If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident, you may assume your case is similar to a one involving two passenger vehicles. While the laws that apply to motorcycle accidents are the same as those in car crash cases, these accidents can be different in many ways. Failing to understand these differences and to not hire an attorney who also recognizes them could result in you receiving less compensation that you deserve from the negligent driver who caused your injuries.
How Do Motorcycle Crashes Differ From Car Accidents?
Motorcycles are much smaller and lighter than passenger vehicles, and riders lack the protection of a vehicle surrounding them. As a result, they are much more likely to be killed in a crash. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the number of deaths in motorcycle accidents was 23 times greater than in car accidents in 2013, and 4,295 motorcyclists died in 2014—13 percent of all crashes that year. Some of the unique risks motorcycle riders face include:
- Less visibility. Because motorcycles are smaller than passenger vehicles, they are not easily seen by other drivers and can be hidden by other larger objects. Visibility is especially reduced at intersections.
- Road hazards. While debris on the road, uneven roadways, small objects, and wet pavement can have little effect on cars, these conditions can cause an unsuspecting motorcyclist to crash.
- Less protection. Besides lacking the protection of a car surrounding them, motorcycle riders do not have seat belts and most lack airbags. Wearing a good motorcycle helmet and protective clothing can help, but motorcyclists remain much less protected than other motorists, causing them to suffer serious injuries or death in a crash. If riders violate Georgia’s law on wearing a helmet, they can suffer even more catastrophic injuries.
- Driver skills. Driving a motorcycle requires more skill than driving a car. Inexperienced riders are much more likely to be involved in an accident.
- High-risk driving. When motorcycle riders have sport and super-sport bikes, they are more tempted to speed, accelerate too quickly, and engage in other unsafe driving practices due to the power of their motorcycles.
- Right-of-way violations. Motorists often cause accidents by failing to give the right-of-way to the motorcyclist.
- Shorter stopping distances. Motorcycles stop more quickly than passenger vehicles. When a motorist is not maintaining a safe distance behind a motorcycle, he can easily rear-end the bike when the motorcyclist stops.
- Perceptions of riders. Many people—and jurors—perceive motorcycle riders as risky or daredevils. This may cause them to incorrectly believe the motorcyclist engaged in unsafe driving practices such as speeding or weaving between lanes. In addition, jurors who do not ride motorcycles may not understand the unique aspects of driving a motorcycle, such as speeding to maintain the bike’s balance.
- More severe injuries and fatalities. Because of the lack of protection a motorcycle offers the rider, he is much more likely to suffer serious injuries—such as fractures, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, or death—than people involved in car accidents. He could require additional compensation for his medical bills and time off work—if he is not permanently disabled—than a victim of a car crash.
- Insurance companies. Insurance companies are more likely to aggressively fight a claim for compensation by a motorcycle rider because his claim could be for more money than other types of accidents. In addition, adjusters understand the bias of jurors against motorcyclists that could make it harder for them to receive a fair verdict and will fight to pay less as a consequence.
Let Brauns Law Assist You With Your Motorcycle Wreck CaseThe Brauns Law team represents victims of all types of accident cases in the Atlanta area. In addition, attorney David Brauns used to represent insurance companies in these cases. He understands the tactics insurance companies employ to deny or reduce valid claims and uses this knowledge to help defeat their arguments. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver, call us at 404-998-5252 to schedule a free consultation with David Brauns.