How Stereotypes Against Motorcyclists Can Affect Claims

How Stereotypes Against Motorcyclists Can Affect Claims
Calendar icon December 11, 2023
How Stereotypes Against Motorcyclists Can Affect Claims

Summary:

  • Stereotypes against motorcyclists are perpetuated in the media, with real-life consequences for injured motorcyclists.
  • Confirmation bias reinforces negative stereotypes as people tend to remember instances that confirm pre-existing beliefs about motorcyclists.
  • Due to their reputation as reckless operators, motorcyclists are often assumed to be at fault, which can impact their compensation.
  • Eyewitnesses who perceive motorcyclists as dangerous can provide inaccurate testimony that hampers the rider’s pursuit of fair compensation.
  • Law enforcement bias against motorcyclists may affect police reports, which are often central to determining liability in personal injury lawsuits.
  • Insurance adjusters may favor drivers and misinterpret motorcyclist actions.

New York motorcycle accidents are more likely to be caused by drivers. Yet, riders are rarely given the benefit of the doubt in a personal injury lawsuit due to the persistent stereotypes against motorcyclists. Too often, this means that an injured motorcyclist receives a lower settlement than they deserve for their New York motorcycle accident claim.

The savvy personal injury lawyers of Cellino Law have had great success negotiating motorcycle accident claims for injured New Yorkers, and we are prepared to do the same for you. Call us at (888) 888-8888 or complete our online contact form to set up a free consultation with one of our skilled motorcycle accident attorneys.

Understanding the Existing Stereotypes Against Motorcyclists

For decades, the media has portrayed motorcyclists as thrillseekers with no regard for the law or the safety of others. There is often an insinuation or explicit depiction of motorcyclists engaging in criminal activity. The image of motorcyclists as reckless and aggressive operators has become deeply entrenched in the minds of drivers across the U.S., including New Yorkers. 

Confirmation bias plays a role in these enduring stereotypes against motorcyclists. As drivers encounter motorcyclists on the road, they may be more likely to remember instances where a motorcyclist was speeding, cut another car off, or didn’t wear safety gear instead of cases where a motorcyclist was behaving responsibly, solidifying their beliefs about the reckless nature of motorcyclists.

Additionally, drivers may cite motorcycle accident statistics to support the argument that riders are dangerous operators. In reality, motorcyclists are overrepresented in fatal traffic accidents because they are far less protected from injury as compared to other motorists.

Presuming a Motorcyclist Was Behaving Negligently Can Unfairly Assign Them Liability

Unfortunately, the prevailing negative attitude towards motorcyclists can translate into insurance companies and courts automatically assuming the motorcyclist caused the collision. Fact finders may not even consider other potential sources of negligence, such as a company that manufactured defective motorcycle parts, depriving a plaintiff of a pathway to compensation. 

In a worst-case scenario, an injured motorcyclist could have their personal injury claim denied altogether, even if another driver was at fault for the crash. Even if the insurance company acknowledges the other driver’s recklessness, it may still assume that the motorcyclist also engaged in careless behavior. 

In New York, comparative negligence laws can work against an injured motorcyclist if an insurance company or court decides they share liability with the defendant. A plaintiff’s settlement can be diminished if they are partially responsible for their injuries. Receiving less than full compensation can be disastrous for a rider because motorcycle accident injuries tend to be severe and expensive to treat. 

Eyewitness Testimony May Be Influenced by Stereotypes Against Motorcyclists

In addition to medical records, accounts from eyewitnesses are often used as crucial evidence in motorcycle accident claims despite concerns over their reliability. Eyewitnesses to motorcycle accidents can be prone to bias, and their statements can effectively reshape the narrative of how the motorcycle crash unfolded. This is often detrimental to a motorcyclist’s case.

Eyewitnesses may use inflammatory or exaggerated language when describing the actions of the motorcycle rider or attempt to justify the driver’s decisions. This can cast doubt on the validity of a motorcyclist’s personal injury claim. Eyewitness testimony is not the only source of evidence in a motorcycle accident claim, but it is often compelling.

Law Enforcement Bias Against Motorcyclists Can Create Unreliable Records

Police officers are not immune from absorbing stereotypes against motorcyclists, especially given the fact that they are often present at the scenes of gruesome fatal motorcycle accidents. This bias can make it into police reports, creating a considerable obstacle for an injured motorcyclist. 

Law enforcement’s accident reports are generally considered highly credible because they are professional investigators and neutral third parties to the crash. It can be difficult for an injured motorcyclist to overcome any accusations of negligence stipulated in a police report because they carry a lot of weight.

Insurance Adjusters Are More Likely to Identify With Drivers

There are over 750,000 registered motorcyclists in New York, compared to nearly 12 million licensed drivers. Most parties with decision-making power in a motorcycle accident claim are much more likely to be drivers, which can influence their view of motorcyclists. From a driver’s perspective, certain motorcycle maneuvers may appear reckless if you are unfamiliar with how a motorcycle operates. 

Although you would hope an insurance agent would be able to remain relatively impartial, their experience still informs the decisions they make. For example, they may assume that a motorcyclist who was speeding up to make a turn was careless because that would be a reckless thing to do as a driver, but it is actually necessary to execute a safe turn on a motorcycle.

New York Motorcyclists Trust Cellino Law to Represent Their Claims

With New York motorcycle accident claims, you can’t afford to negotiate without a lawyer or hire an inexperienced or unreliable personal injury attorney. The seasoned motorcycle accident lawyers of Cellino Law have represented injured New Yorkers for over 65 years with undeniable results. Our team has the resources and expertise to maximize compensation in challenging claims.

Contact Cellino Law About Your New York Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit

As the injured party in a motorcycle accident claim, you are already operating from a disadvantage because you carry the burden of proof. Additionally, you will likely have to contend with unfair assumptions that you were acting negligently. Meanwhile, you may be drowning in medical debt, struggling to recover from motorcycle accident injuries, and trying to offset lost wages.

Our team understands how stereotypes against motorcyclists can derail a legitimate pursuit of fair compensation in a personal injury claim. At Cellino Law, we will not hesitate to advocate for your rights and dispute unfounded accusations about your role in the collision in order to maximize your compensation. Call (888) 888-8888 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do to protect my claim from being damaged by stereotypes against motorcyclists?

Let your personal injury attorney take the lead in communications with the insurance company and avoid giving a formal or detailed statement without their assistance. To bolster your claim’s credibility, make sure that you prioritize seeking medical attention and document your damages as thoroughly as possible. 

You can’t prevent insurance companies, judges, juries, witnesses, and other parties from believing negative stereotypes against motorcyclists. That said, you can avoid giving them an excuse to doubt the severity of your injuries or the relevance and value of your damages.

Can I recover compensation for my injuries even if I wasn’t wearing a motorcycle helmet?

Riders should be aware that New York has a universal motorcycle helmet law, so failing to wear a motorcycle helmet while operating or riding on a bike is not only reckless, it is illegal. However, it does not necessarily preclude you from recovering compensation if you were injured by a negligent driver. 

It does mean that you will likely be considered partially liable under comparative negligence. Let’s say that you contributed 25% of the negligence that led to your injuries by not wearing a motorcycle helmet. As the plaintiff, you would be eligible to receive 75% of the settlement negotiated by your motorcycle accident attorney.

Can I recover compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit if my loved one died in a motorcycle accident?

Provided that another driver’s negligence caused your loved one’s death, you may be eligible to seek compensation for damages like funeral and burial expenses in a wrongful death claim. Unfortunately, stereotypes against motorcyclists can limit your ability to recover the amount that the claim is worth, especially because the motorcyclist is not there to speak for themselves.

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Content checked by the personal injury attorney Ross Cellino. As a family man and a trial attorney, I pride myself on winning cases and serving the community. With over 35 years of experience, I understand the function of a jury, how juries arrive at conclusions, and the role that the jury plays in administering justice. I know how to win cases. You can find us in Manhattan, Buffalo, Melville, Rochester, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and other locations throughout New York.

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