Key Points of This Article:
- According to Michigan State Police, nearly 2,750 crashes involving motorcycles happen each year, resulting in about 2,000 injuries.
- Common motorcycle accident injuries can range from mild road rash and scarring to severely broken bones and traumatic brain injuries.
- Motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to die in a roadway accident than those in other vehicle types.
- If you have questions about claiming your motorcycle accident injury, or how the new Michigan no-fault law works and applies to injured motorcyclists, the team at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. are experienced and ready to help.
Motorcycles, sometimes called motorbikes, bikes, or cycles, have a popular culture in the Midwest. Some have been designed as street bikes, cruisers, sportsters, touring cycles, and mopeds, while others serve as hobby or lifestyle bikes or were purchased as an economical choice of transportation. Each is made for specific purposes. Some can maneuver well when handled correctly, but all offer little to no protection in an accident, leaving riders and their passengers incredibly vulnerable to severe injuries or death. Another thing they have in common is that no matter the bike of choice, motorcycle crashes often happen due to the negligence of other drivers. These are motorists who choose to make poor decisions such as running stop signs or traffic lights, speeding, driving distracted, or making an improper turn or lane change in front of a bike.
Motorcycle accidents can happen anywhere but are likely to occur at intersections, parking lots, and community streets close to home.
- Metro Detroit: In 2019, the Michigan Secretary of State’s office identified areas and intersections specific to Metro Detroit with some of the worst motorcycle crash ratings in the state.
- Parking Lots: Busy shopping center parking lots can be home to motorcycle accidents due to drivers who aren’t looking when backing out of parking spaces, aren’t paying attention at parking lot entrances and exits, or cutting through spots created for parked vehicles.
- Interstates and Expressways: I-75 and some of the major expressways, including I-94 and I-96, can be risky spots for Michigan motorcyclists due to high speeds, distracted drivers, big trucks, and improper lane changes.
Some of the more common motorcycle injuries include:
- Lower extremity injuries and broken bones (legs, hips, and ankles)
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Whiplash, such as low back pain and neck pain
- Numbness and tingling in the arms and legs
- Closed head injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Road rash, severe burns, and scarring
- Internal bleeding
- Facial injuries, such as dental damage
- Fatal injuries leading to wrongful death
Too often common motorcycle injuries will involve some of the worst-case injury scenarios, including catastrophic brain and spinal cord injuries, resulting in paralysis, permanent disability, or even death.
Even the Best Rider Should Wear A Motorcycle Helmet
Motorcyclists are far more vulnerable to severe injury or death in a crash than drivers and passengers of passenger vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wearing a helmet will decrease those risks by nearly 37%, yet only half of all fatally injured motorcycle drivers will be helmeted. Wearing a helmet has also been statistically proven to decrease a rider’s chance of serious personal injury such as TBI by nearly three times.
- TBI or closed head injuries, are unfortunately more common than not and can require extensive rehabilitation and physical therapy, invasive surgeries, long-term cognitive disabilities, and extended recovery time.
- Many motorcyclists battling TBI find themselves with failing memory and thought processes and the inability to focus or complete easy, everyday tasks.
- TBI can be disruptive to both personal activities and professional work.
Helmets are only required for some Michigan riders even though head injuries have increased after the state repealed the Motorcycle Helmet Law in 2012. Due to this unfortunate oversight in rider safety, highway safety officials say that the repeal of Michigan’s all-rider helmet law is likely a contributing factor in the rise in fatalities.
Uninsured Motorcyclist Injured in a Car or Truck Accident
Under the law, a motorcycle is not considered a “motor vehicle.” Therefore, motorcycle owners/registrants are not required to purchase Michigan no-fault auto insurance. However, the owner or registrant of a motorcycle is required to purchase traditional liability insurance for bodily injury, death, or property damage [MCL 500.3103(1)].
If you failed to purchase insurance for your motorcycle and another driver crashes into you, you can make a claim for pain and suffering. But you are not eligible to claim no-fault benefits, like medical bills or lost wages. Michigan’s recent no-fault law reform has not changed the sources of no-fault benefits for motorcyclists (whether they are operators or riders) injured in a motorcycle accident with a motor vehicle. Motorcyclists will continue first to seek no-fault benefits from the “insurer” of the owner of the motor vehicle involved in the accident and, then, the “insurer” of the vehicle’s operator. [MCL 500.3114(5)(a) and (b)]. However, the new no-fault law has changed the amount of benefits available to a motorcyclist who has been injured in a crash with a car or truck.
Motorcycle crashes happen every day across Michigan. If insurance coverage is not in play or no-fault benefits are not enough, recovery time and financial exhaustion from motorcycle accident injuries can cause a life-long struggle for many.
We Can Handle the Legal Fight for the Compensation You Deserve
Motorcycle accidents in Michigan resulting in injury are a select type of claim. They demand a thorough analysis of evidence and require motorcycle accident specialists to ensure the injured victim receives full compensation. If someone dies in a motorcycle accident, surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Our legal team of Detroit motorcycle accident lawyers have handled hundreds of motorcycle wrecks all over the state. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, our motorcycle accident and wrongful death attorneys know you need to focus on healing. Let us take on the legal fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. toll-free at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) for an absolutely free, no-risk consultation.
Watch Attorney Eric Steinberg: What are Common Injuries from a Motorcycle Accident? | Michigan Motorcycle Accident
Video Transcript 1
Common motorcycle accident injuries run the gamut from severe road rash, scarring, broken bones, in particular broken legs and broken ankles because the nature of landing on your side, that part of the body’s going to have impact first with the pavement. It will tend to quote unquote, break the fall. So you’ll see some pretty severe lower extremity injuries. Another common injury unfortunately is head trauma or as they say in medicine, traumatic brain injury or TBI or a closed head injury. These injuries obviously can be some of the worst because when you’re dealing with the brain, you’re dealing with our ability to remember stuff, our ability to use our minds to do cognitive thought processes and those things can get interfered with. And you can lose your ability to do a lot of the easy tasks that you could do before the motorcycle crashed because of the injury you have in your brain.
Some of the worst accidents we’ve dealt with are not the broken bone cases involving a motorcycle crash. They’re absolutely the traumatic brain injury. Every motorcycle rider should, in my opinion, just from doing this, should wear a helmet. I know it’s not the law anymore. You can do whatever you want, but you really should think about putting on the helmet every single time you ride. You might be the best rider ever, take all the safety precautions that you would want to take, but there’s a knucklehead driving down the road who’s not paying attention who isn’t as safe causes a horrific accident. You’re not protected, but with a helmet and an injury that may not have been so bad can be absolutely life altering. So I recommend everybody wear a helmet when riding and I don’t care if you’re on your city street going around your block, or if you’re riding up and down high 75, put on the helmet.
Video Transcript 2
Motorcycle accidents happen a lot of different ways. Usually, in my experience, they happen at intersections and not necessarily busy intersections. They happen when somebody is just disregarding a red light or a yield sign and runs right through traffic, usually in a situation where there’s not a lot of other cars in the road. Someone’s cruising along very fast and just ignores the red light. So it just, when you’re riding your bike, just be extra vigilant on those straight thoroughfares where you don’t necessarily see a lot of traffic, but you just got to be extra careful because you don’t know if someone’s going to blow a light or blow a stop sign.
I also see it quite a bit in busy shopping center situations where someone pulls out of the Walmart or the Home Depot, doesn’t pay attention and smack someone who has the right of way riding their bike. So just be extra vigilant in those situations also. We see a lot of accidents on I-75, I’m going to admit, some of the major expressways and 94 and 96, but more of them do tend to happen closer to home, and they tend to happen on your busier community streets than the busy expressways.