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Common Questions about Motorcycle Accidents

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Boller & Vaughan is dedicated to protecting the rights of motorcyclists who’ve been injured in an accident.

It’s important to know your options if you’re ever injured in a motorcycle accident. The experienced team of motorcycle accident attorneys at Boller & Vaughan have put together some answers to frequently asked questions below.

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle-related accident in Wisconsin, please call us at 608-268-0268 for your free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.

How often do motorcycle accidents occur in Wisconsin?

According to Wisconsin’s department of transportation, there were nearly 2,000 motorcycle crashes in 2018. Of that total number, 81 motorcycle riders were killed. Nearly 1,700 motorcyclists were injured.

Motorcycle accidents are not uncommon in the state; in fact, the statistics show that crashes involving motorcycles happen almost every four hours on average.

I got injured in a motorcycle accident. What should I do?

Immediately following a motorcycle accident, there are some steps you can take to collect evidence and protect your rights.

Move off the road immediately.

This will prevent you, your passenger, or anyone else involved from being hit by another vehicle.

Call the police and ask for an ambulance.

When they arrive, answer their questions honestly and give an accurate description of what happened. Do not admit blame or place blame on others. Request a copy of their police report.

Seek medical attention following the accident.

Your health is your top priority. Furthermore, any doctor’s visits create official medical records, which can serve as important evidence if you file a claim for your accident.

While waiting for law enforcement to arrive, gather names, contact information, and insurance information from everyone involved in the accident. Gather names and contact information from any witnesses, too.

Take photographs of where the accident occurred, your motorcycle and its damage, skid marks or gouge marks, the other vehicle, and your injuries. Document anything that may have played a part in your accident.

Report your accident to your insurance company.

Contact a motorcycle accident attorney, who can guide you through the next steps. The personal injury lawyers at Boller & Vaughan serve Wisconsin residents and ensure they receive the compensation they deserve.

The other driver/their insurance company wants to talk to me. What should I do?

Don’t speak to the other driver or their insurance company without talking to a lawyer first.

The other party’s insurance company will often try to contact you soon after an accident to discuss your case. They may ask you for a written or recorded statement.

If you agree to do this while you’re recovering from injuries, without the aid of a lawyer, you may agree to a settlement that’s less than what you deserve.

An experienced motorcycle accident attorney will help you gather evidence to prove your case and calculate a fair compensation amount for you. They can also negotiate with the other party’s insurance company while you recover.

My passenger and I were not wearing helmets when we crashed. How will that affect my case?

There is no law in Wisconsin requiring you to wear a motorcycle helmet. While motorcyclists are strongly urged to wear protective gear like helmets, eye protection, heavy-duty clothing, boots, and gloves, it’s not mandatory.

 However, failure to wear a helmet may impact your case. You need to speak with an experienced injury attorney to determine your rights.

In Wisconsin, only motorcycle operators and passengers who are under 18 or those who are operating with a learner’s permit are required to wear a helmet.

Who can be held responsible for my motorcycle accident injuries?

This will depend on the cause of your accident, and can also depend on factors that contributed to the seriousness of your injuries, not just the accident itself.

For example, if you hit a sign that should have been mounted on a breakaway pole, but was not, the sign did not cause your accident, but may have made your injuries substantially worse than they would have been had the sign been constructed properly.

A motorcycle accident lawsuit can have more than one defendant. Responsible parties can include:

  • Drivers
  • Motorcycle manufacturers
  • Helmet manufacturers
  • Auto manufacturers
  • Parts manufacturers
  • Dealerships
  • Repair shops
  • Government entity responsible for designing, constructing, or maintaining roadways

Defective protective gear, poor maintenance or repair, the quality of roads, malfunctioning replacement or custom bike parts, and many other factors can hold several people at fault for your accident.

What kind of compensation can I receive for motorcycle accident injuries?

Every accident and personal injury case is different; the damages you’re eligible for will depend on your injuries and the situation. In general, you might be able to seek compensation for:

  • Current and future medical expenses accrued due to the accident
  • Property damage to repair or replace your damaged motorcycle, and/or the cost of a rental vehicle you use in the interim
  • Lost wages due to missed work, lower-paying work, or fewer hours due to severe injuries or your recovery
  • Pain and suffering as a result of your injuries
  • In some cases, punitive damages can be sought if the other party acted maliciously or with intentional disregard for your rights

The amount of compensation you receive depends on the percentage of fault you’re assigned for the accident. If you’re found to be 20 perc at fault for the accident, your compensation will be decreased by 20 percent. If you’re 50 percent or more at fault, you cannot receive any compensation.

Will I be able to get the true value of my bike?

To an insurance company, court, or defendant in a case, your motorcycle is worth what the market says it is worth. Fair market value is what the current market is willing to pay for your motorcycle secondhand, in good condition.

If you’ve added custom and aftermarket parts to your motorcycle, that means you may not receive its true value in your payout from insurance companies. Determining and proving the true value of your bike requires the expertise of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer.

I don’t think the accident was my fault. Why do I need a motorcycle accident attorney?

Even if you’re certain that the accident was not your fault, a motorcycle accident attorney can ensure that you’re not assigned blame or even partial blame for it. If you are found partially to blame, you may not get the full compensation amount you truly deserve.

Wisconsin is an at-fault state (also called a “tort” state), which means the person who is found at-fault in an accident is responsible for paying the other person’s damage costs.

Fault can be shared by those involved in an accident, and fault is represented in percentages. Under Wisconsin’s comparative negligence law, if you are 50 percent or more at fault, you cannot collect any damages from the other driver. If you’re less than 50 percent at fault, you can collect damages minus the percentage of your fault.

That’s why it’s important to have a motorcycle accident attorney fight for a fair amount of compensation on your behalf. Our Madison motorcycle accident lawyers know how to stand up to insurance companies and help you get the compensation you need.

Is there a deadline for filing a personal injury claim for a motorcycle accident?

In Wisconsin, the personal injury statute of limitations is three years. That means you have a three-year deadline from the date of the accident to file a claim with the court.

If more than three years have passed and you attempt to file a claim anyway, the defendant will most likely file a motion to dismiss the case. The court will typically agree with the dismissal.

How can a motorcycle accident attorney help me?

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a motorcycle accident in Madison or anywhere in Wisconsin, please call the Wisconsin motorcycle accident attorneys at Boller & Vaughan. You can reach us at 608-268-0268 or contact us online.

Your initial legal consultation is free and, if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis. That means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds. In Wisconsin, a personal injury lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations.

Please call Boller & Vaughan right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation: 608-268-0268.

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