Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accident

shutterstock_1384642727-300x200Motorcyclists in Michigan should always wear protective gear and use as much caution as possible to avoid a collision. According to one study, motorcycle accidents are four times more likely to result in a serious injury or death when compared to automobile collisions. Even when motorcyclists do everything right and utilize the best precautions, tragic accidents can occur when other drivers are negligent. A local news article discusses a Michigan collision that resulted in the deaths of two bikers earlier this month.

According to the facts discussed in the news report, the two motorcyclists were stopped at an intersection waiting to make a left-hand turn when they were struck by another driver from the back. The bikers were ejected from their bikes, and by the time emergency crews arrived on the scene birth of the motorcyclists were dead. The driver of the car that crashed into the stationary bikers remained at the scene and was questioned by law enforcement officers. According to the article, the crash is still under investigation.

Inattentive drivers do not only place motorcyclists at risk. Accidents caused by inattentive drivers injure or kill thousands of Michiganders each year. If a driver is negligent and causes an accident, they may be subject to criminal, administrative, as well as civil liability for the crash. Criminal charges are not uncommon after a serious crash, negligent drivers can be charged with felony assault or even homicide after a serious crash. Administratively, the state of Michigan may suspend or revoke a dangerous driver’s license until they can demonstrate the ability to drive safely.

Okay-Bone-240x300Motor vehicle accidents (“MVAs”) are extremely dangerous. An average mid-sized sedan weighs about one-and-a-half tons. Even when moving at relatively low rate of speed, the force of a one-ton collision is enormous. A head on collision is far worse. If a vehicle going 47 mph strikes another vehicle traveling 64 mph, the collision is of a similar magnitude to a vehicle traveling at 111 mph ramming into a concrete barrier. Modern safety features have dramatically reduced the risk of injury in a MVA, but there is little technological innovation can do to offset the impact of a high-speed head-on collision.

Some MVAs cause immediately life-threatening injuries. First responders take the injured directly to a hospital for critical care. However, other incidents may not cause injuries that require the same type of immediate life-saving intervention. The injured party will be offered the option to travel to a hospital in an ambulance, but instead of accepting emergency transport, the individual injured will decline for a number of reasons. He or she might feel embarrassed or ashamed of being in an accident; the cost of the ambulance service will cause financial hardship; the idea of taking an ambulance when not in a life-threatening situation may feel selfish; pride may play into the decision-making process; or the injured person may just not feel like they’ve suffered a severe enough injury to justify that level of attention.

While some of those who decline emergency transport may go directly to the emergency room by other means, many decide to wait and see their primary care physician. Others will not seek medical attention at all, or simply decide that the injury is not severe enough for pay for the office visit, waiting to see if the injury heals on its own. While financial concerns are valid—our system’s fundamental flaw is that seeking medical treatment can end in bankruptcy—it is always wise to see a doctor after an MVA.

A plaintiff appealed the lower court’s grant of summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(7) in favor of the defendant in a Michigan motorcycle accident case. The circuit court determined that the small claims judgment the plaintiff obtained against the defendant for damage to his motorcycle barred his subsequent circuit court action against her for bodily injuries because both claims arose from the same accident. The Michigan Court of Appeals reversed and remanded.In July 2013, the defendant drove through an intersection and hit the plaintiff, who was riding his motorcycle. The responding police officer determined that the defendant failed to yield. The plaintiff brought a claim in the small claims division in March 2014, stating that the accident destroyed his motorcycle and caused him bodily injuries. The plaintiff explained that he did not have collision insurance on the motorcycle, which would have cost one-fourth of the motorcycle’s estimated $1,000 value. Consequently, the plaintiff asked for $900 because he expected to sell what was left of the motorcycle for $100. He obtained a judgment of $960, including $900 in damages and $60 in costs.

The plaintiff subsequently filed a complaint in the circuit court in July 2014 against the defendants (the driver and Frankenmuth Mutual Insurance Company) for claims arising out of the collision. He alleged that the driver’s negligence caused or exacerbated a neck injury that required surgery. The plaintiff agreed to dismiss one of his two claims against Frankenmuth, and Frankenmuth later settled his remaining claim.

The defendant moved for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(7) (prior judgment) and (C)(8) (failure to state a claim). The defendant argued that res judicata and collateral estoppel barred the circuit court action because the small claims action involved the same claims and the same parties. The plaintiff opposed the motion.

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