Motorcycle accidents can spell disaster for cyclists because they are almost always the ones who are seriously injured or killed in collisions with cars and trucks. That’s when you need a skilled Minneapolis motorcycle accident lawyer.
More than 5,000 motorcyclists are killed in the United States each year in accidents, and an additional 84,000 are injured. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DOP) and KAALTV (the local ABC affiliate), motorcyclist deaths in Minnesota are up 43% in the last 3 years. In 65% of motorcycle deaths, the rider wasn’t wearing a helmet. There are 243,972 motorcycles registered in Minnesota.
Per vehicle miles traveled, motorcyclist fatalities are 28 times higher than passenger car occupant fatalities in traffic crashes. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the peak time for deadly weekday motorcycle crashes is between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. On weekends, the prime time for fatal motorcycle accidents is between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Roughly one-third of cyclists are killed in crashes in which the motorcyclist or the other driver has been drinking.
At Tyroler Leonard Injury law, we fight for our clients who have been injured in motorcycle accidents so they get the compensation they deserve. Some of our most successful motorcycle accident cases include:
- $500,000 Policy Limits Settlement For A Man Injured In A Wisconsin Motorcycle Accident.
- $300,000 Settlement For A Child Who Suffered Scarring After Being Thrown From His Uncle’s Motorcycle.
- $250,000 Settlement For A Woman Who Was Injured In A Minnesota Motorcycle Accident.
- $250,000 Settlement For A Man In A Minnesota Motorcycle Accident Who Was Sideswiped By A Car And Suffered A Lacerated Spleen.
If you’d like to learn more about what Tyroler Leonard Injury Law can do for you, call us for a free initial consultation at 651-259-1113.
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Motorcycle Accident FAQs
As attorneys, we often hear some of the same questions from motorcycle injury victims. So, we’ve created a list here of answers to frequently asked questions.
What if the person who caused my motorcycle crash didn’t have insurance?
Unfortunately, Minnesota does not require uninsured motorist coverage on motorcycles. This means if an uninsured driver causes your injuries in a crash, you may have no coverage available to you. You can proactively pay for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage on your own motorcycle insurance, but you must elect it. If you do have uninsured motorist coverage, it would cover you for injuries in the same way the at-fault driver’s insurance would have.
How much does a motorcycle weigh?
The average motorcycle weighs 700 pounds. By comparison, a car can weigh 4,000 pounds and a loaded 18-wheeler weighs as much as 80,000 pounds. This explains why motorcyclists are frequently injured or killed in crashes with cars and large trucks. Motorcycles are significantly smaller and harder to see, and motorcyclists have little protection beyond a helmet.
What age group dies most often in motorcycle accidents in Minnesota?
The majority of victims of fatal Minnesota motorcycle accidents are riders between the ages of 40 and 50. This might be because older riders react more slowly and motor skills slow down when a person ages.
What if another driver causes me to crash, but our vehicles didn’t collide?
It’s not uncommon for Minnesota motorcyclists to crash due to someone else’s negligence but not actually collide with the offending vehicle. Sometimes a rider suffers injuries when laying down a bike to avoid a collision or avoid being forced off the road. You can still have a legal claim against a careless driver who caused your accident, even if your bike didn’t actually crash into their vehicle.
What do motorcycles collide with most often?
Cars and pedestrians are the most common things that motorcycles collide with, accounting for 68% and 22% of collisions, respectively.
Do I have no-fault benefits if I am in a Minnesota motorcycle accident?
Maybe. Minnesota does not require motorcycles to have no-fault insurance. It is an option that most insurers offer, but most agents do not tell motorcyclists about it. Even if you do not have no-fault benefits, often Minneapolis motorcycle policies have medical payments, or med pay, coverage. This can range from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on your policy. If you have this coverage, you are entitled to that amount to be used for your medical bills, regardless of any fault determination. Your insurer does have a right to get this money back if you recover money from the at-fault driver’s insurance.
What part of the body is injured most often in motorcycle crashes?
By far, head injuries and TBI are the most common harm resulting from motorcycle accidents. More than 59% of motorcycle crash victims admitted to hospitals and 85% of total motorcyclist deaths involve head trauma.
How many defendants can I sue in a motorcycle accident?
There can be one or many defendants in a motorcycle accident lawsuit. For example, if you’re hit by a commercial vehicle, potential defendants could include the other driver, his insurance provider, the commercial fleet company, and even the vehicle manufacturer if there’s evidence of a manufacturing defect. Also, if the crash was caused by a defect in your own motorcycle, it’s possible the motorcycle manufacturer could be sued. In addition, a government agency can be a defendant if the agency was negligent in keeping roads free of debris, repairing broken guardrails, or filling potholes.
A motorcycle accident lawyer in Minneapolis can get the justice you deserve if you have been seriously injured in a motorcycle crash. If you have additional questions, please call our law firm at 651-259-1113.
Why Choose Us
Choosing the right Minneapolis motorcycle accident lawyer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Each lawyer is different. Some have more experience, skill, and determination than others. Attorneys Isaac Tyroler and Rachel Sperling Leonard are among the best and the brightest. We are compassionate and understanding with clients because we know that many have been through traumatic experiences. But when necessary, we’re tough on opponents. We are aggressive negotiators and fierce litigators. We take each case personally and are entirely focused on getting our clients the justice they deserve. We are not afraid to go toe-to-toe with insurance companies to negotiate a favorable settlement or litigate a case in front of a judge and jury when necessary. We will not stop until we have achieved the best possible outcome for every client. We have achieved outstanding case results. To learn more about what our satisfied clients have to say, you can read these client testimonials.
How We Can Help
A Minneapolis motorcycle accident lawyer at Tyroler Leonard Injury Law can build a strong legal case on your behalf to achieve the highest payout possible. Our efforts include:
- Interviewing eyewitnesses
- Securing surveillance video, if available
- Collecting medical records and tests
- Reviewing police reports
- Gathering evidence
- Hiring expert witnesses, if needed
- Investigating the crash scene
- Preparing you for deposition
- Negotiating aggressively with insurance companies
- Litigating your case in court, if necessary.
At Tyroler Leonard Injury Law, we’ll walk beside you every step of the way throughout the legal process, so you’ll never be alone.
Minnesota Modified Comparative Negligence Rules
Some states, including Minnesota, follow a rule known as “modified comparative negligence.” This means the law understands that in many situations, more than one person can be at fault for an accidental injury. A court will determine the amount of fault that belongs to each party based on the facts in the case. As long as your portion of fault is 50% or less, you will be entitled to collect a certain amount of damages.
For example, suppose you’re riding your motorcycle down a busy street and a car runs a stop sign and pulls out in front of you, causing your bike to crash. You were speeding 5 miles per hour over the speed limit, and the other driver was texting on his phone. Eventually, it’s determined that you are 10% at fault for the accident, and the other driver is 90% at fault. Let’s say the total damages for the accident are calculated to be $600,000. Under Minnesota’s comparative fault rule, 10% (the percentage of fault assigned to you) will be subtracted from that $600,000. This means you may collect 90% of the total, or $540,000.
If you have additional questions about the specific facts in your case and want to learn more about how fault could be determined, talk to a skilled Minneapolis motorcycle accident lawyer at Tyroler Leonard Injury Law. Call us for a free consultation at 651-259-1113.
How to Prove Negligence in a Minneapolis Motorcycle Accident
Your attorney will have to prove “negligence” to be successful in a Minneapolis motorcycle accident lawsuit. This means showing that the other person caused the accident in which you were injured. To prove negligence, your lawyer will need to show:
The defendant owed the plaintiff a legal “duty of care” to ensure that an environment or location was safe.
A plaintiff must show that the defendant breached this duty by doing, or failing to do, something that a reasonable person would have done in a similar situation.
A plaintiff must show that the defendant’s actions, or inaction, caused the injuries to another person.
Damages means that there’s a monetary way of compensating a plaintiff for their injuries and property damage.
Proving negligence and determining fault are related, but they are not the same thing. However, both will impact the potential success of your claim.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
A wide variety of things can cause motorcycle accidents – driver error, bad weather, and unfamiliar surroundings, to name a few. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 80% of all reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death compared to just 20% in passenger vehicles. Following are some of the most common causes of motorcycle crashes:
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study, approximately 31% of all U.S. motorcycle riders who were involved in fatal crashes were speeding.
Inclement weather – whether rain, sleet, snow, wind or fog – can reduce visibility and make roads slick and hazardous.
- Alcohol and Drug Use
Drinking alcohol (either by the motorcyclist or driver of the other vehicle) significantly increases the likelihood of accidents.
- Distracted Drivers
All too often, drivers of other vehicles are texting, eating, talking on the phone, listening to podcasts, or otherwise not paying attention to their surroundings.
- Left Turns
Drivers of other vehicles have been known to turn left into oncoming motorcyclists simply because they didn’t see them in mirrors or when looking at the road.
- Physical and Emotional Impairment
Riding while sleep-deprived, ill, or without the heighth or strength to handle a large motorcycle can lead to crashes.
- Mechanical Problems
Failing brakes, poor tire tread, and other mechanical and electrical defects can lead to accidents.
- Roadway Conditions
Construction zones and poorly maintained roads with potholes, gravel shoulders, and other problems can spell danger for motorcyclists.
Because motorcycle riders are so vulnerable and sometimes hard to see, they should use extra caution when encountering other vehicles and pedestrians. Also, wearing helmets saves lives.
Damages a Minneapolis Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Request
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash, you could be entitled to economic as well as non-economic damages. A motorcycle accident attorney in Minneapolis can fight to get the maximum damages possible. These include:
- Medical and hospital bills
- Future medical care and rehabilitation
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings potential
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress and anxiety
In some cases, a judge can also award punitive damages. These are meant to punish repeat or reckless offenders who show complete disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages are also meant to send a warning to others who might be tempted to behave similarly.
Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accident injuries are often severe and life-threatening. Following are potential injuries a motorcyclist can sustain in a crash:
- Head trauma & brain injuries
- Cuts, lacerations, and puncture wounds
- Neck and spine injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
A crash can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars In medical bills, lost wages, and even permanent disability. In the terrible event that your loved one is killed in a motorcycle crash, you can file a wrongful death claim. While it won’t bring your loved one back, it can help provide financial resources for surviving family members. In a wrongful death case, you can claim all the economic and non-economic damages above as well as the cost of funeral and burial services.
Statute of Limitations for Minneapolis Motorcycle Accidents
In most cases, the statute of limitations for a motorcycle accident injury claim is six years in Minnesota. The 6-year statute of limitations for Minnesota personal injury lawsuits can be found at Minnesota Statutes section 541.05. There are a few scenarios in which the “clock” on the statute of limitations may be delayed. These include:
- If the injured person is younger than 18, then the statute does not run until the later of 6 years or the person turns 19 years old.
- If the injured person is legally insane, the clock won’t start until the period of legal disability is over (mental competence is restored). However, this filing deadline will not be extended beyond five (5) years, and once sanity is restored, the lawsuit must be filed within one (1) year. (Minnesota Statutes section 541.15.)
Special Rules for Motorcyclists on the Road in Minnesota
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) publishes its Motorcycle Laws and Regulations each year. These include:
- Motorcyclists are entitled to the full use of their lanes and have all the rights and duties of other drivers. 169.974 subd. 5 (f) (g)
- Motorcyclists are permitted to travel in high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) carpool lanes. Title 23, U.S. Code, Section 166
- All laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs apply to motorcyclists as well. 169A
- Careless and reckless driving 169.13 applies to motorcyclists as well, and includes “wheelies,” “stoppies,” standing on the seat, etc. 169.13
- A motorcyclist may only ride on a permanent seat. Passengers may ride on a passenger seat or in a sidecar. 169.974 subd. 5 (a)
- Passengers under the age of 18 must wear a DOT-approved helmet. 169.974 subd. 4 (a)
- Passengers must be able to reach both footrests while seated on the passenger seat. 169.974 subd. 5 (b)
- Operators and passengers must face forward with one leg on each side of the motorcycle. 169.974 subd. 5 (c)
- Motorcyclists must not carry anything that interferes with holding onto the handlebars. 169.974 subd. 5 (d)
- Splitting traffic is illegal. No one except on-duty police officers may ride between lanes of traffic or in the same lane with another vehicle. It is legal for two motorcyclists to ride side-by-side if both riders agree to it. 169.974 subd. 5 (e)
- Motorcyclists are provided with an affirmative defense when proceeding through an unchanging red light that has shown red for an unreasonable time if no vehicle or pedestrian is approaching the street. 169.06 subd. 9
- Headphones/earphones: one ear only. 169.471 subd. 2 (a)
It’s always a good idea to review the rules of the road before taking your motorcycle out for a long ride. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
8 Steps to Take Immediately After a Minneapolis Motorcycle Accident
If you’ve been involved in a Minneapolis motorcycle crash, there are important steps you should take to avoid further injury and protect your legal rights. These include:
- Call 911 and ask police to respond to the scene.
- Seek medical attention right away, even if this means riding in an ambulance to the hospital emergency room.
- Get the other driver’s name and license information.
- Get the name and contact information of any eyewitnesses.
- If you are able, use your cell phone to take pictures of your injuries, the damage to both vehicles, and the crash scene.
- Answer police officers’ questions succinctly, but do not over-explain. Above all, do not say you were at fault for the accident.
- Be polite, but say as little as possible to the other driver.
- Hire a Minneapolis motorcycle accident lawyer to represent you.
By taking these steps, you can ensure your safety, preserve evidence, and position yourself well should you later decide to file a personal injury claim.
Our Blog Provides Answers to Clients
One of the services our law firm provides is an extensive list of informative blogs that explain your legal rights and explore damages you may be entitled to. We believe that an informed and educated client is also a more confident client. We want to help dispel your fears and uncertainties, and we’ll take the time to answer your questions and explain the legal process. You don’t ever have to feel alone or overwhelmed. Take a moment to read through our blogs and learn more about damages for pain and suffering, how to get a police report corrected, suing for a concussion, and many other topics. There’s a wealth of information in our blogs that will help you feel empowered.
Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Minneapolis Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Minneapolis motorcycle accident, your entire world has been turned upside down. At Tyroler Leonard Injury Law, we understand the stress you are under. While you focus on recovering, let us handle the legal side of things. Our motorcycle accident attorneys in Minneapolis can build a strong case on your behalf seeking compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. You don’t have to face this horrible experience alone. Our professional and compassionate legal team will walk beside you every step of the way. To find out more, call us for a free consultation at 651-259-1113.