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Auto Accident 2.01.2022

Do I Get a Lawyer for a Motorcycle Accident? What You Should Do

If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you need get a lawyer to protect your rights and negotiate your full and fair compensation. Even though you can still file a claim on your own against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, the insurer is going to minimizes your chances of receiving full compensation due to the complexities of the issues general involved.

Whether you have sustained a brain injury, road burns, chest trauma, spinal injury, broken bones, or any other type of injury, we understand the resulting medical expenses can be huge. You lost wages during your recovery can also be a financial disaster for you and your family.

That’s why you need work at maximizing any settlement you cover for the full sphere of damages. Hiring a lawyer does not always guarantee that you will get compensation, it does increases your possibility of getting higher compensation than you would normally get if you pursued the case on your own. You may not know the legal issues and how to calculate what you’re owed. You certainly don’t know what your injuries are worth since there is no market place for determining how much your body parts are worth.

Generally, any personal injury attorney can represent you, but getting a motorcycle accident lawyer who has proven track record and experience in motorcycle accident claims would be immensely beneficial to you. Often times, people don’t understand motorcyclists, and some people automatically perceiving them as careless. That’s exactly why, you need to work with a lawyer who respects and empathizes with you as a motorcyclist. Choosing a lawyer that is a fellow motorcyclist like Joseph Dedvukaj with a winning track record of representing motorcyclists successfully can be the best decision you make.

Facts About Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcyclists are vulnerable to being injured on the road, since their rights to share the road are usually overlooked by some careless drivers. Many motorcycle accidents happen every year in Michigan, resulting in thousands of injuries. These motor vehicle crashes cost billions of dollars annually in expenses related to medical bills, property damage, therapy, lost wages, etc.

In most cases, the biker is not at fault for these accidents. Some reports suggest that most motorcycle crashes involving other vehicles are caused by a failure or error of the other automobile driver.
Common motorcycle incidents include vehicles:

  • • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Hitting a motorcycle
  • On opposite lane turning in front of a biker
  • Failure to check blind spot before lane change
  • Making a U-turn in front of a motorcycle
  • Rear-ending a motorbike, etc.
  • Intersection side impact collision

Proving Negligence

Generally, motorcycle accident claims are based on the legal theory of negligence. To present a viable claim, you must demonstrate that the at-fault party or parties’ negligence caused the accident.
This involves meeting the burden for the following four elements for establishing negligence:

#1. Duty of Care

The at-fault party owed you a legal duty of care for the claim to be valid. Generally, motorists owe other road users a duty of ordinary care. Hence every driver is responsible for being reasonably careful unless a law requires certain safe conduct whenever they get behind the wheel.

#2. Breach of Duty

If the driver acted negligently by acting unreasonably or violating a driving law, e.g., by getting distracted while driving or excessive speed, as a result hitting you, then that amounts to a breach of the legal duty. To satisfy this element, you must present evidence to prove the breach of duty.

#3. Causation

Breaching the duty of care or law is not enough to get the at-fault party’s insurer to compensate you. The negligent actions must have directly caused your injuries. For instance, a person seeking compensation for head trauma must prove the injury resulted from the hit in the accident. Otherwise, the insurance company may claim the head trauma did not come from the accident in an effort to deny the claim.

#4. Damages

The fourth element of negligence you must satisfy is damages. Essentially, the accident must have resulted in substantial financial or physical or emotional damages, such as unpaid medical costs, property damage (motorcycle repairs), pain and suffering, etc. Otherwise, if the losses are immeasurable, then the claim may be denied.

Michigan's Modified Comparative Negligence Law:

Despite proving the at-fault party’s negligence, the comparative negligence principle might be applicable in your case, where sometimes the insurer might say you are more than 51% at fault. In Michigan, if proven, you would not be claim pain and suffering damages, but you could still claim financial damages. The comparative negligence principle means all the parties’ fault is assessed and apportioned, reducing the damages by your (plaintiff) percentage of fault.
Comparative negligence principles are different from state to state as follows.

  • Pure comparative fault – Michigan is not a pure comparative fault state. However, in a state that uses pure comparative fault, you would be entitled to receive damages as long as you’re not 100 percent at fault for your accident. For example, if the other party was 20 percent at fault and you contributed 80 percent to the accident, you would still receive damages proportionate to the other driver’s percentage fault. Assuming the damages amount to $200,000, you have a right to receive $160,000, i.e., $200,000—(80 percent x 200,000).
  • Michigan’s Modified comparative fault – Modified comparative negligence means if you contributed more than 50 percent to the accident, you cannot recover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. However, you can recover economic damages like excess medical bills and wage loss to the extent the other driver is at fault. For example, if the jury determines your non-economic pain and suffering is worth $100,000, but if you are 53% at fault, you cannot recover anything for pain and suffering. If the same jury decides you have $200,000 in medical bills and wage loss, then you will collect $148,000 in economic damages ($200,000 multiplied by 47% other driver’s fault).
  • Pure contributory negligence – Michigan is not a pure contributory negligence state. However, in a pure contributory negligence state, you’re not entitled to receive any damages even if you’re only 1 percent at fault for the accident.

What Can a Lawyer Do for You?

No matter the type of case, the insurance company will usually manipulate you to admit fault for the accident so that they can completely deny the claim. They hope you don’t know how Michigan’s modified comparative negligence works. That’s why you don’t talk to any insurance representatives before consulting an injury attorney.
Under no circumstances should you admit fault or allow the insurance company to recording your statement without your lawyer being present. The slightest mistake can turn to a win for the insurance company, regardless of who the at-fault party actually was.

Recognizing these obvious land mines, you could step on, destroying your claim, getting a lawyer to represent you is critically important. Do you see why? Your lawyer will do the following:

 #1. Reduce Your Stress

You have enough on your plate with doctor appointments, therapy sessions, and bed rest, perhaps surgery and pursuing your own legal proceedings may be too much for you to handle. All personal injury claims have a statute of limitations, which is three years in Michigan.

Hiring a lawyer not only takes away the stress of keeping an eye on knowing the time limit for your claim but lawyers can quicken the process and avoid losing  your chance for compensation due to an untimely claim. In most cases, the lawyer will handle the entire legal process, and you will simply testify and participate in conferences during the process. This allows you spend more time healing to get the best recovery possible and concentrate on getting your life back together.

Generally, the lawyer is knowledgeable with the state or local laws relevant to your case, which you may not know. As such, lawyers know how to represent your best interest and work through any legal isssues that may pop up in the course of pursuing negotiations or during the trial phase if your claim fails to settle through mediation.

#2. Investigate the Case and Gather Evidence

Being involved in a motorcycle accident does not automatically make you qualify for compensation. Far from being this easy, you must present compelling evidence tying your injuries to the at-fault party’s negligent conduct. Otherwise, insurance companies will be quick to deny, delay or offer you a nuisance value low-ball settlement that you will not be happy with.

Hiring a personal injury lawyer experienced in motorcycle accident claims sets up the fight to oppose possible setbacks, as your case is thoroughly investigated, and sufficient evidence gathered to prove the four elements of negligence. Lawyers request medical reports and on-scene evidence from examining police investigation reports, interviewing eye-witnesses, and investigating the at-fault driver’s driving history,  and good lawyer leaves no stone unturned to build a solid claim.

#3. Negotiate a Full and Fair Settlement

During the claims process, you may quickly realize that once the compensation evaluation process begins the insurance company isn’t concerned at all about any of your legal rights or interests. Insurance adjusters and their lawyers’ have primary goal to negotiate the lowest settlement possible to minimize their payout and keep profits high.

Under these adversarial circumstances, hiring a lawyer helps defend your legal rights to maximize compensation for your claim. As your client relationship with the lawyer requires the attorneys to looks out for your best interests. A passionate and empathetic lawyer at The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm certainly desires to see you get better physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

Undoubtedly, your retained lawyers  will fight for your maximum possible compensation. The lawyer is familiar with the poker strategy used by opposing parties and assess statements, demeanor, and remarks to avoid a situation during settlement negotiations that might leave money on the table or ruin your claim together.

Lastly, Joseph Dedvukaj’s decades if experience representing thousands of clients in similar cases,  knows how to compute your fair damages, especially those that aren’t straightforward to price, such as pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, future medical expenses, and wages, etc.

#4. Take the Case to Trial

Most claims settle prior to trial. However, if the insurance company refuses to give adequate compensation to you, going to trial may be essential for your claim. If this wants needs to be done in the interest of your justice and dignity, the trial lawyer at The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm can file the lawsuit on your behalf and represent you until the case eds with a jury verdict.

The good thing about getting a trial lawyer from the start is that they are always conscious of protecting your claim from the statute of limitations. Essentially, the lawyer will set a timeline for determining when your case is ripe for settlement discussions, giving allowance for your healing process before filing a lawsuit, but well before the deadline lapses, should the claim fail to settle pre-suit.

What Damages Award I Can Get in a Motorcycle Accident Claim?

The damages award you receive in a motorcycle accident claim will mainly depend  on the nature and extent of your injuries. Sometimes the experience of your accident lawyer with similar cases can help determine how much money you receive from results of the negotiations. But generally, these are some of the categories of damages you might present as part of your demand to receive compensation:

#1. Excess Medical Expenses

In most cases, your own no-fault automobile insurance or the Michigan Assigned Claims plan will pay medical bills up to the limits of coverage. However, if your injuries are severe, you may have medical bills that the at-fault party or parties’ insurer(s) should pay compensation to you to cover all your medical expenses after the accident. You should get enough money to cover costs for rehabilitation, surgery, emergency room visits, prescriptions, nursing care, in-home attendant care, transportation travel expenses, home modification, MRI tests, CT-scans, etc. You should also receive the cost of any medical care that you might incur in the foreseeable future (the lawyer should help you compute a life care plan rough estimate and add it to the final settlement demand).

#2. Lost Wages

In Michigan, no-fault personal protection insurance benefits (PIP) generally cover the first 3 years after an automobile accident related injury up to the statutory maximum. However, your settlement should also cover any excess wages you have lost due to your disabling work incapacitation. In addition, if the injuries are severe, keeping you disabled from work for a long period of time, you should add any potential employment related benefits, such as fringe benefits, promotion related wage increases missed, to the settlement.

In the event the accident leaves you with a permanent or long-term disability, you should also recover your loss of future earnings, which will depend on your life expectancy.

#3. Property Damages

In your claim against the at fault driver, your insurance compensation should also put money on the table for the repair costs of the motorcycle or other personal property you lost in the crash.

#4. Pain and Suffering

This is a category of compensation your lawyer at The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm specializes in calculating. Motorcycle accident claims need to arrive at a figure to cover pain and suffering damages. The creative personal injury lawyer will help estimate an appropriate amount for past, present, and future pain and suffering, depending on the severity of your injuries. In addition, you may recover damages for the emotional and mental distress you may have endured for the rest of your life.

#5. Wrongful Death

If you’re pursuing compensation for a deceased loved one, the wife, children and other immediate family members are entitled to damages for wrongful death of the motorcyclist. If the motorcycle victim got hospitalized following the accident, the settlement should reimburse for any medical costs not covered by no-fault insurance. In addition, the no-fault claim will reimburse the family for burial and funeral expenses as well as compensation for any lost wages.

#6. Punitive Damages

In Michigan, there is a potential for punitive damages if the court finds the at-fault party caused the accident out of gross negligence or malice. This category of compensation is intended to punish the at fault defendant and act as a deterance  to such conduct in the future.

Statute of Limitation

Michigan state law sets a time limit for bringing personal injury which means you must file a claim against the at-fault party or parties by the three year deadline. This limit is called the statute of limitation. If you fail to file a claim within the three years, you will not recover any damages afterward. In case you decide to bring a lawsuit past the deadline, the court dismiss your claim as untimely.

However, the limit can be even shorter than this in case involving the State of Michigan. For instance, if the accident was partially caused by a road bed defect, you might seek compensation from the government agency responsible for maintaining the road. Often, the statute of limitations in personal injury cases involving the government have set time for notice requirement, claim requirement and  much shorter filing deadline than ordinary cases.

Yet another exception to the statute of limitation deadline might arise if a minor is making a claim in the accident. Overall, the minor has one year after they turn 18 years of age before the statute of limitation expires. Now you see, why getting a lawyer for your case will ensure you aren’t losing your rights to compensation, as your lawyer will understand the specific requirements for bringing a successful claim on your behalf.

What You Should Do Next?

If you’re recovering from a motorcycle accident, we understand how devastating and challenging this time can be in your life. The physical pain and anguish among the piling-up of medical bills might have left you scared and alone in significant emotional and mental distress.

You don’t need to face these hurdles following a motorcycle accident alone. Let a motorcycle accident lawyers at The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm protect your interests while you focus on what matters: a full recovery and return to normal life. Call now 248-352-2110 or toll free 1-866-HIRE-JOE to discuss your options in a FREE confidential consultation with an expert motorcycle accident attorney.  

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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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