Motorcycle accidents can be scary, largely because drivers and passengers don’t have the same level of protection that is afforded by an enclosed vehicle. But the law treats motorcyclists no differently than other drivers, and everyone must respect the same rules of the road. Like any driver, if a motorcycle driver or passenger is injured due to someone else’s negligence, he or she might be entitled to compensation.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, there were almost 2,000 people injured in motorcycle accidents in 2013. There were also 83 deaths (including both motorcycle drivers and passengers). Other significant motorcycle accident statistics in Wisconsin include:
- Between 2004 and 2013 the number of Wisconsin residents holding a Class M motorcycle license increased by 20 percent. Having more motorcyclists on the roads creates more opportunities for motorcycle accidents.
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol and driving faster than the posted speed limit were the primary causes of almost half of the single-unit fatalities in 2013.
- Only 38 percent of motorcyclists involved in accidents in 2013 were wearing helmets. Wearing a helmet substantially reduces your risk of suffering a head injury.
- Interestingly, more motorcycle accidents occur between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. than in any other six-hour time period.
- More motorcycle fatalities occur in southeastern Wisconsin than in any other region of the state.
There are several important things to know before filing a personal injury lawsuit after a motorcycle accident, namely who can bring the lawsuit and when?
Who May Bring a Personal Injury Lawsuit for a Motorcycle Accident?
The authority to bring any kind of lawsuit is called “standing.” When your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you have standing to bring a personal injury lawsuit against that person. However, the injured party is not the only party who might have standing to sue. Other people who might have standing include:
- A parent or guardian — when the injured party is a minor (someone who is under 18 years old), his parent or guardian may bring the lawsuit on his behalf. Note that the statute of limitations (time to file a lawsuit) is extended for minors. They have until two years after they turn 18 to file the claim (when they no longer need to have a parent or guardian bring the lawsuit).
- The personal representative of the victim’s estate — when a person is killed in a motorcycle accident, the personal representative of his estate can bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
- The guardian of a mentally incompetent adult — if the injured party is considered mentally incompetent under the law, his guardian may bring the lawsuit on his behalf.
Injured parties typically have three years from the date of the accident to file their personal injury lawsuit, unless they are a minor or the accident involves a municipal entity. If a city or county is involved then you only have 120 days to notify the municipality of your injuries.
Be sure to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure that your lawsuit is filed on time and complies with all applicable rules and procedures.
Contact Us Today
The motorcycle accident attorneys at Bye, Goff & Rohde understand that motorcycle injuries can have a long-term impact on your health and finances. With nearly 50 years of experience, we know how to build an effective personal injury case. Contact us today for a free consultation.