When motorcyclists and other vehicles collide, it’s usually the motorcyclist who suffers the most harm. Even though motorcycles represent only 3% of the registered vehicles in the United States, motorcyclists represent 14% of all roadway deaths.
However, motorcyclists often fight an uphill battle to get the compensation that they deserve when they try to file an accident claim after a wreck.
Stereotypes play a big role in the problem
The stereotypes about motorcyclists go back at least to the 1950s or 1960s when they became associated in the collective U.S. mindset with young, rebellious gang members. Over the years, some common misconceptions have remained, including the idea that motorcyclists are just not as responsible or as careful as other drivers. They’re often seen as inherent risk-takers and scofflaws.
That can affect a personal injury claim in several ways:
- The police officer responding to the scene of a wreck may automatically assume that the motorcyclist is at fault due to their subconscious biases. That can cause them to overlook clear signs that the other driver was distracted, speeding or had made some other mistake.
- The witnesses may have selective recollections: Memory is malleable, and people can convince themselves of things that aren’t true. If a witness to the wreck believes what they’ve heard about reckless motorcyclists, they may interpret what they saw in a way that confirms their own biases.
- Adjusters may offer less compensation: The more blame that an adjuster can shift onto the motorcyclist’s shoulders, the less compensation the insurance company may have to pay. Whether they do it deliberately or not, anti-biker biases can prompt an adjuster to undervalue a claim.
- Juries, too, can be prone to bias: When injury claims involving motorcyclists go to trial, it can take extra effort (and a lot of skill) to show the jury that a motorcyclist is no different than any other driver, and just as safety-conscious.
The biases against motorcyclists can cause them to be unfairly blamed for their own injuries after a wreck, and that’s an unfortunate reality that riders have to navigate – but they do not have to navigate the issue alone. Experienced legal guidance can help an injured biker get the compensation they deserve.