Accidents involving motorcycles often result in greater harm to the biker than the car's occupants. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 16% more likely to die and 4% more likely to be injured in a crash than drivers or passengers in a car. Additionally, whereas 20% of auto accidents result in injury or death, 80% of motorcycle crashes are injury-causing or fatal.
Because motorcyclists often sustain more substantial harm, accident-related medical bills, repair costs, and other damages are much larger than those for vehicle occupants. The biker, therefore, likely requires greater compensation to cover out-of-pocket expenses.
Unfortunately, seeking a fair financial recovery can be difficult for motorcyclists. Bias could play a role in the case, causing others involved (e.g., drivers, law enforcement officials, insurance adjusters, and jurors) to make quick judgments concerning fault for the collision.
Overcoming these biases is essential for pursuing just compensation. Doing so requires thoroughly investigating the case and building compelling arguments.
The Possible Effects of Bias Against Motorcyclists
Biases against motorcyclists can come from many sources. For instance, someone might assume a biker was driving recklessly because of their previous experience with risk-taking motorcycle riders. Or another person might believe that because a motorcycle is loud, it's inherently dangerous. Not to mention, depictions of bikers in movies and television often paint them as an unruly bunch.
Wherever the biases come from, they are, of course, not relevant to all motorcyclists. Yet, they may sometimes be applied generally. This broad application can be problematic when a biker brings a personal injury claim or lawsuit against a driver.
Whether implicit or explicit, biases about motorcyclists can cause others to assume that the biker was responsible for the collision. In some extreme instances, the bias may guide individuals' processes, as they might look for evidence to support their assumptions rather than finding facts to uncover the truth of the case.
Biases could also result in lower compensation amounts. Perhaps the person or persons deciding whether the biker is entitled to compensation has a bias against motorcyclists. Their beliefs might not lead them to conclude that the biker was 100% at fault for the accident. Still, they could be more inclined to say that the motorcyclist was partially liable. Because Ohio is a comparative negligence state, the idea that the biker had some percentage of responsibility affects the award amount.
Here's an example of how comparative negligence works:
- A motorcycle accident happens, caused by the driver of a passenger vehicle.
- The motorcyclist suffered injury entitling them to $50,000 in damages.
- However, the motorcyclist was determined to be 20% responsible for the crash.
- The motorcyclist’s award is decreased by their portion of fault: $50,000 - $10,000 (20% of $50,000).
- The motorcyclist ends up receiving $40,000.
A low verdict or settlement will not cover all the motorcyclist's accident-related expenses and losses.
Building Counterarguments to Attack Motorcycle Bias
It is an injustice when bias clouds a person's decisions, especially those affecting an injured individual's ability to pay for necessary medical or repair bills. Thus, bias should not prevail in motorcycle accident cases.
The motorcyclist and their personal injury attorney can develop arguments to counter these unjust beliefs. Essentially, they must establish a compelling case that the driver was at fault, and the biker had little or no role in causing the accident.
Crafting these arguments is a very intricate and delicate process. It begins with the motorcyclist taking action immediately after the collision.
Following the crash, the biker should:
- Not admit fault
- Not accuse the other driver of causing the accident
- Be courteous at all times
- Document the scene by taking photos, videos, and/or notes
- Get witness contact information
Understandably, carrying out some or all of the tasks listed above can be difficult for some motorcyclists because of their injuries. However, that does not mean hope is lost in the case.
The biker's attorney will also investigate the case to uncover the facts. They may review logs and records, interview witnesses, visit the accident scene, or retain the services of a specialist to reconstruct the crash. The lawyer will also discuss the case with the client to understand what happened from the motorcyclist's perspective.
Once the attorney has a complete picture of the situation, they can begin building a legal strategy. The lawyer will rely on the evidence to tell their clients' stories. Addressing potential biases, they might bring up that their client was obeying the rules of the road or wasn't doing anything reckless immediately before the accident.
Reach Out to Our Firm Today
Bias arising in a motorcycle accident case can unfairly limit the motorcyclist's recovery. To pursue justice, the full body of evidence must be analyzed and presented in a way to counter possible negative judgments.
At Rourke and Blumenthal LLC, our lawyers are diligent in our investigation and attend to the details when crafting legal strategies for our clients.
Learn about how we can help with your case in Columbus by contacting us at (614) 321-3212.