Filing a claim for compensation after a motorcycle accident in Michigan is more complicated than you might think. That’s because the state does not classify motorcycles as motor vehicles. Injured bikers can only obtain no-fault benefits if the crash involves another car or truck. However, there are other ways motorcyclists can seek compensation if they suffer injuries in a wreck.
Not sure how to file a claim for motorcycle accident injuries? Your legal options will differ based on the facts of your case. It’s best to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before moving forward with your claim. Going it alone may mean you miss out on the compensation you deserve because of a misunderstanding about your rights.
The award-winning motorcycle accident lawyers at Christensen Law are committed to helping Michigan bikers recover from crashes without worrying about how to pay the bills. We’ve successfully represented numerous injured motorcyclists, and secured record-breaking verdicts and settlements on their behalf. Call or contact us today for a free consultation with a Michigan motorcycle accident lawyer.
Filing a Michigan Motorcycle Accident Claim is Tricky
Claiming compensation for a motorcycle accident doesn’t work the same way as it would if you were involved in a car crash in Michigan. Specific factors set motorcycle collisions apart from other types of motor vehicle wrecks. Filing a motorcycle accident claim can prove tricky because:
- Motorcycles are treated differently than other vehicles under Michigan’s no-fault insurance law. Operators are not required to purchase medical benefits coverage in their own policy but instead may obtain Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage through an at-fault driver’s no-fault insurance. If no PIP coverage is available, a rider may be eligible to seek compensation from the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan. No-fault benefits cover medical expenses, lost wages for up to three years after a wreck, a stipend for household chores the victim cannot perform, and attendant care.
- Motorcycle accidents often involve serious injuries, which increases a claim’s value. The larger the losses, the more difficult it may be to resolve a claim. Significant losses and expenses suffered by an injured rider may also exhaust an at-fault party’s liability insurance coverage, making it challenging to get the full and fair amount you’re owed.
- At-fault drivers and their insurance companies sometimes try to pin the blame for a crash on an injured motorcyclist. If the defendants successfully establish that the biker is at fault, the motorcyclist could be barred from recovering any compensation whatsoever. A motorcycle accident lawyer can collect evidence to refute allegations of fault against you.
In some cases, bikers may also be entitled to file a pain and suffering lawsuit against a responsible driver. This type of lawsuit, also called a third-party claim, is possible when a motorcyclist suffered serious injuries under Michigan law as a result of another driver’s negligence. A successful pain and suffering suit can provide compensation for excess medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress. Always speak to an experienced trial attorney to determine if this is the correct course of action for you.
What to Do After the Accident: Gathering Evidence
Protecting your right to file a motorcycle accident claim begins with gathering evidence that includes:
- Photos and video of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, skid marks and broken glass on the road, visual obstructions, environmental conditions, and your injuries
- Insurance and contact information for every driver involved in the crash
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers for any witnesses
- Medical records
- Bills, invoices, receipts, pay stubs, or income statements
- A diary showing the daily impact your injury has had on your life
Not all motorcycle accidents are another driver’s fault. Suppose a road defect caused a crash. In that case, you could be entitled to file a personal injury claim against the government entity responsible for maintaining the roadway. Talking to a Michigan motorcycle accident lawyer promptly can help ensure all potentially liable parties are identified and claims are filed on time. Deadlines are tight in cases involving state government and local municipalities.
Filing a Claim in a Motorcycle Accident
Claiming compensation for a motorcycle accident usually begins with filing an insurance claim with the applicable insurance company. If the driver of a passenger vehicle causes a motorcycle accident, that driver’s insurer should extend PIP coverage to the injured biker.
If the motorcyclist purchased medical benefits coverage, they might also be entitled to turn to their own motorcycle insurance policy for compensation. Health insurance companies may pay for medical expenses after a crash.
A claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance can be made on behalf of the injured rider. After filing an insurance claim, a victim (or their attorney) will go through the process of trying to negotiate a motorcycle accident settlement. With a settlement, a motorcyclist accepts financial compensation and agrees not to sue the at-fault party.
If parties cannot reach a mutually acceptable settlement, a lawyer might recommend filing a lawsuit and seeking compensation in court. Most motorcycle accident claims in Michigan settle before reaching the trial stage.
How Long After an Injury Can I Make a Claim?
Michigan’s statute of limitations for motorcycle accident claims gives victims three years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit against a negligent party. There is a one-year statute of limitations to make a claim for no-fault PIP benefits. However, different deadlines apply if the defendant is a government agency or employee. There are also very short time requirements for filing a notice if a government vehicle or employee, or a public bus caused the accident. Missing these deadlines or filing a defective notice will prevent the victim from recovering any compensation for their injuries.
Failing to file a motorcycle accident claim on time could end your ability to seek compensation for your injuries. For this reason, it’s essential to contact a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible.
What Types of Compensation Can I Receive?
Financial recovery in a motorcycle accident claim may include:
- Medical bills
- Costs of long-term care if you suffer disabilities due to your injuries, such as home health services or housekeeping chores
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings and employment
- Physical pain and anguish
- Emotional trauma
- Lost enjoyment or quality
- Scarring and disfigurement that interferes with your daily life
- Motorcycle repairs or replacement
Talk to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
Filing a motorcycle accident claim can be confusing, especially when stubborn insurance companies fail to provide the compensation they should. Christensen Law is a respected Michigan personal injury law firm with a history of success and a reputation for excellence. We care about you and will fight aggressively for the compensation you need to make the best possible recovery.
Call or contact us online for a free case evaluation.