People who enjoy riding motorcycles do so for a variety of reasons. For one, this mode of transportation is very fuel-efficient. Additionally, motorcycles can easily park in spots that will not accommodate a car or truck, and cycles offer excellent acceleration. However, there is a massive trade-off for such perks: no safety features.
Even the most experienced riders are left virtually helpless when involved in an accident with a larger vehicle. Over 80 percent of motorcycle crashes that get reported end in injury or the death of a motorcyclist.
Injuries sustained by riders are typically very painful, woefully debilitating, and frequently disabling. Victims may require costly medical care that keeps them from working for a very long time. These injured individuals often find themselves in desperate need of financial compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer but are left waiting indefinitely while the insurance company drags its feet. One reason for the delay can be attributed to the bias that insurers and adjusters have toward motorcyclists. It is not uncommon for riders to face an insurance company attitude that says the motorcyclists are to blame.
An Assumption of Fault Toward Motorcyclists
Law enforcement officers, judges, and insurers frequently have a bias toward motorcycle riders who are perceived to be careless, unsafe and reckless, having no regard for others on the road. Unfortunately, this negativity can carry over to the determinations made in a legal compensation claim.
As an example, when law enforcement arrives on the accident scene, they may have come loaded with a motorcycle accident bias that causes them to make incorrect judgments of guilt against the motorcyclist. Additionally, when an insurance company receives the case, its representatives may attempt to lower compensation amounts or not issue any at all due to a biker stereotype.
When challenged with these additional hurdles and bias roadblocks, injured motorcyclists often find it is highly beneficial to acquire a motorcycle attorney experienced with such obstacles. Typical auto accident lawyers may not know what angles and details need to be addressed for a successful outcome.
Prejudice and Bias Against Bikers
A motorcycle rider injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another driver could be eligible to receive compensation for damages. However, this process may be more difficult for the motorcyclist than it is for drivers of automobiles. The rider’s attorney will likely be dealing with some bias and prejudice from insurers, jurors, and the court system as follows:
Assumed negligence on the motorcyclist’s part – Unfortunately, there are several preconceived notions toward cyclists that aren’t easily overcome. Often, riders are assumed to be unruly young people, irresponsible, or even gang members. In essence, these views equate to placing blame on the motorcyclist without ever hearing the facts. Large insurance companies do their best to pinpoint ways that the rider could have done things differently and avoided the crash.
Inexperienced motorcyclist – Insurance adjusters spend a great deal of effort evaluating the number of years of riding a motorcyclist has and trying to equate it as inexperience. The protective gear the rider used goes through major scrutiny as well.
The motorcyclist was surely speeding – People have occasionally observed a motorcycle going too fast and darting in and out between cars. Some people wrongly perceive every rider as likely to do this. While some cyclists are reckless, many more are careful and cautious, not endangering others.
Motorcycle riders can’t easily be seen – While motorcycles can be harder to see than traditional vehicles, this excuse should not be used to give a free pass to negligent auto drivers who caused an accident through careless behavior. Jury members should, instead, evaluate whether the automobile driver was inattentive and reckless.
The motorcycle was defective – Insurance adjusters work tirelessly to look over every part of a motorcycle in order to find a defect or locate any adjustments made to the cycle. This attempt to find fault with a piece of equipment can even lead adjusters to put the blame on added lights or a loud horn.
Motorcyclists are awarded less compensation – For whatever reason, some individuals simply do not like motorcycles. Jury members and insurance adjusters alike can be affected by this prejudice that frequently shows up through small damage awards in court, or meager settlement offers by insurers.
Most motorcyclists are good, responsible citizens who observe traffic rules and drive courteously. They should receive fair treatment from the legal system and insurers. Obvious motorcycle bias demonstrated in the legal system should end. The assistance of an experienced, skilled motorcycle accident attorney can prove to be the answer to overcoming this problem.
Proving Fault in a Motorcycle Wreck
With adequate evidence showing fault, liability can be established. A qualified attorney will gather appropriate evidence showing the other driver’s negligence. There are generally three sources of evidence used to show liability following a motorcycle accident. They are the accident scene, the negligent driver, and recordings and records from third parties.
Evidence from the accident scene:
- Motorcycle damage
- Damage to other vehicles
- Weather and road conditions
- Location and traffic patterns
- Eye witness accounts
- Road damage and skid marks
Evidence from the negligent driver:
- Postings on social media (including any done at the time of the accident)
- Deposition testimony
- Confession or guilty plea in court
Evidence from third parties:
- Police report
- Security camera or traffic camera footage
- Phone records (if the driver was on the phone at the time of the accident)
The motorcyclist’s version of accident events is equally important and should be documented as soon as possible. The following is a list of questions to answer for documentation and future use in a legal claim:
- Where was the motorcycle within the lane when it was hit?
- Could other driver’s attention point be determined in the moments just before the collision?
- Did the motorcycle respond appropriately to braking or acceleration?
- Did the other driver swerve into the motorcycle’s lane?
- Did the other driver run a red light or stop sign?
- Did the other driver accelerate to make a yellow light?
Are You the Victim of Motorcycle Accident Bias?
Contact The Eichholz Law Firm for help with your claim and negotiating a fair settlement. Our legal team knows how to handle issues with motorcycle bias from insurance companies.