It may seem obvious that a motorcycle accident is different from a car accident. After all, they involve entirely different types of vehicles. However, most victims of motorcycle crashes do not consider this when they are seeking an insurance settlement or looking for an accident attorney to represent them. While both car and motorcycle crashes are traffic accidents, the similarities from a legal and insurance standpoint end there.
Motorcyclists Are More Likely to Be Injured and Killed
The biggest difference between motorcycle and car crashes is that bikers face a much higher chance of being killed or seriously injured. According to statistics cited by the Insurance Information Institute, 4,976 people died in motorcycle accidents in 2015 and 88,000 were injured. Motorcyclists were 29 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle mile traveled, and almost five times more likely to be injured.
Unique Concerns for Injured Motorcyclists
If you are lucky enough to survive a motorcycle crash, you will likely be approached by insurance adjusters and personal injury attorneys claiming they can help you. However, they may not be considering the unique challenges you face as a motorcyclist, including the following:
- Severe injuries. Even a rider who is wearing all of the recommended safety gear is likely to suffer injuries that are more severe than occupants of a car in a similar accident. Without the protection of a steel shell around him, a biker is more likely to suffer traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, and limb amputation than passengers or drivers of cars. These types of injury require a significant financial settlement to pay for immediate emergency treatment, life-saving surgeries, and ongoing therapies. Riders who suffer permanent disabilities may also face the cost of life-long assistance with personal needs and basic daily care. A standard accident settlement may not be nearly enough to cover such costs and an injured rider or his family will have to fight to get what they will need to recover.
- Biases against riders. Even though motorcycles have become mainstream and many women, businessmen, and environmentally conscious people ride them now, the public perception is that bikers are gang members and risk takers. Unfortunately, judges and juries often subscribe to these biases and injured bikers can get a raw deal in court. Insurance adjusters—even if they know better—will also take advantage of these stereotypes to low-ball settlement offers, despite the fact that the biker is often an innocent victim of a careless driver.
- Lack of understanding of motorcycle basics. Even when a judge or jury is sympathetic to an injured biker, they may lack a basic understanding of how motorcycles work and naturally relate more strongly to the driver of a car. Without having ridden a motorcycle, it is hard for people to understand how difficult it is to be seen by cars, how increasing speed may be a safety maneuver, and how a biker may choose to “lay down” his motorcycle to avoid a collision. They may instead interpret these actions as evidence of fault in a car vs. motorcycle crash.
When an injured motorcyclist—or his family on his behalf—is faced with these challenges following a crash, he is up against tremendous odds. That is why it is important to never face these challenges alone.
How an Indiana Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help
When you seek the help of an experienced Indiana motorcycle accident attorney, you will avoid many of these challenges. The motorcycle accident attorneys at Keller & Keller will thoroughly assess the extent of your injuries, will investigate the accident to gather clear evidence of the driver’s fault, and will directly address the potential biases of police officers, insurance adjusters, jury members, or judges involved with your case. Our attorneys know what to expect because they have handled many of these cases. If you are a motorcyclist who was injured in a crash with a car or truck, call one of our Indiana offices today. We are dedicated to the rights of bikers and would be happy to discuss your case.