Special Issues In Motorcycle Accident Claims
A motorcycle injury claim has some special issues that may not feature much in a car injury claim. Here are three examples of such special issues:
Due to human nature, many people tend to be biased against motorcyclists in motorcycle-car accidents. Many people think motorcycles are inherently dangerous and motorcyclists disregard road rules. Therefore, in a motorcycle-car accident, the unspoken assumption is likely to be that the motorcyclist is at fault.
Due to this bias, even if a motorcyclist wins a case, the jury is likely to return a lower settlement compared to drivers who win similar cases. What is worse is that the insurance adjusters know that these biases exist, which may make them lower their offers knowing well that your chances of getting a more handsome award in court aren't that great.
Motorcyclists may suffer similar injuries to car drivers and passengers, but some injuries are more common for motorcyclists than drivers. Examples of such injuries include:
- Abrasions and lacerations – Even relatively minor motorcycle accidents result in the motorcycle going down. Since motorcycles don't have bodies, it is your body that will come into contact with the ground, which results in bruises, cuts, and lacerations. These soft tissue injuries can get worse if the motorcycle drags you along for some distance.
- Burns – Car accidents don't usually result in burns because the hot parts of cars, such as the engine and the exhaust, aren't that close to the drivers or passengers. Not only that, but the car's body forms a barrier between the occupants and the heated parts. This isn't the case with motorcycles, whose engines and exhausts are exposed and frequently cause serious burns to riders who go down.
Head injuries are some of the most life-threatening injuries motorcyclists face when they get involved in accidents. Helmets protect against head injuries; not wearing a helmet increases your risk of brain injury by 300%. For this reason, there are specific state laws dealing with the need for helmets for motorcycle riders. In fact, in some states, it is illegal for a motorcyclist to ride without a helmet.
Therefore, expect the issue of your helmet to come up when negotiating or litigating your injury awards. If you weren't wearing one, then the other party is likely to claim you were negligent and contributed to the severity of your injuries. If the court agrees, then your lack of helmet may reduce your damages.
In short, motorcycle injury claims are a bit different from car injury claims. It's good to know these special issues so that you prepare to face them when they come up during the negotiations. They also underscore the need to hire an injury lawyer with an experience in handling motorcycle accident claims.