How motorcycle accidents are different in Michigan


It’s the perfect time of the year here in Michigan to hit the road on your motorcycle.

However motorcycle accidents can be devastating both physically and financially and come with inherent challenges related to both insurance and perception.

Statistics show that most motorcycle accidents are caused by negligence on the part of other drivers who may not see or be aware of nearby motorcycles when driving.

Along with the physical injuries or emotional challenges caused by a motorcycle accident, bikers often find it difficult to get the compensation they deserve based on perception. Insurance companies tend to consider motorcycle policies a higher risk and as a result they are often reluctant to give bikers the full amount of damages for which they are eligible. This profiling by the insurance companies alone can lead to higher premiums.

There are also significant differences in the insurance options available to motorcycle riders. When an auto accident occurs, drivers will look to his or her own insurance company for coverage, including coverage for medical expenses. However in a motorcycle case, you must use the policy of the vehicle involved in the crash, not the rider of the motorcycle.

There are two common claims motorcycle riders have available to them in Michigan when injured in an accident. One is a first party case which could cover medical bills, replacement services such as at-home care, medical mileage (driving to and front related healthcare appointments) and lost wages. However, under Michigan’s new No-Fault law, minimum coverage for a vehicle is $50,000 (remember rider’s use the insurance company of the vehicle involved). Under the state’s new No-Fault law, a rider will be forced to cover any medical bills above the minimum coverage level the at-fault driver has for his or her policy.

So in the case of a catastrophic injury resulting in hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in medical bills, the victim may only be able to recover a small fraction of those costs from the first party claim. Regardless the injured rider has no control over what the other motorist selected for their coverage, which has created a lot of commotion in Lansing as this new law severely prejudices motorcycle drivers. Under the old No-Fault law, this was never an issue as medical expenses were unlimited in Michigan.

The second type of available claim is a third-party claims that are separated into economic and non-economic damages. Examples of economic damages include future wage losses and future replacement services. Examples of non-economic damages are pain and suffering, severity of injuries, the medical treatment you needed as a result and how your life changed after the accident. Its minimum limits were raised from $20,000 to $100,000 with the new law.

Catastrophic injuries from a motorcycle accident could include anything from brain and spinal cord injuries to broken bones and ribs. These injuries can be life-changing and may require a lifetime of medical treatment. Data from the National Highway and Transportation Safety Organization (NHTSA) has indicated that the rate of death for motorcyclists is more than 27 times the rate of death for car drivers or passengers. On average, treatment for motorcycle accident victims costs about $4,600 based on 2015 statistics from the NHTSA, double the average cost of non-motorcycle accidents.

Social costs of “serious” motorcycle accidents have been determined to be more than $200,000, which includes lost wages, trauma, and real medical dollars over time, according to the NHTSA.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, we encourage you to contact Kajy Law to discuss your potential case with an experienced motorcycle injury attorney. We will seek compensation from the full policy held by the at-fault driver when a motorcycle accident has resulted in an injury. It can be a complex area of the law in Michigan so you will want the most qualified and experienced motorcycle accident attorney you can find to handle your case.

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