Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd.
When Your Future is at Stake

Wisconsin motorcycle accident lawyersMost motorcycle riders have a story, a moment when they were sure an accident would happen because someone else did not see them. Some have lost their lives because of this phenomenon. Others have had their lives irrevocably altered. Thankfully, there are ways that motorcyclists can reduce their risk of an accident. However, if one does occur because of someone else’s negligence, they may be entitled to compensation. Learn more about the defensive driving and safety measures that could save your life, and what you can do if you or someone you love is injured or killed in a motorcycle accident.

Wear the Right Gear

Although motorcycles can maneuver out of dangerous situations, the rider may still find themselves thrown from their bike. Alternatively, they may be required to “lay the bike down” to avoid a collision. This action, in and of itself, can cause injury – especially if the rider is not wearing the right gear. Always wear long pants and sleeves, preferably made of leather (it does not tear as easily as other fabrics). Also, strive for wearing a helmet whenever you ride. While an insurance company cannot (in most instances) reduce a claim for not wearing one, it could be the one thing that prevents a serious or fatal head injury.

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Wisconsin motorcycle lawyersFor the most part, bicycles and motorcycles are supposed to be treated just like any other vehicle on the road. However, unlike cars and trucks, bicycles and motorcycles do not provide body protection. Because of this, riders are especially prone to serious injury. Head injuries, or traumatic brain injury (TBI), are one of the greatest risks, which is why helmet use is encouraged. What happens, though, when a rider is injured without a helmet? Is their compensation reduced, or are there laws in Wisconsin that protect them? The following explains.

Helmet Laws in Wisconsin

Every state is responsible for making its own laws on helmet use. Wisconsin does not explicitly state that a helmet must be used while riding (unless the rider is a minor or has a learner’s permit). As such, it is wrongful for an insurance company to try and reduce the compensation of a licensed adult for not wearing a helmet (they are within their rights to do so in the case of minors and those with learner’s permits). That does not mean they will not try to reduce compensation - especially if the rider has sustained a head injury - so victims should be aware of the potential for such complications in their case.

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Appleton motorcycle crash lawyersAlmost every motorcyclist knows at least one rider who refuses to play by the rules. You know the one: they ride in the “dead zone” (the space between parked cars and active traffic). They weave in and out of traffic as if they own the road. They throw caution to the wind and act as though it is not their problem if another vehicle operator does not see them. Of course, you recognize that it is very much their problem, and you try to get through to your friend, but some people will only learn through experience.

You, on the other hand, take the extra precautions. You follow the posted speed limit signs. You avoid riding while intoxicated. You understand that you are less likely to be seen and you act accordingly. You avoid driving when the weather is slick (as best as you can), and you never assume anything of anyone – especially other road users. Sadly, though, your risk of an accident is still higher than that of other drivers. Further, you are more likely to experience a serious injury in a crash. Learn more about how to protect yourself from some of the most common motorcycle accidents, and what your rights may be in the event of a collision.

Left Turns at Intersections

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Appleton motorcycle accident lawyersStatistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) show that over 4,000 motorcyclists lose their lives each year. Thousands more experience serious injuries, some of which lead to short-term or long-term disability. What are the most common injuries, and what recourse do victims and their families have if a motorcycle accident results in a fatality or severe injury? The following explains further and provides you with details on finding assistance with your claim.

Most Commonly Experienced Injuries

Head injuries tend to be more common and severe among non-helmeted riders; they are also more likely to result in fatal injuries. Such injuries may include everything from fractures in the facial bones or skull to head lacerations and traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, helmet use is not always effective at preventing severe or fatal injuries. In fact, data suggests that helmets are only 37 percent effective at preventing fatal injuries, and only about 67 percent effective at preventing head injuries. Furthermore, although insurance companies often try to use the failure to use a helmet as a defense to an injury claim, Wisconsin Statutes prohibit the reduction of damages for the failure of a licensed motorcycle operator to operate without a helmet.

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Appleton personal injury attorney, motorcycle accident prevention tipsLast year, motorcycle accidents went up by 15 percent. Studies suggest that many of these accidents were likely due to four-wheel drivers. As such, automobile drivers need to know how to effectively share the road. And, with motorcycle awareness just around the corner, and one death in Wisconsin this year already, now is the perfect time to discuss just how.

Understanding Why Motorcycle Accidents Happen

So often, drivers who hit or nearly hit a motorcyclist say they did not see the rider. Psychology (our brains are not usually looking for motorcyclists), blind spots, and smaller profiles often make this a very true fact. However, even when drivers do see motorcyclists, many fail to recognize just how fast the motorcyclists are moving, or they see motorcyclists as less intimidating than cars.

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Appleton Office
800 North Lynndale Drive
Appleton, WI
54914-3017
(920) 739-7366
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Green Bay Office
2740 South Oneida Street
Green Bay, WI
54304-5751
(920) 468-7366
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New London Office
105 East Waupaca Street
New London, WI
54961-1227
(920) 982-9652
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Oshkosh Office
510 North Koeller Street
Oshkosh, WI
54902
(920) 385-0616
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  • Wisconsin Association for Justice
  • State Bar of Wisconsin
  • American Bar Association
  • American Association for Justice
Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd. is located in Appleton, Wisconsin, and serves clients in Fox Valley, Outagamie County, Brown County, Door County, Kewaunee County, Manitowoc County, Sheboygan County, Fond du Lac County, Calumet County, Winnebago County, including Appleton, New London, Clintonville, Neenah, Oshkosh, DePere, Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Kewaunee, Sturgeon Bay, Marinette, Neenah, Chilton, Menasha, Shawano, Waupaca, Wausau, and Green Bay, Wisconsin.
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