What Unique Challenges Do Motorcyclists Face in Court?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Justin A. Smith with Sloan Firm.
Motorcycle accidents and car accidents share many similarities; however, in addition to the relative severity of the injuries involved, a key difference between the two is the challenges a motorcyclist will face in court when compared to the driver of a car.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for motorcyclists to face inherent bias from jury members after an accident. Even in cases of comparative negligence where both the vehicle driver and motorcyclist are considered partially at fault, a motorcyclist may receive a reduced percentage of the compensation due to jury bias. If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to talk to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney about what to expect in the litigation process.
Motorcyclist damages tend to be serious.
One of the challenges motorcyclists face after an accident is the severity of the damages involved in their case. In many instances, the injuries suffered by a motorcyclist are far more serious and possibly even fatal due to the relative lack of protection between a car and a motorcycle. This means that a motorcyclist’s medical bills may be higher than those of the passenger vehicle occupants, as well as the time taken needed off work to make a full recovery. After a motorcycle accident, it is important to seek medical care right away, follow the advice of the prescribing medical professional, and then talk to an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer about what current and future damages to expect which may be sought in a motorcycle accident claim.
Juries have a tendency to be biased toward motorcyclists.
A jury is a group of 12 randomly selected people responsible for evaluating evidence to decide whether an accused party is liable for the damages in their accident or not. In cases of comparative negligence where both parties are considered partially at fault, the jury assigns a percentage to each party equal to how at-fault they believe the respective parties were for what happened. The challenge in motorcycle accident cases is that the jury often contains individuals with a bad taste in their mouth about motorcyclists.
There is an unfair impression of motorcyclists painting them as reckless drivers who put the thrill of the ride above anyone else’s safety; while this impression is far from the truth for many of the motorcyclists injured in accidents, the jury is likely to contain individuals who subscribe to this belief, even unknowingly. Motorcyclists may face additional opposition from the jury if they were not wearing protective gear at the time of the accident, especially in regard to a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet. If motorcyclists are concerned about liability in the event of an accident, wearing a DOT approved helmet is a great way to mitigate some of that risk, as well as provide important protection to the rider’s face and head during an accident.
It is especially important for motorcyclists to find an experienced attorney to handle their case.
When the injuries in a run-of-the-mill car accident are minor, some drivers feel comfortable handling the case on their own; in certain situations, there may be little need for an attorney to get involved. However, after any motorcycle accident involving serious injuries, it’s important to consult with an experienced lawyer.
The challenges motorcyclists face in court are no small thing, and it can be hard for an injured motorcyclist to make a fair recovery without the help of an attorney who knows how to both identify the rider’s unique damages and fight back against jury bias. The good news is that most of these attorneys offer free consultations to motorcyclists and work on a contingency fee basis; this means that a client will not have to pay for their legal services unless they win their case, at which point the lawyer’s fees would be paid out of the resulting settlement or verdict.
To learn more about the challenges a motorcyclist faces in court, or for legal help after an accident, reach out to a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible.