that cover any financial costs so the plaintiff isn't paying out of pocket for the defendant's negligence.
Damages can include:
You can't just run out and file a lawsuit after an accident, though. Your first path to compensation after a motorcycle accident is to file a claim with your own insurance company.
For any automotive accident (including motorcycle wrecks), a driver must first file a claim to their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. This benefits you because you don't need to prove fault, and avoiding that step can make the financial recovery process faster.
A motorcycle crash can result in serious injuries, however. Unfortunately, medical bills can add up quickly.
That means your insurance might not cover the full extent of your expenses. If that happens, your insurance would file a third-party claim against the at-fault driver's insurance company for the remaining amount of damages.
If that's still not enough, or if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, you might need to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover the full amount of your damages.
If you can't receive enough compensation through a settlement with your own insurance company, there will be a situation where fault needs to be determined and allocated among the parties.
Each party likely bears some percentage of fault. Even if one driver clearly caused the accident, it might be found that the other driver could have braked sooner, could have swerved out of the way, or could have slowed down or sped up to avoid a collision. If that happens, it's possible that the insurance companies or court will determine that the at-fault driver is 90% at fault and the other driver is 10% at fault, for example.
If that happens, the court or insurance company would reduce the amount of damages you receive by your percentage of fault. In other words, your damages would be reduced by 10% if you're 10% at fault.
Riding a motorcycle is inherently more dangerous than being in a car because a car's steel frame is designed to protect drivers and passengers in a crash. When a motorcyclist is in a crash, they are usually thrown from the bike, which commonly results in more serious injury.
There are 3 major differences that make motorcyclists more vulnerable in an accident:
A motorcycle operator is permitted to ride without a helmet if:
A motorcycle passenger is permitted to ride without a helmet if:
If you're a motorcyclist involved in a wreck, here's what to do:
Some people are under the impression that motorcyclists tend to be more reckless than the average car driver, or that they speed or take risky chances. Sometimes that's true, but often it isn't. A motorcyclist just wants to arrive safely at their destination, just like any other driver. But just like car accidents happen, so do crashes that involve motorcyclists.
Here are 3 tips to combat bias as a motorcycle rider:
A clean driving record can matter in a courtroom if you're ever involved in a lawsuit — it's always best to follow road rules and be respectful of other drivers.
If you're in an accident and have suffered an injury, a Michigan motorcycle accident lawyer is your best bet for recovering financial compensation. They'll help you handle the insurance company and know when and how to take the next steps if necessary to get the money you need to move forward.
A personal injury lawyer helps individuals who have sustained injuries in accidents to recover financial compensation. These funds are often needed to pay for medical treatment, make up for lost wages and provide compensation for injuries suffered. Sometimes a case that seems simple at first may become more complicated. In these cases, consider hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer. Read more