Michigan is one of the most beautiful states for motorcycling. Unfortunately, whenever you head out for an exhilarating ride, you face certain prejudices from other motorists. Like it or not, there’s a common assumption that motorcyclists are reckless daredevils who treat the road like their personal racing strip. It’s not true, but this bias is strong enough to cause problems when you’re in an accident and seeking compensation from a negligent driver.
If this happens, you can almost count on a skeptical attitude from insurance adjusters. They may insinuate or outright suggest that you brought on your own misfortune. Don’t let them undervalue or dismiss your damages due to an unfounded -and extremely unfair- bias. A Michigan motorcycle accident lawyer at Conybeare Law Office can challenge such assumptions and refuse to let them impact the compensation you are entitled to.
Why Is There a Bias Against Motorcycle Riders in an Injury Claim?
There is a bias against motorcycle riders in injury claims for a few reasons.
- Motorcycle riding is often viewed as a risky activity, and as a result, motorcycle riders are perceived as being more responsible for the accidents they are involved in.
- Some people believe that motorcycle riders are more likely to engage in reckless behavior, such as speeding or lane splitting, which can contribute to accidents.
- There’s a common misconception that motorcycle riders are not as careful or responsible as drivers of other vehicles. This stereotype is often perpetuated by media coverage of motorcycle accidents, which tends to focus on sensational and dramatic incidents rather than the more common accidents caused by other vehicles.
While it’s true that some motorcyclists are careless, they don’t represent all riders any more than drag racers represent all motorists. Unfortunately, thanks to the actions of this reckless few, juries tend to favor victims in passenger vehicles over an injured motorcyclist, despite the following statistics:
- According to NHTSA data, most motorcycle accidents occur when the bike is traveling less than 30 mph. At the point of impact, this speed drops to 21.5 mph.
- Only 0.1% of motorcycle accidents occur at speeds over 85 mph.
- While the average motorcycle can reach speeds of 80-165 mph, it is rare for riders – even those with years of experience – to go faster than 80 mph unless they are riding on a racetrack.
How Bias Affects Your Personal Injury Claim
Bias against motorcyclists can have a significant impact on a personal injury claim, particularly when it comes to determining fault and awarding damages. Here are a few ways this bias can work against you if you’re injured by a reckless or negligent driver.
- You’re Assumed to be at Fault: The assumption that motorcyclists are speed demons can make it harder for you to prove you didn’t cause your accident. The adjuster (and, possibly later, a jury) may believe you were speeding or riding recklessly, even if that was not the case.
- You May Be Offered Less Compensation: It may be more difficult for you to receive fair compensation for your injuries. Insurance companies may be more likely to undervalue a claim made by a motorcyclist or try to shift blame onto the motorcyclist in order to reduce the amount of compensation they are required to pay.
- A Jury Verdict May Be Unfair: If your personal injury claim goes to trial, the jury may be biased against you due to the assumptions and stereotypes mentioned earlier. This can lead to a verdict that is unfair or not reflective of the actual facts of the case.
This bias against motorcyclists makes it more difficult to receive fair treatment in a personal injury claim. Those making decisions about your compensation may think you are somehow responsible for your injuries. A situation like that can be dangerous when you are dealing with the loss of income, medical bills, and pain and suffering. This is why it’s so important for injured motorcyclists to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help them navigate these biases and fight for their rights.
How Can a Kalamazoo Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help You Overcome Bias?
When you hire a Kalamazoo motorcycle accident attorney, they can take several steps to overcome the bias against injured motorcyclists. It starts with building a strong case: by gathering evidence that clearly demonstrates you were not at fault for the accident, your lawyer can present a convincing argument that you deserve fair compensation for your injuries.
Other steps include:
- Challenging Assumptions: Your attorney can challenge the assumptions and stereotypes by showing that you were riding safely and responsibly at the time of the accident. This approach can counteract biases by presenting a more accurate picture of your behavior.
- Working with Experts: Your motorcycle accident lawyer can work with experts, such as accident reconstruction specialists and medical professionals, to provide a clear and objective analysis of the accident and the injuries you sustained.
- Educating a Jury: If your case goes to trial, your lawyer can educate the jury about the biases and stereotypes that exist about motorcyclists and how these biases can impact a personal injury claim. This can make the jury more aware of their own biases and encourage them to make a fair and objective decision.
Injured in an Accident? Get a Free Consultation From a Kalamazoo Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Overcoming motorcycle rider bias is tough. Both the mainstream media and Hollywood have painted a negative picture that overshadows how careful and responsible most motorcyclists are. When you’re fighting for the compensation you need after a catastrophic crash, you need a motorcycle accident lawyer who knows how to address and counteract this bias.
At Conybeare Law Office, we’re up for the challenge. We have been helping injured motorcyclists get justice since 1984 and will face common assumptions head-on when we fight for your compensation. Let us secure the outcome you deserve while you focus on healing. To schedule your free consultation, call 269-769-BEAR or fill out this contact form. Remember: if it’s not fair, call the Bear!
- Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year 2024, 2021, 2017, and 2013, Plaintiffs Personal Injury Litigation, Kalamazoo Region (Southwest Michigan)
- Best Lawyers in America® 2008-2024, Plaintiffs Personal Injury Litigation, Kalamazoo Region (Southwest Michigan)
- Michigan Super Lawyers® 2009-2023