Different rules apply to motorcycle accident cases. It is of the utmost importance to have a knowledgeable attorney, experienced in motorcycle cases. Michael Ratton has owned and operated a motorcycle since he was 16 years old. He has specialized in motorcycle litigation for over 30 years.
Motorcycle accidents are oftentimes some of the most catastrophic on Michigan roadways. In 2020, there were more than 2,500 crashes involving motorcycles and nearly 140 riders died. Braking suddenly or steering quickly can cause the motorcycle to spin out of control. The lack of safety features that a regular vehicle has on the road, including seatbelts, airbags, and steel enclosures, makes riders more susceptible to serious injury and death.
For motorcyclists and their families, life is oftentimes never the same after a crash. If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash or a loved one has been incapacitated or killed due to the negligence of another driver, you may be able to recover compensation.
At Ratton Law Group PC, we know what it’s like to be injured while riding a motorcycle. We combine that experience with our legal and nursing backgrounds to deliver aggressive yet compassionate representation for our personal injury clients. If you have been injured in Detroit, Michigan by a negligent driver, we may be able to help. Call or reach out to our office today to schedule a free consultation.
Insurance companies are motivated by profits which they earn by denying claims filed against their insureds. They work diligently to reduce or negate personal injury and wrongful death claims, especially those asserted by injured motorcycle operators. There are, however, some steps you can take after a crash to strengthen your case:
Get all necessary medical treatment for your injuries immediately
Exchange information with the other driver involved in the crash
Take down names and contact information for any witnesses
Take photos of the motorcycle, vehicles, roadway, and debris
Contact your motorcycle insurance carrier
Retain a motorcycle accident lawyer
Motorcycle operators in Michigan must observe all the same rules of the road as operators of other vehicles, including the obligation to exercise a reasonable duty of care while on the roadways. There are also several state laws that apply specifically to the operation of motorcycles:
Operators age 21 and older who have at least $20,000 in motorcycle personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage, and have either held a motorcycle endorsement for at least two years or passed a motorcycle safety course may ride without wearing a helmet. All other riders must wear one.
Lane splitting is against the law in Michigan. Lane splitting is the practice of riding a motorcycle between two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction.
Passengers are prohibited on motorcycles unless the cycle is designed to accommodate one, with footrests or pegs for both the operator and passenger.
Passengers must always wear a helmet unless they are age 21 or older and meet the same PIP coverage minimum in addition to the operator.
The operator must have no obstructions that would prohibit keeping both hands on the handlebars at all times.
The motorcycle may not impede vehicular or pedestrian traffic at any time.
Michigan is considered an at-fault state for insurance, which means that the person responsible for causing the crash is also responsible for paying compensation for property, bodily injury, and wrongful death damages to those who have been injured or killed.
Michigan also adheres to the rule of modified comparative fault. This means that any settlement or damages awarded will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. If you are found to be 50% or more at fault, you are prohibited from any compensation from the other driver.
For example, assume that you were injured in an accident and the other driver’s bodily injury liability limits are $100,000. If the jury decides to award you the policy limits at trial, you would receive the full award if the other driver was found to be 100% at fault for the accident. However, if you are assigned 20% fault for the crash, your award would be reduced by 20%. In this example, that would be a $20,000 reduction, meaning you would only be eligible to collect $80,000 in compensation.
If your loved one was incapacitated due to injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident and is unable to assert a personal injury claim on their own, a claim can be asserted on their behalf. In Michigan, you would need to petition the probate court for an appointment as next-friend, guardian, or conservator of the incapacitated person. Any settlement of a claim or jury award must be approved by the court.
If your loved one was killed, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate may file a wrongful death action. If the decedent has no will and no personal representative, the court will appoint one to pursue the claim on behalf of the surviving spouse, children, parent, grandparents, or siblings. If there is no will, any recovery will be subject to the laws of intestate succession.
Establishing the negligence of the other party and minimizing findings of negligence on the part of your loved one will be critical to your ability to recover damages on their behalf. The cost of taking care of an incapacitated loved one, or in the wake of their death, can be devastating. You must prove that the other driver owed a duty of care, that they failed to uphold that duty, that you or your loved one suffered injuries and incurred damages as the result of that failure.
People often jump to the conclusion that the motorcycle operator was the negligent driver in a crash, even when that is oftentimes not the case. Insurance company attorneys will work diligently to try to prove that the motorcycle operator bears the majority of fault.
An experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney knows how to fight back against the insurance companies by investigating the circumstances of the crash, interviewing witnesses, retaining medical and crash reconstruction experts, and documenting evidence that proves liability on the part of the other driver. Without building a strong case, you risk the denial of your claim and could lose your opportunity to garner compensation.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, don’t face this challenge on your own. You deserve to have a skilled personal injury attorney in your corner who can protect your rights and advocate for you inside and outside of the courtroom. To learn more about how Ratton Law Group PC can help with your case, call or reach out today to schedule a free case consultation.
At Ratton Law Group PC, we know what it takes to assert a claim, negotiate with insurers, and litigate your claim in court. Our extensive knowledge of personal injury law and litigation experience makes us a tough opponent for any insurance company. If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash or a loved one has been incapacitated or killed, call our office in Detroit, Michigan today to schedule a free consultation. Let us help you pursue the compensation you need and deserve.