Motorcycle accident attorneys know that motorcycle accident cases are a “different breed of cat” when it comes to vehicle accident cases. A large majority of reported motorcycle accidents involve serious injury or death, so the damages are significant. And although the accident may not have been the motorcyclist’s fault, the public’s perception of cyclists can make it tough to win the case.
Jurors often have preconceived notions about motorcyclists. They have all seen a cycle operator sometime somewhere operating his bike in an irresponsible manner. They may feel that all cyclists are reckless thrill-seekers. The irony is that most motorcycle accidents are not the fault of the motorcycle. Numerous studies have shown that the overwhelming majority of car-motorcycle accidents occur because the driver of the car violated the cyclist’s right-of-way. The car fails to see the motorcycle and pulls out in front of the bike, or makes a left turn into the bike. Failing to see the motorcycle is negligence. The car can’t use “looking but not seeing” as an excuse.
There is really no typical motorcycle rider. They are young, old, rich, not so rich. Some ride for pleasure, others for economic reasons. The interesting fact is that studies that compare the personality characteristics of motorcyclists to other drivers find no significant differences between the two groups.
One of the things a motorcycle accident attorney can do to level the playing field is educate jurors and potential jurors. Motorcylists are just folks who like to ride and who have as much right to be on the road as car, SUV or truck operators.
Edward E. Houseman, Esq.