Every year there are more than 125,000 motorcycle accidents in the State of Wisconsin, a number that has been relatively stable since 2003. Yet, motorcycle accidents can be the most devastating of all vehicle related accidents. In recent years, the death toll has been around 100 individuals, with over 2,000 individuals suffering personal injury. In the aftermath of a tragic motorcycle accident, your health and family’s well being should be your main concern.
Our Milwaukee motorcycle accident attorneys know that motorcycle accident victims and their families confront a variety of questions:
Every motorcycle accident attorney at Murphy & Prachthauser has decades of experience handling motorcycle accident cases. Call one of our Milwaukee area motorcycle accident attorneys if you want answers to your questions. Each attorney at Murphy & Prachthauser is happy to take the time to talk to you about your case, explain the process, and answer your questions about your motorcycle accident case. There is no charge for a phone or in-person meeting with a Murphy & Prachthauser attorney.
Our attorneys will explain that motorcycle accident cases are similar to other personal injury cases, starting with the question of liability:
Similar to other personal injury cases, motorcycle accident cases involve issues of damages.
The ultimate damage issue in a motorcycle accident case, like any personal injury case is: what is fair and reasonable compensation for injuries suffered as a result of the motorcycle accident? Each Milwaukee motorcycle accident attorney at Murphy & Prachthauser has the answers for you and can help you understand what you need to do after an accident.
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Take down insurance and contact information. This seems obvious, but after an accident it’s easy to become distracted and miss some information. Make sure you get:
Get medical help. Seek medical care for your injuries, even if they don’t seem serious. Whiplash and other back and neck related injuries, for example, do not always surface immediately. Always call the police if damages exceed $1,000 dollars.
Take photos of the accident scene. Make sure you get photos of the other party’s vehicle as well as your own motorcycle and any property that may have been damaged in the accident.
Call a lawyer right away. Even if you don’t think you need legal representation, it is important to call a motorcycle accident attorney immediately. A motorcycle attorney can help you work with the police to obtain the accident report. In addition, your attorney can help you obtain traffic cam footage, and make sure you have the support you need to work through medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.
Notify your insurance company. After an accident, it is always important to provide notice of an accident to your own insurance company.
Don’t post about your accident on social media. Before you post about your accident on social media, be sure to talk to your lawyer. Anything you post can be found by insurance companies and used against your insurance claim.
Don’t settle. You have the right to a fair settlement and trial, if needed. Don’t settle your case just because your lawyer wants to move on quickly to their next case. You want an experienced lawyer who prepares every case like it’s going to trial and who is willing and able to represent you in the courtroom. Preparing every case like it is going to trial means your legal team is behind you 100 percent, not just hoping to settle your case and move on to the next.
Motorcycle accidents involve the same rules of the road that apply to auto accidents and truck accidents. Drivers of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, must follow the rules of the road enacted by the State of Wisconsin in Wisconsin Statute Chapter 346. These rules include the following:
Wisconsin has some special rules concerning liability for cyclists who chose not to wear a helmet. Formerly, a biker not wearing a helmet could have their damages reduced or eliminated if they failed to wear a helmet, and that failure increased or enhanced their injuries. Current law states that failure by a person who operates or is a passenger on a motorcycle, an all-terrain vehicle, or snowmobile, either on or off a highway, to use protective headgear shall not reduce recovery for injuries or damages by the person or the person’s legal representative in any civil action. There are certain exceptions, for example those under age 18 and those with learning permits.
The liability issues are commonly decided with reference to the “rules of the road,” which are statutory rules enacted by the legislature and contained in Wisconsin Statute Chapter 346. That statute sets forth a driver’s duties in broad terms, and requires drivers to operate at a reasonable and prudent speed, to yield the right of way under certain circumstances, and to maintain their vehicle under control. There are numerous duties set forth in this statute, and a driver or motorcyclist who violates these rules and is in an accident is considered negligent.
In addition to the statutory rules, all drivers have a duty to act with “ordinary care.” Our Milwaukee motorcycle accident attorneys will explain that something called the “common law” requires each person to act with the care which a reasonable person would use in similar circumstances. A person is negligent when, without intending to do harm, does something or fails to do something that a reasonable person would recognize as creating an unreasonable risk of injury or damage to another.
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Our motorcycle accident attorneys understand that in a motorcycle accident case, there is often more than one party who is responsible. Sometimes the injured person is partially to blame. All drivers have a responsibility to comply with the rules of the road, and must comply with the rule of “ordinary care.” If more than one person is negligent in causing a motorcycle accident, a jury is asked to compare the negligence of everyone responsible for causing the accident.
If a person suffers injury in motorcycle accident as a result of the negligence of a auto or truck driver, he or she is entitled to make a claim for damages. The categories of damages include wage or earnings losses, medical, hospital and related expenses, and pain, suffering and disability. A spouse, child or parent of an injured person may have what is called a ”derivative claim,” sometimes known as a loss of consortium claim, or even a claim for their emotional distress if they witnessed the event. A motorcycle accident lawyer with Murphy & Prachthauser will explain that these claims are highly fact dependent, and you should consult an experienced attorney for more details. Our motorcycle accident attorneys understand that if aggravating circumstances exist on liability, for example, if the other driver was intoxicated, there may be a punitive damage claim. The law is developing in this area, but texting while driving may be another area for damages which are designed to punish the offender: punitive damages.
Motorcycle accidents result in personal injuries or wrongful death claims. It would be mistaken to think that they are always easy to resolve. In addition to the “rules of the road,” the team of expert lawyers at Murphy & Prachthauser understand the special duties imposed on commercial and public carriers, as well as the complex scientific and engineering principles often necessary to unravel just how an accident occurred and who was at fault. We are Milwaukee’s motorcycle accident lawyers and we have the knowledge and ability to properly evaluate your injuries, as well as the economic and accounting rules needed to evaluate your damages.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident as a result of the negligence of another, you owe it to yourself and family to consult with our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers. You may be entitled to monetary compensation.
For a free review of your motorcycle accident claim, call the Milwaukee motorcycle accident lawyers at Murphy & Prachthauser. There is no charge or obligation for this evaluation.