By the nature of their design, motorcycles are much more dangerous than cars. They’re smaller than cars, more difficult to see, and leave their riders largely unprotected from their surrounding environments. In addition, motorcycles are much more likely to be involved in accidents resulting in catastrophic injuries and fatalities. In 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 5,038 of the 36,835 total motorists killed in traffic accidents were motorcyclists. So, how do motorcycle accident claims differ from car accident claims?
How Are Motorcycle Accident Claims Different from Other Car Accident Claims?
While most drivers rely on their cars, trucks, or vans for transportation, many motorcycle riders ride simply because they enjoy it. Motorcycles are also easier to park and maneuver than cars, and they are more economical. Most motorcyclists understand that they have a higher risk of injury than people who occupy cars and exercise safe driving practices to reduce their risk. However, some motorcycle riders are still seriously injured or killed in crashes in spite of their best efforts. Because of their features and risks, motorcycle accident claims differ from other types of motor vehicle accident claims in several ways:
Motorcyclists are more likely to suffer serious injuries and fatalities.
According to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, motorcyclists were 28 times more likely to be killed in accidents in 2017 than car occupants. Since motorcyclists do not have the protection afforded by an enclosed cab, they are much more likely to suffer severe injuries when they are involved in collisions. The severity of injuries suffered by motorcyclists often makes the stakes involved in associated claims significantly higher.
Passenger vehicle drivers frequently fail to see motorcyclists.
In some collisions, the drivers of motor vehicles fail to see the motorcyclists. When drivers look to change lanes or to make turns, they commonly look for trucks or cars and do not see the motorcyclists that are present. A common type of motorcycle accident occurs when a driver turns left from a side road onto a highway without seeing an oncoming motorcyclist. Other common accidents happen when drivers do not see motorcyclists in the lanes next to them and hit the motorcyclists while changing lanes. Motorcycles are also much more likely to have accidents because of road hazards, including loose gravel, ruts, potholes, and others. By contrast, these types of road maintenance problems are less likely to cause cars to have accidents.
Jury biases are a factor in motorcycle accident claims.
Many jurors have biases about motorcyclists that must be overcome during trials. Many people stereotype motorcyclists as reckless people even when they are not at fault for their accidents. Insurance companies are aware of these types of biases and are more likely to extend lower settlement offers. For this reason, if you’re pursuing a motorcycle accident claim, it is important to work with an experienced attorney who knows how to present evidence to combat prejudice against motorcyclists and ensure that your rights will be protected.
Helmet use is an issue in motorcycle accident lawsuits.
In 2020, Gov. Parson waived the helmet requirement for Missouri motorcyclists ages 26 and older. While motorcyclists might not have to wear helmets in the state, helmet use can be an issue in motorcycle accident lawsuits. If you were injured in a motorcycle collision while you were not wearing a helmet, it will likely come up as a factor during settlement negotiations or at a trial.
After a motorcycle accident, the first thing that you should do is pursue medical treatment for your injuries. After you have gone to your doctor’s office or a hospital, your next step should be to consult with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. You should not talk to the motorist’s insurance company or agree to sign anything before you speak to an attorney. Check out our blog post Tips for Motorcycle Injury Claims for more information.
At Musgrave Law Group, our attorneys represent motorcycle accident victims and the families of motorcyclists who have been killed because of the negligence of other motorists. We are dedicated to our clients, and our attorneys believe in protecting the rights of people who have been injured because of the actions of others. Contact us today to request a free case evaluation by calling our office at 417-322-2222.