Motorcyclists are typically thought of as free spirits who enjoy the freedom
and thrill riding a motorcycle has to offer. Unfortunately, this image
is also associated with recklessness and a disregard for the rules of
the road. So when it comes to accidents involving riders, they may have
a difficult time obtaining the financial compensation necessary to make
the best recovery possible from injury.
The two main challenges
motorcycle accident victims include:
- Due to the limited protection afforded by motorcycles in the event of a
crash, motorcycle accident injuries are often severe in nature, making
the amount that victims need to recover much larger compared to car accident claims.
- The public generally views motorcyclists as natural risk-takers. In the
event of a jury trial, the jury may be biased against motorcyclists, initially
assuming that the rider is to blame. Bias can also be found in police
officer, insurance adjusters, healthcare providers, and the media as well.
These biases arise from a small number of encounters with motorcyclists
who ride irresponsibly. The truth is that motorcyclists are just like
other drivers. They operate with a standard duty of care for the safety
of themselves and others who share the road. However, one bad apple spoils
the bunch. This reckless rider is the one who forms the opinion of all
Overcoming Bias in Your Injury Case
There are three common biases which work against motorcyclist: they are
(1) hard to see, (2) driven too fast, and (3) driven by reckless young
people or biker gangs. Overcoming jury and witness bias requires identifying
the negative factors in each specific case, separating them, and rebutting
each one with evidence and favorable arguments.
The following are the common biases and what it takes to overcome each one:
Motorcycles are “hard to see” – This bias originates from the fact that motorcycles are typically
small compared to other motor vehicles and may seem to “come out
of nowhere.” Overcoming this particular bias often requires photographs
and diagrams of the scene, including careful measurement of the relevant
distances and lines of sight. Video evidence may show how easily the defendant
could have seen the motorcycle if he or she had been paying attention
to the surrounding area. Furthermore, witnesses statements claiming the
motorcycle was in the right and visible may benefit the plaintiff’s case.
Motorcycles are “driven too fast” – This bias arises from the fact that motorcycles are often loud.
Witnesses who are called upon to testify about speed may mistakenly assume
that there is a direct link between the sound and how fast the rider was
going at the time of the accident. However, evidence such as skid marks,
damage of each vehicle involved, and testimony about the timing of related
events may be helpful in overcoming this specific bias.
Motorcycles are driven by “bad and irresponsible people” – This bias is considered the easiest to overcome. Testimony from
friends, co-workers, family, people at the scene, and treating doctors
are the best sources of evidence to humanize a plaintiff and separate
him or her from unfair, negative stereotypes.
Biases against motorcyclists can affect a victim’s ability to receive
a fair compensation following a collision. Fortunately, thorough investigation
and meticulous case preparation by an experienced
personal injury attorney who knows what to look for in motorcycle accident cases give
the motorcyclist a great chance of overcoming bias among jurors and witnesses.
You need to retain legal representation from a lawyer who will fight aggressively
for you and advocate on your behalf to get the settlement you deserve.
If you have suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent
party in New York,
request a free consultation with our New York City personal injury lawyer at
Lurie, Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan LLP today.