Top 6 Questions You Need to Answer After a Motorcycle Accident
April 2, 2018
“When I’m on a motorcycle I know I’m alive.”
“My bike is a joy machine.”
Motorcyclists love riding for all kinds of reasons. The excitement, freedom, and exhilaration one feels on a bike are hard to beat. But, even the most experienced rider is at the mercy of other drivers on the road, and the effects of a motorcycle accident are almost always devastating. It’s important to practice safe riding habits and understand your rights before an accident happens. Whiting Law is here to answer some commonly asked questions about what happens after a motorcycle accident.
If I’m injured on my motorcycle, who pays for my injuries?
It depends. Motorcycles are generally excluded from Michigan no-fault law because they only have two wheels and don’t qualify as “motor vehicles.” However, there are a couple of situations where if you are in a motorcycle accident, you could still be entitled to no-fault benefits, such as wage loss, medical expenses, attendant care, and household services:
Situation #1: You have no-fault coverage on your own motorcycle.
No-fault coverage is not standard for motorcycles, but it is typically available from most insurance carriers and we urge you to speak to your insurance agent about maintaining this coverage.
Situation #2: A motor vehicle is "involved" in your accident.
This situation can be much more complicated, which is why you should always reach out to Whiting Law 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, like when a motor vehicle makes 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 how the accident happens, there are different rules regarding whose insurance policy you must make your 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. Whiting Law can help you navigate through this complicated system.
Are there other claims I can file?
In addition to making a claim for no-fault benefits, if another motor vehicle or motorcyclist is negligent in causing your accident, you may also be able to file a claim for your injuries with their insurance carrier. This is called a bodily injury claim or third-party claim. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, please give Whiting Law a call to discuss your rights.
What kind of insurance should a motorcyclist have?
There are several combinations of insurance options available to bikers, but Michigan law only requires minimum of $20,000 in liability coverage on a motorcycle. As we mentioned above, we recommend that you contact your insurance company to determine the right coverage for your motorcycle.
What if the motorcyclist is at fault in the accident?
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 negligence. In that case you would be responsible for all the 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 caused my motorcycle accident?
If you’re injured because you hit a pothole while riding, you are not entitled to file a no-fault claim because a four-wheeled vehicle was not involved in the accident. It may be possible to recover damages from the entity that constructed the roadway or was responsible for any maintenance and repairs. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you sort through your rights and build a strong case in your favor.
What should I do after a motorcycle accident?
If you have been injured in 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.
Motorcycle injury cases can be complicated due to many factors including the cause of the accident, insurance coverage, and more. It’s critical to hire an experienced Michigan motorcycle accident attorney 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 so we can evaluate your case.