Michigan Motorycle Accident

Michigan has over 237,000 registered motorcycles. Whether they are beginner’s standard bikes, cruisers, or sports bikes, accidents happen. When they do, they are frequently violent collisions throwing a rider off the bike and subjecting them to severe and often fatal injuries.

Even wearing full protective gear, a biker has significantly less protection than a car rider. “Minor accident” or “fender bender” are words we seldom hear when talking about motorcycle crashes.

We get it—riding a motorcycle is exhilarating. Still, motorcyclists face unique risks and dangers every time they ride, and unfortunately, when a crash does occur, it is often far more catastrophic than a car accident. Dealing with the aftermath of a motorcycle accident can be physically, emotionally, and financially overwhelming.

At Gruel Mills, our Grand Rapids motorcycle accident attorneys care about protecting motorcyclists’ rights, and we handle the hassles and deadlines so our clients can concentrate on healing.

We have the experience and legal knowledge to help our client’s families recover the maximum amount of compensation available. If you are not sure you have a case, call us for your no-cost consultation with one of our lawyers.

There Is a Difference Between a Motorcycle Accident and a Car Accident

There are inherent dangers for all road users; however, statistically, the severity of injuries sustained in a roadway accident is much greater for a motorcyclist versus those injuries received by a driver of a four-wheeled vehicle.

  • The chances of a fatality in a motorcycle accident are approximately 30 times higher than in a car.
  • Motorcycle accidents have a staggering 80 percent injury or death rate, while car accidents remain around 20 percent.
  • Motorcycle riders over 40 are about 20 times more likely to be injured in the case of an accident than car drivers of the same age.

Survivors of motorcycle accidents, more often than not, are left with serious head, neck, and spine injuries, all of which can leave a crash victim with permanent lifelong disabilities. While these same injuries happen in car and truck accidents, they are more common when the victim is a biker with limited protection. Motorcycles are simply less crashworthy.

We have helped thousands of our Grand Rapids neighbors over the past three-plus decades address personal injury issues, and we are humbled to hear words like: “Utmost professionalism,” “Exceeded my expectations,” “Went above and beyond,” “Head and shoulders above them all,” and “Integrity and compassion” in our client reviews and testimonials.

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Perception Is Not Reality

Bikers often face extreme societal bias in the court of public opinion, especially when dealing with the “decision-makers” in a personal injury claim. Most motorcyclists are not the daredevils folks assume they are. A motorcycle is an economically viable transportation option, and riding is an extremely popular leisure activity for all ages.

The median age of a motorcycle rider is 50, and 26 percent of bikers have a four-year college degree, while an additional 16 percent have gone on to study post-graduate work.

We particularly love the mission statement of our own Buffalo Troopers Motorcycle Club Of Grand Rapids:

  • To preserve the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry
  • To provide support to civic or charitable organizations in the surrounding communities
  • Be a positive role model for the young and the young at heart in our community
  • To teach and promote motorcycle safety in our community

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

There is a significant difference between cars and motorcycles in design and functionality. Although motorcycles are less visible and less stable than four-wheel vehicles, a biker is not responsible for an accident caused by someone else’s negligent actions. Those responsible for careless behavior should be held accountable.

Some of the causes of motorcycles are:

Dangerous intersections

A recent Michigan State Police report showed (for a recent calendar year)  2,988 motorcycle accidents statewide, with 210 in Kent County alone. This is the third-highest in the state behind Wayne County (with 523 accidents) and Oakland County (with 220 accidents).

Grand Rapids has three of the top 20 most dangerous intersections in the state:

  • 28th Street at Division Avenue
  • Burton Street at US-131
  • US-131 at Wealthy Street

Recent government data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tells us that 34 percent of motorcycle accident fatalities occurred at intersections and 61 percent of the time in urban areas.

Some of the reasons include:

  • Drivers who fail to check all approaching traffic can turn directly into an approaching motorcycle
  • Motorcycles are small, and a car or truck driver can easily misjudge the distance of an approaching bike

Unsafe lane changes

A predominant cause of motorcycle accidents is the failure of a motorist to notice a biker or not see the motorcycle in time to avoid a collision. When car drivers switch lanes without using a directional turn signal and checking their mirrors and blind spots, a biker is likely to become an accident victim.

Road construction

Road construction seems to be ever-present here in Grand Rapids. Upgrading our infrastructure and roadways often results in uneven pavement, lane merges, potholes, debris, and loose gravel—all dangerous situations for a biker.

Additional plausible reasons include:

  • Traffic law violations
  • Impaired drivers
  • Distracted driving
  • Fatigued driving

Motorcyclists have the same right to the road as passenger vehicle drivers. Protect your legal rights when careless or aggressive behavior causes serious wrecks and severe injury.

The nationally acclaimed attorneys at Gruel Mills will secure and review all documentation (police and emergency response reports, witness statements, photographs, and surveillance camera recordings) to present compelling evidence against the negligent driver. We are a compelling force dedicated to securing the compensation our clients need and deserve.

All Things Are Not Equal

In this state, motorcycle accidents resulting in injuries are highly complicated.

Following any personal injury, dealing with an insurance company is problematic. In Michigan, the law treats motorcycle accidents differently than car or truck accidents. The insurance requirements, contradictions, and levels of coverage make cases involving a motorcycle accident victim a confusing area of law.

Under Michigan’s No-Fault Law, a motorcycle is not a motor vehicle. The fact is, a motorcyclist may not receive the same coverage and financial protection a standard motor vehicle policy provides. Getting all the compensation a family needs depends on the skill and determination of an experienced attorney.

Our Grand Rapids attorneys at Gruel Mills are experienced professionals. We have the resources and determination to take on insurance companies. We want our clients to receive the maximum possible compensation for their losses.

Our Clients Often Ask

Why should I hire a Grand Rapids lawyer?

Hiring a lawyer who practices within your community has definite benefits. Meeting with the legal team is not usually a problem when the office location is easy to get to. Choosing a local attorney gives a client the benefit of the firm’s reputation in area courts.

In addition, a hometown lawyer:

  • Is familiar with the customs of the local courts and the workings of the city and county’s legal system
  • Is probably familiar with the opposing attorney
  • Usually has a relationship with local professionals (physicians, insurance adjusters) who may be of help with a case

What should I bring to our first meeting?

During the initial consultation, it helps to bring a copy of the police or accident report, pictures taken at the accident scene, and any medical records documenting injuries.

I was not wearing a helmet when I was injured, will this count against me?

On a personal note, we recommend all bikers wear a helmet. That said, Michigan does not require them unless the rider is under 21, has less than $20,000 in medical benefits insurance, has not passed a safety course, or has only held a motorcycle endorsement for less than two years.

Do most motorcycle accident cases go to trial?

No, most motorcycle accident claims settle out of court. If you cannot reach an acceptable settlement, your lawyer may consider filing a lawsuit.

Do I have a viable case if I crashed because I hit a pothole?

Possibly. You may hold a government (state, city, or county) agency held liable for an injury-causing accident if it fails to keep the roadway in reasonably good condition. There are definite timelines for bringing a claim of negligence against such entities—it is best to discuss the particulars of a case with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Motorcycle Accidents Result In Serious Injury And Financial Losses

When a car or truck strikes a cycle, the chances are great the rider will be thrown off the bike—skidding along the road, crashing into guardrails, or flung into the path of oncoming traffic. With little personal protection, a cyclist is a prime target for catastrophic and possibly fatal injury—even if the cyclist is wearing a helmet.

Victims of motorcycle accidents often require surgery, extended hospital stays, and long-term physical and mental health therapy. Catastrophic injuries can be life-changing, frequently resulting in permanent disability, disfigurement along with discord, and disruptions to a family unit.

Those involved in a motorcycle crash may suffer physical injuries such as:

  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Lower extremely fractures
  • Facial lacerations
  • Eye trauma
  • Shoulder injury
  • Multiple fractures
  • Road rash
  • Traumatic amputation
  • Wrongful death

Emotional trauma is as devastating and debilitating as a severe physical injury. The psychological trauma of a motorcycle crash can often cause a person to experience symptoms similar to those associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Some of the consequences of emotional trauma and PTSD include:

  • Depression, fear, anger
  • Flashbacks to the time of the crash
  • Bad dreams, nightmares
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Social withdrawal
  • Hypervigilance
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Impaired memory
  • Problems with concentration

 Compensation for Financial Losses

A successful settlement in a motorcycle accident claim should fully compensate the victim for:

  • Current and past medical expenses
  • Expected and projected healthcare costs
  • Necessary home or vehicle modifications
  • Vehicle repair or replacement
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Expected and projected lost income and benefits
  • Compensation for diminished earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering

Our Grand Rapids motorcycle accident attorneys at Gruel Mills understand the complicated issues surrounding the catastrophic injuries bikers may experience. We understand the dynamics of motorcycle collisions and know the laws and specific regulations that govern these specific claims. We are ready to fight for your right to compensation.

Who May I Hold Responsible for My Grand Rapids Motorcycle Accident?

Parties liable for your motorcycle accident may include:

  • Another motorcycle rider
  • Car drivers
  • Truck Drivers
  • Property owners
  • Government agencies
  • Manufacturers

What You Can Expect From Our Gruel Mills Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

Grand Rapids Motorcycle Accident Lawyer, Scott R. Melton

We make a difference. For over 35 years, we have fought for and won millions in settlements for our clients. When you select our firm to represent you and your family in a Grand Rapids motorcycle accident case, we support you through this difficult time as we go toe-to-toe with the insurance companies.

We will:

  • Thoroughly investigate the causes and effects of your accident
  • Explain your legal rights and the strengths and weaknesses of your case in terms you can understand
  • Get all police reports and witness statements
  • Identify all negligent parties
  • Gather supporting evidence of negligence
  • Work with expert witnesses, investigators, and accident reconstructionists to build and present a compelling case
  • Identify and verify all of the insurance and coverage that may apply in your case
  • Negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf
  • Keep you updated every step of the way
  • Manage important documents and statute of limitations deadlines
  • Negotiate for the full and fair compensation you deserve
  • Take your claim to court, if necessary

If you or a family member are dealing with injuries and losses from a motorcycle accident, we are here to listen and to help. Contact us today at (616) 235-5500.

Grand Rapids Office Location

Campau Square Plaza Building
99 Monroe Ave NW #800
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Client Testimonial

“Gruel Mills is made up of wonderful, honest attorneys who truly care about their clients. I have many friends who have worked with William Azkoul and Thomas Behm, and have been extremely pleased with the amount of care and professionalism they exhibited. Would highly recommend!” – Christina D.

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