Motorcyclists make up a low percentage of vehicles on the road (only 3% of all registered vehicles). Unfortunately, however, they are involved in a wildly disproportionate percentage of Minnesota traffic fatalities, far greater than other types of auto accidents. In fact, motorcyclists make up 14% of all traffic accident-related deaths. If you are operating a motorcycle, the numbers are clear that you are at a much higher risk.
Motorcycles do not have walls and a roof to protect you, so when you collide with another vehicle, person, or object, you have a far greater risk of severe injuries. If a negligent driver hit you while you were on your motorcycle, you deserve compensation. The Minneapolis attorneys at Kirshbaum Injury Law are experienced and knowledgeable about Minnesota law and how the proceedings of motorcycle accident claims progress. Learn how we can help you pursue your right to compensation in your motorcycle injury case.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident in Minneapolis, the first step is to make sure that you and the others at the scene are safe. Keep your head together and try not to get angry or accusatory, and never apologize for anything at the scene. Remaining calm is difficult but very important.
Even if you do not feel injured, it is best to have a healthcare professional evaluate you. Some accident injuries can take days or even weeks to show symptoms. Seeking medical care right away can help you avoid exacerbating an injury, and it shows that you took the accident seriously from the start.
Calling the police goes hand-in-hand with seeking medical attention. You will want to call 911 right after the accident to get first responders on the scene. The police will likely show up first and then call for an ambulance. Calling the police allows you to maintain a formal record of what happened. Filing a police report provides an important tool as you have to remember the details of the accident later.
Get the name, contact information, and insurance details of the other driver. Get their license plate number as well. Do not argue with them or discuss what happened. Doing so leads to critical mistakes like admitting fault for the accident. Simply exchange information.
Besides getting the other driver’s information, talk to any witnesses at the scene. If they are willing to testify to what they saw, get their names and contact information. Take photos of the scene from as many angles as possible. Photograph the vehicles, any physical injuries, any property damage, and whatever else you can think of that might be associated with the incident. Make notes about what happened. Draw diagrams while the memory is fresh in your mind. The more evidence you can gather, the better.
Contacting a Minneapolis motorcycle accident lawyer may be one of the most important calls you make. The right car wreck lawyer with practice areas specifically in motorcycle crashes can be the ally you need. An attorney knows how to negotiate when the insurance company goes to great lengths to avoid paying.
At Kirshbaum Injury Law, we will fight for the compensation you deserve to cover your economic damages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. Contact us today at 952-545-2700 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation with an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney. Our office provides virtual consultations to meet the accessibility needs of all of our clients.
Insurance for motorcyclists does not automatically come with no-fault coverage. Minnesota motorcycle laws do not require motorcycle operators to have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage. You can, however, request it, and it is a good idea because Minnesota is a no-fault state.
Motorcyclists in Minnesota are, however, required to use eye protection and, if under 18, wear a helmet that is DOT-approved. Motorcycle riders also are required to carry liability insurance and proof of that insurance.
It is important to understand that motorcycle riders have the same rights and duties as any other driver on the road. They are entitled to the full use of their lane and to use HOV lanes. They are subject to DUI and reckless driving laws. All riders must be in a permanent seat and must be able to reach both footrests. Motorcyclists are not permitted to split traffic, but lane sharing that is agreed upon by two riders is permissible.
The serious injuries that can result from a Minnesota motorcycle accident can be truly catastrophic to the motorcycle rider due to the relatively small size of motorcycles compared with other vehicles and the lack of protection they offer. This is particularly true when a motorcycle is involved in a car accident or truck accident. Some common forms of motorcycle accident injury in Minneapolis include the following.
As stated above, about 14% of all traffic fatalities involve motorcyclists. When a biker is struck by another driver and killed, their family members and close loved ones may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault motorist.
Broken bones are incredibly common among motorcycle accident victims. They can range from hairline fractures to clean breaks and even deadly compound fractures. A broken bone can also lead to lifelong complications requiring extensive medical treatment and mounting medical costs.
Spinal cord injuries can change your life completely. Because your brain sends all of its signals to your body through your spine, a spinal injury can affect your muscle strength, sensation in your limbs, and ability to move. It can result in partial or total paralysis and even difficulties with autonomic functions ranging from your cardiovascular system to your digestive system. Spinal injuries can also be deadly.
Healthcare professionals are only beginning to understand traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The conditions resulting from severe head trauma can range from cognitive issues like difficulty concentrating, reading, or speaking to sudden, uncontrollable, and unexplained mood swings.
These injuries can result in all manner of harm, but because the injury itself is not visible, it is often referred to as an invisible injury. TBI can be very difficult to prove, and if you have suffered unexplainable mental health symptoms or cognitive difficulties, it is important to hire a Minneapolis car accident attorney who is familiar with motorcycle accidents right away.
By far, the most dangerous road conditions for bikers involve wet or slick roadways, standing water, and loose gravel or pavement. All of these are extremely dangerous. Wet or slick surfaces can occur after just a short misty rain shower because the rain can bring oils to the surface of the road. Icy conditions, obviously, are dangerous as well, but heat can also make roads slippery.
Standing water is dangerous for any motor vehicle operator, and one should never try to ford standing water, as you can never be sure how deep it is.
Gravel, cracked and crumbling pavement, potholes, and the like can also cause accidents. When you encounter these situations, take it slow and exercise additional caution.
Minnesota is a no-fault state for motor vehicle collisions. This means you must first file a claim with your own insurance under your PIP coverage. This can be a problem if you do not have PIP because Minnesota does not require motorcyclists to carry this form of insurance. In addition, your no-fault insurance does not provide compensation for non-economic damages like emotional distress or pain and suffering.
To gain compensation for the non-economic damages you suffer, you must step outside the no-fault system. This requires that you have incurred a minimum of $4,000 in reasonable medical expenses due to the accident, or you must have suffered 60 days of disability at a minimum, or permanent injury or disfigurement from the accident.
Proving fault involves three major factors. First, you must establish that a duty of care was in place. This part is easy, as every driver has a duty of care toward others to operate their vehicle responsibly and not put other drivers at risk. Second, you must prove that the other driver violated their duty of care, which led in some way to the accident. Finally, you must demonstrate that your injuries were the direct result of the accident.
While this may seem straightforward, it can get complex. Minnesota uses a concept known as modified comparative negligence. This means that if you hold any responsibility for what happened, the amount of money you can collect will be reduced by that percentage. Thus, if the victim’s injuries and other losses are worth $200,000, but the victim is 10% responsible, they will only collect $180,000. Furthermore, if the victim is more than 50% responsible, they can be barred from collecting any damages.
The time frame for settling a motorcycle accident case can vary widely depending on the circumstances of each case. The process, though, can be broken down into some common steps. First, you will file a claim with your insurance company for PIP benefits. These should cover your lost wages, medical bills, and replacement services.
If you have additional damages, you and your Minneapolis accident attorney will file a lawsuit for damages against the at-fault party, who becomes the defendant. Their insurance adjuster will likely tender a low offer, which you should not sign. Signing any offer can cost you the right to greater compensation later. Always ask your motorcycle or car accident lawyer for advice before signing anything.
Your Minneapolis motorcycle accident attorney will then contact the insurance company on your behalf and begin the process of negotiation. This process can take some time, with offers and counteroffers being considered. In most cases, the parties reach an acceptable middle ground in the end.
In some cases, however, negotiations fail, and you’ll have to go to court. If this happens, you can be assured that Kirshbaum Injury Law will be right by your side every step of the way. We will represent your interests and fight for your right to full and fair compensation for your injuries.
To get started on your case, call us today at 952-545-2700 for a free consultation.
Having an experienced attorney in your corner can be essential to seeking the full compensation to which you are entitled. The first thing an attorney will do for you is even the playing field between you and the insurance company. Insurance providers know the law and know how to use it against you to avoid paying. An attorney knows how to turn that back around. You do not even have to speak to the insurance company, as your attorney can take over all communications.
Your attorney can also help make sure that all of your paperwork is completed properly and on time. Strict deadlines such as the statute of limitations must be met in Minnesota, and your personal injury attorney can guide you through the sometimes-complex legal process. At the Kirshbaum Injury law firm, our team can help build a case and gather evidence to prove that you deserve the compensation for which you are fighting.
The right personal injury lawyer will also be an important ally in your fight to get well. They have resources and can provide legal advice and recommendations for medical treatment and medical providers, and can be a compassionate ear. Our Kirshbaum law office will be a committed ally in resolving your personal injury claim.
If you have been in an accident in the Minneapolis–St. Paul area, the experienced attorneys at Kirshbaum Injury Law are ready to listen. We have spent years fighting for justice for injury victims across our state, and we are ready to fight for you. Read over some testimonials from satisfied customers, and then reach out to us for a free case evaluation. Even better, there are no fees unless you win. Call us at 952-545-2700 or fill out our online contact form to talk to a member of our legal team today.