Insurance exists to protect motorcyclists by helping them pay for their bills if they are injured in a crash. Insurance is especially important for motorcyclists because they have much less protection than passengers in other types of vehicles do. Injuries in motorcycle accidents are often serious, and without insurance, the medical bills can be too much for anyone to manage without help.

Unfortunately, many motorcyclists find out after their crashes that their insurance company isn’t interested in helping them like they are supposed to. And too often, this is because insurance companies are biased against motorcyclists and believe they are at fault for their own injuries.

Motorcyclists Have an Unfairly Earned Reputation

It’s probably not a surprise to anyone who has ever ridden a motorcycle to know that many drivers don’t like to share the road with motorcycles. They think that motorcycle riders are lawbreakers who ride recklessly and too fast. It doesn’t help that motorcycle riders are frequently portrayed this way in movies and on TV.

In media, people who ride motorcycles are usually criminals, even when this doesn’t reflect real life at all. In fact, the Motorcycle Industry Council’s 2018 demographic survey shows that many motorcycle riders are college-educated workers with families.

Because of this bias, when motorcyclists crash, it is frequently assumed it happened because the riders were doing something dangerous. But this simply isn’t true. Studies have shown that two-thirds of all motorcycle accidents involving another vehicle were the fault of the other driver, usually because drivers refuse to yield the right of way to bikers or because they weren’t paying attention to the road.

But even when drivers hit motorcyclists, they will try to blame the motorcyclist by claiming they were doing something that caused the driver to hit them, such as speeding or recklessly weaving through traffic. And unfortunately, police officers, insurance adjusters, and juries may be more likely to believe the driver’s side of the story.

Insurance Companies Deny Claims to Save Money

Another reason insurance companies frequently deny injury claims from motorcyclists has nothing to do with bias, however. It’s because motorcycle crashes result in serious injuries and even death. And insurance companies do not want to pay enormous medical bills, so they will try to get out of it any way they can, even by falsely claiming motorcycle riders were at fault for their own injuries.

How to Overcome Motorcycle Bias to Get the Money You Deserve

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to change people’s perceptions of motorcycle riders, but you can present a solid case with plenty of evidence proving you were not at fault that the other side can’t poke holes in.

  • Ride safely – While your past riding history shouldn’t have anything to do with who was at fault for your crash, sadly the other side’s legal team may drag up prior tickets to try to paint you as a reckless rider. Completing a motorcycle safety course before any accident can help shore up your reputation as a safe, responsible, and experienced rider.
  • Dress appropriately when you ride – As cool as all black may look, the other side may try to assign you partial fault for not taking precautions to make yourself more visible to drivers. Instead, wear brightly colored clothes and add reflective tape to your bike. It’s also important to always wear safety gear because the other driver’s legal team may argue you were only injured because of your lack of helmet or other gear rather than because of the actions of their client.
  • Wear a helmet cam – Dashcams are becoming increasingly popular to help prove fault in car crashes, and they can be used in motorcycle crashes as well. Helmet cameras can offer solid video evidence of how a crash occurred so you don’t need to worry about the “he-said, she-said” and who the jury will believe.
  • Contact a lawyer right away – Evidence can disappear quickly as crash scenes are cleaned to make way for traffic again, so it’s important to establish your case early.
  • Follow through on medical treatment – One of the biggest mistakes people make after crashes is not following their doctors’ orders. Failing to take prescribed medication or skipping assigned physical therapy or follow-up medical appointments will often lead the other lawyer to claim your injuries aren’t serious and not deserving of compensation.

Most importantly…

  • Don’t accept any degree of fault without speaking to a lawyer. South Carolina has a comparative negligence law, meaning motorcycle riders can only get compensation if they are considered less than 51% at fault for the crash, and the higher their assigned degree of fault, the less compensation they are entitled to.

Contact Joye Law Firm After a Motorcycle Crash

Motorcycle riders will always be fighting an uphill battle to get the compensation they are legally entitled to after crashes caused by other people. But we want to help. Contact our firm today to speak to a South Carolina motorcycle accident attorney for free and learn what your next steps forward should be.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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