Can You Sue for a Rear-End Motorcycle Collision?

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Rear-end collisions are almost always the result of human error caused by the driver in the rear position. These accidents can cause considerable damage and leave the victims with severe injuries, especially if the front driver is on a motorcycle. In that case, you have the option to sue the at-fault party in your case to recover the losses you incurred. With the help of a motorcycle accident attorney, you could get the compensation your need to start getting your life back on track.

What Is No-Fault Insurance?


Several states attempt to avoid the question of liability in auto accident cases and ensure drivers have access to compensation for the medical costs, lost income, and property damage costs associated with their accidents by mandating no-fault auto insurance. Living in a no-fault auto insurance state directly affects your ability to sue the responsible party after a rear-end collision. For example, suppose your accident resulted in minimum damage and only minor personal injury. In that case, state law requires you to file a claim under your no-fault policy, also known as personal injury protection insurance. The other driver will do the same.

The laws that govern no-fault insurance vary among the states that require it. For example, Michigan is a no-fault auto insurance state. In Michigan, drivers must carry bodily injury liability insurance with coverage not less than $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident. However, your PIP insurance may not be sufficient if your injuries are severe, resulting in significant damages. In that case, you can sue for the losses you sustained.

What Damages Could You Recover if You Sue?


In the aftermath of a rear-end motorcycle accident, you face a bevy of circumstances that affect your physical and mental health as well as your financial stability. Through the civil court system and personal injury law, you can seek financial compensation to help you get back on your feet. The compensation you receive is based on the damages you suffer.

Compensatory Damages


Compensatory damages include your economic and non-economic losses. The economic losses are those you can easily calculate using tangible documentation. Examples include:

  • Medical expenses. Any medical treatment necessary for your injuries is recoverable, including your ambulance ride, emergency room care, medications, medical devices, in-home aftercare, hospital stays, surgical procedures, clinical visits, transportation to and from medical treatments, and rehabilitation expenses.
  • Lost income. Suffering an injury typically results in missed work. You can claim your current lost wages as well as future lost wages. If your accident resulted in permanent disability, making it impossible for you to do the job you did before, you could also claim loss of earning capacity.
  • Property damage. The at-fault party must also pay to repair or replace your motorcycle and any other property damaged during the accident.

Valuing the non-economic damages can be more complex. These damages include:

  • The pain and suffering you endured from your physical injuries
  • Your inability to enjoy life as you did before the accident
  • The mental and emotional struggles caused by the accident
  • The psychological damage inflicted because of disability or disfigurement

One of the advantages of hiring a motorcycle accident attorney is they understand the legally accepted ways to value these claims and the evidence needed to support them.

Punitive Damage


As the plaintiff in a motorcycle accident case, you should not expect an award of punitive damages. This is reserved for rare instances where the defendant’s behavior displayed egregious misconduct. The standard is typically gross negligence or malintent. For example, if the driver who rear-ended you was heavily intoxicated and speeding at the time of the crash, the court may require them to pay punitive damages in addition to the compensatory damages for your losses.

Damages From a Wrongful Death Case


Rear-end motorcycle accidents, especially those occurring at high speed, can easily result in death for the motorcyclist, given their vulnerable position on the road. When this happens, most states allow immediate family members, such as parents, adult children, and spouses, to file a wrongful death case, seeking damages for the loss of their loved one. Some common examples of damages from a wrongful death lawsuit include:

  • The cost of any medical care the deceased person incurred before death
  • The lost income the deceased provided to the household
  • The cost of the funeral
  • The cost of burial or cremation
  • The loss of inheritance that the deceased would have provided
  • The loss of benefits, such as healthcare, provided by the deceased
  • The loss of companionship
  • The loss of consortium, most commonly claimed by spouses
  • The loss of love and nurturing provided by the deceased
  • The pain and suffering your loved one went through before death

There is no way for the law to repair the emotional damage the untimely death of a loved one can cause. However, your attorney will help you understand how to quantify your pain so that you may receive financial compensation for your suffering.

What if You Are Partially Responsible for the Accident?


The comparative negligence rule will apply if the court determines you bear some responsibility for the accident. Under this law, you cannot recover the total amount of damages. Instead, the court determines your percentage of fault and reduces your compensation by that amount. Additionally, there are two types of comparative negligence: pure and modified. The pure comparative negligence rule inhibits your ability to receive compensation only if you are wholly responsible for the accident.

Most states follow the modified comparative negligence rule, which inhibits your ability to receive compensation should your percentage of fault exceed the other party’s portion. For example, if you are 30% at fault for the accident, you can receive 70% of the total damages. On the other hand, if you are 55% at fault, you will receive no award. Should your case go to trial, the court’s decision is final. However, most motorcycle accident cases resolve during pre-trial negotiations.

Should You Speak With a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?


Did you recently suffer a severe injury or lose someone you love in a rear-end motorcycle accident caused by another party’s negligent actions? Are you facing substantial financial repercussions as a result of the accident? If the answer to these questions is yes, you may benefit from speaking to a motorcycle accident attorney. Some advantages of having legal representation include:

  • You have a professional source for all your legal questions.
  • You have someone to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
  • Your attorney will prepare for trial in case negotiation attempts fail.
  • You will not have to complete any necessary paperwork for the lawsuit.
  • Your attorney will collect evidence to help you prove liability and support the damages you claim. 
  • You will have a friendly presence who understands the devastation a motorcycle accident can cause.

At Mike Morse Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience with motorcycle accident cases. We dedicate our time and efforts to providing you with the best possible service while representing you aggressively. Our commitment is to ensure you receive a fair settlement quickly. To talk to an attorney, you can call us any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 800-MIKE-WINS or click on the live chat to schedule your free case evaluation. We are prepared to listen to the details of your case and help you reach the best possible outcome.

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