Getting into any kind of vehicular accident is scary and dangerous. It will also lead to a lot of stress and questions. What should I do next? How do I pay for these repairs and medical bills? While you may think that getting into a motorcycle accident has the same set of laws and consequences as a motor vehicle accident, there are a few differences. If you or a loved one is in a motorcycle accident, your first legal step is to make sure you have an experienced attorney who knows those differences and can help you navigate the legal path.
How Do Motorcycle Accidents Differ from Car Accidents?
Size – Most importantly, a motorcycle is a much smaller and lighter vehicle than most other kinds of passenger vehicles. This leaves riders with less protection than they would get with a regular motor vehicle. This leaves the person with a much higher chance of serious injury or death if they are in a motorcycle accident.
Less Visibility – Due to the smaller size, motorcycles are not as easily seen by other drivers and can be difficult to see. The visibility of motorcycles is also reduced at intersections.
Road Hazards – Any debris that may be lying in the road, along with wet or bumpy pavement, has little effect on most passenger vehicles, but can be trouble for the unsuspecting motorcyclist. This could lead to a motorcycle accident in a split second.
Less Protection – Aside from the protection of a car surrounding them, motorcyclist also do not have seat belts and lack airbags. Yes, they (should) have helmets and protective clothing, but it may still not be enough to shield the rider from serious injury in an accident.
Driver Skills – The ability to drive a motorcycle takes much more skill than just driving a car. An inexperienced driver may be much more likely to be in a motorcycle accident than a car accident.
High-Risk Driving – If a motorcycle rider is riding on a sport or super-sport bike, they may be more tempted to speed, can accelerate too quickly, and can sometimes be tempted into engaging in other unsafe driving practices.
Shorter Stopping Distance – A motorcycle can stop more quickly than a passenger vehicle, so when a motorist is not keeping a safe distance behind a motorcycle, the rider can be easily rear-ended when he or she makes a quick stop.
Unfair Prejudice to Motorcycle Riders
It is an unfair fact that in many cases, a motorcyclist will be seen as a daredevil, based on past experiences around other riders or from the media. A reckless motorcycle rider is the minority, but it can leave a bad impression for those who have encountered those riders. This means that as your motorcycle accident case goes to court, it is crucial that you have a good attorney on your side who can figure out if the jurors have any previous bias towards motorcycle riders. An experienced attorney can help show the court that you, the defendant, are a responsible motorcycle rider.
Jurors Should Have a Basic Understanding of Motorcycles
In most cases, the majority of a jury will not have any first-hand experience on how motorcycles are driven or how a rider is supposed to react in certain road situations. For a jury to fully understand who is at fault and have a better understanding of the responsibility of both parties for injury compensation, there must be a fundamental knowledge of safe motorcycle practices.
For example, a motorcycle rider knows that speed creates stability on a bike, but a passenger car driver would likely consider that faster speed to be reckless driving. Having an attorney that is experienced in motorcycle accidents can help educate the jury and can greatly improve your case.
Motorcycle Accidents Have More Severe Injuries
Due to the open and exposed nature of motorcycles (which is often what attracts people to them) an accident that involves a motorcycle typically has more severe injuries than collisions between two cars. There are often times where serious and permanent injuries can occur in even a minor motorcycle accident. This again is when it's very important to have an attorney who specializes in this kind of case and can help account for these types of damages.
An example of having an attorney who can account for injures due to a motorcycle accident is if a rider has road rash. This injury is often more painful than fractured and broken bones and common to riders who have been in an accident. The right attorney will be able to better calculate what compensation you would need for the future recovery of road rash as well as other injuries.
Beware of Sneaky Insurer Tactics
Just like your jurors may have a prejudice against motorcycle riders, some insurance companies do too. They sometimes will try to use biases to their advantage and leave many riders seeking the help of a motorcycle accident attorney after they realize that their insurance company is not acting fairly on their behalf. Always keep in mind that insurance companies are not on your side, and don’t want to pay out large amounts of money when they don’t have to. It is likely that if you are partially at fault for the accident, the insurance company could very well try and deny you any compensation.
The only way for you to make sure that you are treated fairly in court by both the jurors and the insurance company is to make sure that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney, like Dan Higson, who understands the hurdles that will come up when proving fault in a motorcycle accident case. You must not make the mistake of thinking that a motorcycle accident is the same as a car accident.
If you have further questions about your motorcycle accident personal injury case, contact the Law Firm of Hathaway, Perrett, Webster, Powers, Chrisman & Gutierrez or check out Dan Higson’s motorcycle accident page, which goes over what to do immediately after an accident occurs.
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