Motorcycle accidents are different from other motor vehicle accidents in several ways: not only are riders more likely to suffer severe injuries, but they may have a harder time collecting damages. This is because most car and truck drivers – and therefore, most witnesses and juries – harbor some bias against motorcycle riders.
A study by the Florida Department of Transportation, which was analyzed in the Sun Sentinel “found that 60 percent of the time motorists in other vehicles are at fault when they collide with motorcycles.” According to Chanyoung Lee, a senior researcher at the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research, this is the result of drivers who “don’t expect to see motorcycles,” which often leads to left-turn crashes.
The bias against motorcyclists can be seen during various aspects of a motorcycle accident claim. When a collision occurs, even if another driver or other party bears responsibility, many people will assign blame to the motorcycle driver. The types of bias that can potentially impact your claim include:
- Inaccurate police statements. Many times, a motorcyclist suffers the most severe injuries in any crash with a motor vehicle. For this reason, the motorcyclist is not able to give his or her account of what happened at the time of the crash. Instead, others with bias against motorcyclists may not provide a fair and accurate report to the officer, placing excessive blame on the rider.
- Biased juries. Many motorcyclists as negligent and irresponsible. As one person told the Sun Sentinel, “I feel like they don’t watch out for themselves very well… You see [bikers on sport bikes] cutting in and out of traffic. Very few ride in a reasonable, safe manner. They’re pretty reckless.” Some members on a jury hearing your case may have this same existing bias against you as one of those adventurous riders and automatically assume you are to blame.
- Insurance company bias. Insurance companies understand the views present in society about motorcycles and they may take advantage of this sentiment to make a low-ball settlement offer for your losses.
Additional factors that may affect your claim
Other factors that can either increase or reduce the value of your motorcycle accident claim include:
- The level and severity of the injury
- The amount of medical treatment needed to recover
- Loss of property
- Level of contributory negligence (if applicable)
It takes the care, attention, and time from an experienced Richmond motorcycle crash attorney to prove liability and obtain recovery on your behalf. Because these cases can be complex and may require extensive investigation and field work, it is important to get the right legal support that uses reconstruction experts and more to help you recover what you are owed.
If you have suffered injuries in a motorcycle wreck caused by another responsible party, we can help. To request a free consultation about your case, call the Richmond-based motorcycle accident attorneys at Phelan Petty at 804.980.7100 or complete our contact form. We represent riders and passengers throughout Virginia.
Michael Phelan is a Virginia trial attorney who practices with a special focus on traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases, pharmaceutical and medical device claims, product liability cases, and truck accidents. Michael’s peers have consistently recognized him for his excellence as a trial lawyer, and his clients have praised him for his commitment to deep research, his outstanding communication skills, and his sincerity and dedication.