Many victims of motorcycle accidents think that their motorcycle accident will be handled the same way as a car accident. They could not be more wrong! While the “Rules of the Road” are the same, the fact of the matter is that the way that insurance companies, and later juries, view motorcycle accidents is very different.
Failing to understand those differences and failing to hire a lawyer who recognizes those differences could be fatal to your motorcycle accident case.
There are 4 major ways that motorcycle accidents are different from car accidents:
1. People who are not riders frequently and unfairly regard all riders as being daredevils. This comes from the small number of motorcyclists speeding and weavethrough traffic, etc. Their actions create an unfair stereotype which puts other motorcyclists in a difficult position when they go to court because many jurors have this negative image of motorcyclists. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney handles this a two ways:
- First, he tries to bring out those beliefs during jury selection eliminates those people from the jury pool when possible.
- Second, he tries to change those attitudes as they apply specifically to the accident victim by showing what the injured rider did to learn how to ride safely, by showing that the injured rider followed safe riding practices, and by showing what he did to avoid the accident at issue in the lawsuit.
2. Many jurors have not ridden on a motorcycle and do not know to drive one. This means that they must be be taught the basics. There are some aspects of riding a motorcycle that seem counter-intuitive to one who has not done it. For example, people who have not ridden would not realize that maintaining speed helps maintain the stability of the bike. Also, riders know to lay the motorcycle down to avoid a catastrophic or fatal crash. To people who have never ridden, it looks like the motorcyclist was traveling at an excessive speed and lost of control of the motorcycle. Until jurors know what it takes to drive a motorcycle, they will identify with the driver of the car.
3. Injuries from motorcycle accidents are severe, in those instances where the rider survives the crash. Multiple, severe fractures and/or loss of a limb are common results from motorcycle crashes. These are serious, permanent, life-changing injuries, and call for the services of a skilled lawyer to bring home the full extent of the damages to the insurance company and later, the jury. Virtually all injured riders suffer “road rash” in a motorcycle crash. “Road rash” is one of these terms that fails to properly describe how terrible these injuries are. Several motorcycle accident victims have said the road rash was more painful than the fractures and other injuries from the accident.
4. Insurers know that jurors have biases against motorcycle riders that make it for them to return a just verdict to the injured motorcyclist. This means that theinsurance company also is not likely be fair to an injured motorcyclist. Sadly, injured riders many times hire a lawyer only after they find out the hard way that the insurer does not plan to deal with them in a decent, honorable way. By that time, the adjuster from the insurance company may have gotten the injured rider to hurt his case by making ill-advised statements during a recorded statement or doing something else to hurt his chances of winning at trial.
Understanding and recognizing that car accidents and motorcycle accidents are not the same thing is the first step for injured riders in protecting their legal rights after a motorcycle crash. The second step is hiring a lawyer who understands the differences between the two and who is prepared to present a motorcycle accident case in a smart, compelling way to an insurance company, and later a jury if needed. If you are ready to hire an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer, you can contact our office at (312) 263-1080 or fill in the contact form on the right side of this page.
If you are not ready to hire a lawyer yet, you should at least try to protect yourself by getting good, FREE information about motorcycle accidents and personal injury law by requesting a copy of either the free, downloadable report or one of the books shown on the right side of this page.