Motorcycle Accidents Vs. Car Accidents: Differences Through the Eyes of the Law
Automobile accidents are scary, possibly life-changing experiences. Even the most minor of collisions can leave you busy and stressed in its aftermath. It can be hard to know what to do after an accident. Between medical appointments, meetings with your insurance company, and legal proceedings, you’ll be thinking about that accident for weeks or even months.
Key factors which can significantly add to your stress are the difficulties involved in obtaining compensation after a motorcycle accident when compared to a car accident. Eliminate this stress by hiring an experienced lawyer who understands the unique circumstances surrounding your motorcycle accident.
Severity of Damages
First, consider the fact that injuries caused by a motorcycle accident are far more likely to be severe or even fatal. While car accidents can kill, studies performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show that motorcycle accidents are over 20 times more likely to result in death.
Additionally, motorcycle crashes and collisions frequently cause an entirely different set of injuries than the more “standard” ones associated with car accidents. The most common example is “road rash,” skin abrasions caused by contact with the rough surface of the road. Other examples include chin impacts, broken shoulders or pelvises, and “biker’s arm” – potentially permanent paralysis caused by damage to nerves in the upper arm.
A good motorcycle accident lawyer should be aware of the nature and severity of these potential injuries. This will allow them to more accurately claim the amount of damages owed for medical bills, mental distress, negative impact on the victim’s quality of life, and others. Accident victims will be able to confidently claim what they deserve for their suffering, rather than underestimating amounts owed due to incorrectly applying standards set by car accidents.
The differences between car and motorcycle accidents do not stop once the proper claims have been filed. An unfortunate truth is that, even today, many judges and juries possess an unconscious “anti-motorcycle” bias, which can negatively affect their ability to hand down accurate rulings in court.
The source of this bias is generally believed to be the common pop-cultural perception of motorcyclists as more “reckless” and “dangerous” when compared to car drivers. Motorcycles are associated with speeding, risky daredevil stunts, and unsafe tactics such as weaving in and out between cars. This can result in even the most cautious of cyclists losing their case simply due to unfair stereotypes.
A motorcycle accident lawyer will have knowledge of this bias and be able to point it out and address it whenever it appears. They will refuse to allow individuals with this bias to serve on the jury of a case involving a motorcycle accident, and will be quick to file an appeal should they notice unfair treatment of their clients by a judge.
Lack of Knowledge and Experience
Another reason for the unfortunate anti-motorcycle bias is a simple lack of knowledge regarding motorcycles among the general population. Today, most people either drive or frequently ride in cars, and have a general understanding of what proper driving techniques entail and what sort of measures must be taken to ensure safety, such as obeying speed limits and wearing seatbelts.
However, it is currently estimated that less than one-tenth of the American population have ever driven or ridden on a motorcycle. This leads to a general lack of awareness regarding safe driving practices – for example, the necessity of increasing a motorcycle’s speed to keep it balanced can be perceived by an uninformed individual as merely reckless speeding.
As with anti-motorcycle bias, a good accident lawyer will be constantly on the lookout for this lack of knowledge. They will strive to seat only informed individuals on a jury which will be responsible for determining guilt and damages owed following a motorcycle accident.
Lastly, it is important to be aware of the dishonest tactics which many insurance companies will use to deprive motorcycle accident victims of their owed compensation. Using the above-mentioned anti-motorcycle bias, they will insist that an accident survivor is completely unable to claim any damages at all if they are even slightly responsible.
Combat this by working with a lawyer who is aware of accident responsibility laws in your state. Today, many states adhere to the policy of “comparative negligence,” in which a suit can be drawn up if the motorcyclist is determined to be less than 50% responsible for the accident occurring. This allows motorcycle accident victims to receive the proper compensation which they are owed for their suffering.
Don’t waste your time and money on a lawyer who isn’t “in the know”. Choose a motorcycle accident lawyer who is committed to fighting ignorance, uncovering bias and challenging sneaky insurers who try to deny you the money you deserve. A motorcycle accident doesn’t have to ruin your life – and, with the right lawyer, it won’t!
Chris Fry Bio
Christopher J. Fry is a lifelong resident of Sacramento. He was born, grew up, attended K-12 school, college and law school in Sacramento. The majority of his professional experience comes from Sacramento and surrounding areas.
In his career, Mr. Fry has been involved in complex litigation focused on areas such as; Constitutional Law, Business Litigation, Consumer Rights, State and Federal Government Liability (Tort, Contract and Constitutional) and Personal Injury. He has researched, developed and implemented legal arguments set forth in cases against City and County entities, the State of California, and even officers of the United States of America. He has worked on cases in numerous State and Federal Courts, the Third and Sixth District Court of Appeal, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal and even the United States Supreme Court. Some of the cases Mr. Fry has worked on can be found in published appellate opinions.
With his passion for standing up for those without a voice, he has decided to continue to practice as a trial attorney and will continue to strive to help aggrieved citizens throughout California.