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Milwaukee personal injury law firmMilwaukee, WI motorcycle accident injury lawyersBy Attorney Chris Strohbehn and Paralegal Ruth Campos

Motorcycle crashes in Wisconsin are particularly dangerous, with over 90 percent of motorcyclists who are involved in an accident suffering an injury or losing their lives. Perhaps even more astonishingly, nearly 14 percent of all vehicle accident fatalities are motorcyclists, despite the fact that they account for less than 2 percent of Wisconsin accidents. It is clear that an accident can have a severe impact on a motorcyclist’s life, and if you have been injured by another driver, it is important for you to understand how you can pursue compensation for the damages you have suffered.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

When a motorcycle accident is caused by another driver, it is often because the other driver failed to see or detect the motorcycle, perhaps because of a distraction, inattentiveness due to driver fatigue, or alcohol impairment. As with other types of accidents, excessive speed can also be a contributing factor. Some motorcycle accidents also occur because another driver fails to respect or account for the motorcyclist’s right to share the road.


Milwaukee motorcycle accident injury lawyerIt is springtime, which means motorcyclists will removing the covers off their motorcycles and going for their first ride in months. If you are a motorcyclist, you should take this time to re-familiarize yourself with safety tips that will help you avoid accidents. 

Follow these tips to avoid a motorcycle accident this spring.

  1. Mind the weather. Spring is notoriously a wet time of year, and roads are often slippery or muddy. You should never assume the depth of standing water.
  2. Inspect your bike. Your tires should be free from cracks, bulges, and signs of wear in the treads. You should also look under your bike for any signs of oil or gasoline leaks. All fluid levels should be tested, and any burned out headlights, tail lights, or signals should be replaced.
  3. Conduct additional inspections once mounted and riding for the first time. When you first get on your bike, there are additional areas that should be checked. The clutch and throttle should slide easily. Mirrors should be readjusted and cleaned. Brakes should feel firm, and the horn should be adequately loud.
  4. Be aware of changing road conditions. It is likely that some of your favorite routes will have changed since fall. Even if you drive on a street regularly by car, you may not notice conditions that are hazardous to a motorcycle. Potholes and cracks that can be dangerous if encountered on a bike are likely to emerge after winter.
  5. Wear a helmet. Be sure to use a helmet that provides full head protection, and insist that your passengers do as well. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, over 1,000 lives are saved each year by wearing a helmet.

Contact a Milwaukee Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney

Even putting practice these safety tips into practice will not prevent every accident. In fact, in accidents between a vehicle and a motorcycle, most collisions are the fault of the driver of the vehicle. Car drivers often do not see motorcyclists, even when a cyclist is complying with the rules of the road. In these situations, an injured motorcyclist should be compensated for their medical expenses, income lost due to the inability to work following an injury, and pain and suffering.


Wisconsin accident attorney, Wisconsin injury lawyerMotorcycle riders know the look – the one that passenger car drivers give them. That shake of the head as your engine revs next to them, catching them off guard. They assume that, because you ride, you are somehow reckless, or that you are bound to experience an accident, simply because you do not drive a “sensible” vehicle. Mostly, they are wrong. However, they do have one thing right: you are more likely to experience a traffic accident. Sadly, that crash will most likely be caused by another driver.

Motorcycle Riders More Likely to Experience a Crash

Ride long enough and you could probably tell a dozen or so stories about the near-misses. Incidents where another driver did not see you coming and you had to lay your bike down, slam on your brakes, or maybe even skidded out of control. If you were lucky, these were minor occurrences that did not lead to injuries beyond a few scrapes and bruises. However, there are many who are not quite as lucky.


Wisconsin motorcycle lawyer, Wisconsin personal injury attorneyEven with the protection of gloves, leathers, helmets, boots, and safety goggles, motorcycle riders are at an extremely high risk for serious injury. This is due, in part, to the lack of encasement around them. However, they are also at an increased risk because, more often than not, other drivers simply do not see motorcycle riders. What injuries are riders most likely to sustain in a motorcycle accident? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) have both conducted studies to find the answer.

Most Common Non-Fatal Injuries

Based on hospital records of 1,222,000 motorcycle crash victims, the CDC’s study of non-fatal motorcycle crash injuries determined that the feet and legs of riders were most likely to be injured in a crash (30 percent of all injuries). However, in a very close second, injuries to the head and neck accounted for 22 percent of injuries. This includes injuries like traumatic brain injury (TBI, also known as a concussion), paralysis, whiplash, and others. Injuries to the chest, back, shoulders, hips, arms, pelvis, and other areas of the body made up the remainder of non-fatal injuries sustained by riders.


Wisconsin accident attorney, Wisconsin motorcyle lawyerWith spring's arrival and weather warming throughout many parts of the country, motorcyclists in some areas have already taken to the road. Even Wisconsin, where the temperatures still feel like winter, will start to see an influx of the two-wheeled vehicles quite soon. And that makes now the perfect time to remind all drivers that accident prevention is everyone’s responsibility.

Just How Big is the Problem?

At first glance, the 2,000 annual motorcyclist deaths may seem like a far cry from the 30,000 fatal car accidents each year. If, however, a side by side comparison is made, motorcyclists are 16 times more likely to be killed in a crash and four times more likely to be injured. In fact, while only 20 percent of all car crashes cause an injury or fatality, the figure jumps to a staggering 80 percent for motorcycle crashes; mile for mile, they are at higher risk.

Wisconsin personal injury attorney, Wisconis wrongful death lawyer, Wisconsin car crashe lawyerMotorcycle accidents result in far more severe bodily injuries to the rider than car accidents, as the impact of a vehicle overwhelms the protective gear worn on a motorcycle. Even though many enthusiasts love their motorcycles, either for thrill riding or commuting, serious injuries and even death result with regularity in accidents between motorcycles and cars or trucks or other motor vehicles. As the number of registered motorcycles increases in Wisconsin, so do the number of serious accidents involving motorcycles. You Are Likely to Be More Severely Injured on a Motorcycle than in a Car As the rider of a motorcycle, you are exposed, and your motorcycle does not have safety features you find in a car, such as air bags and over-the-shoulder seat belts. The faster the motorcycle, the smaller and more lightweight it is, which means a collision with a passenger vehicle or another object can have critical and even fatal results. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, it is very important to work with experienced motorcycle attorneys from the outset. What Types of Injuries Are Most Often Sustained in Motorcycle Accidents? No two accidents are alike, and every accident involving a motorcycle will need to be carefully investigated to determine the cause. A common finding in most motorcycle accidents, however, is serious injury to the rider. If the motorcycle rider is not wearing a helmet or other appropriate protective clothing and gear, then the injuries sustained are often disastrous. It is very common for motorcycle accident victims to experience head trauma, as well as broken bones, paralysis, concussions, road rash, and in the worst cases, death. Unfortunately, long-term care is often required as a result of permanent injuries or paralysis. Additionally, the cost to repair a motorcycle after an accident is often steep, not to mention all of the out of pocket expenses and missed work time as a result of an accident. Expenses can pile up very quickly after a motorcycle accident, which is why it is important to speak to an attorney about filing a claim as soon as possible. Your Insurance Company Should Not Add to Your Problems After a motorcycle accident, the last thing you need is to have any trouble working with your insurance company. Although insurance companies are supposed to act in good faith and pay damages for injuries sustained by people who purchase their policies, upon occasion they fail to do so. Sometimes insurance companies will try to undercompensate you for the damages you suffered, or worse, deny your claim altogether. In any case, if you have been in a motorcycle accident, it is important to have experienced insurance coverage attorneys on your side if your motorcycle accident has led to problems with your insurance company.

The experienced personal injury lawyers at our firm are ready to act quickly if you have been in a motorcycle accident. Our attorneys are standing by to thoroughly investigate the cause of your motorcycle accident, and to passionately seek the relief you are entitled to. We will gladly hold your insurance company accountable for payment under their insurance policies if they are resisting their obligations. Call or email the experienced Milwaukee motorcycle injury attorneys at our firm today and let us see how we can help you.

Source: http://wisconsindot.gov/Documents/safety/education/crash-data/motorcyclefacts.pdf
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