At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we hold motorcyclists in high regard. I am a long-time rider and advocate of bikers’ rights myself. When it comes to settling or arguing a motorcycle injury case, we understand the unique challenges bikers face. There’s not much we can do to change people’s negative perceptions of motorcyclists, but we do have the legal experience to counteract some of the challenges to ensure our biker clients get the maximum possible settlements for their damages. Here, I discuss some of the biases bikers face and how we are able to get good results in spite of them.
Prejudice Can Lower Settlement Offers
When a motorcycle accident injury case goes to trial, the victim and his attorney must contend with the preconceived notions of members of the jury. Even with the ability to reject a number of jurors during jury selection, a jury can be stacked with bias. Likewise, in cases that don’t go to trial, bikers face discrimination from insurance adjusters who, whether they think ill of bikers themselves or not, will take advantage of public opinion to make a low offer. Some of the stereotypes people apply to bikers include the following:
- All motorcyclists are in gangs. Visions of the Sons of Anarchy TV show cloud the judgment of many Americans. The reality is that many bikers belong to riding clubs that raise money for children’s charities and veterans.
- Bikers are mean. Another image from popular media, people often assume that the tattoos and leather jackets many bikers wear are a sign that they are unfriendly and ready for a fight. In truth, most dedicated riders spend at least one weekend a year on a charity ride and are less prone to road rage than the average commuter in a car.
- Bikers are uneducated. I take this one personally! Many lawyers, doctors, professors, and police officers choose to ride motorcycles, whether for fun or as their main mode of transportation. Besides that, nice motorcycles are expensive and your average high school dropout would not even be able to afford one.
- Bikers are risk takers. While you may see bikers without helmets or other protective gear, you also see plenty of car drivers speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, and taking other unnecessary risks. Not all bikers are risk takers, just like not all car drivers are. In fact, the fastest growing segment of motorcycle owners are women, who generally take fewer risks than men.
When jurors or insurance adjustors make these assumptions about bikers, they are not likely to sympathize with their personal injury claim.
Injuries Can Be Severe and Costly
When a motorcyclist is involved in a crash, his injuries can be much more severe than the victim of a car accident. Due to the inherent lack of protection offered by a motorcycle, riders are more prone to traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, broken bones, and death than the occupant of a car. Treatment and recovery for these types of injuries come at a huge cost. Emergency room treatment, surgeries, and ongoing therapy and rehabilitation can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, your settlement will be limited to the insurance coverage the at-fault driver carries, even if your medical costs surpass that. There may be other options for recovering more than what’s available under the insurance policy, but you will need the help of an experienced injury accident attorney to get it.
Have You Been Injured In A Motorcycle Accident?
If you've been injured in a motorcycle accident you need to speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.
You can also order your FREE copy of our book, "KC Biker Bible."