Unsafe Lane Changes
Almost every vehicle that a motorcyclist will encounter on the road is better able to withstand a crash than a motorcycle. The passengers and driver of a passenger car have safety belts and air bags to protect them. By contrast, even a motorcyclist who is wearing a helmet and leather gear is relatively unprotected against the force of a collision with a larger vehicle, so he or she must stay alert to every potential threat. Unfortunately, some crashes involving motorcycles occur due to unsafe lane changes by other drivers, which are hard for a motorcyclist to anticipate or avoid. If this has happened to you or someone in your family, you should contact the Detroit, Traverse City, and Grand Rapids motorcycle accident lawyers at Neumann Law Group. Each year for the past several years, award-winning trial attorney Kelly Neumann has regularly secured more than $3 million in personal injury cases.Holding Drivers Accountable for Accidents Caused by Unsafe Lane Changes
In Michigan, about 50 percent of motorcycle crashes occur because of sideswiping, which often happens due to an improper lane change. The majority of these accidents are due to the fault of someone other than the motorcyclist. Although motorcyclists are not required to purchase no-fault insurance for their motorcycles, no-fault benefits do cover certain economic damages. However, motorcyclists in cases involving unsafe lane changes often suffer a serious impairment of bodily functions, permanent serious disfigurement, or death, all of which are considered "threshold injuries" that permit a lawsuit against an at-fault driver for noneconomic damages.
In most cases, the at-fault driver was negligent in making an unsafe lane change. To recover noneconomic damages, the motorcyclist will need to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the driver owed a duty of reasonable care to the motorcyclist, the driver breached the duty, causation connected the breach to the crash, and actual damages resulted.
Drivers have a duty to drive safely while obeying all applicable traffic rules and taking road conditions into account, and there are many activities in which a driver may engage that constitute a breach of this duty. For example, the at-fault driver may not have checked a blind spot, or the driver may not have turned on a turn signal or may be texting while driving and drift into the motorcyclist's lane. If this movement causes a collision, the motorcyclist likely will be able to recover compensation for his or her injuries.
Noneconomic damages are subjective losses such as mental anguish, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium. These can vary dramatically depending on which subjective losses a jury believes would reasonably flow from a particular injury.
In some cases, the insurer for the at-fault party (who may also be the insurer responsible for paying a motorcyclist's PIP benefits) will try to pin the blame on the motorcyclist. Michigan follows the rule of comparative fault. Under this rule, a jury assigns a percentage of responsibility to both the defendant and the plaintiff, and it reduces a plaintiff's damages in proportion to his or her degree of fault.Enlist a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Traverse City, Grand Rapids, or Detroit
Motorcyclists face many dangerous situations on the road. If you have been hurt due to an unsafe lane change, the Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City motorcycle accident attorneys at Neumann Law Group may be able to help you navigate the complications related to motorcycle insurance claims and personal injury cases. Neumann Law Group represents accident victims in Petoskey, Warren, Holland, Midland, Muskegon, Saginaw, Wyoming, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Flint, Ann Arbor, and communities throughout the Upper Peninsula, as well as in California and Massachusetts. Contact us at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form to set up a free consultation with a motor vehicle collision attorney.