Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Green Bay
The beautiful scenery of Wisconsin is a natural draw for those who enjoy motorcycling. Unfortunately, traffic congestion and risky driving behavior by other roadway users in Green Bay can result in accidents. Motorcyclists face an increased risk of incurring serious injuries compared to the risk faced by individuals in passenger cars.
Many times, when motorcycle riders seek compensation for expenses related to an injury they incurred in an accident, they also face the risk of dealing with negative stereotypes and a lack of empathy about their chosen mode of transportation.
If you’ve suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, the Green Bay motorcycle accident attorneys at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers wants you to know we’re on your side. Motorcycles are legal to ride on Green Bay streets.
If you’re injured due to someone else’s negligence while legally riding your motorcycle, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries, regardless of whether others agree with your choice in transportation. Additionally, our legal team is ready to answer the questions you have about your case and help you understand the assistance we can provide.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Green Bay
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, more than 2,000 motorcycle accidents occur in the state each year. These accidents result in about 80 fatalities and more than 1,800 injuries. Of the injuries sustained by motorcyclists each year in Wisconsin accidents, more than 500 are considered severe. Here is a look at some of the most common ways other drivers in Green Bay can cause an accident involving a motorcycle.
Distracted drivers present a hazard to all roadway users in Green Bay, including motorcyclists. The risk of distracted driving has increased astronomically in the past decade since most Americans now have a cell phone capable of sending and receiving messages from others, even while the person sending or receiving those messages is behind the wheel.
As noted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in the time it takes to send or receive a text when traveling at highway speeds, a driver will have traveled the length of a football field without looking at the road, which is plenty of time for a motorcyclist to enter the driver’s path.
Green Bay has no shortage of sports pubs and nightclubs for the enjoyment of area residents and guests. While this provides plenty of places to pass the time and share a drink with friends, about four out of every 10 motorcycle accidents involve alcohol impairment. Alcohol reduces the drivers ability to operate their vehicle safely, including controlling speed and lane position, tracking moving targets, and making good driving decisions.
Speeding drivers pose several hazards for motorcyclists. Speeding reduces the time that a driver has to notice a hazard on the roadway up ahead and stop. Once the brakes have been applied, a speeding driver’s car will experience an increased stopping distance as they have to work harder to stop the speeding vehicle. When collisions occur involving a speeding vehicle, the severity of the crash is intensified by the increased speed of the vehicle’s forward motion.
Speeding also deprives other roadway users of being able to readily determine if there is a safe gap in traffic in which to make a left turn at an intersection where there is not a green arrow light, or when pulling onto the roadway from a parking lot or private drive, or when changing lanes.
One of the most common phrases for a driver to say after they’ve caused an accident with a motorcycle is: “I didn’t even see it.” While this may seem like a symptom of distracted driving—and sometimes it is—often it is related to a phenomenon known as inattentional blindness. Inattentional blindness refers to how the human brain processes a chaotic situation, such as several intersections of Mason Street at rush hour. The brain will concentrate on the driver’s most significant risks, such as larger vehicles and aggressive driving behaviors, while failing to see minor risks, including nearby motorcycles.
One of the most common types of motorcycle accidents involves a driver of a car making a left turn at a light without a green arrow. The driver must judge a gap in traffic before making their turn. Drivers in these situations often wait for other cars to pass but fail to see the motorcycle and wind up turning into its path.
Dooring refers to when an occupant of a vehicle opens their door into the path of an approaching motorcyclist. This causes the rider to either collide with the door, or swerve and risk colliding with vehicles in the adjacent turn lane.
The Types of Injuries Commonly Suffered in Motorcycle Accidents
From road rash to traumatic brain injuries, all levels of injuries can result from a motorcycle accident. Traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of fatalities in motorcycle accidents, while road rash—a serious skin abrasion resulting from contact with a rough surface such as asphalt—is among the most common.
Other types of injuries suffered in Green Bay motorcycle accidents include:
- Injuries to the legs and feet as a result of becoming trapped beneath the motorcycle.
- Injuries to the wrists and arms due to the rider’s instinctive reaction of outstretching their arms to “catch” their fall.
- Spinal cord injuries and other damage to the discs and vertebrae of the spine in the back or neck.
- Burns resulting from a ruptured gas tank and the rider’s contact with gasoline or flames.
- Internal injuries, which can lead to dangerous blood loss, known as a hemorrhage.
Wisconsin's Helmet Law and How It Affects a Motorcyclist's Ability to Seek Compensation
In Wisconsin, motorcycle riders under the age of 18 and any passengers under 18 must wear helmets. Additionally, those operating the vehicle on a motorcycle learner’s permit are also required to wear helmets.
If you are under 18 or have not yet obtained your motorcycle license and you are involved in an accident in which you are not wearing a helmet, you can still seek compensation for your injuries from the liability insurance provider of a negligent driver because you can legally ride your motorcycle without one.
Seeking Compensation for a Green Bay Motorcycle Accident
Individuals who have been injured in motorcycle accidents in Green Bay can seek compensation through Wisconsin’s personal injury claims process. This process generally involves having your attorney make a demand to the at-fault party’s insurance provider for payment of the full value of the claim.
If the insurance provider fails to pay the claim in full or make a settlement offer that fairly compensates the injury, you can use the civil court system to seek compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit within three years of the date on which the accident occurred.
An estimated 95 percent of personal injury claims in the U.S. are resolved by settlement before they reach trial. This is primarily due to the expense and uncertainty involved in litigation.
While settlements are the usual way of obtaining compensation, it is important to work with a Green Bay motorcycle accident lawyer who is well-versed and comfortable with the litigation process. There is no way to know at the start of a claim whether the insurance provider will make a fair settlement offer.
Who Is Liable for the Motorcycle Accident That Caused Your Injury?
Liability refers to the legal responsibility for the negligent actions that caused someone to become injured or suffer property damage. Proving liability is the foundation for having a successful motorcycle accident claim.
Our lawyers prove liability by showing:
- The at-fault driver had the responsibility to take reasonable actions to protect others from harm. This responsibility involves driving safely and legally.
- There was a breach in the responsibility that the driver owed when they took careless or reckless actions that were contrary to protecting others.
- This breach caused a motorcycle accident in which you became injured. Those injuries resulted in expenses and affected your quality of life.
The Type of Compensation You Can Seek After a Motorcycle Accident
Individuals seeking compensation after a motorcycle accident can obtain money in payment for the expenses they incurred.
The expenses often suffered in a motorcycle accident include:
- Medical expenses. A motorcycle accident can result in injuries that require the victim to be treated at the scene, transferred to the hospital via ambulance or even medical air transport. It results in physicians, surgeons, and other medical staff to provide services, as well as the use of supplies and medication to treat the injury. Diagnostic tests such as MRIs or X-rays are often provided, as well as laboratory tests. Prescriptions can be ordered, as well as physical therapy and rehabilitation. Hospitalization at Green Bay’s Bellin Memorial Hospital can be more than $3,000 a day, while costs at St. Mary’s or St. Vincent could be around $2,100 per day. Many motorcycle accidents result in the need for follow-up treatment, or even long-term care or the provision of a home health nurse to assist in care.
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity. Lost wages refer to the wages, income, and other benefits you missed for the time that you were too injured to work. Lost earning capacity refers to the financial impact of having injuries that result in permanent disabilities and cause you to lose the ability to earn in the same way as you did before the accident.
- Property damage. In addition to seeking compensation for the cost of your injuries, you can also seek compensation to repair or replace your motorcycle.
You can also seek compensation for the quality-of-life impacts of your injury, such as pain and suffering, emotional despair, and loss of the enjoyment of life. In accidents that occurred as a result of particularly egregious recklessness, there can also be punitive damages available through the court process.
Punitive damages are not awarded as compensation for an injury, but as punishment for recklessness. In Wisconsin, punitive damages are capped at whichever is greater: $200,000 or twice the amount of compensation you received for the expenses and impacts of your injury.
Is Compensation Available After a Fatal Motorcycle Accident?
Yes. If your loved one died due to a Green Bay motorcycle accident, you can seek compensation for the expenses and emotional toll of your loss through a wrongful death claim. This process is similar to that of a personal injury claim. You can seek compensation for burial and funeral expenses, expenses incurred in the medical treatment of the decedent’s final injuries, loss of inheritance, loss of financial support provided by the decedent, and loss of comfort and society.
Let the legal team of Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers explain in greater detail the wrongful death claims process and the services we can provide to assist you.
A Green Bay Motorcycle Accident Lawyer to Help With Your Claim
The legal team at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers is pleased to assist victims of motorcycle accidents in Green Bay. We fight for justice and aim to obtain the compensation our clients deserve. To learn more about the process and the services we can offer to help with your claim, contact us online or by calling (920) 504-3655.