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“Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.” ~Anonymous

Bikers love riding for many reasons. (“If you don’t ride, you don’t understand.”) The thrill of riding in the open air is incomparable. But even the most experienced, skilled motorcyclists are highly vulnerable to other drivers on the road, and unfortunately, the effects of a motorcycle accident are typically devastating. Every year, thousands of bikers are seriously injured or killed in accidents involving other drivers. In fact, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die than motorists in a motor vehicle crash and six times as likely to be injured.

As a responsible motorcycle rider, you practice safe habits by properly preparing for your ride, but what happens if you are in an accident? We have answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about motorcycle accidents.

What should I do after a motorcycle accident?

After a motorcycle accident it’s important to take certain action immediately. You should contact the police and emergency services if needed. Get names and contact information for any witnesses. If you are able, photograph the scene, or have a witness take photos for you if you’re incapacitated. Contact an attorney specializing in motorcycle accidents as soon as you can following your accident. You should also get checked out by medical personnel as soon as you can after your accident; even if you think you escaped injury, some injuries are not apparent right away.

Who pays for my injuries after a motorcycle accident?

There is not a simple answer to this question. Motorcycle accidents can be complicated, as motorcycles are generally excluded from Michigan no-fault law because they only have two wheels and don’t qualify as “motor vehicles.” There are a couple of scenarios where after a motorcycle accident, you could still be entitled to no-fault benefits, such as wage loss, medical expenses, attendant care, and household services:

  • Scenario A: You carry no-fault insurance on your motorcycle. No-fault coverage is not standard for motorcycles, but it is typically available from most insurance carriers. It may be a good idea to speak to your insurance agent about maintaining this coverage.
  • Scenario B: A motor vehicle is "involved" in your accident. This situation can get complicated quickly, which is why you should always reach out to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney right away if you are involved in a motorcycle accident.

Under Michigan law, if a motor vehicle is "involved" in your motorcycle accident, you are entitled to no-fault benefits. "Involved" can be obvious, such as a motor vehicle making physical contact with your motorcycle. But, "involved" can be as little as a motor vehicle driver swerving into your lane, causing you to have to lay down your motorcycle to avoid being hit. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, there are different rules regarding whose insurance policy you must file a claim with for no-fault benefits. In most cases, after a motorcycle accident, you can’t file a no-fault claim with your own carrier, but you may be able to file one with the negligent driver’s carrier. Your attorney can help you navigate through this complicated system.

What other claims can I file?

If another motorist’s or motorcyclist’s negligence causes your accident, in addition to making a claim for no-fault benefits, you may also be able to file a claim for your injuries with the other driver’s insurance carrier. This is called a bodily injury claim or third-party claim. A knowledgeable motorcycle injury attorney will be able to guide you through this process.

What kind of insurance does a biker need?

There are several combinations of insurance options available to motorcycle riders, but Michigan law only requires a minimum of $20,000 in liability coverage on a motorcycle. The best thing you can do is contact your insurance company to determine the right coverage for you.

What if the accident was my fault?

If you are in an accident where a motor vehicle is "involved," regardless of fault, you will be entitled to no-fault benefits. If you cause an accident with your motorcycle, you may be sued for damages caused by your actions. In that case, you will be held responsible for any damage you caused in the accident. However, as long as you maintained the legally required insurance on your motorcycle, your insurance company would defend the claim. If you are riding a bike that doesn’t belong to you, the title holder of the motorcycle is also liable for the accident you caused.

What if a pothole is to blame for my accident?

This is Michigan, after all. If you become injured after hitting a pothole while riding your motorcycle, you are not entitled to file a no-fault claim because a four-wheeled vehicle was not involved in the accident. However, you may be able to recover damages from the entity that constructed the roadway or was responsible for any maintenance and repairs. Your attorney will be able to help you sort through your rights.

Motorcycle injury cases are complicated due to many factors such as the cause of the accident, insurance coverage, and more. It is so important to have an experienced motorcycle accident attorney on your side who understands the different laws and can build and present a strong case on your behalf. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Whiting Law for a free case evaluation.

DISCLAIMER: This information is opinion-based and for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with an attorney to determine what may be best for your individual needs. Your use of the information on or materials linked from the web is at your own risk.

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