While deaths resulting from car and truck crashes have gone down, motorcycle fatalities are higher than ever. Motorcycles are an increasingly popular form of transportation. Unfortunately, this growing popularity has also led to an increase in motorcycle accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), registered motorcycle users have gone up by more than 60% since 2000. During that time, motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled.
According to the most recent data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 5,000 people died in motorcycle accidents between 2007-2016. Motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to experience a fatal crash than drivers or passengers in cars. In addition, several modern trends are creating hazardous road environments for motorcycle riders, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
Our attorneys at The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg are Michigan motorcycle accident experts, including wrongful death cases. We have represented motorcycle accident victims for over 40 years. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle crash, we will fight to ensure you receive the compensation and benefits you deserve under the law.
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Michigan Motorcycle Accident Facts
- A total of 5,172 motorcyclists died in crashes, which is 14% of all 2017 motor vehicle crash deaths.
- 62% of motorcyclist deaths occurred in multiple-vehicle crashes.
- 31% of fatally injured motorcycle drivers were operating without a valid driver’s license.
- More fatally injured motorcyclists are age 50 and older, rising to 36% from 14% in 1997.
- 91% of fatally injured motorcyclists were males under age 30.
- Only about half of fatally injured motorcyclists wear helmets. In states like Michigan, with helmet laws that cover only some riders, 42% of fatally injured motorcyclists are helmeted.
- Motorcycle fatalities peak in the high riding season of July and 58% of motorcyclist deaths occurred during May-September. Nearly half occur on weekends after 6 p.m.
- 53% of motorcyclist deaths occur on local roads.
- 42% of fatally injured motorcycle drivers in single-vehicle crashes had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08%.
- Passenger vehicle motorists cause 70% of motorcycle related accidents, injuries and rider fatalities.
Motorcycle Accidents Can Be Catastrophic
Motorcyclists are incredibly vulnerable in an accident, as there is essentially no barrier between the body and the object with which it collides. Even seemingly minor accidents can have catastrophic effects. 35% of motorcycle accidents cause head injuries, which can result in traumatic brain injury, paralysis, or coma. Other potential injuries can include damage to internal organs, neck or spinal injuries, quadriplegia, paraplegia, severe burns, and broken bones.
Medical costs after a motorcycle accident can be extremely high, resulting in awards and settlements reaching a million dollars or more. The victim of a motorcycle accident may need surgery, long-term rehabilitation, and may have trouble returning to work after injury.
Motorcycle Accidents and Michigan No-Fault Law
Motorcycles are specifically excluded as motor vehicles in Michigan’s No-Fault law. This means that while victims of motorcycle accidents are not entitled to Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits, also known as first-party benefits, under the Michigan No-Fault Law unless the accident involved a motor vehicle like a car or truck. Some key features of Michigan motorcycle accident law include:
- A motorcyclist who is involved in an accident involving a car or truck IS entitled to no-fault benefits, and the responsible party is usually the insurer of the driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash. The first priority (for legal responsibility) goes to the insurer of the owner or registrant of the motor vehicle involved and the second priority belongs to the insurer of the driver of the other vehicle. After that, responsibility belongs to the insurer of the motorcycle driver, then the owner of the motorcycle, and finally to the Michigan Assigned Claims facility.
- The owner (or registrant) of a motorcycle in a crash involving a motor vehicle is not eligible for benefits under the Michigan No-Fault Law if he or she did not purchase motorcycle insurance for the bike.
- A motorcyclist involved in an accident with a pedestrian is not entitled to PIP benefits under no-fault law unless he or she has paid for PIP motorcycle benefits on his or her current policy.
PIP benefits cover all reasonably necessary medical expenses related to the accident, up to three years of lost wages, replacement services (to cover household chores or childcare the victim can no longer complete), attendant care such as in-home nursing, medical mileage, out-of-pocket medical costs and vehicle and/or home modifications.
Third-party claims are also available to victims if the driver of the other vehicle was at least 50% at-fault in causing the accident. These claims are for pain and suffering compensation related to the pain and emotional toll the accident placed on the victim.
When someone is killed in a motorcycle accident, surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Compensation received from a wrongful death suit can include costs for funeral and burial, medical costs, lost wages, and pain, suffering, and loss of companionship for the survivors.
Contact Us Now About Your Motorcycle Accident
Working with insurance companies to ensure you get the compensation you deserve can be frustrating and confusing. We can help. Please call Lee Free and speak to our motorcycle accident attorneys at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form. And remember, you pay nothing until we settle your motorcycle accident case.