According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there are over 8.5 million motorbikes on U.S. roadways. This number has nearly doubled since 2002 when owning a motorcycle was significantly more expensive. Included are a wide variety of bike makes and models from popular brands like Harley Davidson, Kawasaki, and Honda.
Riding a motorcycle on the open roads of Massachusetts and New Hampshire is exciting and exhilarating, but unfortunately, it’s also risky. When motorcycle riders are hurt or killed in auto accidents, it’s common to place blame on the rider for the crash.
Motorcycle owners face a lot of negative stereotypes about safety and driving behavior. Here’s how these misconceptions can affect motorcyclists in the aftermath of a collision and what you can do to get legal help after a crash.
What Is Motorcycle Bias?
While not an official term, the word “motorcycle bias” is used to describe the misconceptions that people often have against motorcycle owners. These negative assumptions are often not only inaccurate, but they may also make it tougher for motorcyclists to obtain financial compensation following a collision.
Bias against motorcycles can be seen in a variety of ways. Even if the evidence suggests otherwise, some individuals believe that motorcyclists are to blame for an accident. These ideas might be based on things they’ve heard about motorcycle users or judgments they’ve formed based on witnessing only a few irresponsible motorcycle riders.
It’s possible the idea that riders are to blame for collisions stems from a simple dislike of sharing the road with motorcyclists. Or, they may believe that the majority of motorcyclists are gang members or have some kind of criminal record. Often, these beliefs are based on opinion, which are unfortunately applied to all motorcycle owners.
3 Types of Bias
Prejudice against motorcyclists come in a few different forms. It’s important to understand these before your trial so you and your legal team can be well prepared to counter bias from any source.
There are primarily three different types of motorcycle bias:
Experienced motorcycle accident lawyers will begin examining jury pool candidates for motorcycle bias during voir dire, or the jury selection process. If biased jury members are allowed into the courtroom, they are more likely to rule in favor of the defendant.
In many cases, jurors are predisposed to favor a defendant’s allegation that a motorcycle rider ran a red light or was speeding due to their own misconceptions about motorcycle safety. Motorcycle crash attorneys often utilize conscientious questioning and expert testimony to expose or diffuse juror bias.
Even trusted professionals like judges or police officers aren’t as fair and objective as they ought to be in their position. They might have a prejudice towards motorcycle riders that impacts their decisions when working on the case.
When bias influences officials involved in the judicial process, this creates an uphill battle for the plaintiff in an injury case. A seasoned motorcycle accident attorney understands how to identify and overcome this bias in a way that positions their client in the best possible light.
Witnesses who have a prejudice against motorcyclists may be more inclined to exaggerate a cyclist’s speed or dangerous driving behavior. Even when a lack of evidence demonstrates that the cyclist was acting inappropriately, witnesses with this type of bias are more likely to overstate the reckless behavior of a motorcycle rider.
Effective legal counsel in motorcycle accident cases necessitates an understanding of such discrimination in order to use cross-examination to uncover these biases for the benefit of a judge and jury.
An accident claim may involve one or more bias; unfortunately, it’s not at all uncommon for motorcycle riders to face prejudice from multiple sources.
How to Overcome Bias in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
After a car accident, you should seriously consider obtaining competent legal assistance. Without the guidance of a qualified injury attorney, obtaining the full and fair compensation you deserve after a motorcycle crash can be extremely challenging, especially when factoring in bias.
To challenge negative stereotypes, you’ll need a solid argument. You and your attorney have the burden of proof in a motorcycle accident claim, making it essential that you bring forward compelling evidence. Facts and data can make it more difficult to dispute the blame for an accident or the seriousness of a motorbike rider’s injuries.
While a motorcycle rider’s prior driving experiences should not have an impact on whether or not an injury claim or lawsuit is successful, an excellent driving record can help dispel accusations of risky riding. Your accident lawyer should also look into the at-fault driver’s history to see if there is a tendency to engage in dangerous driving behavior.
Who To Call After Being Hurt in a Motorcycle Accident
When attempting to lessen the effect of motorcycle prejudice, it’s imperative to consult with a legal team who routinely handle motorcycle accident cases. You need a lawyer who understands the urgency of having a convincing case backed by the strongest possible evidence.
You should work with a motorcycle accident attorney who has had specific experience aggressively pursuing maximum compensation for motorcycle accident victims under Massachusetts and New Hampshire law. Despite the fact that many injury attorneys have handled car accident cases, successful representation in motorcycle-specific matters requires a robust knowledge of “motorcycle prejudice.”
At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we can provide you with compassionate, comprehensive legal representation when you need it most after a devastating motorcycle collision. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you recover maximum damages after a crash by calling (978) 744-8000 or toll free at (855) 693-9084.