Category Archives: Motorcycle Collisions

15 Motorcycle Accident Injuries And How You Can Recover From Them

Common Motorcycle accident injuries Wisconsin is a beautiful place to ride a motorcycle, but the reality is, it’s also an easy place to be injured on a motorcycle. Between 2011 and 2016, an average of 84 people died each year while riding motorcycles in our state, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. An average of 2,049 people was injured in motorcycle crashes annually in the same period. If you or a loved one has experienced an accident speaking with a skilled motorcycle accident attorney could help.

In a slightly different time period, 2013 to 2017, 1,510 motorcycle crashes occurred annually in Milwaukee County alone, on average. A local television station pointed out that the level of motorcycle accidents amounts to one every four hours throughout Wisconsin.

Motorcycle crashes are frequent because so many things cause them: a careless driver of another car or larger vehicle who pulls into a lane without even registering the presence of a motorcycle, a heedless driver who opens a door right in the path of an oncoming bike, or a spin-out in loose gravel or inclement weather. Last year, a biker even suffered a severe head injury because of a collision with a deer.

Motorcyclists, even when wearing helmets, are relatively unprotected in the case of an accident, no matter what the cause. Bikers can be hit by another vehicle, including much larger and heavier vehicles. Occupants in these vehicles are surrounded by tons of metal and cushion, and often by airbags as well. Bikers have no such protection. They can be knocked to the pavement, breaking bones and suffering bruises and even traumatic brain injury (TBI). They can be thrown many feet from the scene of impact, which is often deadly.

Before we get to 15 of the most common motorcycle accident injuries, let’s take a closer look at the causes and effects of motorcycle accident injuries in Wisconsin.

 

What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

Collisions With Another Vehicle

One of the most devastating causes of motorcycle accidents is collisions with another vehicle. Far too often, other drivers don’t apprehend the presence of a motorcycle in the same way that they would apprehend the presence of another vehicle. Cars can pass on a two-lane highway, for example, and believe the oncoming lane is clear, never noticing that, in fact, a motorcycle is in the lane. The result can be a head-on collision.

A vehicle making left-hand turns also can collide with a motorcycle, for the same reason; a motorcyclist coming straight or overtaking the car isn’t “seen” in time to avoid a collision.

Failure to Yield

A car or other vehicle all too often fail to yield to a motorcycle, whether at stop signs, intersections, passing lanes, and even blinking traffic lights. Since the motorcyclist has the right of way, he or she may be pulling out or preparing to, only to find that the vehicle that was supposed to yield is bearing down on or colliding with the bike.

Unsafe Lane Change

A vehicle driver who is changing lanes may fail to see a bike, or the driver may also fail to see a motorcyclist who is changing lanes. Drivers who switch lanes without checking their blind spots or using their turn signals to communicate intent may also cause an accident.

Dooring

One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is when a car or other vehicle is parked and the driver’s side door opens straight into the path of a motorcyclist. Many people call this being “doored.” Vehicle occupants often fail to check before opening their doors. An accident can result from the bike hitting the door directly, or from the motorcyclist trying frantically to come to a stop before hitting the door.

Drug and Alcohol Impairment

One-quarter of people killed in motorcycle accidents have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or above, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among drivers 35 to 39 years old, the figure is considerably higher, at 38 percent. In Wisconsin, a BAC above the legal limit is involved in 31 percent of all traffic-related fatalities, from any vehicle.

Speeding

Going above the speed limit, or driving at a faster speed than is safe due to weather or traffic conditions, causes accidents. Vehicles are less likely to be able to stop and a driver’s ability to react in time is weaker. Speeding-caused accidents are also likely to be more serious, because the greater the impact, the more severe the collision and resulting injuries.

Road Hazards

Road hazards that mean nothing to a car can cause a potentially fatal accident on a motorcycle. A pothole or uneven pavement can cause a motorcycle to spin or a motorcyclist to lose control of his or her bike. Obstacles in the road, such as sand and gravel, can also cause accidents. Slick pavement is also a hazard, especially if it’s because of ice.

 

What Injuries Result?

As you can see from the list of common motorcycle accident types, people can sustain injuries in almost any way imaginable when riding a motorcycle. The common feature is that the potential for severe and even catastrophic accidents is extraordinarily high. A catastrophic accident can require around-the-clock care for the rest of the injured individual’s life.

People injured in a motorcycle accident can suffer:

  1. TBIs, such as concussions
  2. Spinal cord injuries, such as paraplegia or quadriplegia
  3. Eye injuries
  4. Contusions
  5. Lacerations
  6. Abrasions, including road rash
  7. Burns
  8. Fractured bones
  9. Sprains
  10. Soft tissue injuries
  11. Disfigurement and/or scarring
  12. Loss of limb(s)
  13. Internal organ damage
  14. Coma
  15. Death

It isn’t just the types of injuries that matters, though. It’s also that almost any motorcycle accident is going to be much more serious for the biker than for the other party. If you sustained serious injuries in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, you deserve justice.

 

Can I Receive Compensation for My Injuries?

If you were injured in any of the above ways, you should speak with an attorney to determine your eligibility to seek compensation for your injuries.

Compensation for damages depends on the other party’s responsibility. If another driver caused the accident, he or she can be deemed negligent if it stemmed from failure to operate a vehicle safely or failure to follow Wisconsin laws. Drivers who ignore motorcycles and open their car doors without checking to see if anyone is coming arguably fail to operate their vehicles safely. If negligent behavior caused an accident, a court can hold the negligent actor responsible.

In Wisconsin, an injured motorcyclist can receive compensation for:

  • Medical bills (doctor’s visits, surgeries, hospitalization, and more)
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages from work
  • Lost earning potential if the accident renders you unable to work long term
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of companionship

Ordinarily, this compensation is the responsibility of the at-fault party’s insurance company. (All drivers in Wisconsin are required to carry insurance.) Injured motorcyclists should remember, though, that insurance companies have an incentive to minimize the payout from claims.

Contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer if you have more questions, or if you need to negotiate with the insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit for damages.

Harley-Davidson Roars into Milwaukee for 115th Anniversary

This Labor Day weekend marks the 115th anniversary of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. With their distinctive “potato-potato-potato” idle and rumble, thousands of riders and their Harleys have roared into Milwaukee this week to celebrate 115 years of an American tradition.

Harley-Davidson and the Harley-Davidson Museum have packed each day this weekend with events. There are museum tours, motorcycle demos, live music acts, street parties, and many more events. Visit Harley-Davidson.com for a full schedule of events

Harley-Davidson Roars into Milwaukee for 115th Anniversary.

The celebration is not without dangers though. With all the extra bikes on the road, Milwaukee’s streets and highways have many more smaller moving vehicles on them this weekend than usual.

Drivers who aren’t used to large numbers of bikes on the road may miss the smaller Harleys if they aren’t careful and some riders may find traveling alone or in larger groups more difficult depending on what they’re used to. All of this is a recipe for a crash or other traffic accident. But there are things everyone on the road this weekend can do.

To help avoid accidents and injuries this weekend, both riders and drivers should:

  • Watch out for each other – check your mirrors and be aware of your surroundings
  • Obey traffic laws and directions from the Officers and Sheriff’s Deputies directing traffic
  • Park in designated spots near events
  • Wear your seatbelt or helmet
  • As always, don’t drink and drive or ride

Have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend and enjoy all that the 115th anniversary of Harley-Davidson has to offer! If the unthinkable happens and you or a loved one is involved in a crash and injured, see a doctor and contact a skilled, dedicated, and proven personal injury attorney to discuss your options as a victim of a crash. At Groth Law Firm, S.C., we are available 24/7 to discuss your injuries and offer a free consultation. Call or text us today at 414-240-0707

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be used as legal advice. It is not medical advice and should not be used as medical advice. The legal statutes, laws, and procedures contained in this article may not be current and may have been revised since the time of publication or contain errors. An attorney can provide legal guidance only after reviewing the details of your individual case.

Insurance Coverage and Driving for Hire Uber and Lyft

In the past few years, rideshare apps have been gaining massive popularity and becoming the preferred transportation choice when compared with taxis, buses or shuttles. With the click of a button, you can arrange to be picked up from the location identified by your phone’s GPS feature and select your destination. You are told who your driver is (and even provided with a photo of them), what type of vehicle he or she is driving, what the license plate number is and when the driver is expected to arrive. It is also not necessary to have cash or a card on you because payment has already been linked to one of your accounts through your mobile device.

As one can imagine, with the ever-increasing popularity of services like Uber and Lyft comes a greater chance of accidents to occur involving Uber and Lyft vehicles. What many people may not know is that one’s own personal auto insurance coverage typically does not apply when driving for Uber or Lyft. This is because most insurance policies exclude coverage when you are “driving for hire,” or being paid to drive as you are as an Uber or Lyft driver.

Uber and Lyft do provide insurance to their drivers but only when certain requirements are met. When a driver has accepted a rider and is en route to the rider’s location, he or she is covered under coverage provided by Uber or Lyft. Likewise, when the driver actually has the rider in the vehicle, he or she is covered through Uber or Lyft. When the driver has the app on and is simply driving around waiting to accept a new fare, however, Uber and Lyft may provide minimal coverage. If you drive for a rideshare company such as Uber or Lyft, it is important that you have adequate liability coverage limits to cover the gaps that exist with the Uber and Lyft policies.

Furthermore, while the commercial policies through Uber and Lyft may provide up to $1 million in liability coverage when a rider is in the vehicle, they generally do not provide collision and comprehensive coverage. If collision and comprehensive coverage is available, there is usually a hefty deductible (sometimes up to $2,500) associated with the policy, so it is very important to make sure you carry adequate collision and comprehensive coverage or you may be on the hook for the total damages to your vehicle in the event of a crash. If your insurer denies your claim because you were “driving for hire,” you may, unfortunately, still be responsible for the damages to the vehicle.

The purpose of this blog post is really two-fold. First, if you are an Uber or Lyft driver, it is crucial that you be aware of what amounts of coverage you carry on your personal auto policy and when that policy is primary versus when the rideshare policy kicks in. It is important to have adequate coverage to make sure that you are covered for any of those gaps not covered by the commercial policy or where the commercial coverage is minimal. If you do not carry adequate personal auto coverage, you run the risk of your personal assets being at stake in the event that you cause a crash.

On the other hand, if you happen to be injured as a result of the negligence of an Uber or Lyft driver, whether that be in the context of a car, pedestrian or bicycle accident, it is important to know that there may need to be some fact finding completed to determine which insurance policy will cover the loss. You should call an attorney experienced in handling claims against Uber and Lyft drivers to help you navigate the process and find the applicable coverage. The Groth Law Firm has handled these types of cases and welcomes the opportunity to speak with anyone who has been injured due to the negligence of a rideshare driver, such as Uber or Lyft. Call or text today at 414-375-2030 for a free consultation!
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1 https://www.answerfinancial.com/insurance-center/how-does-car-insurance-work-for-uber-drivers
2 https://www.carinsurance.com/Articles/lyft-insurance.axpx

The Hop’s Hot New Tracks Aren’t So Hip

Two people have already been injured trying to cross the tracks of Milwaukee’s newest transit option, The Hop, in less than a week. One man was driving a motorcycle over the tracks when his wheel got stuck in the tracks throwing him from his bike on August 10th. And on the 16th, a woman was crossing the tracks on a bicycle when her wheel also got stuck and threw her to the ground, injuring her ribs and elbows. Both riders are considering suing the city because of their injuries and have retained lawyers to represent them.[1]

The Hop is not yet in operation at the time of writing, but its tracks have been laid throughout Milwaukee in some of the city’s busiest areas. The Hop runs from the Historic Third Ward and Intermodal train station up to the Lower East Side of Milwaukee and back. This route puts the street car’s tracks in the path of several of Milwaukee’s major commuter hot spots.[2]

The Hop’s New Tracks (City of Milwaukee)

©City of Milwaukee

Before the two bike crashes in August, there had already been several reports of less serious injuries, including one in June, sparking concern amongst the city’s cyclists.[3]

Through there are several signs near the tracks warning bikers and cyclists to take the tracks at a right angle – meaning to cross straight over the tracks—this is not always possible for people riding two wheeled bikes and motorcycles in heavy downtown traffic. With two crashes on the tracks in less than a week and the Hop not even running yet, there are likely to be more injuries in the future.

On top of the tracks’ risk to cyclists in warmer months, there is also concern that they will be a slipping hazard in Milwaukee’s common winter and spring storms as snow piles up on the roads.[4]

The Hop and its tracks are owned by the City of Milwaukee. As with any claim against a city, or other municipality, someone who is injured by the city or its property only has 120 days to file a Notice of Claim or they will never be able to bring a lawsuit against the city no matter how badly injured they are. Because of this, it is extremely important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an injury involving the city.

If you or a loved one has been injured by The Hop or its tracks, see a doctor and contact a skilled, dedicated, and proven personal injury attorney to discuss your options as a victim of a crash. At Groth Law Firm, S.C., we are available 24/7 to discuss your injuries and offer a free consultation. Call or text us today at 414-375-2030

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be used as legal advice. It is not medical advice and should not be used as medical advice. The legal statutes, laws, and procedures contained in this article may not be current and may have been revised since the time of publication or contain errors. An attorney can provide legal guidance only after reviewing the details of your individual case.

[1] https://fox6now.com/2018/08/16/frustrated-2nd-person-could-be-suing-city-after-accident-they-say-was-caused-by-streetcar-tracks/

[2] https://thehopmke.com/

[3] https://www.tmj4.com/news/local-news/-the-hop-milwaukee-streetcar-tracks-raises-bicycle-safety-concerns

[4] https://urbanmilwaukee.com/2015/03/31/a-short-history-of-milwaukees-old-streetcar-system/2/

Bird Scooters

For those of you who are wondering why scooters have been popping up all over town, it’s likely due to a recent influx of Bird Scooters. First created in China, and manufactured on the West Coast, Bird Scooters allow pedestrians to rent these  scooters starting at just $1.00. Although you are also required to pay .15 cents for every minute you use the scooter, Bird Scooters (and others with a similar business model) have seemingly taken over our way of getting around. While these scooters are relatively inexpensive to rent, and very useful to get from one place to the next, it is not surprising that this latest influx of scooters has lead to an increase in pedestrian-related accidents over the past few months.

Given the rise in scooter-related incidents, it is important for drivers and riders alike to remember to always keep an eye out for others. It’s bad enough that we have to deal with cars, semi-trucks, motorcycles, city buses, and (soon) trolleys. This latest craze has meant that for those of us behind the wheel there has never been a time where more potential hazards are on the road. Obviously keeping your eyes on the road is a must, and texting while driving is a no-no. But, drivers are now required to look out for any number of scooters that might potentially dart out onto the street. These scooters, which travel up to 15mph, are difficult to see, especially at night. While technology still hasn’t caught up with the longtime issue of keeping our pedestrian safe, especially at night, that doesn’t mean that we cannot minimize these potentially horrific accidents.

In the coming weeks and months, it is probable that more scooter companies will pop up throughout the city, and more people will be exposed to additional hazards while trying to get from point A to point B. Just remember: IPDE: Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute. Keeping your eyes on the road, and off your phone will help you to identify those on scooters. Once you’ve identified them, try to predict where they are likely headed. If that seem to be veering onto the road, are appear about to dart across traffic, make sure to provide them with enough space to get through safely. Next, decide. You ultimately need to decide whether it makes sense to avoid certain areas of town at particular times of day given the number of pedestrians on scooters. Finally, execute. Make sure that you are cognizant of the rapid rise of pedestrians on scooters and make a plan. Be sure to execute your game plan, and let others know of potential ways that they might also minimize the dangers that these new scooters are causing. Together, we can make our roads safe again. There are always setbacks when new technology becomes available to the public. Hopefully by recognizing and talking about the issue, we can achieve zero scooter-related accident on our streets.

If you or someone that you know has been injured while on a motorized scooter, one of our attorneys at Groth Law Firm would be happy to provide you with a free consultation. We will be able to tell you what legal avenues, if any, you might have to not only get your medical bills paid for, but also additional compensation for the pain and suffering that you deserve. Call us day or night!

GROTH LAW FIRM, S.C.
SKILLED. DEDICATED. PROVEN.

(414) 375-2030