When the wind’s in your hair and the sun’s on your back, riding a motorcycle can be one of life’s greatest pleasures. But that pleasure can be turned into a nightmare in a split second by a careless driver, defective auto part, or road hazard. The path to recovery after a motorcycle wreck can be long and arduous. With the help of an experienced Green Bay motorcycle accident attorney from the Schwaba Law Firm, things could be much easier.
Andrew Schwaba is proud to stand up for injured Wisconsinites and their families, helping them get the money they need for accidents that aren’t their fault. He has successfully resolved many motorcycle accident cases, including one in which he recovered $275,000 for a client with a shoulder labrum tear. Andrew will also aim to secure full and fair compensation for your losses.
Don’t let a motorcycle accident define your future. Let the team with Schwaba Law Firm fight on your behalf. Reach out today for a consultation with a motorcycle accident lawyer in Green Bay. You’ll get a free, no-obligation case review, and you pay nothing until your case is resolved.
What Are the Wisconsin Motorcycle Laws?
Here are some of the laws you should know if you own or ride a motorcycle in Wisconsin:
- Helmet Laws – Riders under 18 and those with only an instructional permit must wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. This rule also applies to any passengers under 18.
- Eye Protection Requirements – You must wear eye protection like a face shield, glasses, or goggles while operating a motorcycle. This rule doesn’t apply if your bike has a windshield at least 15 inches above the handlebars.
- Motorcycle Equipment Rules – Handlebars cannot be more than 30 inches above the top of the driver’s seat when occupied. Handlebars also can’t be improvised, defective, or repaired. Additionally, all motorcycles must have functioning mufflers.
- Seating Requirements – No more than two people can ride on a motorcycle at once, and only on motorcycles with proper seats and footrests or pegs for all riders.
- License Requirements – As a Wisconsin resident, you must have a state-issued Class M motorcycle license or instruction permit to operate a motorcycle in Wisconsin. To get a Class M license, you can complete an approved rider course, have a Wisconsin motorcycle instruction permit and pass a road test, or surrender a valid motorcycle license from another state.
- Insurance – You must have appropriate liability insurance for your motorcycle and carry proof of this insurance while riding.
Why Are Motorcycle Accident Cases More Complicated Than Auto Accident Cases?
Several distinct factors make most motorcycle accident cases more challenging than those involving other motor vehicles.
One common issue is the prevailing bias against motorcyclists. The general public — and sometimes even law enforcement officers, judges, and jurors — often have preconceived notions of motorcyclists as reckless risk-takers. These biases can affect determinations of fault, settlement negotiations, and even litigation, as courts can be predisposed against motorcyclists.
Moreover, because motorcyclists lack the protective shell that a car provides to vehicle occupants, they are more vulnerable to severe or life-threatening injuries. And because of the serious nature of these injuries, the subsequent medical costs, loss of income, and anticipated future costs can be considerable. Because many motorcycle accidents result in high-value claims, insurers tend to fight that much harder to limit their liability and minimize payouts.
What to Do If You’re Involved in a Green Bay Motorcycle Wreck
The steps you take after a Green Bay motorcycle accident can significantly affect any subsequent legal action you take, any insurance claims you file, and your ability to recover the compensation you deserve.
Here’s what you should do following a motorcycle accident in Wisconsin:
- Seek Prompt Medical Attention – Doing so can protect your health and also establish the extent and severity of any injuries you suffered, including those that might not be immediately apparent.
- Document and Preserve Evidence – Photograph injuries and damage to your gear or
- Obtain a Copy of the Police Report– This can be an essential document in establishing who caused the motorcycle crash and is liable for its consequences.
- Inform Your Insurance Provider – Notify your carrier of the accident but avoid apologizing, admitting fault, or making definitive statements about who you think was at fault.
- Don’t Talk About the Accident – Refrain from discussing specifics, especially on social media, as insurance companies can use whatever you say against you.
- Consult with a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer – A good attorney can pursue your case on your behalf, giving you the time and space you need to focus on your recovery.
- Notify Your Employer – If your injuries affect your ability to work, inform your employer and record any missed workdays or lost income.
- Keep Track of Your Expenses and Losses – This includes medical bills, repair costs for your motorcycle, lost income, and other accident-related expenses.
- Do Not Accept Any Settlement Offers Without Legal Advice – Your attorney can determine whether a given offer is fair and in your best interest.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Collisions
Motorcycle accidents occur due to a variety of circumstances. The most common are as follows:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Sudden stops
- Inexperienced driving
- Improper turn accidents
- Dangerous road conditions
- Vehicle blind spots
- Defective vehicle parts
- Reckless driving
- Poor weather conditions
- Failure to yield
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Illegal maneuvers
- Dooring incidents
- Wrong-way driving
- Overtaking accidents
- Motorist inattention
Common Injuries from a Motorcycle Crash
Motorcycle accidents can result in a range of injuries, from minor to severe and sometimes even life-threatening. Here are some common examples of motorcycle crash injuries:
- Road rash
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Biker’s arm injuries
- Leg injuries
- Internal injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Burn injuries
- Lacerations and cuts
- Facial and dental injuries
- Neck injuries
- Lower extremity injuries
- Muscle damage
- Nerve damage
- Eye injuries
- Hearing loss
- Pelvic injuries
- Psychological injuries
What Compensation Can Be Recovered after a Motorcycle Crash?
If you were hurt in a Wisconsin motorcycle wreck someone else caused, you could be entitled to compensation for your:
- Crash-related medical expenses
- Anticipated future medical costs
- Lost income and earning capacity
- Pain, suffering, and lost quality of life
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Property repair or replacement costs
How Long Do I Have to File a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit in Wisconsin?
In Wisconsin, you have a three-year window to file most personal injury lawsuits, including those stemming from motorcycle accidents.
This three-year timeline begins on the date of the motorcycle accident, meaning your time to file a lawsuit starts running out the moment you get hurt. Adhering to the relevant filing deadline is essential, as the court could refuse to hear your case if you fail to initiate your suit within the allotted time. This effectively eliminates your right to sue, no matter how clear or convincing your motorcycle accident case may be.
There are some circumstances, however, where the timeline might be different. Given the high stakes and potential consequences of a mistake, hiring a Green Bay motorcycle accident attorney early in the process is advisable.
How Is Fault Determined for a Motorcycle Accident in Wisconsin?
The person at fault for causing a motorcycle accident is also liable for its consequences, which means determining who is to blame is a crucial part of pursuing fair compensation. This process involves carefully reviewing the available evidence, starting with examining the police report for an initial understanding of the circumstances surrounding the accident. Witness statements can also provide useful information about the incident from different perspectives, allowing police, attorneys, and other investigators to piece together the sequence of events.
Your lawyer might also engage accident reconstruction professionals. These experts can analyze the physical evidence at the scene, the damage to the vehicles, and any footage from nearby traffic or security cameras to reconstruct the accident and provide insight into what happened.
Your attorney can also examine your medical records to evaluate the extent of your injuries, the treatments you need now, and potential future medical care. Together, these pieces of evidence allow your attorney to present a compelling case of who was at fault and how much money that person owes you.
What Damages Can I Expect to Recover from a Motorcycle Collision Claim?
If you were injured in a motorcycle collision that someone else caused, that person might owe you compensation in the form of “damages.” The specific damages you could be entitled to will depend on the circumstances of the accident and your injuries and may involve money for your:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Property damage and vehicle repairs
Why You Need a Green Bay Motorcycle Accident Lawyer to Handle Your Case
Hiring a Green Bay motorcycle accident lawyer can greatly benefit you and your injury case. They should have a deep understanding of Wisconsin’s motorcycle and traffic laws, as well as experience dealing with local courts and legal professionals, with which they can develop a strategic approach to your case. Next, they will calculate an accurate value for your motorcycle accident claim, fully considering your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and potential future costs, so you don’t settle for less. Finally, they will prepare a robust case on your behalf, negotiate with the relevant insurance companies, and represent your interests in court as necessary. While they do this, you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery.
Get in Touch with a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Green Bay
Don’t leave your future to chance after a motorcycle accident. Contact Schwaba Law Firm today for a free consultation with a Green Bay motorcycle accident lawyer. Let Andrew Schwaba fight hard for the justice and compensation you deserve.