Motorcycle accidents can cause severe, long-lasting injuries for the motorcyclist. When another driver’s negligent actions cause the accident, the motorcyclist might be entitled to financial compensation. Unfortunately, bias against motorcycle drivers can make it difficult for riders to obtain the compensation they need. However, an experienced motorcycle accident attorney may help level the playing field and fight for you to receive a fair settlement.
Why Are Police Officers and Insurance Companies Biased Against Motorcyclists?
There seems to be a perception that motorcycle riders engage in risky driving that can cause accidents, such as speeding, lane splitting, or reckless driving. While some motorcyclists are risk-takers who speed, weave between lanes, and drive irresponsibly, so do some car drivers. Most motorcycle riders enjoy a calm ride, wanting to arrive at their destination safely.
To put these biases into perspective, say you were in a motor vehicle accident driving as a car driver. You might have to explain to a police officer how the accident occurred and what caused it. In this situation, the officer might not assume that you were recklessly driving unless there is evidence. Conversely, a police officer or insurance company might automatically assume they were, putting the rider on the defensive from the beginning.
When it comes to motorcycle accidents, biases may result in several adverse outcomes for the bike rider, such as:
- Presumed liability: Since motorcyclists already face the stereotype that they are reckless on the road, police officers, insurance representatives, judges, or jurors might assume that they are at fault for the accident. When this happens, they might not recover compensation, even if the other driver was responsible for causing the accident.
- Low settlement offer: If an insurance adjuster has a bias against motorcycle riders, they might offer a low settlement amount that does not cover the full extent of their injuries.
- Reduced damage award: Although most cases settle outside of court, some injury cases go to trial. However, you should remember that motorcycle accident victims might receive a low damage award if the jury members have a bias against motorcycle riders.
It is important to remember that civil lawsuits rely on the principle of liability. That means a court or insurance company must determine if the driver’s actions were reasonable based on what an average person would do in a similar situation. For example, excessive speeding or texting behind the wheel is often not reasonable.
Tips to Combat Motorcycle Bias in Accident Claims
If you were in a motorcycle accident in South Florida, you could do a few things to build your credibility and avoid biases.
- Be courteous: After an accident, you should approach the other driver with courtesy and not begin making accusations. You must also remember not to admit fault or say anything that they can use against you later.
- Always wear a helmet: Wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle may show your commitment to safety and that you know the rules of the road.
- Document the accident scene: If it is safe to do so, take photos at the accident scene. You should photograph the condition of both vehicles, road and weather conditions, and traffic signs or signals.
- Speak to witnesses: There might be witnesses at the accident scene who saw the crash occur. Before they leave, write down their name and contact information. Your injury attorney might want to call them later for a statement.
- Drive safe: It’s essential that you follow all traffic laws and avoid speeding, weaving, or riding in any way that witnesses might deem as unsafe. If a witness sees you driving responsibility, they might be your best ally when pursuing compensation.
If you find yourself in a situation where the police officers or insurance company are biased against you, contact a Florida motorcycle accident attorney.
Skilled Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in South Florida
If you were in a motorcycle accident in South Florida, contact the Baker Legal Team. Our injury attorneys can launch a thorough investigation that might be favorable to your case. We can also protect you against biased opinions from law enforcement, insurance adjusters, and courts. To schedule a free consultation, call (560) 320-0000 or complete our online contact form today.