Motorcycle accidents are some of the worst vehicle accidents a person can experience. Because motorcyclists have less to protect their bodies when they get hit, they are at higher risk of sustaining severe, life-threatening injuries.
At The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, our Saginaw motorcycle accident lawyers have years of experience helping Michigan motorcycle accident victims win their cases and get the compensation they need to pay for their injuries. Get in touch with someone from our team today to get started with a free case evaluation.
While most people think of negligent drivers as the cause of car accidents, road defects and unsafe road conditions are also an issue. For example, excessive potholes, disrepair, broken and uneven surfaces, and road hazards can all cause drivers to get into accidents.
But who is at fault for these issues?
In Michigan, the local government is responsible for maintaining safe roadways. If a hazardous road condition is not addressed promptly, you could file a claim against your local municipality if the road hazard caused your accident.
That said, you cannot simply blame any issue with the road on the local government. For your claim to be sound, the hazard must be something the government agency knew about or reasonably should have known about.
Specifically, Michigan legislation states that the agency had to have “known, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known, of the existence of the defect and had a reasonable time to repair the defect before the injury took place.”
Additionally, when filing claims against government agencies, there are strict time limits on when you can file a claim against them:
- For defective highway claims, a notice of the accident and injury must be served within 120 days of the incident occurring.
- For the same claim but for victims under the age of 18, the notice must be served no more than 180 days from the time of the accident and injury.
- For the same claim but for those who are physically or mentally unable to give notice themselves, notice must be given no more than 180 days after the termination of the disability.
No matter the situation, filing claims against government agencies is complex and challenging. In most cases, you will need a Saginaw motorcycle accident lawyer to assist you with the process. They can help guide you and ensure all necessary paperwork is filed on time to ensure the government agency is held accountable for the road hazard and your injuries.
More drivers than you might think operate their vehicles without proper insurance coverage. In Michigan alone, the rate of uninsured drivers is around 21%.
So what happens if you are hit as a motorcyclist by someone who is uninsured?
Though Michigan is a no-fault state, motorcyclists who are injured in an accident by an uninsured driver have the right to file a claim to recover compensation for their injuries. However, to get compensation for pain and suffering, the motorcyclist who was injured must have purchased uninsured/underinsured (UI/UIM) coverage on their motorcycle policy.
In addition, so long as your bike was insured, you can also make a claim for first-party PIP benefits through your own auto insurance company.
UM/UIM insurance is not required in Michigan, but it is recommended because so many people don’t have auto insurance. You never know when you might be involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. So if you want to protect yourself as a motorcyclist, you should make sure you have this type of coverage on your motorcycle policy.
It’s a common saying that motorcycles are dangerous or that motorcyclists are reckless drivers. But this is flat out inaccurate. In addition, any vehicle can be dangerous if the person operating it is not careful. There are plenty of motorcyclists who obey the law and drive with caution.
Still, it’s not uncommon for insurers to find ways to deny claims or offer reduced settlement amounts. And one of those ways is trying to imply that a motorcyclist willfully put themselves in danger by choosing to ride a motorcycle. Or they might even try to claim that the rider themselves was driving recklessly.
While these claims can be true in some cases, they are often an attempt to get out of paying motorcyclists the full and fair settlements they deserve for their accident injuries. If you ever find yourself in need of filing an injury claim after a Saginaw motorcycle accident, your best bet is to work with an attorney.
When you work with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney, they will be familiar with the tactics insurers use to get out of paying settlements. And as such, they will know what it takes to help you build a strong case with sufficient evidence that proves that you are not to blame for your own injuries.
In every state, there is a statute of limitations on when a person can file a claim for an injury they suffered in an accident — and Michigan is no exception. These statutes are meant to prevent people from taking advantage of the system.
For motorcyclists, the statute of limitations depends on the type of claim they are filing.
- For pain and suffering compensation, the claim must be filed within three years of the motorcycle accident. These are also called “third-party claims,” “negligence claims,” or “tort claims,” as they are filed against someone who is at fault for the accident.
- For no-fault benefits, the claim must be filed within one year of the motorcycle accident. Michigan is a no-fault state, so most claims tend to be no-fault claims.
- For UM/UIM claims, the statute of limitations is the same as a pain and suffering claim, or 3 years. However, because these cases are controlled by the insurance policy and are contractual, it is important to speak with a lawyer when making this claim.
- For first-party medical benefits insurance, the time limits can also vary as it will depend on when the service was provided and whether the claim was denied or not.
Filing a claim can be different whether you are a motorcyclist or a motor vehicle operator.
- More dangerous: Riding a motorcycle is considered inherently more dangerous than driving a car because there is less protection. Car drivers have the frame of the vehicle around them to protect them from direct impact in an accident, whereas motorcyclists do not. As such, motorcyclists are much more likely to sustain severe and even life-threatening injuries. In fact, the NHTSA states that motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to be killed in an accident than car passengers.
- No-fault benefit coverage: While motorcyclists can file claims to recover no-fault benefits in an accident, these claims would be filed against the other driver involved in the accident. Unlike a car accident, where a person goes to their auto insurance for no-fault benefits, a motorcyclist is stuck with the insurance policy of the driver or vehicle owner involved in the crash.
- Pain and suffering claims: Motorcyclists in Michigan can file pain and suffering claims if the other driver was at fault for the accident. However, the motorcyclist must be able to show that they suffered a “serious impairment of body function” for this claim to be valid.
As long as a motorcyclist in Michigan is less than 50% at fault for an accident, and they have suffered an injury that impacts a body function, they can file a claim for pain and suffering against the other driver involved in the accident. However, the motorcyclist will still need to provide sufficient evidence to prove that the other driver is the one who is primarily at fault for the accident.
This can be a complex process and often requires the help of a motorcycle accident attorney. Some evidence will not be easy to obtain on your own. It is best if you work with a lawyer who can help you gather evidence and build a strong case.
Such evidence that will be needed to help prove fault and ensure you are awarded the full and fair settlement you deserve for your Saginaw motorcycle accident includes:
- Police reports
- Photos from the scene of the accident
- Video surveillance footage from nearby security cameras
- Eyewitness statements
- Accident reconstruction reports
- Medical documents proving you were injured
- Statements made by anyone involved in the accident, including your own.
The steps you take after a motorcycle accident can play a significant role in how your case plays out. To ensure the best chance of winning your case, it’s important that you take the following steps after you have been injured in a motorcycle accident:
- Call 911 and ensure the police arrive to file an official report.
- Seek immediate medical attention. You can either wait for emergency medical responders to arrive to address your injuries if they are severe, or after the police have filed their report, you or someone else can take you to a doctor or the hospital to get checked out.
- Take photos and videos of the accident scene for evidence if you are able.
- Get contact information from witnesses who can give statements to support your claim.
- Get in touch with an attorney and do not sign or say anything to the insurance company before talking to the lawyer. The insurance company could try to use your words against you to deny your claim.
An attorney will play an important role after you have been injured in a Saginaw motorcycle accident. Without an attorney, you may struggle to gather the evidence you need and could end up saying or doing something that could result in your claim being denied.
So, what can a Saginaw motorcycle accident attorney do for you?
- They can help investigate the case to prove what happened.
- They can help you understand your rights so you know what to expect.
- They can help guide you and offer advice to ensure the best possible outcome.
- They can help you gather and obtain important evidence to build a strong case.
- They can defend you if the other party tries to claim you are at fault.
- They can negotiate with insurance to ensure you are awarded the full and fair settlement you deserve.
- They can represent you in court if the case goes to trial.
Top Rated Saginaw Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
For over 40 years, The Lee Steinberg Law Firm has helped injured victims win their cases to collect the compensation they need and deserve. We care about the health and well-being of our clients. The results of a Saginaw motorcycle accident can be traumatic—let us help you get the compensation you need to recover and move on as comfortably as possible.
Please call The Lee Steinberg Saginaw Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form so we can answer any questions you may have about your accident. You pay nothing until we settle your Saginaw motorcycle accident case.