If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash in Wisconsin caused by someone else, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. But being entitled to compensation and securing it are two different things, and injured bikers often face serious challenges getting the money they need from tight-fisted insurance companies.

That’s where the Schwaba Law Firm comes in. Since 2010, Andrew Schwaba has been standing up for injury victims in Green Bay, Marinette, Appleton, and throughout the Northeast Wisconsin region. He knows how complicated motorcycle accident cases can be and how insurance carriers will try to blame motorcyclists for their own injuries to save themselves money. But Andrew also knows what it takes to beat the insurers and get clients the money they need to get their lives back on track.

Don’t let an accident define your future. Instead, contact a Wisconsin motorcycle accident lawyer from Schwaba Law Firm today and get started with a free consultation.

What Are the Wisconsin Motorcycle Laws?

residents who wish to operate a motorcycle on public roads must have a valid motorcycle license. Residents under 18 must prove they have completed driver education and basic rider courses to be eligible for a motorcycle license. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) recommends that all motorcycle operators take a rider education course to decrease the likelihood of motorcycle wrecks.
Helmets are required for all operators and passengers under 18 or anyone with a motorcycle instruction permit. While WisDOT recommends helmets for riders over 18, state law does not require them. Eye protection, such as goggles, a face shield, or an approved windshield, is required for all riders, regardless of age.

Motorcyclists in Wisconsin must have liability insurance and carry proof of insurance while on the road. Failure to carry insurance could result in fines of up to $500. The Wisconsin Motorcyclist’s Handbook is an excellent source of information about Wisconsin motorcycle laws and rider safety.

Why Are Motorcycle Accident Cases More Complicated Than Auto Accident Cases?

A motorcycle accident case presents unique complexities compared to auto accident case due to several factors, including the following:

  • The Severity of Injuries – Motorcyclists lack the protection that cars provide, leading to more serious, often catastrophic, injuries in accidents. Severe injuries requiring extensive medical treatment can increase the value of claims, which insurers may aggressively contest.
  • Bias Against Motorcyclists – Motorcyclists often face societal and legal bias, which affects police reports, eyewitness testimonies, and jury decisions. This can make it challenging to establish the liability of other parties involved.
  • Expert Testimony – The average person doesn’t understand the unique mechanics and dynamics of motorcycle riding. That’s why expert testimony from accident reconstruction specialists, medical experts, and motorcycle mechanics can be critically important if a case makes it to court. This need for specialized knowledge can add complexity to the case.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Collisions

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcyclists accounted for 20 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in Wisconsin in one recent year. Of the 620 traffic fatalities statewide that year, 123 were motorcyclists. While these accidents have many different causes, some of the most common are as follows:

  • Cars Making Left-Hand Turns – A motorist turning left at an intersection or into a driveway or parking lot may fail to see a motorcyclist or misjudge their speed, leading to a collision.
  • Speeding and Reckless Driving – Speeding reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around curves or objects in the roadway and increases the distance necessary to stop the vehicle. Reckless driving, such as tailgating and making unsafe lane changes, also contributes significantly to motorcycle accidents.
  • Impaired Driving – Driving while intoxicated is a leading cause of severe traffic accidents. Impaired drivers experience dulled reflexes, blurred vision, and poor judgment, making it much more likely for them to cause a crash.

Common Injuries from a Motorcycle Crash

Motorcycle riders are exposed to a higher risk of serious injuries in a wreck or traffic accident because they have little protection compared to vehicle occupants. The most common injuries suffered by motorcyclists include:

  • Head Injuries – Head injuries are often serious and can occur even if a rider wears a helmet. These injuries range from concussions to traumatic brain injuries, which can lead to long-term cognitive issues.
  • Road Rash – This term refers to the skin and tissue damage caused by sliding on the pavement during an accident. Severe road rash can lead to skin infections, permanent nerve damage, and significant scarring.
  • Biker’s Arm – This injury occurs when a rider instinctively throws out an arm to break a fall during a crash, resulting in severe nerve damage in the arm. The impact can lead to permanent paralysis in the affected arm.
  • Leg and Foot Injuries – Broken bones, sprains, and strains in the legs and feet often occur when a motorcycle falls on a rider’s lower extremities during an accident. In severe cases, amputations could occur.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries – Damage to the spine can lead to partial or total paralysis, with potentially life-altering consequences. Even minor spinal injuries can result in chronic pain and limited mobility.
  • Chest and Abdominal Injuries – Impact with vehicles or objects can cause riders to suffer from fractured ribs, punctured lungs, or internal organ damage. These injuries can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.

What to Do If You’re Involved in a Wisconsin Motorcycle Wreck

If you are involved in a motorcycle collision in Wisconsin, the steps you take immediately after can help protect your legal rights. Your health should be your priority, so see a doctor immediately if you have injuries. Once you have sought medical treatment and called the police, you should do the following:

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Document the Scene – If you are physically able, take pictures or videos of the accident scene, including your injuries, damage to your motorcycle, the other vehicle involved, and any relevant road or weather conditions.

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Collect Information – Gather the contact and insurance information of the other parties involved in the accident. Additionally, collect contact information from any witnesses present at the scene.

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Avoid Discussing Fault – Do not admit to or discuss fault at the accident scene. Even casual comments can be used against you later on.

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Call your insurance company – Immediately report the accident to your insurance provider. Be factual but avoid making definitive statements about the accident until you’ve spoken to an attorney.

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Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney – A motorcycle accident lawyer in Wisconsin can protect your rights, gather and preserve evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and guide you through the complex legal process.

What Compensation Can Be Recovered after a Motorcycle Crash?

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If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else, you could be entitled to seek compensation for various losses, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Property damage

How Is Fault Determined for a Motorcycle Accident in Wisconsin?

Fault for a motorcycle accident is often determined based on the legal theory of “negligence,” a legal term of art describing a person’s failure to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. Establishing that the other motorist was negligent requires examining evidence that might include:

  • Police reports
  • Witness statements
  • Photographs
  • Video footage
  • Accident reconstruction reports
  • Expert opinions
  • Traffic citations
  • Road condition reports
  • Maintenance records
  • Weather reports
  • Surveillance footage
  • Skidmark measurements
  • Vehicle damage assessments
  • Phone records
  • GPS data
  • Eyewitness testimonies

Wisconsin follows a “modified comparative negligence” rule when determining fault and damages, which means that a party can recover compensation even if they are partially at fault for the accident, as long as they are less than 51 percent at fault. However, their compensation will be reduced in proportion to their percentage of fault.

Why You Need a Wisconsin Motorcycle Accident Lawyer to Handle Your Case

When you hire a Wisconsin motorcycle accident law firm to handle your case, you can rest assured that an experienced attorney is advocating for your rights and interests. A motorcycle accident lawyer in Wisconsin can help you by:

  • Handling Legal Paperwork and Deadlines– A lawyer can file all the necessary legal paperwork correctly and by the required deadlines.
  • Establishing Liability– An attorney can gather and present the necessary evidence to prove the other party’s fault.
  • Valuing Your Claim– Lawyers can accurately calculate your claim’s value, considering all medical costs, future care needs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  • Negotiating with Insurance Companies– Attorneys have the skills and experience to negotiate with insurance adjusters, which they can back up with the threat of a lawsuit.
  • Representing You in Court– Should your case go to trial, a lawyer can represent you in court, presenting a compelling argument on your behalf.
  • Not Charging You Anything Upfront – Because Andrew works on a contingency-fee basis, you won’t be charged anything unless he recovers compensation for you.

How Long Do I Have to File a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is three years. This means you have three years from the date of a motorcycle accident to file a lawsuit against the party at fault. However, it’s important to note that the timeline could be significantly shorter if your claim is against a government entity. In that case, you must file a notice of claim within 120 days of the incident.

If you miss these deadlines, you’ll likely lose your right to pursue compensation in civil court. This is why contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident is essential. Hiring a Wisconsin motorcycle accident attorney means you’ll have your claim filed promptly and correctly.

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Get in Touch with a Wisconsin Motorcycle Accident Attorney

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If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you could have the right to seek compensation for the losses you suffered from the crash. Schwaba Law Firm can help you pursue the financial relief you deserve. Contact Andrew Schwaba today for a free consultation with a Wisconsin motorcycle accident attorney.