Milwaukee Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Wisconsin
Every year, motorcyclists remain among the most overrepresented groups when it comes to traffic accident-related injuries and deaths. Although victims and their surviving loved ones may be entitled to financial compensation for their damages—such as medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering—actually recovering this compensation from the liable party can be very challenging.
If you were injured or if someone you love died in a motorcycle accident in Milwaukee or the nearby areas, Dunk Law Firm can help. Led by founding attorney, Orville Dunk, our team is dedicated to helping victims of negligence get back on their feet. We take on major insurance carriers in pursuit of fair and reasonable compensation for our clients—but we don’t just accept the insurance company’s first offer. Instead, we strive to maximize our clients’ settlements so that they can heal and move forward with their lives. We are even prepared to represent you at trial if necessary.
Common Injuries Sustained in Motorcycle Accidents
Sadly, because motorcycle riders have relatively few protections compared to occupants of traditional passenger vehicles, they are at risk of severe bodily injury and death.
Some of the most common injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents include:
- Serious contusions, cuts, scrapes, and abrasions
- Friction burns, or “road rash”
- Broken bones/fractures
- Accidental amputation/loss of limb
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Head, neck, and back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
These injuries can have catastrophic effects, from significant scarring and disfigurement to partial or total paralysis to severe physical and/or cognitive disability.
Can I Sue After a Motorcycle Accident?
If you believe that your injuries were caused because of another motorist's negligent actions, you may have grounds to file an injury lawsuit against them and their insurance company. In some cases, even if you shared some fault in the accident, you may still be able to recover some compensation (as long as you were less than 50% responsible for the incident). This is because Wisconsin has modified comparative negligence laws. In other words, as long as you are less than 50% responsible for an accident you can still recover compensation. However, your compensation will be reduced according to the amount of fault you shared in causing the accident.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Generally speaking, most motorcycle accidents can be traced back to negligence. Although there is a common misconception that motorcyclists are inherently dangerous, reckless drivers—and, certainly, they can and do make mistakes—most motorcycle accidents occur due to the negligence of others on the road.
Some examples of this include:
- Distracted driving
- Texting/cell phone use while driving
- Drunk driving
- Fatigued/drowsy driving
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Failure to obey traffic signals, stops signs, etc.
- Dangerous turns
- Unsafe or unlawful merging or passing
- Failure to see motorcyclists
- Opening car doors
- Tailgating/following too closely
- Aggressive driving
- Sudden lane changes
Although motorist negligence is by far the most common cause of motorcycle accidents, other factors can play a role in these collisions. For example, defectively designed or constructed roadways could contribute to a serious crash, as could auto defects, such as faulty accelerators or brakes.
At Dunk Law Firm, we know how to thoroughly investigate complex motorcycle accident claims to determine exactly what happened and, most importantly, who was at fault. This is critical, as establishing fault is essential to most motorcycle accident claims.
Who Can Be Found at Fault for Motorcycle Accidents?
Anyone who causes or contributes to an accident could be found partially or entirely at fault. Because Wisconsin is a “fault” (or “tort”) state, determining fault—and, therefore, liability—is important. Injured victims can seek financial compensation for their injuries and related losses by filing personal injury or wrongful death claims against at-fault parties.
Depending on the specific circumstances of your accident, any of the following parties (and others) could be found at fault:
- Another motorist
- A truck driver or trucking company
- The manufacturer of a defective vehicle or vehicle part
- An engineer or construction company responsible for a defective roadway
- Another third party, like a pedestrian or bicyclist
But what happens when the other person or party tries to argue that you were at fault? In Wisconsin, multiple parties can share liability for a single accident, but this does not necessarily mean that either party will be unable to file a claim for damages.
Under the state’s modified comparative negligence rule, you are allowed to seek compensation after an accident for which you share some of the fault as long as your percentage of fault is not more than 50%. And, if you are found to share some of the blame, your total recovery—meaning, the amount you can recover in damages—will be reduced by your at-fault percentage. So, if you are found to be 25% at fault for a motorcycle accident, you would only be able to recover up to 75% of the total amount you suffered in both economic and non-economic damages.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
Because they are often so devastating, motorcycle accidents can be extremely overwhelming for both victims and their loved ones. In the wake of the crash, you may be uncertain of what to do next or how to proceed with your claim. However, regardless of the severity of the accident, there are some things you can do to protect yourself, your well-being, and your rights.
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, try to do the following:
- Seek Medical Attention: Whether the accident just happened, or it’s been several hours, days, or weeks, you should make sure you are treated by a medical professional immediately. Often, motorcycle accidents necessitate emergency medical attention; call 911 if you or anyone else appears gravely injured and wait for paramedics arrive. In all other cases, go to the hospital, visit an urgent care center, or see a doctor as soon as possible.
- Report the Accident: In Wisconsin, you are required to report any accident that results in injury, death, or apparent property damage of $1,000 or more to private property or $200 or more to non-vehicle government property to the police “immediately” and “by the quickest means of communication.” Typically, this means calling the police and having them come out to the scene of the crash. Once at the scene, the responding officer can prepare an official accident report.
- Get the Other Party’s Information: If possible, try to get the other person or party’s information, including their name, contact information (phone number, email address, etc.), and insurance information (insurance provider, policy number, etc.) at the scene of the crash. If you are unable to obtain this information at the scene, for example, because you were transported to a hospital, the official police report should have it. If the other driver fled the scene, you should immediately contact a lawyer who can help you with your hit-and-run accident claim.
- Collect and Preserve Evidence: You should try to gather as much evidence related to the crash as possible. If you can, take pictures of the accident scene, along with your injuries. Talk to witnesses and get their name(s)/contact information. Request copies of your medical records and the police report and, unless absolutely necessary, avoid having your bike repaired or scrapped (if totaled) until your case has been resolved. You should also keep your clothing, helmet, and any other personal property that was damaged in the crash, as all of this can go a long way in proving the severity of the collision, as well as the nature of your injuries.
- Be Cautious When Talking to the Insurance Companies: Depending on your insurance policy, you may need to report the accident to your provider right away. Review your policy and make sure you comply with all provisions to avoid penalties. However, you should utilize caution when discussing the case with any insurance adjuster, whether from your own insurance company or the other person’s. Stick to the facts, avoid saying anything that could be construed as admitting fault, and never downplay or dismiss your injuries. In fact, we recommend avoiding talking to the other person’s insurance company at all until you have first discussed your legal rights and options with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Milwaukee.
Is It Worth Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
The decision of whether or not to hire a lawyer to represent you is a personal decision. Only you can decide what is in your best interests. However, if you are having difficult obtaining a fair settlement offer from your insurance company, or if the insurance company has denied your claim, you may want to consider hiring a lawyer to fight on your behalf. Our team can not only fight for the compensation you deserve, but we can help you determine what fair compensation would be for your injuries. Statistically, if you have a lawyer fighting on your behalf, you are more likely to obtain a larger settlement for your injuries.
Contact Dunk Law Firm Today
When you need the help of a skilled personal injury lawyer, reach out to Dunk Law Firm. We have successfully recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients, and we are not afraid to go up against major insurance companies and their defense teams in pursuit of justice and fair compensation.
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