In Wisconsin, motorcycle riding is a way of life. Riders age 16 to 102 are part of a loyal 538,912 member coalition of M-Class licensed drivers throughout the state. As the birthplace of Harley Davidson Motorcycles, Milwaukee is at the heart of that tradition. Unfortunately, motorcycle accident injuries are an unwelcome element of this inspiring lifestyle. Accidents occur as bikers share our highways with cars, pick-up trucks, and commercial vehicles. When they do, motorcyclists sustain serious, catastrophic, and fatal injuries while many vehicle drivers walk away unharmed.
Private passenger and commercial vehicles cause motorcycle accidents when they ignore a motorcyclist’s legal right to share the road and disregard common driving courtesies. Car and truck drivers overlook motorcycles in their blind spot. They fail to yield the right of way and they jeopardize a cyclist’s safety when they encroach on their lanes. While the causes of motorcycle accidents vary, the post-accident consequences remain consistent. Motorcycle riders often require emergency treatment and vehicle drivers receive minor injuries or no injuries at all.
When a car or truck crashes into a motorcycle, its speed and weight easily destroy a cyclist’s balance and throw them to the pavement. The impact often causes serious, catastrophic, or fatal injuries. Bikers who survive a crash may endure emergency treatment, lengthy hospitalizations, and ongoing care. They may live with physical and financial burdens that last a lifetime.
With motorcycles, cars, and trucks sharing Milwaukee’s roads, the casualty numbers fluctuate each year, but they never reach zero. Local and national agencies raise awareness of motorcycle accident injuries by tracking accidents and documenting injury frequency.
- Over the six years analyzed, Wisconsin Department of Transportation crash statistics showed an annual average of 2,287 motorcycle accidents across the state.
- Annually, statewide motorcycle crashes cause an average of 2,049 injuries and 84 fatalities.
- The most recent annual data from the Governer’s Highway Safety Association shows 77 motorcycle fatalities in the state.
- The most recent annual National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration data documented 10 motorcyclist fatalities in Milwaukee County.
In assessing the causes of motorcycle accidents, negligent operation is usually a critical factor. When a car or truck driver’s actions seriously injure a motorcyclist, they should pay for the damages they cause.
Motorcycle Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a collision on your motorcycle, Groth Law motorcycle accident attorneys can help you receive the justice you deserve. Motorcyclists often suffer catastrophic injuries when they are involved in a collision with a car or a truck. The financial costs of such a serious injury can easily exceed the available insurance coverage, often making the situation even more problematic.
If you have been injured, or a loved one was killed in a motorcycle crash, it is important that you work with an attorney who knows how to pursue all possible sources of compensation, including uninsured and underinsured motorists’ coverage.
Our Firm’s Results
At Groth Law Firm in Wisconsin, we focus on obtaining full and fair financial recovery for people who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents. By devoting our law practice to litigation, personal injury, and wrongful death cases, we’re able to provide our clients with effective, knowledgeable, and comprehensive legal representation.
Our lawyers have extensive personal injury experience. We understand the tactics insurance companies use to minimize their liability. We can explain the things insurance companies don’t want you to know. We also understand the true value of a case, including the long-term consequences of serious injuries. Our attorneys use this knowledge to help our clients understand and protect their right to compensation. We keep our settlement details confidential, but our client testimonials share honest thoughts and appreciation for our knowledge, compassion, and dedication.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
When NHSTA tracked motorcycle fatalities they determined that they occurred 28 times more often than fatalities in other vehicles. While the lack of motorcycle helmets plays a role in fatal motorcycle injury accidents, they’re not the only contributing factor. Unlike cars and trucks, bikers aren’t enclosed by a protective metal compartment with steel reinforcements. Motorcycles have no passive restraint systems. When a vehicle crashes into a motorcycle, the motorcycle operator is vulnerable.
Severe and catastrophic injuries occur when a collision impact hurls a motorcyclist into the pavement. These types of motorcycle and other vehicular crashes caused 51 percent of the 16,495 traumatic brain injuries in the National Data and Statistical Center database. The National Spinal Cord Statistical Center documented vehicular accidents as the cause of 38.3 percent of the 32,727 spinal cord injuries it tracks. Motorcycle/vehicle accidents cause a number of severe and catastrophic injuries:
- Spinal cord trauma
- Complete and partial paralysis
- Traumatic brain injury
- Severe abrasions and “road rash”
- Nerve damage
- Disc injuries
- Eye injuries
- Multiple fractures
- Traumatic amputations
- Internal organ damage
- Fatal injuries
Recoverable Motorcycle Accident Injury Damages
At Groth Law Firm, we understand that a settlement can’t heal our clients’ wounds. Our attorneys work for a full and fair recovery for our clients because it indemnifies them for their past losses and helps them plan for their future needs. A conventional settlement includes economic and general or non-economic damages. In rare cares, juries also award punitive damages.
Economic damages are easily calculable as they’re based on past and present expenses. When an injured person is permanently disabled and requires lifelong care, an economist projects future economic losses based on continuing expenses. Economic damages include the following.
- Current and future income losses
- Diminished earning capacity
- Medical and pharmacy costs
- Ramps and mobility aids
- Physical, emotional, and occupational therapy
- Medical transportation
- Household assistance
- Funeral costs
General damages are difficult to evaluate as they place a dollar value on an injured person’s pain, emotional considerations, and lifestyle losses. General damages include these and other subjective concerns.
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Spousal and family relationship issues
- Loss of bodily functions
- Temporary and permanent disabilities
Juries award punitive damages as punishment for a defendant’s actions. Plaintiffs receive punitive damage awards in compliance with Wisconsin Statutes, § 895.043 Punitive Damages. A plaintiff must present evidence that a defendant.”…acted maliciously toward the plaintiff or in an intentional disregard of the rights of the plaintiff.” If a plaintiff meets these strict standards of proof, a statutory cap limits the dollar amount of punitive damages they receive.
Motorcycle Accident Liability Issues
Insurance companies and ultimately juries review presented evidence before evaluating accident liability issues. Still, insurance companies sometimes defend their insureds even when the evidence confirms their negligence.
An insurance company’s position on liability is often a matter of accepting their insured’s misinterpretations about a biker’s driving behavior. Other times it’s based on evaluating a cyclist’s negligence from a biased point of view. As part of an overall liability and damage mitigation strategy, some insurance companies defend cases instead of settling them. Juries sometimes respond favorably when defendants plead these and other negligence defenses.
- No negligence – When a vehicle driver convinces his insurance carrier or a jury that he did nothing wrong, the insurance carrier will often deny and defend the claim. When a jury perceives no negligence, they award the plaintiff no damages.
- Contributory negligence – Under Wisconsin’s Contributory Negligence Statute, § 895.045 Contributory Negligence, if a defendant proves the injured person was negligent, a jury reduces their award by their negligence percentage. A plaintiff still recovers damages unless they have 51 percent or greater negligent. For example, if a jury finds a plaintiff 30 percent negligent, the plaintiff still recovers 70 percent of their damages.
- No defect – When a plaintiff or defendant alleges a defective motorcycle or defective part caused an accident, the product manufacturer avoids liability if they convince a jury there is no defect.
- Damage dispute – Insurance companies and defendants often mitigate their damage payout by alleging that they didn’t cause all of the plaintiff’s injuries or that the plaintiff wasn’t injured at all.
Our lawyers know how insurance companies operate so we understand how to overcome their defenses. We document the evidence and analyze legal complications and liability issues. We prepare our clients’ cases so we can defeat traditional insurance company defense strategies.
Counteracting the Bias Against Motorcycles and Bikers
It’s a sad fact that many people (including jurors) have preconceived notions about motorcyclists, namely that they are reckless drivers. We believe this reputation is undeserved and unfounded. In fact, motorcycle accidents often result from the negligence or carelessness of other drivers who:
- Don’t check their blind spot when making a lane change
- Don’t see the motorcycle when entering or exiting a street or road
- Don’t yield the right of way at a stop
- Make a sudden left-hand turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle at an intersection
Through careful investigation of the accident and consultation with expert witnesses, Attorney Jon P. Groth and his legal team can often present evidence showing that the driver of the car, truck, or other vehicle was the precise cause of the accident.
Contact Groth Law Motorcycle Personal Injury Attorneys
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident or your loved one was killed, you may need immediate legal help so you can protect your legal rights. Our law firm has helped numerous personal injury clients in Milwaukee and across Wisconsin. Let us determine if we can help you.
To speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney, call Groth Law at (414) 240-0707 or complete our online case submission form.