How Are Motorcycle Accidents Different Than Car Accidents?
The main difference between motorcycle accidents and car accidents is that motorcycle accidents tend to involve more serious injuries. Motorcyclists do not have the shell of a vehicle around them to protect them like occupants of a car do, and motorcyclists are much more likely to be thrown from their vehicle in an accident.
However, there are other differences between motorcycle accidents and car accidents. Many motorcyclists who are injured in motorcycle crashes assume their circumstances will be handled in the same way a car accident would be handled. However, this is not always the case. Cars and motorcyclists may both travel on the same roads, but juries and insurance companies view motorcycle accidents and car accidents very differently.
A failure to understand the differences between these crashes and a failure to hire an attorney who is aware of these differences could sink your chances of winning your motorcycle accident case.
You may be scared and confused after a motorcycle accident, especially if you don’t have a trusted attorney you know you can contact. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help you file a proper motorcycle crash claim so you can be properly compensated for your injures, medical bills, gear replacement and bike repair.
It’s important for you to know the differences between filing a motorcycle wreck claim and a car crash claim, and why it’s important for you to hire a motorcycle accident attorney.
Who Should I Contact First After A Motorcycle Accident?
The last thing you want to do after a motorcycle accident is rush to find a lawyer. You’ll be under duress, stressed, running out of time to pay your bills, and possibly injured, leaving you in a bad place to make important decisions.
For these reasons, the first person you need to contact after a motorcycle accident is an experienced, expert motorcycle crash lawyer who has your best interests as their top priority. This lawyer can gather all the info you need to build as strong of a case as possible for you, work with you every step of the way, fight insurance companies who attempt to underpay you, and refer you to the best medical providers who can give you the best medical treatment and who won’t even charge you until your case is over.
A motorcycle wreck lawyer will want to get you the results you require as soon as an accident occurs, so ensure they know about your whole situation first.
Differences Between Motorcycle Accidents And Car Accidents
1. The injuries in motorcycle accidents are typically more severe: Motorcycle accidents are often fatal, and they often cause very severe injuries when they are not fatal. These injuries can be permanent and life-changing, and thus worth a lot of money in a motorcycle accident case. With the stakes this high, it is imperative that you have a skilled attorney to convince an insurance company or a jury that you deserve every penny you’re entitled to under the law for your injuries. Failure to hire an experienced, expert motorcycle wreck lawyer could leave you with a lifetime of medical bills you can’t afford to pay, as motorcycle accidents can lead to injuries, such as spinal cord injuries or brain injuries, which require long-term financial support that pays for medical bills.
Almost every motorcycle accident victim suffers “road rash,” a term that doesn’t accurately describe how painful these injuries can be. Road rash injuries are often more painful than fractures or other injuries that can occur in motorcycle crashes.
2. Anti-motorcyclist bias: Insurance companies, jurors and judges often possess unfavorable attitudes towards motorcyclists involved in accidents. It is, of course, not fair to think of every biker as responsible for their own accidents. However, unfortunately, there are stereotypes which exist of bikers, gang members and outlaws disrupting traffic. These stereotypes exist because a small number of motorcyclists weave through traffic, speed, etc. This dangerous behavior puts other motorcyclists in a tough place when they go to trial by giving jurors a negative image of motorcyclists. For this reason, it can be more difficult for a motorcycle accident plaintiff to recover what the deserve for their injuries in a personal injury claim.
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can handle this bias in a couple of ways:
- By exposing these beliefs during jury selection, then eliminating those people from the jury pool.
- By attempting to change attitudes by demonstrating what the injured motorcyclist did to learn how to ride their bike safely, showing that the injured biker was following safe riding practices, and showing what the rider did to avoid their accident.
3. Insurance companies deny motorcycle claims more often: Insurance companies will almost always offer any accident victim a lowball offer after they’ve been injured in any kind of vehicle accident. However, insurance companies know that jurors often have biases against motorcyclists. Because of this, they can use these biases against you to offer you a lower offer, and use legal loopholes against you if you’re not represented by a lawyer who can counter tactics like these.
Insurance companies aren’t likely to be fair to injured motorcyclists because of jurors’ biases against them. Unfortunately, injured bikers often hire lawyers only after they find out the hard way that the insurance companies don’t plan on treating them decently or honorably. By this time, an insurance adjuster might have managed to get the injured biker to hurt their case by making incriminating recorded statements or doing something else that hurts their chances of winning a trial. Insurance adjusters are specifically trained to get injury victims to unwittingly admit fault for their own accidents or admit their injuries aren’t as severe as they claim, and they do this so they can pay injury victims less money.
4. Motorcycling is inherently risky: It is a lot harder for motorcyclists to prove they’re not at fault for an accident due to the inherent risk involved in riding a motorcycle. Because of this, it’s a lot easier for an insurance company or defense lawyer to blame you for an accident if you aren’t represented by a skilled, experienced motorcycle wreck attorney.
5. Negligence: Motorcyclists must prove that their accidents were not caused by their own negligence, or failure to be reasonably careful to prevent harm from occurring. Evidence involving a motorcyclist’s possible negligence is often examined far more carefully than evidence involving a car driver’s possible negligence. This means that the presentation and collection of this evidence needs to be done through expert professionals.
6. Road conditions: Road conditions that cars and other vehicles normally shrug off, like small potholes, can lead to accidents for motorcyclists. Roads are usually designed with cars in mind, so small issues like slippery surfaces or bad visibility can be a lot more dangerous to motorcycle riders. Government entities can be responsible for crashes in these cases, meaning injury claims will need to be filed against them. However, claims against government entities are extremely difficult to win without an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer representing you.
7. Gear or manufacturer defects: Gear, repair or manufacturing defects are also possible causes of motorcycle accidents. However, many bikers don’t know this and eagerly repair their gear and bike as soon as possible after an accident. Doing this may prevent them from being able to prove that these defects were at fault for their accident. It is important that you always speak with a motorcycle accident attorney after a crash before making any other decisions such as repairing your bike.
8. Many jurors have never ridden a motorcycle: Jurors need to be taught the basics of riding a motorcycle if they have never ridden one. Some aspects of riding a motorcycle can be counter-intuitive to those who haven’t done them. For example, many non-bikers won’t realize that motorcycles can actually be more stable at higher speeds. In addition, while bikers know that sometimes they need to lay their bike down to avoid a possibly fatal accident, to non-riders this situation might just look like a biker was going too fast and lost control of their bike. Jurors who don’t understand the intricacies of riding a bike will typically identify with car drivers instead.
Causes Of Accidents
Car accidents and motorcycle accidents are similar in that they are both often caused by alcohol and/or speeding. Alcohol, distracted driving and/or speeding were involved in 58 percent of fatal accidents between 2004 and 2013, according to the Department of Transportation. 31 percent of these accidents involved speeding and an additional 31 percent of these accidents involved alcohol.
Common Motorcycle Accident Causes
1. Lane splitting: Lane splitting, while legal in California, is a factor in a lot of motorcycle accidents. Motorcyclists who drive in between two lanes face a higher risk of accident since they have less space to maneuver, are closer to other vehicles, and drivers of cars often don’t expect motorcycles to pass them in stopped or slowed traffic.
2. Cars making left turns: Almost half of accidents involving a motorcycle and a car involve cars turning left. This is the most dangerous situation for a motorcyclist because it can lead to a motorcycle being struck while going straight through an intersection or trying to pass a car. Car drivers often can’t see motorcycles trying to pass a car in the same lane.
3. Road conditions: Road conditions such as potholes, slippery roads, uneven lane heights and more pose more of a threat to motorcycles than other vehicles.
4. Collisions with fixed objects: About one in five motorcycle accidents involve collisions with fixed objects, and about one in five fatal motorcycle accidents involve collisions with fixed objects.
5. Alcohol use and speeding: Around half of single motorcycle accidents are caused by speeding or alcohol.
Common Car Accident Causes
1. Distracted driving: About one in four car accidents involve cell phone use, according to the National Safety Council. Distracted driving is dangerous because it delays reaction time since the brain can’t properly process information that comes from more than one source.
2. Alcohol use and speeding: Around half of car accidents involve speeding and/or alcohol.
3. Aggressive driving: Examples of aggressive driving include frequent lane changes, failing to yield the right of way, ignoring traffic signals, and tailgating.
4. Fatigued drivers: Around three percent of traffic fatalities are caused by falling asleep at the wheel and driver fatigue.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
- Motorcyclists under 40 are about 20 times more likely to get injured in an accident than car drivers who are the same age.
- Motorcyclists under 40 are about 36 times more likely to be killed in an accident than car drivers who are the same age.
- Motorcycle accident deaths are about 30 times more common than car accident deaths.
- Motorcycles represent about 5 percent of highway fatalities, yet represent only about 2 percent of registered vehicles.
- About 20 percent of car accidents result in death or injury, while about 80 percent of motorcycle accidents result in death or injury.
Do I Need A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
You need a motorcycle accident lawyer if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault and you want to recover the most money possible for your injuries.
Insurance companies won’t offer you a fair settlement in any kind of accident if you’re not represented by a lawyer. They’ll instead offer you a lowball offer and dare you to sue them over it, knowing you can’t win a lawsuit without an attorney. However, insurance companies will probably offer you even less money after a motorcycle accident than after a car accident since they know that jurors have biases against motorcyclists.
In addition, since insurance adjusters are trained to trick you into saying things they can use to pay you less money, you need a lawyer familiar with their tactics to handle all correspondence with the insurance companies for you if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident.
You should contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer today if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident. Motorcycle accident lawyers typically provide free consultations and contingency fee representation, meaning you won’t be charged for their services until and unless they win your case.