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Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Grand Rapids, MI

Protecting the Rights of Injured Riders

As an experienced motorcycle rider, you are aware of the dangers of riding. Unfortunately, the negligence of one driver can quickly disrupt a motorcyclist’s entire life.

The Grand Rapids motorcycle accident lawyers of Goodman Acker P.C. can help you recover the compensation you deserve following a collision. Contact us to learn about your rights.

To discuss your case with our legal team, call (248) 286-8100 or send us a message.

Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

BMW Motorcycle Parked in Suburban Neighborhood
Image via Flickr by stevekl0.

Several factors can cause motorcycle crashes. Here are some examples:

  • Accidents caused by other motorists failing to see motorcycles is a leading factor. Limited visibility of motorcycles can be compounded by glare, obstructions, or inattentive drivers. Many accidents involving limited visibility of motorcycles occur at intersections.
  • Crashes with other vehicles making left turns, which are especially hazardous due to motorcycles being less visible. The driver of the car, in such instances, is often at fault. Lane changes and abrupt stops can also present hazards, and unaware motorists who have parked may open their door into the path of an oncoming motorcycle.
  • Hazardous road conditions place motorcyclists in peril, including slippery surfaces, loose gravel, uneven pavement, or debris.
  • Head-on collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles make up a significant percentage of motorcycle accidents and are typically severe or fatal.
  • Motorcycle lane splitting, or motorcycles driving between two lanes of cars, is dangerous because of limited space between motorcycles and other vehicles. It is often unexpected and challenging to see.
  • Navigating corners can be risky. Riders can lose control on sharp curves or curves with road debris. Curves can be unpredictable and hard to judge.
  • Reckless driving, aggressive driving, speeding, and driving under the influence are also common causes of motorcycle and car-motorcycle accidents.

Even the most careful motorcyclists are susceptible to significant injuries, compared to drivers of standard vehicles, and are susceptible to road hazards and other drivers’ actions. Our attorneys know the ins and outs of this area to represent you and your case best. Motorcycle accident claims are difficult to navigate. Protecting your rights by hiring an attorney who will represent your best interests is essential.

Injuries Caused by Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accident injuries are often more severe than car accident injuries. Motorcyclists do not have the same level of protection as people in larger vehicles and can suffer because of it. Injuries may be especially severe if a motorcycle rider was not wearing a helmet or other protective clothing at the time of a collision. Catastrophic injuries, such as damages to the brain and spinal cord, are unfortunately more common in motorcycle accident cases.

A person who is injured in a motorcycle accident may sustain injuries such as:

Motorcycle Accident Damages

The severe injuries caused by motorcycle accidents leave victims with costly medical bills, as well as additional expenses and non-economic damages. A person who is injured in a motorcycle accident may require surgery, medication, the use of a medical device, in-home care, rehabilitation, and physical therapy to treat their ailments. Additionally, they will need to pay for the cost of transportation to and from medical appointments and account for the economic damage of lost wages. Many motorcycle accident victims also suffer from damages that are not financial, such as pain and suffering.

A motorcycle accident claim can recover compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Transportation costs
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of purpose
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Relationship strain
  • Stress
  • Funeral costs

Visit our Grand Rapids Office to discuss your case with our attorneys.
1500 E Beltline Ave SE Suite 235
Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Michigan Motorcycle Laws

All drivers need to follow traffic laws, but motorcycle riders must obey regulations that are in place specifically to protect them. Motorcycle laws differ from state to state, but these laws generally regulate the equipment that motorcycle riders must use, specifications for their bikes, where they are allowed to ride, and other motorcycle-focused rules.

Michigan’s motorcycle laws are unique when compared to some other states because helmet use is not required. In Michigan, drivers and their passengers can forego a helmet if they are at least 21 years old and are protected by at least $20,000 in insurance (drivers and passengers must each have $20,000 in insurance coverage. Additionally, drivers must pass a safety course or have had their motorcycle license for at least two years before they are able to drive without a helmet.

Michigan’s motorcycle laws also include the following rules:

  • A motorcycle must have front and rear brakes, functioning lights, a horn, a rearview mirror, and a permanently attached seat.
  • Motorcycles cannot be driven on sidewalks or in bicycle lanes.
  • Lane splitting and lane sharing are illegal.

No-Fault and Michigan Motorcycle Laws

In most motorcycle accident cases, liability will fall primarily on either the motorcycle driver or the driver in the other vehicle (in cases of two-vehicle collisions). However, it is possible that another party could be liable for your injuries, such as the city that is responsible for maintaining the roads or the motorcycle manufacturing company.

If a car or truck driver causes a motorcycle accident, their vehicle’s insurance is responsible for paying benefits to the amount of personal injury protection (PIP) available. Also known as No-Fault benefits, PIP covers medical expenses connected to the accident, lost wages for three years, replacement services for three years, and personal care such as in-home nursing and handicap modifications to the house. Replacement services cover household tasks like cleaning and child care that the injured party cannot perform.

In Michigan, if the driver who caused the accident with a motorcycle was at least 50% at fault, the injured party is eligible for non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Personal injury settlements can also cover emotional distress, disfigurement, loss of quality of life, loss of enjoyment of life, or loss of companionship.

First vs. Third-Party Recovery

As we’ve mentioned earlier, motorcycle accident lawyers seek no-fault insurance benefits, investigate all parties’ insurance coverage, and pursue a fair settlement to compensate for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Injured motorcyclists may need to file two different types of claims, depending on the circumstances. Attorneys can file first-party claims against your own insurance company and a third-party claim against someone else’s insurance provider. An attorney will determine the type of claim to file, providing a more prompt and fair settlement.

First-Party Claims

First-party claims are filed with your own insurance company after an accident or other loss. First-party claims are for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. They are most likely filed for cases where coverage is needed for uninsured motorists, underinsured motorists, medical bills, collision and comprehensive coverage, and additional costs like rental cars and towing. Your insurance company may pay up to the limits of coverage, depending on the circumstances. The statute of limitations for first-party claims is one year from the date of the motorcycle accident.

Underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage is an important part of your insurance policy because circumstances may require your policy to pay for another party’s negligence. Michigan drivers often carry minimum liability amounts on their auto insurance policies, which leads to their insurance companies being unable to properly compensate injured parties for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages. Underinsured motorists are exposed to severe financial consequences. Michigan underinsured motorist coverage, known as UIM coverage, might be the only option to recover losses. Your own insurance company steps in and covers what the underinsured driver’s company cannot.

Third-Party Claims

Third-party claims are more common when motorcycle riders are hurt due to another person’s negligence, and this person has liability insurance. Third-party claims seek payment from an insurance policy that someone else carries. Attorneys determine the negligent party’s insurance coverage and file a claim up to the limits of coverage. The statute of limitations for third-party claims is three years from the date of the motorcycle accident.

In special circumstances like the inability to determine fault right away, both types of claims may be filed. You may bring a first-party claim against your insurance company if the responsible party is uninsured or underinsured. If your insurance company covers a claim, it may seek reimbursement from the responsible party’s insurance company, called insurance subrogation. If subrogation is applicable, your insurance company pays your claim, and the other insurance company provides a reimbursement. This process doesn’t cost the policyholder anything.

Initial Consultations are Completely Free

At Goodman Acker P.C., we understand the extensive financial and emotional toll that motorcycle accident victims and their families face. It is our legal team’s mission to help you recover the compensation you deserve. We handle the legal processes, so you can focus on healing.

If you are interested in scheduling a free consultation with our motorcycle accident attorneys in Grand Rapids, contact us or call (248) 286-8100.