Accidents are particularly dangerous for motorcyclists. While cars and other motor vehicles have safety features like airbags, steel frames, and seatbelts, motorcycles leave their riders exposed and vulnerable. As a result, motorcycle accidents often result in severe injuries or death.
Trusted Minnesota Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, our compassionate Minnesota motorcycle accident attorneys handle motorcycle accident claims for clients across Minnesota. With over 100 years of combined legal experience, our lawyers are prepared to pursue maximum compensation for our clients’ injuries.
We also understand that many of our clients are concerned they cannot afford legal representation. We are proud to offer free initial consultations to our personal injury clients so that they can explore their legal options without committing to a payment plan.
- Trusted Minnesota Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
- Why Contact a Lawyer About Your Minnesota motorcycle accident?
- How Much is Your Minnesota Motorcycle Accident Case Worth?
- Severe Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents in Minnesota
- Minnesota Motorcycle Laws and Safety Tips
- Major Contributing Factors in Minnesota Motorcycle Accidents
- Minnesota Motorcycle Accident FAQ
- Schedule a Free Consultation with our Minnesota Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at Nicolet Law
- Minnesota Locations
Why Contact a Lawyer About Your Minnesota motorcycle accident?
You should contact a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon after the accident as possible. An attorney can greatly increase your chances of recovering full compensation in a claim. If you wait too long to contact an attorney, you can forget important facts that could mean a difference between winning and losing your claim.
Although Minnesota allows six years to file a civil lawsuit in court, insurance companies usually give you much less time—even as little as a couple of weeks—to file a claim.
It is to your advantage to try to file a claim with insurance first, as it can often be a much faster process than bringing a lawsuit.
How Much is Your Minnesota Motorcycle Accident Case Worth?
The value of your Minnesota motorcycle accident case depends on several factors, including the extent of your injuries, whether you can recover punitive damages, and whether you settle for what the insurance company offers or take your case to court.
You could recover compensatory damages, including economic and non-economic damages, including but not limited to:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Replacement of personal property damaged or destroyed in the accident
- Funeral, burial, and/or cremation expenses
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of companionship and/or consortium
- Loss of use of a body function or a bodily function
- Inconvenience, if you have to hire someone to do the chores you usually do, such as house cleaning and grocery shopping
Severe Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents in Minnesota
Most motorcycle accidents result in some kind of injury, and those injuries tend to be severe. Although a minority of motorcycle accident injuries resolve quickly without medical treatment, other conditions have lifelong consequences.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, we strongly recommend that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Obtaining early medical care increases a victim’s chance at a swift, complete recovery.
- Head and brain injuries: Motorcyclists are advised to wear a helmet or face shield on every ride. Those who do not significantly increase their chances of sustaining a serious head or brain injury.
- Back and neck injuries: Injuries to the spinal cord often lead to full or partial paralysis, though they do not always appear immediately after an accident. Other common injuries include cervical fractures, crushed disks, and whiplash.
- Broken bones: Because so much of a motorcyclist’s body lacks protection in an accident, motorcycle accidents often result in broken or fractured bones. The legs, arms, and wrists are particularly susceptible to fractures.
- Lost limbs and amputations: If a severe injury to a limb compromises a victim’s recovery, the damaged part of the body may need to be removed.
- Severe emotional trauma: Accidents are traumatic events for everyone involved. Many victims experience emotional distress during the healing process.
At Nicolet Law, our primary goal is ensuring our clients have access to the resources they need to recover from their injuries. While some law firms are not prepared to bring cases to trial to pursue the best outcomes for their clients, we will go the extra mile. We are committed to taking on the insurance companies—even if it means taking the fight to court.
Minnesota Motorcycle Laws and Safety Tips
Minnesota has a number of laws governing motorcycle use across the state, which all drivers are required to know and obey.
For example, all motorcyclists are required to carry liability insurance, which covers bodily injury and property damage sustained by another person in an accident. Motorcyclists must carry proof of this insurance whenever they ride.
Minnesota law states that motorcyclists under the age of 18 and permit operators must wear a helmet that complies with the state’s safety standards. Additionally, all motorcyclists, regardless of age or licensure, are required to wear some form of eye protection. Examples of appropriate eye protection include a face shield, goggles, or glasses.
In Minnesota, if someone has been injured in an accident and wants to file a lawsuit, he or she must file that suit within six years of the accident date. If a victim fails to file before the deadline, he or she may lose their right to bring the case to court.
To help mitigate the risks of riding a motorcycle, riders are encouraged to keep these safety tips in mind:
- Don’t drink and ride. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, one-third of motorcycle fatalities involve alcohol use.
- Wear protective gear. While protective gear won’t prevent an accident from occurring, it may protect victims from the worst outcomes. We recommend that all motorcyclists wear helmets, armored jackets, long pants, boots, and gloves.
- Take extra precautions with a passenger. When motorcyclists ride with a passenger, the extra weight and motion will affect the vehicle’s handling. For example, drivers may need to brake sooner, be extra cautious around corners, and use more throttle when starting the bike. Passengers are advised to copy the driver’s movements as much as possible.
- Check your vehicle before each ride. Motorcycles typically require more frequent inspections and maintenance than other vehicles. It is good practice for motorcyclists to check their vehicle’s tires, brakes, headlights, and fluid levels before they ride.
Major Contributing Factors in Minnesota Motorcycle Accidents
Every motorcycle accident is unique and can involve numerous factors. Some of the most common contributing factors to motorcycle accidents include:
- Poor road conditions: Road hazards pose a threat to motorcycles, which tend to be smaller and lighter than other vehicles. Common dangers include potholes, wet pavement, snow, ice, and construction debris.
- Lane splitting: Illegal in the state of Minnesota, lane splitting is when a motorcyclist rides between lanes of slow or stopped traffic.
- Defective motorcycle: Design or manufacturing defects with a motorcycle can lead to serious accidents. Defects often occur with brakes, steering systems, and tires.
- Failing to follow traffic laws: Drivers of all vehicles have a duty to obey traffic laws. Those who do not increase their likelihood of being in an accident.
- Distracted driving: Drivers who are distracted by their phones, food, drink, or vehicle controls will have a harder time noticing motorcycles, which are less conspicuous than larger vehicles.
- Drunk driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol is a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents nationwide.
If you or a loved one have sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident, we encourage you to contact a local attorney as soon as possible. There is no risk to a free consultation with one of our skilled lawyers, and there is no replacement for quality legal representation.
Minnesota Motorcycle Accident FAQ
Whether spring, summer, or early fall, motorcyclists can get out on the road in Minnesota to enjoy a ride in beautiful weather. Unfortunately, motorcyclists can end up in collisions with other vehicles, often because other drivers fail to pay attention and to notice a motorcyclist.
Motorcycle riders must be extra vigilant when traveling. But, when a motorcycle rider’s own vigilance is not enough to prevent an accident, they can hold those responsible for an accident accountable for their expenses and losses.
Read below for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about motorcycle accidents and how Minnesota victims can be compensated.
What should I do immediately after a motorcycle accident?
If you can move after a motorcycle accident, you should call first responders, check on others (if safe to do so), take photos of the accident scene, and collect contact information from other involved drivers and witnesses.
Always allow medical professionals to check you out. If you feel you might cause more damage by moving, or if you know or suspect you have broken bones or other serious injuries, do not move except if necessary to remove yourself from a hazardous area (such as the middle of the road). If you hit your head, even if you had a helmet on, avoid moving. Wait until the emergency medical technicians can check you over and can make sure you don’t cause any unnecessary harm.
Should I seek medical attention, even if my injuries are minor?
Yes. You could have injuries that you do not realize you have. Adrenaline tends to mask pain, and some injuries do not manifest until hours or even days after the wreck. Additionally, what might seem like a minor injury could turn into something major. For example, a cut could become infected, or a bump on the head could actually signal a concussion.
What kind of injuries might a motorcycle accident victim suffer?
Because a motorcycle does not have the safety of four wheels, sides, and a roof, accident injuries are more likely to be catastrophic, or even fatal. In addition to minor injuries any rider may incur in an accident, such as cuts, sprains, and strains, a motorcyclist could sustain traumatic brain injuries, head, neck, and shoulder injuries, back and spinal cord injuries, crushed bones, simple or compound fractures, road rash, and chemical or thermal burns.
How do I talk to an attorney if I am still in the hospital due to my motorcycle accident injuries?
If you contact our attorneys and let them know you can't visit us to discuss your case, we can come to you at the hospital, call you, or hold a virtual conference with you.
Can I settle my Minnesota motorcycle accident case myself?
While you can attempt to settle a Minnesota motorcycle accident case yourself, it’s best to have the help of an attorney. Insurance companies are in business to make money. Paying out any claim hurts their bottom line, but especially if the claim involves long-term or permanent disabilities, which are more common in motorcycle accidents, as these increase the amount the insurance company is on the hook to pay.
Because of its profit incentive, an insurance company will try to deny your claim or cut down the amount they pay out as much as possible. Some insurance companies may try to twist what you tell them to place the blame for the accident on you instead of the at-fault driver.
You are better equipped to go up against insurance companies with a lawyer at your side. Those that retain a motorcycle accident lawyer usually get more out of a claim or lawsuit. Insurance companies know that attorneys are aware of their tactics and of what you need to establish to recover compensation. Insurance companies also realize that if they do not offer a fair and reasonable settlement, an attorney is more likely to advise you to take your motorcycle accident case to court, which can be much more expensive for them to deal with.
What are punitive damages, and how do I collect them?
A Minnesota court only orders the defendant to pay punitive damages if a plaintiff can prove by clear and convincing evidence that a defendant deliberately disregarded the rights and safety of others. As the name suggests, punitive damages are a punishment for the defendant’s actions or inactions.
You generally can only recover punitive damages if a court first orders the defendant to pay compensatory damages. Thus, a second hearing is necessary, in the event you seek punitive damages. You must go through the first part to see if the court finds the defendant is liable for compensatory damages. In the second part of the trial, the court determines whether or not the defendant is liable for punitive damages.
I’m not working because of my injuries—how do I afford a Minnesota motorcycle accident lawyer?
Most Minnesota motorcycle accident attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means they do not charge you for their services unless they prevail—whether by obtaining a settlement or a court award of damages on your behalf—in your case.
If you decide to retain an attorney, they will present a contingency contract that explains their fees and any other costs that your case might have. You incur most costs if initial settlement negotiations do not work out and you must file a lawsuit.
Costs might include court filing fees, investigation costs, fees for expert witnesses, and deposition costs. These costs and legal fees may come out of any settlement or court award you obtain. That way, you don't have to pay for those costs upfront and can afford legal representation.
Schedule a Free Consultation with our Minnesota Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at Nicolet Law
When you work with us, we will stop at nothing to secure just compensation for your injuries. At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, we are prepared to take on the insurance companies so that you can focus on what’s really important—your health and well-being. Furthermore, we represent personal injury clients on a contingency basis, which means that you don’t pay us unless we win your case.
We have skilled accident lawyers ready to help you with your case. To find out how Nicolet Law can support your recovery, call us toll-free at 1-855-NICOLET or fill out our secure online form.
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