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Motorcycle Crash in Michigan: Who Pays for My Injury?

June 11, 2020

Rockford Teen Killed in Motorcycle Crash

Motorcyclist Killed in Head-On Crash South of Grand Rapids

Motorcyclist, 26, Killed in Kent County Crash

Motorcyclist Killed in Wyoming Crash

These are just some of the tragic headlines in the past year concerning fatal Michigan motorcycle crashes in Kent County. As we approach summer, we will see more motorcyclists enjoying the great Michigan outdoors on the open road. But unfortunately, we will also see more reports of motorcycle fatalities and serious injuries. If you were involved in a motorcycle crash, reach out to our Michigan motorcycle accident lawyers for a free consultation.

Motorcycle Crashes in Michigan Result in Many Deaths

More people are dying in motorcycle crashes in Michigan. From 2014 to 2018, the average number of motorcycle fatalities in Michigan each year was just over 130—an increase of 13 fatalities compared to the previous five years, according to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. The State Police say the average number of fatalities involving helmetless occupants has also increased.

Motorcycle crashes almost always involve severe or fatal injuries. That’s primarily because motorcyclists don’t have any type of protective structure surrounding them on their vehicles. Statistics show that on average, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely than those in a passenger vehicle to die in a crash per vehicle mile traveled. And motorcyclists are more than five times as likely to be injured in a collision.

What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?

Research from the University of Southern California Traffic Safety Center found that about 75% of motorcycle accidents involved a collision with another vehicle—usually a passenger automobile. Motorcyclists must continually take evasive action to avoid inattentive drivers. However, in some cases, it’s impossible to escape unharmed, and an accident occurs.

The USC study found that the leading cause of most motorcycle accidents involved other vehicles failing to recognize a motorcyclist in traffic. When motorcycles are involved in crashes with another vehicle (or vehicles), the other vehicle is found to have violated the motorcyclist’s right-of-way and are at fault for the collision more than two-thirds of the time. In addition, the most common circumstances causing a motorcycle accident happen when a car or truck driver violates a motorcyclist’s right-of-way by turning left in front of the motorcyclist while he or she is trying to travel straight.

Motorcyclists Can File a Third-Party Claim for Injuries in an Accident

In Michigan, an injured motorcyclist can file a “third-party claim,” or an action directly against the driver of the other vehicle, the “at-fault driver.” A third-party claim is for non-economic damages, also known as pain and suffering.  To file a third-party claim, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Death
  • Serious impairment of body function (impairment of an important body function that affects a person’s general ability to lead his or her normal life)
  • Permanent serious disfigurement

An injured motorcyclist can only bring a third-party claim in Michigan if the other driver is at least 50% at-fault for causing the accident. The attorneys at Buchanan Firm handling your third-party claim will seek reimbursement for your injuries, as well as other compensation.

In addition, an injured motorcyclist may file a first-party claim for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits with the insurance company of the auto driver who caused the accident. PIP benefits cover reasonable medical care. Motorcycle accidents can result in serious consequences, including brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, organ damage, and other life-changing injuries. A severe injury from a motorcycle accident may require a lifetime of medical treatment that can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you are injured, you must be certain that insurance will pay for your medical treatment, hospital bills, rehabilitation, and other expenses stemming from the accident.

Contact our Michigan Accident Lawyers

In 2018, nearly 5,000 motorcyclists lost their lives on America’s roads.

If you or a family member has been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm. We will help you pursue reimbursement from the driver who is responsible.

For a free consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm. Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, Midland, Flint, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, and Traverse City, and rural towns such as Mt. Pleasant, Greenville, Portage, Ludington, Manistee, Frankfort, Grayling, Gaylord, Alpena, and Bay City. We will meet you after-hours, at home, or in the hospital, to accommodate you.

Contact us today.