While Wausau may be an unmatched locale for motorcyclists to explore, there are still more than 2,000 motorcycle accidents on Wisconsin roadways each year, resulting in more than 65 deaths and more than 1,500 injuries.
Motorcyclists and their passengers are more than 27 times more likely to die in a traffic-related accident than the occupants of passenger cars. Without a doubt, motorcycle accidents produce some of the most serious motor vehicle crash injuries, and they often alter a person's life permanently.
If you suffered injuries because of a motorcycle accident, read on for more information about this type of accident and how the Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers' Wausau motorcycle accident attorneys can help you obtain compensation for your injuries.
Why You Want Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers
Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers is Wausau’s resource for motorcyclists who find themselves on the wrong end of an accident with an irresponsible driver.
Our associates live and work in Wausau, and we all know friends, family, and neighbors who choose to rely on motorcycles for their transportation. That’s why we believe every resident deserves to get to their destination safely, and why we’ve put our passion into representing motorcyclists throughout Wausau when disaster strikes.
From the start, our firm has helped motorcyclists navigate difficult legal issues related to their health, their finances, and their overall wellbeing. Our commitment to the community goes beyond our legal practice, however: We are routinely involved in local initiatives and activities that focus on a wide range of causes and goals, and keeping Wausau streets safe for pedestrians, motorcyclists, and drivers alike is one of our passions.
We understand the gravity of the injuries a motorcyclist can face following an accident and are always standing by to fight for justice. Every accident and case is different and each client needs an attorney 100 percent committed to their case and their needs. That’s where we come in.
We’ve helped countless residents throughout Wausau recover damages following a traffic accident. We help injured parties understand that even working with their own insurance company doesn’t guarantee optimal results. In one previous case, Nicolet associates helped our clients receive twice the original offer that the insurance company offered.
This is just one of many examples we can provide. In fact:
Our Case Results
We’ve helped countless neighbors, both statewide and in Wausau, achieve justice following an accident.
Past cases include:
- A woman passing through an intersection hit by another vehicle, certain she had a green light at the time of the car accident. After sitting down and discussing her situation, we quickly realized we could help her get the funds she needed to pay for her medical care and vehicle repairs. The case quickly settled, and she received payment for her vehicle repair, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
- Two people were injured in an accident caused by a driver that fled the scene and could not be found. We helped them understand that even though they would be working with their own insurance company, that company had more than just their interests in mind—it also had to consider its bottom line, which could impact the compensation they would receive. After negotiating with the insurer, Nicolet associates ensured that our clients received twice the original offer.
While these are only past results and can’t guarantee an outcome in any specific case, Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers are nonetheless proud of our long track record of achieving success for our Wisconsin clients. Consider more of our past case results online.
Accidents in Wausau
While a phenomenal place to live, work, and ride, Wausau is also full of opportunities for a potential motorcycle accident. Many intersections throughout the city are uncontrolled: that means no stop signs, no yield marks, and no traffic signals. Careless drivers pose a huge risk to motorcyclists, particularly in areas like these without the aid of signs or stoplights.
While a phenomenal place to live, work, and ride, Wausau is also full of opportunities for a potential motorcycle accident. With Highway 29 and U.S. 51 bisecting the city at large, big trucks, speeding drivers, and large swatches of traffic pose risks to motorcyclists in the area. Despite the best efforts of safe cyclists, the potential for an accident is always greater on heavily populated roads and Wassau has plenty of intersections where careless drivers can make fatal mistakes.
The Risks Associated With Motorcycles
A motorcycle’s features create inherent risks for riders and their passengers:
- Less stability due to operating on two wheels rather than four. This makes the motorcycle less maneuverable in emergencies and more likely to be impacted by poor road conditions.
- Less visibility. Motorcycles have a slimmer frame and only one headlight in the front or back. This makes it hard for other drivers to see the vehicle, particularly at night.
- The likelihood of ejection from the vehicle. Motorcycles lack the basic protective features of cars, such as a steel frame, seat belts, or airbags that keep the traveler in place and prevent injury. Ejection is highly likely in a motorcycle accident, leaving the rider's body susceptible to contact with the roadway, other vehicles on the roadway in addition to any involved in the accident, and other obstacles.
How Motorcycle Accidents Occur in Wausau
Motorcycle accidents can occur in countless ways in Wausau, featuring varied injuries and sources of liability.
Here are some examples of the more common ways motorcycle accidents occur:
- Cars making left-hand turns: This is one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents. It occurs when the driver of the turning car fails to see the motorcycle that is going straight through the intersection and turns into its path.
- Dooring: This type of accident happens when the occupant of a car parked alongside the roadway opens the door to exit the vehicle into the path of an oncoming motorcyclist. This often causes the motorcyclist to either wreck while swerving to avoid the door, or causes him or her to collide with the door.
- Speeding drivers: Speeding refers both to driving faster than the posted speed limit and driving too fast for the conditions of the road. Speeding is one of the most common causes of any traffic accidents, including motorcycle accidents. Speeding reduces the time a driver has to see a motorcyclist in the roadway and react by depressing the brakes; increases the amount of time the vehicle needs to come to a safe stop; and increases the severity of the crash.
- Alcohol impairment: Alcohol is a major hazard to motorcyclists when it impairs the driver of another vehicle. Alcohol creates deficits in the skills needed for safe driving, including the ability to track a moving target, the ability to control one's speed and maintain a single lane of travel, and the ability to exercise good judgment.
Injuries Commonly Sustained in Wausau Motorcycle Accidents
As noted, motorcycle injuries can be quite severe, resulting in life-altering impacts for the rider.
Some of the injuries most often associated with motorcycle accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries: Although the brain controls all of your bodily functions and involuntary responses, the organ has a very limited ability to heal itself. This often results in permanent deficits, which can include memory loss, the inability to speak or to understand spoken language, the inability to move in a balanced and coordinated matter, and difficulty controlling one's emotions and impulses.
- Spinal cord injuries: The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves extending from the base of the skull to the waist. The spinal cord acts as a messenger between the brain and the other parts of the body. Like the brain, the spinal cord cannot heal itself. Because of this, most individuals who have experienced a spinal cord injury will incur a loss of function or sensation below the site of the injury, known as paralysis.
- Road rash: Brain injuries account for the largest number of motorcycle accident injuries resulting in death. However, if you are considering which motorcycle injury is the most common, you would likely mention road rash. Road rash is a term used to describe a skin abrasion caused by contact between the skin and a rough surface such as a roadway. The abrasion, also commonly referred to as a friction burn, can be quite serious, carrying a risk of complications such as infection of the wound or scarring.
- Broken arms or wrists: Biker's arm is a common injury sustained in motorcycle accidents. It occurs when the rider instinctively extends his or her arms in an attempt to catch him- or herself during a fall.
- Broken legs, feet, or hips: Lower extremity injuries are common in motorcycle accidents that eject the rider and strike his or her limbs on other vehicles or objects, or crush the rider's legs beneath the motorcycle or other vehicles.
- Burns: It is not unusual for a motorcycle to catch fire after an accident because of gasoline spilled from a ruptured gas tank and an ignition source such as extreme heat or a spark. Motorcycles do not protect riders from flames, sources of heat, or the caustic chemicals used in motorcycles that can burn the skin.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wausau Motorcycle Accidents
All motor vehicle injury accidents are complex, as is the process of obtaining compensation for those injuries. Here are some of the questions our Wausau motorcycle accident clients ask us most often about that process.
I was injured when a drunk driver ran a red light and hit my motorcycle in Wausau. How can I obtain compensation?
Call us. We can help you pursue compensation related to the expenses and impacts you have incurred because of your injury through a motorcycle accident injury lawsuit. Wisconsin generally requires you to file the claim within three years of the date of the accident.
A motorcycle accident injury lawsuit seeks to accomplish two tasks:
- Proving who was liable (legally responsible) for your accident.
- Showing the expenses that you encountered due to your injury and the impacts the injury has had on your quality of life.
How do I prove liability in my Wausau motorcycle accident case?
Plaintiffs prove liability in Wausau motorcycle accident cases by establishing:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. Think of a "duty of care" as the way that a reasonable person would react in a situation. For example, the duty of care that the driver of a car or truck owes to motorcyclists and others on the roadway would be to operate his or her motor vehicle safely and legally.
- There was a breach in the duty of care that was owed. The breach refers to the actions that the at-fault party took that violated the duty of care.
- This breach resulted in an accident that caused you to incur injuries along with subsequent impacts and expenses.
I wasn't wearing a helmet when I crashed in Wausau. Can I still pursue compensation?
All motorcyclists under the age of 18 and their passengers under 18 are required to wear a helmet. Nevertheless, even if you are under 18 and suffered an injury because of not wearing your helmet, you can still pursue compensation from an at-fault party.
Riders and passengers over the age of 18 are not required to wear a helmet. While wearing a helmet is always a good idea, failing to do so does not bar you from pursuing recovery for your injuries.
What damages can I recover through a Wausau motorcycle accident injury lawsuit?
Wisconsin allows individuals who were injured due to the careless or reckless actions of someone else to recover both economic and non-economic damages. The term "damage" means a payment made in compensation for harm. Economic damages, then, are a payment made in compensation for the expenses you have incurred from your injury.
Common recoverable expenses include:
- Medical treatment for your injury.
- Wage loss, due to being too injured to work.
- Loss of future earning capacity, if your injury results in a permanent disability and you can’t work.
- The cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle, helmet, and other gear that the accident damaged.
Non-economic damages refer to a payment made in compensation for the damage to your quality of life that your injury caused.
Some examples of impacts that you might include in a non-economic damage claim are:
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life.
Because of my Wausau motorcycle accident injuries, I can’t work again. How does that affect the value of my case?
Permanent (or even temporary) disability will likely significantly increase the value of your case. One of the expenses that you can pursue damages for is the loss of future earning capacity. This is the amount of income and benefits you would have reasonably expected to earn throughout your career, had you not suffered the injury that led to your disability. You will also likely see increases in the amount of recoverable non-economic damages, as a disability has profound impacts on an individual's quality of life.
I can't afford an attorney. Can I file my Wausau motorcycle accident lawsuit on my own?
No—as a practical matter, you cannot file a lawsuit on your own. But you can afford our Wausau motorcycle accident lawyers.
Motorcycle accident lawsuits are complex. You're not only required to have a deep understanding of the legal process of obtaining compensation, but you are fighting popular negative stereotypes of motorcyclists that can be difficult to overcome, as well. The experienced Wausau motorcycle accident attorney from Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers is ready to provide you with the knowledge and guidance you need to effectively pursue your claim.
We also understand that the expenses of their injuries overwhelm many people. They worry they can't afford to pay for an attorney. Because of this, we are pleased to offer two special services that help to ensure that anyone who needs the benefit of a motorcycle accident injury lawyer can afford one.
Those services include:
- A free case review, which is a no-obligation conversation that you have with the attorney. You can use this time to obtain answers to your legal questions, learn more about your options, and consider if you wish to hire this attorney to assist you with your case.
- A client-friendly contingent-fee payment arrangement. This means you will owe nothing for your lawyer's services unless there is a successful outcome to your case.
Let our motorcycle accident lawyer help you understand the next steps in obtaining compensation for your motorcycle injury. For a free case review, contact us online or by calling (715) 716-5092.