Riding a motorcycle is an exhilarating experience; sharing the road with cars, trucks and other motor vehicles, however, is dangerous. A collision can be devastating for a motorcycle rider, resulting in catastrophic injuries and fatalities. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, it is crucial to consult an experienced Michigan motorcycle accident attorney.
Miller & Tischler, P.C. provides first-rate legal services to motorcycle accident victims throughout the state of Michigan. Well-versed in the liability insurance requirements applicable to motorcycle riders, we are keenly aware of the benefits that may be available to injured motorcyclists under Michigan’s no-fault car insurance law. When you consult our winning legal team, you will have peace of mind knowing your motorcycle accident claim is in good hands.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Although motorcycle riding comes with inherent risks, motorcycle accidents involving other motor vehicles are frequently caused by driver errors, including:
- Distracted driving
- Improper turning
- Unsafe lane changes
- Failing to yield
- Driving under the influence
- Reckless driving
All motorists in Michigan have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and avoid causing injuries to others. Our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys believe that negligent motorists must be held accountable.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Unlike other motorists, motorcycle riders are not protected by the cage of a vehicle and are at risk of sustaining a wide range of injuries in a collision, such as:
- Road rash
- Head and neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries/paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Wrongful death
Although motorcyclists can minimize injury risks by wearing protective gear, such as helmets (optional), leather jackets, heavy pants, and boots, motorcycle accidents can still result in serious injuries. Some motorcycle accident victims may require ongoing medical and rehabilitative care, which can be a physical, emotional and financial burden. At Miller and Tischler, P.C., we have a proven history of helping motorcycle accident victims obtain the maximum compensation they deserve.
Michigan’s Motorcycle Helmet Law
Michigan law allows motorcyclists to choose whether or not to wear a motorcycle helmet. To legally not wear a helmet, a motorcycle operator must (1) be at least 21 years old, (2) have at least $20,000 in motorcycle medical-benefit insurance, and (3) have held a motorcycle endorsement for at least two years, or have passed an approved motorcycle safety course.
Passengers may also decide not to wear a helmet, provided that they are at least 21 years old and have at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits insurance in addition to the required coverage for the motorcycle operator.
Motorcycle Accident Insurance in Michigan
The laws regarding coverage for motorcycle accidents can be confusing, particularly when it comes to determining whether an injured rider is eligible for no-fault benefits. Because motorcycles are not considered “motor vehicles” under Michigan’s auto no-fault law, motorcycle owners are not required to purchase no-fault insurance; however, they are required to purchase liability insurance, which is referred to as PLPD coverage.
This type of insurance provides coverage in the event the motorcyclist is at fault for an accident and causes bodily injury, death or property damage. Failing to purchase PLPD coverage can result in serious penalties, including fines and imprisonment. Moreover, not purchasing motorcycle liability coverage will disqualify the motorcycle owner from obtaining no-fault PIP benefits that may be available under Michigan no-fault law.
On the other hand, an injured rider who carries PLPD coverage is entitled to no-fault insurance benefits if the injury was caused by the operation or use of a motor vehicle. There are two types of motorcycle accident claims in cases involving a collision with another motor vehicle, first-party motorcycle accident claims and third-party motorcycle accident claims:
- First-Party Motorcycle Accident Claim — This type of claim is filed with the motorcycle rider’s own insurance company for no-fault or personal injury protection benefits which include (i) medical expense coverage, (ii) lost wages up to 3 years, (iii) replacement services, e.g. household chores, and (iv) attendant care. A first-party claim must be filed within one year of the date of the injury.
- Third-Party Motorcycle Accident Claim — A third-party claim can be filed against a negligent driver in the event the injured rider sustains a threshold injury as that term is defined under Michigan’s no-fault insurance law. Damages available in a third-party claim include pain and suffering and excess economic loss damages for lost wages beyond the 3-year no-fault limit. To have a valid claim, however, the injured rider must be able to demonstrate that he/she was not more than 50 percent at fault for the accident.
Given the complexities involved in motorcycle accident claims, it takes a skilled Michigan no-fault insurance attorney to protect the rights of injured riders.
Call Our Michigan Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you need the informed representation Miller & Tischler, P.C. can provide. We believe that motorcycle riders have a right to safe passage on the roads and highways of Michigan and are dedicated to protecting the rights of injury victims. Whether you have a first-party motorcycle accident claim or a third-party claim, you can trust us to help you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve. At Miller & Tischler, you pay no attorneys’ fees until we recover for you. Please contact our office today for a free evaluation of your case.