Wisconsin motorcycle accidents carry higher risk of significant injury or death than crashes involving cars or even large trucks. Whereas 20 percent of passenger vehicle crashes result in injury or death, a stunning 80 percent of motorcycle crashes do, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcycle deaths were 29 times more likely to occur than passenger vehicle fatalities.
The Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles reports nearly 2,000 people are injured in motorcycle accidents across the state yearly, while more than five dozen are killed. Motorcycles and mopeds account for 1.4 percent of all crashes in Wisconsin, but 4 percent of all injurious crashes and 11.3 percent of fatal crashes.
Although we refer to these incidents as “accidents,” the reality is they are preventable occurrences. Nine out of 10 motorcycle crashes happen on dry pavement, with the five most frequently-contributing circumstances being:
At Lein Law Lein Law Offices, our motorcycle accident attorneys in Hayward and Winter help motorcycle accident victims injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. That could mean a motorcycle passenger taking legal action against the operator, or either of those two taking legal action against another driver or third-party.
Negligence is the breach of one’s duty to use ordinary care, resulting in harm to someone else. When someone’s negligence causes a motorcycle accident that results in your injury, we fight to help protect your rights and make sure you have the necessary resources to recover.
Motorcycle Requirements in Wisconsin
Those driving a motorcycle need a Class M license and minimum auto insurance coverage ($25,000 bodily injury per person, $50,000 total per crash, $10,000 in property damage and uninsured motorist coverage). Those driving mopeds (capable of a top speed of 30 mph) don’t need a Class M license, and instead can use just a Class D regular or probationary license – but not with an instruction permit.
Riders (and passengers) under 18 are required to wear a helmet. WI Stat. § 347.485 has what we call a “partial helmet law,” because it’s only applicable to certain individuals, in this case, those under 18. Although wearing a helmet is generally recommended (even if not required), WI Stat. 895.049 specifically finds that failure to use protective head gear “shall not reduce recovery for injuries or damages by the person or the person’s legal representative for any civil action.”
All riders must wear eye protection, use their headlights and have working turn signals.
Bear in mind these are the minimum amounts required. It’s often a smart idea to purchase excess insurance. For instance, underinsured motorist coverage isn’t mandatory, but it can provide additional coverage in the event the minimum limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance aren’t sufficient to cover your damages.
Motorcycle Injuries in Wisconsin
The reality is hospitals, medical providers and insurers are all watching out for their own bottom line on what is the worst day of your life. Without an experienced motorcycle accident attorney at your side, there is no guarantee your rights are going to be protected. This is especially important because motorcycle injuries have greater potential to be catastrophic, including:
Many bikers also suffer from something called “Biker’s Arm” following a crash. It’s a condition caused by the biker’s instinct to wrap his or her arms around the body while being thrown from the motorcycle. The arms absorb the brunt of the impact, which can lead to permanent damage to the nerves or other serious injuries.
When you’re in a motorcycle, you have no seatbelts or airbags, no exterior walls or doors and other drivers tend to forget to watch out for motorcycles – or flat-out disregard bikers’ right to the road.
If you have been injured in a Hayward motorcycle accident, you may have legal recourse, and our injury lawyers can help you ascertain the best way to protect your rights.
Why Should I Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
Though motorcycle accidents often result in serious injury, it’s not always easy for riders to recover damages. A motorcycle injury attorney is imperative to give you the best shot at maximizing your damage awards.
Auto insurance companies often try to pay as little as possible. They will pressure you to accept the first offer they extend. An attorney can begin those negotiations from a fairer playing field.
Beyond that, you need someone on your side who understands not only the valuation of your case, but also the legal processes and how to adequately prepare you for every step – from discovery to trial.
Trust the Sawyer County motorcycle accident attorneys at Lein Law Offices to fight for you.