Motorcycle Accident in Michigan? You May Need a Motorcycle Injury Lawyer
As a leading Michigan motorcycle accident attorney source, Cochran, Foley & Associates has assembled this resource to help you determine if you need a motorcycle accident attorney.
Below you’ll find a wealth of motorcycle information that will be especially useful if you’ve been in a motorcycle accident in Michigan. Our motorcycle injury lawyer team is always available to answer your questions.
Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable to serious injury when in an accident
Our motorcycle accident lawyer team has noted that there is no way to eliminate risk in driving a motorcycle, and serious accidents occur to 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 but other drivers can cause very serious consequences because a biker is very vulnerable to serious injury or death when struck by another vehicle.
Michigan has laws that define what rights a cyclist has if involved in an accident. Because Michigan law does not consider a motorcycle to be a motor vehicle, there are significantly different rights for motorcycle accident victims than for victims of automobile accidents.
For that reason if you are involved in a motorcycle accident you should protect your rights by immediately calling Cochran, Foley & Associates at 800-322-5543 and ask for Terry Cochran or Lynn Foley. Both possess the special knowledge needed to make sure all necessary evidence has been gathered and to determine what legal action should be taken to protect your interests and future.
All about motorcycle accidents
Motorcyclists, according to research by our Michigan motorcycle accident attorney team, are about 18 times more likely to be in a fatal accident and three times more likely to be injured than those in passenger cars.
In fact, the fatality rate for motorcyclists is 3.6 times greater than the fatality rate for occupants of passenger cars.
Cochran, Foley & Associates’ skilled motorcycle accident lawyer team has compiled a list of motorcycle accident statistics you should know:
- 41 percent of the 1,203 motorcycle operators who were killed in single-vehicle crashes were intoxicated.
- Helmets were about 29 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcyclists.
- 49 percent of young motorcyclist who were fatally injured in motorcycle accidents were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash.
- About 75 percent of motorcycle accidents involved collision with another vehicle – usually a passenger automobile.
- Motorcycle equipment failure accounts for less than 3 percent of motorcycle accidents – usually due to a puncture flat.
- In single-vehicle accidents, motorcycle-rider error causes 66 percent of motorcycle accidents – the typical error being a slide out and fall due to over braking or running wide on a curve due to excess speed or under-cornering.
- Roadway defects were the accident cause in 2 percent of motorcycle accidents.
- Weather is not a factor in 98 percent of motorcycle accidents.
- The median pre-crash speed was 29.8 mph and the median crash speed was 21.5 mph.
- Less than 10 percent of the motorcycle riders involved in accidents have insurance of any kind to provide medical care or replace property.
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, Foley & 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, Foley & 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, Foley & Associates for a free consultation.
The attorneys at Cochran & Foley 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 & Foley will seek payments for expenses resulting from the motorcycle accident, and ensure justice by pursuing punitive damages.
Cochran & Foley 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 & Foley 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, Foley & 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, Foley & 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.