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Auto Accident 2.01.2022

Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Michigan

Michigan is one of the most dangerous states for motorcycle riders, with more than 237,481 registered motorcycles and more than 152 fatalities, and thousands injured  each year. Michigan is home to major highways, including I-75, I-696, I-96, I-94, and Lodge 10 Freeway and is a popular destination for motorcyclists in the spring, summer and fall seasons.

The roadways of Michigan represent a significant risk to motorcyclists, including the poorly maintained surface of the road and these accidents often result in severe incapacitating injuries. The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm want you to understand the common causes of motorcycle accidents in Michigan and what to do if you are injured in an accident.

Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Congested cities like Detroit, Warren, Sterling Heights, Livonia, Waterford are particularly dangerous for motorcyclists because smaller vehicles like motorcycles are harder to see on the road. Busy highways and roadways obscure motorcyclists and increase the number of drivers who are either distracted or don’t pay attention to smaller bikers.

Motorcycles are particularly susceptible to accidents because they are less stable and smaller in size, making them harder to control and more likely to be ignored by other drivers.
Motorcycle accidents are often caused by:

  • Unsafe Lane Changes. Drivers too often forget to check blind spots or signal when making a lane change. This makes motorcyclists at higher risk of a collision. When a driver of a motor vehicle doesn’t use a turn signal, a motorcyclist can’t react to a quick lane change, and motorcyclists are more likely to be hidden in a driver’s blind spot due to the smaller size.
  • Left Turns. Car drivers are likely to misjudge distance when making a left turn, especially at night, so vehicles turning left are one of the most dangerous scenarios motorcyclists are facing today.
  • Speeding. Excessive speed reduces a driver’s ability to see and react to other vehicles on the road, including motorcycles. Traveling at faster than posted speeds also makes it more difficult to judge the distance between other vehicles on the road, especially smaller vehicles like motorcycles. In addition to making accidents more likely with motor bikes, speeding also increases the severity of resulting injuries, especially for motorcyclists who are not protected by the rigid exterior frame of a car.
  • Alcohol. A drunk or impaired driver is more likely to make poor driving choices and fail to see or react to changing road conditions and other vehicles on the road putting bikers at risk of injury.
  • Road Hazards. Heavily worn or used roads are likely to suffer more damage and require roadwork. Road hazards like potholes, ice, rain, and debris increase the risk that a motorcyclist will lose control of their vehicle.
  • Weather Conditions: While the bad weather is often unpredictable in Michigan, this area is very susceptible to change in weather. The type of inclement weather we experience in the motorcycle season in Michigan from rain, wind, and fog is very dangerous for motorcyclists, which are less stable, especially in inclement weather.

Motorcyclists in Michigan must take and pass basic rider training to obtain a motorcycle license endorsement, but motorcyclists are heavily dependent on the caution taken by other drivers for their safety.

Determining Responsibility for an Accident

If a party’s intentional or negligent actions caused a motorcycle accident, they are responsible for the resulting injuries. A negligent action or inaction of a driver is anything that is outside the reasonable standard of care that another reasonably prudent driver would use under the same circumstances.

Your lawyer will work with you to determine liability and will consider the following:

  • Negligent Driver. Violation of law, ordinance, or the failure to exercise the required level of care by a driver is a common cause of motorcycle accidents, especially accidents caused by violating laws for speeding, impaired driving, unsafe lane changes, and left turns. If a driver violates a traffic law or regulation, this is compelling evidence of negligence. A negligent driver will often turn your claim over to their insurance carrier, so you might find yourself dealing with an experienced insurance company adjuster rather than the negligent driver.
  • Employer: Drivers in the course and scope of employment have employers who are responsible for the negligent actions of employees. While this applies to any employee working for the company, it is most common for jobs like delivery truck drivers and commercial truck drivers. While employers will also rely on their insurance coverage to pay your claim, the policy limits are likely to be higher than typical persons insurance coverage.
  • Local Government: Local governments and their agencies are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of roadways. Looking at the condition of road is very important aspect to motorcyclists case, who are more likely to suffer an accident because of poorly maintained roadways. If the government fails to adequately maintain the traveled portion of the roadways, the governmental entity having jurisdiction over the road can be held are responsible for the accident, but it can be very difficult to recover damages. Governmental entities are often protected by immunity laws from lawsuits, but there are exceptions so you will need to work with your government liability lawyer to assess the possibility of recovery.
  • Motorcycle Manufacturer: Motorcyclists depend on their bikes to be in proper working order for their safety, and this is the responsibility of the manufacturer or repair shop. Manufacturers should not sell any vehicles with defective parts. Common motorcycle defects include malfunctioning brakes, defective frame, engine stall, wheel, and tire defects, and improperly assembly. Your attorneys law firm motorycle accident team can help coordinate any required motorcycle testing to gather evidence of vehicle flaws.

Your motorcycle accident attorney will look at the facts of your particular case to develop a case against the responsible party. A police report is often a critical piece of evidence because it can include images of the accident scene, witness statements and contact information, and traffic hazardous citations issued against any driver after the crash.

Recovering Damages

After you determine which party was liable for the accident, you will need to prepare an evaluation of the full range of your damages to ensure you get the financial recovery you deserve. Serious injuries are more common after a motorcycle accident because the bikes don’t have the same kind of protection that other passenger vehicles provide in a crash, including such devices as the protective crash enclosure and airbags.

A motorcyclist is at risk of sustaining many common injuries:

  • Head injuries: If thrown from the bike, a motorcyclist is likely to suffer from a laceration, closed head injury or concussion. Traumatic head injuries are particularly common for bikers that are not wearing a helmet.
  • Traumatic brain injury: Concussions and lacerations are not the only injuries possible after a blow to the head. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is another possible injury, accompanied by a range of symptoms including headaches, physical and cognitive disabilities. At their worst, a TBI can cause the brain to die.
  • Spinal injuries: The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that enables the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. The symptoms suffered by a victim depend on the area of the spinal cord that is injured but will cause muscle weakness or paralysis for some portion of the body.
  • Neck and back injuries: When a biker’s body is twisted or impacted in an accident, the back and neck are often injured. Back and neck injuries often require long-term treatment, surgery, rehabilitation or physical therapy and place the victim in a constant state of pain and discomfort.
  • Road rashMotorcyclist’s bodies are often exposed, their skin is likely to come into contact with the surface of the asphalt pavement. When the skin is scraped across the asphalt pavement, it can cause a painful injury called road rash. A serious case of road rash can often require hospitalization and skin graft surgery.
  • Facial and Dental Injuries: If the victim’s face strikes the ground or any other hard object, facial and dental injuries can occur. These include a broken jaw, other broken facial bones, or cracked or chipped teeth.
  • Broken bones and fractures: Broken bones seriously disrupt many victims’ day-to-day lives, and if a break is particularly severe, it can require surgery and ongoing rehabilitation.
  • Cuts, bruises, and sprains: While these injuries can seem minor, they are uncomfortable and can limit the victim’s ability to perform day-to-day activities and work responsibilities.

Many of the injuries suffered by motorcycle accident victims are physical, but these aren’t the only injuries victims suffer. Your damages demand should include a monetary assessment of all your injuries.
Be sure to consider all possible damages:

  • Medical Costs: A negligent defendant is responsible for all medical costs of your injuries not paid by Michigan no-fault insurance including emergency transportation, costs of procedures, doctors’ bills, and prescription medication. Defendants are also responsible for future excess medical expenses like rehabilitation, pain management etc.
  • Lost Income or Wages: If your injuries force you to miss work or work a reduced schedule, include your lost wages in the damages demand. Also include an estimate of future lost income or wages and your inability to earn money if you will continue to miss work or disabled.
  • Property Damage: The defendant is responsible for the costs of repair or replacement of your damaged property, including a damaged motorcycle. Your vehicle isn’t the only item that might be injured. If the crash damages your other property like mobile devices, be sure to include these in your damages demand as well.
  • Emotional Distress: An accident is a traumatic event, and victims often suffer from emotional distress like anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. The defendant should compensate you for this distress.
  • Loss of Enjoyment: Many injuries limit the victim’s ability to participate in activities that were once a meaningful part of their life. Imagine a marathon runner whose injuries mean they will never enter another race—this is an injury that deserves to be compensated. Work with your motorcycle accident lawyer to include appropriate compensation for your change in lifestyle in your demand.
  • Punitive Damages: Michigan law permits exemplary damages, which are similar to punitive damages but are intended to deter or punish. Other states allow punitive damages to punish a defendant for intentional misconduct or gross negligence. Your lawyer will assess your case and advise if exemplary damages are available.

Your comprehensive evaluation of your injuries is an important tool for your recovery. Your attorney will call medical experts and financial experts as needed to substantiate your damages, including for future excess medical expenses and lost income wage. If your case goes to trial, the jury will assess your damages demand when awarding recovery. Most cases are settled before going to trial, but your damages evaluation will still help you evaluate any settlement offers made.

The defendant and their insurance provider will try to reduce or avoid paying the full extent of their damages. Always work with your motorcycle accident attorneys to make sure you don’t do anything to limit your ability to recover.

First, be sure you don’t post anything harmful on social media. While a post might seem innocent, the defendant’s insurance company will use anything you post online to fight your claims for recovery. For example, the defendant can use an old repost picture of you on a hike to say your injuries do not limit your ability to perform certain work duties.

Second, keep all of your documentation related to the accident and your injuries. Your medical records, text messages or correspondence from the defendant or their insurance provider, and any details demonstrating the impact your injuries have had on your life will be critical as you establish your case.

Third, be sure to bring your claim on time. Michigan requires that plaintiffs bring all personal injury claims within three years of the accident. While four years sounds like a long time, it will pass quickly as you manage your injuries and prepare for trial.

Need To Speak To A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?

Call now 248-352-2110 or toll free 1-866-HIRE-JOE for a free consultation to learn more about your motorcycle accident rights and options. You also request a meeting online using our contact form 24/7.  

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No Fees Unless We Win
The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm, P.C represents Michigan clients in a full range of personal injury matters. If you have been injured, contact us for a free consultation.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute a client relationship.
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