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Motorcycle Accidents

What Exactly Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In a Michigan wrongful death lawsuit, the surviving dependents or beneficiaries are entitled to monetary damages as a result of the defendant’s conduct. Compensation for wrongful death motorcycle fatalities is controlled by the Michigan Wrongful Death Act. A lawyer must open an estate and a personal representative appointed by the Michigan probate court will file a lawsuit on his behalf. Payments to the family of a rider killed in a motorcycle accident in Michigan must first be authorized by the probate court before any Michigan attorney can distribute the proceeds from a Michigan wrongful death lawsuit.

What must be proven?

  1. The motorcycle accident death was caused wholly or more than 50 percent as a result of the defendant’s actions.
  2. The defendant acted negligently.
  3. There is a surviving spouse, children, beneficiaries or dependents of the motorcycle accident victim.
  4. Monetary damages have occurred as a result of the motorcycle accident victim’s wrongful death.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Our attorneys sadly know that motorcycle crashes are far too common, and far too deadly. The sobering fact is that in the past decade, an average of nearly 76,000 people across the country suffered serious injury requiring hospitalization from motorcycle accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2016, there were 5,286 motorcyclists killed—a 5.1-percent increase from the 5,029 motorcyclists killed in 2015. (Source: NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts, Motorcycles, 2016 Data (Published in February 2018))

These numbers continue to increase each year.

Fatality and wrongful death statistics for motorcyclists in Michigan mirror the national averages. In 2017, 137 motorcyclists were killed in Michigan accidents, according to the Michigan Traffic Crash Facts. Serious, catastrophic injuries to motorcyclists also far exceed those to automobile occupants. Meanwhile, motorcycle operators involved in serious accidents make a statistically disproportionate share of claims to the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association.

Why So Many Motorcycle Accident Wrongful Deaths?

As expected, alcohol and operator error play a large role in many fatal motorcycle accident crashes. Of the 137 motorcyclists killed last year in Michigan, 31 percent were the result of drinking, according to Michigan Traffic  Crash Facts. Additionally, 43 percent of the motorcycle riders killed were not wearing helmets. Eighty-five percent were reported by police as “going straight ahead” just prior to the crash.

The most common type of motorcycle accident due to operator error is a slide-out from too much braking or taking a turn at excessive speeds.

Nevertheless, most motorcycle owners do drive responsibly but are seriously injured or killed due to the negligence of others. Approximately 75 percent of motorcycle accidents are the result of crashes with other vehicles, such as cars and trucks on the road that simply fail to see the motorcyclist.

In contrast to alcohol and operator error, only 3 percent of motorcycle accidents are the result of equipment failure or malfunction, such as a tire puncture. Roadway defect claims, which have themselves been largely wiped out under current Michigan motorcycle accident law in recent years, account for 2 percent of motorcycle accidents. Weather — often thought of as a leading cause of motorcycle crashes and motorcycle fatalities — also plays a relatively minor role.

Motorcyclists are simply far more vulnerable than other drivers on Michigan roads. Our motorcycle accident attorneys wish you safe travels, and advise you to drive defensively and use every possible safety precaution when riding your motorcycle.

These are the reasons why we have Michigan wrongful death attorneys practicing exclusively in automobile accident lawsuits. We have extensive trial experience, sophistication, and will work hard to obtain verdicts and settlements that exceed what most other lawyers can achieve. To speak with a motorcycle accident attorney about your circumstances, call Michigan Auto Law at (800) 777-0028. There is absolutely no fee or obligation.

Did our motorcycle accident lawyers answer all of your questions about motorcycle accident wrongful death? If not, please contact us and an attorney will respond within one business day.