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Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney / Blog / Personal Injury / The Inherent Stereotypes And Bias In Motorcycle Accident Cases

The Inherent Stereotypes And Bias In Motorcycle Accident Cases


In any personal injury case, in the eyes of the jury, both the Plaintiff (the victim) and the Defendant go into court in an even playing field; the jury is not supposed to go into a case with any inherent bias for or against either party in the case.

But there is one kind of case where that may not exactly apply the way that it should: motorcycle accidents. That’s because there is often a hidden inherent bias against motorcycle riders in personal injury cases.

Careless Riders?

The bias is not against the rider him or herself, but rather, comes from the stereotype that many people have, that motorcycle riders drive carelessly, or that they ignore the rules of the road, or that they don’t pay proper attention to their own, or others’ safety.

The public often sees motorcycle riding as being “inherently dangerous,” and thus, may feel like a rider in an accident was “asking to be injured” simply by the fact that he or she was on a motorcycle.

This is a hurdle that doesn’t exist in accident cases normally; the necessity to convince a jury that the motorcycle rider was following all the traffic and safety laws is something unique to motorcycle accident cases.

Damage to Cars and Motorcycles

But that’s not the only assumption or misconception that must be overcome in a motorcycle accident case.

There is also the assumption that slower speed accidents can’t possibly produce significant injuries. A jury may see a car that is barely damaged, and assume the rider(s) of the motorcycle that the car hit couldn’t have been injured all that badly. And while this assumption is untrue even when cars are in accidents, it is particularly untrue in motorcycle accidents, given the difference in size and weight between a car and a motorcycle.

In fact, motorcycle accidents make up about 14% of all traffic fatalities, according to some studies; that doesn’t mean the motorcyclist was at fault in any of them, it just shows how dangerous motorcycle accidents can be.

Additionally, motorcycle riders have another danger that car occupants don’t have: the impact when the rider’s body hits the ground below. And because the rider’s body won’t make a mark on the hard pavement, it can be hard for a jury to “see” the actual impact of the accident.

Questions in Trial

Motorcyclists will also have to answer questions that car riders may not have to answer—such as being questioned whether he or she was wearing a helmet, or bright enough clothing. There are simply more avenues for a Defendant to blame a victim in a motorcycle accident, than there are in traditional car accidents.

And you don’t have to be breaking a written law either—a jury can still find a motorcycle rider partly responsible for his or her injuries, for not taking safety precautions, even if those precautions are or were not legally mandated.

Contact our Rhode Island personal injury lawyers at Robert E. Craven & Associates at 401-453-2700 today if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident.




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