Massachusetts Legal Blog
Protecting Against Motorcycle Bias
When you get on the road, you shoulder the responsibility to protect yourself, your passengers, and other drivers – but you also deserve the same degree of respect, whether you are driving a minivan or riding a Harley. Despite this, motorcyclists face a large amount of bias on the road and during insurance claims. For many, this means limited to no compensation after an accident. However, with the right attorney and due diligence, you can fight against motorcycle bias and maximize your compensation.
Types of Motorcycle Bias
After an accident, your personal injury claim will come under intense scrutiny by the at-fault insurance provider. Thus, the bias you face will come from an insurance adjuster who already wants to minimize the amount of money they pay for your injuries and losses. When a victim rides a motorcycle, the insurance adjuster will play on age-old biases to further decrease your settlement offers.
One of the main ways they do this is by shifting blame to motorcyclists by claiming:
- You were driving recklessly
- You weren’t wearing protective clothing or the wrong type of clothing
- You were hard to see
- You didn’t perform enough maintenance on your motorcycle
While this list seems short, it can affect every aspect of your case. The insurance adjuster may point to your medical records and claim that your road rash was the fault of your clothing (rather than being struck by a car) or that a head injury was because you weren’t wearing the right helmet. They may also look at your driving record and use a single speeding ticket as a basis for reckless riding behavior. This can be rather effective in the state of Massachusetts, where cases are judged based on comparative negligence.
Massachusetts Comparative Negligence
Comparative negligence means that both parties in an accident can be partially at fault for the collision. As a result, your attorney will not only need to demonstrate that the other driver was at fault, but that you were not at fault. For motorcyclists, this makes it difficult to receive full compensation because you can lose a percentage based on the amount of fault attributed to you. If the court determines that you are more than 50% at fault, you will not be able to recover damages. This is where combating bias is the most important and requires a detailed case.
Building a Case
To minimize your fault – and maximize your compensation – your attorney will need to thoroughly investigate your case and use several pieces of evidence to defend your right to damages. This can include:
Expert testimony: Your attorney may contact an accident reconstructionist who will utilize photos, videos, maintenance logs, and accident reports to recreate the events that led up to the accident. They may be able to demonstrate that you were driving as safely as possible when the collision occurred, and that the other driver could have stopped the accident if they had been driving more carefully.
Witness statements: Other drivers or pedestrians may have had a better view of the accident and can argue that you were driving safely. Their statements may back up the expert’s arguments.
Driving records: If you have a history of safe driving and a clean record, it will be more difficult for an insurance adjuster to establish reckless behavior. In contrast, if your lawyer can show that the other driver had a history of substance abuse or traffic violations, then the majority of fault can be pushed on them.
Medical records: Your initial medical report will be invaluable in establishing your conditions after an accident but follow up appointments are just as important. Your attorney will need to demonstrate the extent of your injuries and ensure that all your medical bills are accounted for. He or she may also suggest getting a second opinion from a specialist to rule out any bias in the initial report and check for any other injuries.
Advocating for Injured Motorcyclists
After an accident, you need unbiased legal guidance to ensure you receive the compensation you are owed from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. At the DiBella Law Offices, P.C., we believe that you deserve compensation no matter what vehicle you choose to drive – or ride. Our Burlington motorcycle accident attorneys can collect evidence and witness statements, review accident reports, work with medical experts to fully understand the extent of your injuries, and skillfully negotiate for the maximum available compensation on your behalf. Call us at (781) 262-3338 to protect yourself from motorcycle bias in a personal injury claim.
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