There are about 89,000 motorcycle accidents in the United States every year, and there’s over 6 million car accidents during that same time period across the country. We’re often asked, are a motorcycle accident and a car accident treated the same when there’s injury claims involved? Now, on the surface they both appear very similar in nature, and they are handled somewhat similarly, but they are quite different themselves. For example, the insurance and the implications of the insurance coverages is vastly different if it’s a motorcycle injury or death case versus a car accident injury or death case. Also, the amount of the damages that are involved to the vehicles and what people perceive to be the injuries because of those damages are quite different in a motorcycle crash than in a car crash. Of course, the injuries are often way more significant for a person who’s injured on a motorcycle while involved in a car crash. Lastly, the perceptions that we have to deal with are widely different in a motorcycle case versus a car case. For example, insurance adjusters and juries have certain preconceived notions about motorcycles and motorcycle riders. Some believe that if you’re riding a motorcycle, you’re just a reckless person, asking to be hurt, and that whatever came to you, you deserve. That’s not accurate and that’s not true. We know that about motorcycle riders, but some jurors take that to be their belief, and because of that, some insurance companies take that into consideration when trying to nickel and dime injured motorcyclists, in particular, on their claims.
Of course, the size and severity of the impact can be tremendously different. Even a little tap, as it’s sometimes referred to, that happens in a car case compared to a little tap to a motorcycle can be very, very devastating, even deadly. Also, a particular hot issue that we deal with when we have cases involving motorcycles is helmet use, and the perception of juries on whether our client who was injured or killed on a motorcycle was wearing a helmet. Now, oftentimes, whether the rider was or was not wearing a helmet makes little or no difference in the eventual outcome of the injuries that the person suffered. There is a perception out there that people who don’t wear helmets are being reckless and perhaps deserve what they got in this motorcycle accident. Now, we don’t believe that at all, but we are aware of these differences in these circumstances, as well as these preconceived notions that juries and insurance adjusters have related to motorcycle injury and death cases.
Long story short, there is a difference between a motorcycle injury or death case and a car injury or death case. While there’s some similarities, you cannot apply the same principles and handling techniques to a motorcycle crash as you can to a car crash. Any lawyers who are doing this type of work need to know and fully understand those differences in order to protect their clients, particularly those on the motorcycle, who are the most vulnerable victims in these crashes.