If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident in Milwaukee or elsewhere in Wisconsin, particularly one involving a car, it is quite likely that you have been seriously injured. You may be a survivor of a motorcyclist who has died in a collision with a motor vehicle.
At Techmeier Law Firm our motorcycle accident attorneys help injured cyclists and/or their families to recover compensation for medical expenses and other losses after motorcycle crashes. We want to help you, too.
Please review the following frequently asked questions to learn more about motorcycle accidents as well as your legal rights and options.
Motorcycle Accident FAQs
Yes, you can file a lawsuit against a driver whose negligence caused your motorcycle accident and resulting injuries. It will be vital to have a lawyer’s help to seek compensation you will need to ensure a full recovery from your accident.
Motorists often hit motorcycles in traffic and claim later on that they did not see the motorcycle. Regardless, motorcycle riders have a right to use Wisconsin highways and to have their presence on the roads respected.
Motorcyclists also have the right to be compensated if they are injured because of a motorist’s negligence or recklessness such as the failure to look before changing lanes.
A motorcyclist injured in a multi-vehicle accident often must pursue a personal injury lawsuit to obtain adequate compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Victims of other drivers’ negligence may seek compensation for medical expenses, damage to the motorcycle, lost income, pain and suffering and more.
After a wrongful death in a motorcycle accident, a lawsuit could seek similar compensation for surviving, eligible family members.
In many cases, an insurance company will work to undermine a motorcyclist’s claim and pay them less than they deserve.
To learn more, please see our Motorcycle Accidents page.
If I was injured in a motorcycle crash caused by a car driver, can I recover compensation even if I was not wearing a helmet?
Wearing a motorcycle helmet is the best thing a rider can do to protect his or her safety. Regardless, wearing or not wearing one should have no effect on the legal aspects of a motorcycle crash.
Wisconsin requires riders who are 18 years old or younger or who hold only an instructional permit to wear a motorcycle helmet. Our state repealed its “universal” helmet law in 1978. (The Governors Highway Safety Association offers a state-by-state guide to motorcycle helmet laws.)
A helmet is not considered a contributing factor in a motorcycle accident, typically, so that is why it should not be a factor in determining another party’s liability for your accident and injuries.
With that said, your chances of surviving a motorcycle accident are dramatically increased if you are wearing a helmet, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and most other safety organizations.
If I was speeding at the time of my motorcycle accident, does this mean I cannot collect compensation?
The fact that you were speeding does not help you in a motorcycle accident claim. However, it does not automatically rule out compensation for your losses. It may be up to a jury to decide how much your speed contributed to the accident.
Under Wisconsin law, an injured party’s recovery may be decreased in proportion to the party’s degree of fault. For instance, if you were speeding and collided with a car that had pulled out of a side street into your lane, your negligence may be seen as a bigger contributory factor than if you were hit by a driver who crossed the centerline.
If an injured party’s fault is determined to amount to 51 percent or greater percentage, the party may be barred from recovering compensation.
In motorcycle accidents, the motorcyclist’s fault often is an issue. An attorney can thoroughly investigate your case to determine the proper apportioning of fault and work hard to protect your right to recover full and fair compensation.
Is there any way to obtain compensation for my injuries if the driver who caused my motorcycle crash does not have auto insurance?
When accidents are caused by drivers who do not have insurance, an injured motorcyclist may turn to uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. An attorney can help you review the UM coverage available in your case.
UM claims are paid in accidents caused by drivers who do not have insurance or in hit-and-run accidents when the at-fault driver cannot be identified.
Wisconsin requires all motorists, including motorcyclists, to obtain UM coverage for bodily injury, with minimum coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Our state does not require underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, which pays money to make up the difference between the policyholder’s bodily injury losses and the at-fault driver’s liability coverage. However, we suggest you obtain UIM coverage if you do not have it.
Unfortunately, having UM and/or UIM coverage is not always enough. Insurance companies still work to lessen the amount they pay for a claim – even to their own policyholders. An attorney can work with you to seek payments that you are entitled to receive through your UM / UIM policy.
Read more about the work of our UM and UIM claims attorneys at The Will Techmeier of The Cochran Firm Wisconsin.
What you have to remember about insurance companies is that they are in a for-profit industry. An insurance adjuster has a duty to respect his or her company’s bottom line. This means paying as little as possible in a motorcycle accident settlement. An attorney will work to help you do better.
Filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or your own insurer is often a complicated undertaking. It requires you to complete and submit paperwork that includes documentation of your losses. It usually also requires negotiating for an appropriate settlement amount.
Among the services provided by a motorcycle accident attorney is dealing with the insurance company for you. In addition to making sure your claim is fully documented, your attorney deals with insurers directly on your behalf.
Having an experienced attorney handle your claim evens the playing field. You have the same day-to-day experience with insurance claims on your side that the insurer will have.
Our advice to motorcycle accident victims is to never accept an insurance settlement or sign anything offered by an insurance carrier after an accident without first consulting with your own lawyer.
At The Will Techmeier of The Cochran Firm Wisconsin, our initial consultation is free. If you already have a settlement offer, we can review it for you. If we think it is a fair settlement, we will say so. If we think we can do better for you, we will explain how.
You can contact us today to schedule a meeting about your case.