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Could anti-motorcyclist bias affect your liability case?

When a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle collide, who is to blame? It might surprise you to find out that at least one study, done over a 10-year period, found that 60 percent of motorcycle-vehicle crashes were caused by the vehicle. Drivers in four-wheeled vehicles often fail to yield the right-of-way to cyclists or get distracted by cellphones, GPS systems, or even their radios.

So, why is it the motorcyclist that often catches the blame?

Popular culture depicts motorcyclists as rebels and they're often shown in movies and television as wildly weaving around traffic, endangering themselves and others as they flout the rules of the road. Plus, there's often a sentiment among non-motorcyclists that motorcycle riders are just reckless anyhow—that anyone with sense would stick to a vehicle with walls and a roof to protect themselves against the road.

Could this affect your ability to receive fair compensation for your injuries if you're a motorcyclist injured in an accident with a regular car? Absolutely. That's why an attorney who is familiar with motorcycle accidents will be on the watch for potential anti-motorcyclist bias from start to finish,

There are a number of indicators that anti-motorcycle bias is in play:

—The officer at the scene of the accident cites the motorcyclist and uses terms like "reckless" in his or her report, even though there's no clear evidence and no witnesses (except for the driver of the car) to support that determination or wording.

—News reports insinuate that the motorcyclist was at fault for the accident without any basis for the implication.

—Witnesses give statements that indicate they are misinterpreting the motorcyclist's actions as he or she tried to minimize foreseeable damage by laying down the bike or trying to maneuver out of the accident.

—Witnesses who heard the motorcycle's engine rev and wrongly equated that with acceleration.

—Insurance adjusters who have the attitude that a motorcyclist's injuries are partially his or her own fault, simply because they see motorcycles as inherently more dangerous than cars or trucks.

—Potential jurors that associate motorcyclists with criminals and gangs.

Motorcycle accident attorneys work hard to overcome the biases that tend to be present in these types of claims. If you've been seriously injured due to an accident with another car and suspect that the insurance company is treating you unfairly due to bias, talk to your attorney about the problem today.

Source: FindLaw, "Motorcycle Accidents: Overview," accessed Dec. 16, 2016

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