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Michigan Motorcycle Accident Law Basics
Motorcyclists are about 26 times as likely as a passenger car
occupant to die in a traffic crash.
A motorcycle injury accident is extremely dangerous because of
the lack of protection the motorcycle drivers have. A large
number of motorcycle accidents will result in death or serious
injury. Motorcyclists are especially susceptible for being
overlooked by other drivers because of their size. There are
different laws regarding motorcycle accidents, so if involved
in a motorcycle accident it is a good idea to contact Talab
Nunley, P.C. experienced in motorcycle accidents.
The vast majority of motorcyclists use every possible safety
precaution to avoid accidents. Often, it is the other driver's
mistakes that often cause very serious consequences. There is
no way to eliminate risk in driving a motorcycle, and serious
accidents occur to even the most skilled bikers. As most
riders will tell you there are two types of riders, those who
have been in an accident and those who will be in an accident.
Michigan has laws that define what rights a cyclist has if
involved in an accident. First, Michigan law does not consider
a motorcycle to be a motor vehicle. This important technical
distinction results in considerably different rights for
motorcycle accident victims than victims of automobile
accidents. Therefore, you should immediately contact our
office if you are involved in a motorcycle accident to protect
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Motorcyclists are about 18 times more likely to be in a
fatal accident and 3 times more likely to be injured than
those in passenger cars.
The fatality rate for motorcyclists was 3.6 times greater
than the fatality rate for occupants of passenger cars.
41% of the 1,203 motorcycle operators who were killed in
single-vehicle crashes were intoxicated.
Helmets were approximately 29% effective in preventing fatal
injuries to motorcyclists.
49% of young motorcyclist who were fatally injured in
motorcycle accidents were not wearing helmets at the time of
Approximately 75% of motorcycle accidents involved collision
with another vehicle -- usually a passenger automobile.
Motorcycle equipment failure accounts for less than 3% of
motorcycle accidents -- usually due to a puncture flat.
In single vehicle accidents, motorcycle rider error causes
66% of motorcycle accidents - the typical error being a
slide out and fall due to over braking or running wide on a
curve due to excess speed or under-cornering.
Roadway defects (pavement ridges, potholes, etc.) were
the accident cause in 2% of motorcycle accidents.
Weather is not a factor in 98% of motorcycle accidents
The median pre-crash speed was 29.8 mph and the median crash
speed was 21.5 mph.
Less than 10% of the motorcycle riders involved in accidents
have insurance of any kind to provide medical care or
Motorcycles - Motorcycles are involved in such a high number
of traffic collisions, because they are so hard to see on
Source: Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification
of Countermeasures, Volume 1: Technical Report "The Hurt
Approximately three-fourths of the motorcycle collisions
studied involved a collision with another vehicle.
Approximately one-fourth of the motorcycle collisions
studied involved a collision with the roadway or a fixed
object in the environment.
One percent of the collisions studied involved an animal.
In two-thirds of the collisions that involved another
vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle was at fault by
violating the motorcycles right-of-way.
92% of the motorcycle collisions studied, involved
motorcycle riders that were self-taught or learned from
family or friends.
Injury severity increases with speed, alcohol involvement,
and motorcycle size.
In the motorcycle collisions studied, less than ten percent
of the riders had insurance to cover medical care or to
Tips for Driver and Motorcycle Riders
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggest the
following safe driving tips that can be used to safely share
the road with motorcyclist:
Respect the motorcyclist: Remember, motorcycles are vehicles
with all the privileges of any vehicle on the road. Give the
motorcyclist a full lane of travel.
Look out: Watch for motorcycles on the highway, at
intersections and when they make left turns or lane changes.
Anticipate a motorcyclist's maneuver: Obstructions that you
may ignore- such as debris or potholes- can be deadly for a
motorcyclist. Anticipate evasive actions taken by
Allow plenty of space: Don't follow a motorcycle too
closely. Allow enough room for motorcyclist to take evasive
Motorcycle Safety Tips
The following are tips from the NHTSA for the motorcyclist:
In an average year 166,000 Americans will be hospitalized as a
result of a motorcycle accident. 4,700 of them die. Many
others will be crippled. Why? Three primary reasons:
1. A motorcycle is harder to see;
2. A motorcycle offers little or no protection; and
3. A motorcycle's handling is tricky.
Wear protective clothing: The most important factor in
reducing injury is personal protection. Leather jackets,
gloves, long pants, proper footwear, eye protection, and
helmets that provide this personal protection.
Ride where you can be seen: Make sure you can be seen by
drivers around you. Never ride in another driver's blind
Drive defensively: Drive your motorcycle defensively; always
watch out for others around you.
Leave a buffer zone: Give yourself extra space in your lane
for emergency braking situations or other avoidance
Single lanes: Never share a lane with a car. A driver may
not expect you to be there and may not be aware of your
presence. Most drivers are looking for vehicles, not
Use signals: Always clearly signal your intentions to other
drivers. Signal before changing lanes, make your lane move
gradually, and never weave between lanes.
Maintain your motorcycle: Make sure your motorcycle is in
good condition. Have your motorcycle inspected to insure
good mechanical condition.
Light-colored clothing: Wear fluorescent or light colors
during the day and reflective materials in the evening and
at night. Remember, See and Be Seen!
A study conducted by Harry Hurt at the University of
Southern California, called "Motorcycle Collision Cause
Factors and Identification of Countermeasures";
What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident
Your response immediately after an accident is important to
preserve the evidence essential to any potential claim. If
possible, obtain the following information.
Obtain the name, address, and telephone number of the other
Obtain the drivers license number(s) of the other driver(s).
Obtain the insurance information of the other driver(s).
Obtain the make, model and year of the other vehicles(s) and
check the vehicle registration. Take down the vehicle
owner's name and address, if it is a person or corporation
or entity different from the driver. If it is a company
vehicle, write down the name and address of the company. If
it is a leased or rented vehicle, write down the name,
address and telephone number of the rental company.
Give the other driver(s) your name, address, driver's
license number and insurance information.
Look around immediately and identify any and all possible
witnesses to the accident. Ask for their names, addresses,
telephone numbers (both home and work), and where they work.
If they do not want to get involved, take down their car
license plate number and state.
Listen carefully to what the other driver(s) say about the
events leading up to the accident, e.g., "I didn't see you."
and write it down.
Call the Police, or have someone else call the Police
immediately. The police officer will generally interview all
drivers and take witness statements from all witnesses still
present. The police may also collect vital physical evidence
and make important skid or debris measurements useful in
"reconstructing" the point of impact and vehicle speeds upon
which the auto driver's liability will often turn.
Ask the police officer to find out where the other driver
was going. If the driver was on an errand for his or her
employer, "in the course and scope of his or her
employment," you may find you have another good "potential
Follow through on all medical care, treatment, and therapy
recommended by you physician(s).
Contact our office. It is critical that you find the
appropriate attorney to represent you right from the start.
Do Not sign any writings by the other driver
purporting to summarize the facts of the accident.
Do Not get into an argument with the other driver(s)
about what happened.
Do Not have your bike repaired. Not until you have an
attorney who can have the bike inspected, photographed, and
provide the Insurer or Defense Attorney notice and an
opportunity to inspect the bike.
Do Not permit anyone to interrogate you about the
events of the accident, particularly the other party's
attorney, representatives of the other party's insurance
company, or even representatives of your own insurance
company. If your insurance policy requires that you report
your accident within a time certain, this is another reason
to obtain an attorney immediately.
The major dangers associated with communications with other
parties, their attorneys, their insurance representatives
and your insurance representatives can all be avoided by
immediately by contacting our office.
Michigan Motorcycle Accident claims
Michigan Third Party Claims
The most noticeable claim available to those seriously injured
in Michigan motorcycle accident is that arising from the
negligence of the at-fault vehicle in the collision. Most
motorcycle injury accidents are the fault of negligently
driven automobiles. Michigan law requires that a lawsuit
against an at-fault driver/owner in a collision be filed
within 3 years of the date of the accident.
In order to prevail in an ordinary Michigan motorcycle injury
case, the injured party will have to demonstrate that the
other motorist involved was more than 50% responsible for the
accident. A legal term frequently used to describe this
concept is to say that it is necessary for the injured party
to demonstrate that the person being sued was "negligent" as
defined by Michigan law. You should contact our office to
determine whether you have a Third Party claim.
Michigan No-Fault Claims
Michigan No-Fault benefits are also generally available to
Michigan motorcycle accident victims. These are benefits for
economic damages. These benefits are designed to provide
medical benefits, wage loss, attendant care and replacement
services to injury victims. Indeed, no-fault benefits are
often crucial to the economic survival of the seriously
injured, and Michigan law only allows one year to establish a
proper claim for these benefits and secure necessary payments.
Determining the proper insurance company responsible for
paying no-fault benefits to an injured cyclist can be
complicated. A simplified list of priorities is as follows:
Michigan Motorcycle Order of Priority
1st priority -- is to the insurer of the owner of the motor
vehicle involved in the accident, if none then...
2nd priority-- is to the insurer of the operator of the motor
vehicle involved in the accident, if none then...
3rd priority-- is to the motor vehicle insurer of the operator
of the motorcycle involved in the accident, if none then...
4th priority-- is to the motor vehicle insurer of the owner of
the motorcycle involved in the accident, if none then...
5th priority-- is to the Assigned Claims Facility.
Road Fault Claims
Some motorcycle accidents are not caused by negligent
motorists, but are instead the result of a flaw in the
roadway. These defects could be the result of faulty road
design, disrepair, inadequate maintenance, or failure to
remove a road hazard.
A claim against a public entity for defective road repair or
inadequate design is often subject to complex filing
requirements. In addition, the timeline for filing these
claims is much shorter than those allowed for the pursuit of
other legal actions. Often, an attorney will have to work hard
to establish that the responsible party either knew of the
road defect or reasonably should have known about the defect.
These are known as "Notice" and "Constructive Notice". Contact
our office if you feel that there may be a road defect claim.
Frequently Asked Questions
about Michigan Motorcycle Accident Law
Question: I did not carry insurance on my motorcycle. Can I
still sue the driver who hit me?
Answer: Yes, unlike automobile negligence claims, it is
possible to sue the at-fault driver if you were operating a
cycle which you owned without insurance. Nevertheless,
Michigan law prohibits you from filing a claim for First Party
Question: An unidentified car cut me off, and caused my cycle
to veer off the road. Do I have a case through my uninsured
Answer: Possibly. You should contact our office to
determine if a case exists under the unique facts of your
specific situation. Issues relating to physical contact
between you and the vehicle may be key to establishing this
Question: Is there a difference between uninsured motorist
coverage and underinsured motorist coverage?
Answer: Yes. Underinsured coverage provides an
additional means of collection when one is seriously injured
in an accident. It is distinguishable from uninsured coverage
which is available when there is no identifiable insurance on
an at-fault vehicle. For example, if you carried a policy of
$100,000 underinsured coverage and there was a $20,000 policy
of insurance on the at-fault diver, it would be possible to
seek up to $80,000 in additional compensation from your own
insurance company. This is provided that all the proper
documentation has been filed you’re your insurance company.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage is an insurance coverage option
which allows you possible recovery from your insurance policy
if the at-fault driver does not have insurance coverage, or,
importantly, if the at-fault driver can not be identified
(i.e. hit and run driver). It is recommended that all
motorcyclists carry uninsured coverage.
Our Motorcycle Accident
Many motorcycle riders throughout Michigan are familiar with
the professionalism generated personally by our firm. The
attorney handing motorcycle accidents cases is not just an
attorney but also an avid rider for many years.
Most of our clients were referred to our office by satisfied
clients who we assisted in the past. Additionally, other
attorneys have referred friends and family members to our
office, confident that their claim would be handled by an
extraordinary team of professionals. If our office makes a
claim on an injured individual's behalf, the insurance
companies know the matter is to be taken seriously.
Despite all this, the most important component of our firm is
our commitment to our clients. Obtaining the largest
settlement possible on your behalf is our goal. We understand
the serious nature of the injuries sustained by our clients,
and are 100% committed to helping our clients through the
difficult times. Every client is important to our office, and
with every case we want to fight to achieve the best possible
Why You Need A Lawyer
Put a Strong Advocate In Your Corner
Insurance companies always vigorously fight against paying
damages to an injured victim. We will zealously represent your
interest in these proceedings and counsel you as your claim
progresses. We will do everything possible to ensure your
family's comfort in knowing the claim is progressing during
the pursuit of your claim.
Professional Evaluation of Your Claim
Our office will diligently gather all of the documentation,
make a determination, and file the appropriate claim on your
behalf. It is not a responsibility that should be given to one
who is not well versed in the laws that govern motorcycle
accidents. Studies consistently indicated that injured parties
represented by legal counsel obtain far greater recoveries
than those individuals who attempt to represent their own
Free Consultation -- Do I have a case?
Any information that you provide is confidential. Our office
will only use this information to determine the viability of a
claim on your behalf.
There is no charge or obligation, and any consultation is
free. A member of our legal group will review this information
and respond immediately.
You can always contact us directly at 1-248-366-5000. Our
phones answer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Consultation Request Form: