Some drivers are under the misconception that all motorcyclists are dangerous and reckless on the roads. There’s an unfortunate relationship between prejudices against riders and an injured motorcyclist’s ability to recover full compensation from an insurance claim.
The motorcyclist is often assumed to be the one at fault by law enforcement and jurors. Although most personal injury cases don’t go to trial, this bias gives insurance companies additional leverage, even during negotiations. If your case were to go to trial, winning could be more difficult, which gives riders more incentive to accept the insurance company’s initial claim offer, even if it’s not a good one.
While people’s perceptions of motorcycles may never change, there are steps you can take to deal with biases in a motorcycle accident.
What Are the Common Biases in a Motorcycle Accident?
Insurance companies, juries and even police officers can have a bias against your transportation choice. It’s important to recognize the ways motorcycle bias might affect you so you understand how to defend yourself after being involved in a motorcycle crash.
- Motorcycles are too fast. This is a common misconception people might have because they’ve seen some motorcyclists speeding on the highway. Speed is often confused with being loud. Other drivers hear a loud motorcycle and assume the rider was going too fast when instead, they were going the speed limit, but their motorcycle is inherently noisy. There are plenty of vehicles that are just as fast or faster than the average motorcycle.
- Motorcycles are difficult to see. Failing to see a motorcyclist is not an excuse for colliding with one. A typical vehicle might be bigger than a motorcycle, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be missed in a motorist’s blind spots. Failing to see a car in your blind spot isn’t an excuse for hitting it, and it’s not a valid excuse for hitting a rider. The fact that some drivers claim it’s hard to see motorcycles is exactly why we see signs that read “Look twice for motorcycles,” on highways and side streets. Most drivers don’t take the proper time they need to confirm the road is clear before turning or changing lanes. This is not the motorcyclist’s fault.
- Motorcyclists are inherently irresponsible. There’s a misconception that motorcyclists are ne’er-do-wells and reckless young people. This is largely due to negative media portrayals of riders. The fact is motorcycles are an extremely affordable and fuel-efficient mode of transportation. It’s also an innocent hobby for many riders who simply enjoy the feeling of the open road. Although the vast majority of riders are upstanding citizens, many motorists still lump them in with the negative media portrayals they’ve seen in movies and television.
How Can You Minimize the Impact of These Biases?
Being a responsible rider is the best way to protect yourself against motorcycle bias. There are also steps you can take as a rider to improve your chances of receiving fair compensation if you are ever involved in a motorcycle accident:
- Always wear a helmet
- Keep your driving record as clean as possible
- If you’re involved in an accident, gather statements from eyewitnesses
- Take photos at the scene of the accident
- File a police report and give a clear explanation of what happened
- Hire an experienced motorcycle accident attorney
Unfortunately, riders involved in crashes often suffer severe injuries. Those injuries may prevent them from getting the contact information of witnesses or taking pictures of the crash scene. In those situations, speaking with a personal injury lawyer experienced in motorcycle accidents as soon as possible may be in your best interest. They can investigate the accident while you recover.
What if Your Insurance Company Offers Compensation?
Your insurance company only cares about one thing — their own bottom line. They know preconceived notions about riders will put you at a disadvantage at trial, which is why they often feel safe in offering less than you deserve. Injured riders may feel desperate to get some compensation just to pay their bills, resulting in many agreeing to low claim payments.
Before you accept the insurance company’s initial offer, you may want to speak with a personal injury lawyer.
How Can a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help?
The Dressie Law Firm helps countless Atlanta drivers and riders through the insurance claim process after they get into a crash.
If the other driver’s insurance company is dragging its feet to pay you or has simply denied compensation, our trained motorcycle accident attorneys can help you find and collect strong evidence to improve your negotiating position. We also aren’t afraid to take your case to trial if that’s in your best interest.
Contact our Atlanta office at (678) 619-2977 for a free case evaluation.