All motor vehicle accidents are not the same. And nowhere is this more true than when it comes to those accidents involving motorcycles. Further, the nuances of motorcycle accidents often have a direct impact on the kind of case that may evolve, how it is litigated, and the verdict and results ultimately obtained.
Part of the reason for these differences stem from public perceptions (and often misconceptions) about motorcycles and the people who ride them. Because of their portrayal in pop culture, motorcycles are often associated with speed and at times, even reckless driving. In addition, in an effort to justify their own actions, defendants will often claim that they “did not see” a motorcycle. Thus, should a case go to litigation, pre conceived notions of motorcycles and the ready excuses their smaller size may elicit, can create significant jury selection implications
Second, motorcycle accidents tend to cause injuries that are more likely to be of the “life-altering” variety. The complexity of such cases is further exacerbated by whether or not the cyclist was or was not wearing appropriate headgear. And more subtle injuries can often go undetected.
Third, because motorcycle insurance is harder to obtain, the complexities of a specific plan can be more difficult to decipher and have serious consequences for how financial damages are calculated or awarded.
Finally, the “data” left behind in motorcycle accidents tends to be quite subtle. This is because there are usually fewer points of impact than in the typical automobile collision and hence, less physical evidence.
So what is the individual involved in a motorcycle accident supposed to do? Most important is to work with an attorney who truly understands motorcycles and motorcycle accidents. This requires an understanding of the passion of the motorcyclist. It also means having a grasp as to how potential jurors will view both the individual as well as the activity of motorcycle driving/riding.
In addition, the injury attorney should be readily familiar with the kinds of injuries that can occur as a result of a motorcycle accident. He or she should be observant for signs of changes in memory function, balance, coordination and fine motor skills. The presence of a concussion is always a possibility and it is important that ligament injuries do not get overlooked. An evaluation by the right orthopedic specialist is absolutely essential.
Ultimately, the motorcyclist may be best served by the attorney who not only knows the law, but who can also advocate enthusiastically on his behalf.