California Motorcycle Accident?
The Law is on Your Side (Even When Nobody Else Is)
The Biases California Motorcycle Accident Victims Face Can Make Recovery Difficult
Most motorcyclists are typically more aware and drive more defensively than people driving cars. It’s a necessity when you’re cruising on two wheels with nothing but a helmet and a padded jacket between you and the pavement. But that’s not how the public at large perceives us. Every time you climb onto your bike, you’re shouldering the heavy burden of everyone’s misconceptions, assumptions, and innate biases, especially if you experience a California motorcycle accident. Common biases held my non-riders include:
- They think you’re reckless.
- They think you drive too fast.
- They think that you think you own the road.
- Worse yet, they think that when you get in a motorcycle accident it’s your fault.
If you’ve ever experienced a California motorcycle accident first-hand or had a friend injured in a crash, you’ve no doubt seen these biases at work. Unfortunately the victims in these terrible crashes often get the raw end of the deal from witnesses, responding police officers, accident investigators, and insurance adjusters. Motorcyclists are perceived as being at least partially at fault for any accident they are involved in. It’s almost an automatic assumption that the rider did something wrong, something reckless, or something illegal.
That automatic judgement call can cloud an investigator’s perception, lead them to false conclusions, and even blind them to hard evidence that exonerates the motorcyclist of any wrong doing. It can also reduce the financial settlement that insurance companies are willing to pay. And it’s not right!
Motorcyclists are actually “safer” drivers than other motorists. The crash data backs that claim up. In most motorcycle accidents in San Francisco and around the country it’s the driver of the automobile who is at fault. While study results vary, it’s safe to say that car drivers are at least partially at fault in over 50% of motorcycle accidents! Some studies even found drivers at fault 60% of the time.
So, if the real world data flies in the face of these incorrect assumptions about motorcyclists, why are so many bikers still being blamed for motorcycle accidents in San Francisco?
Where These Biases Come From
Regretfully, there are a small percentage of motorcyclists who take the freedom that a smaller, more agile, and faster vehicle gives them and abuse it. You’ve seen these individuals speeding on the highway, zipping between cars with barely enough room to clear, riding on the shoulder to get around traffic, and even pulling dangerous stunts like wheelies on public roadways.
These are the types of riders who are highlighted in the news media. These are the careless motorcyclists whom people talk about with friends. These are the jerks on a bike. And these are the people who give the rest of us a bad name.
And Hollywood doesn’t help us out any either. Movies like Easy Rider and shows like Sons of Anarchy depict motorcyclists as gang members, criminals, drug addicts, and all around shady characters. These types of entertainment even depict the “good guys” as morally corrupt and reckless.
Unfortunately, overcoming these false perceptions is next to impossible.
What You Can Do Before a Crash to Combat This Inherent Bias
The good news is that as the number of motorcyclists increase on California roadways, this alternate form of transportation is becoming more acceptable and more mainstream. In fact, most people know at least one person who commutes to work on a motorcycle every day or has a family member who hits the highway for a weekend ride. Motorcyclists aren’t the scary bearded biker’s depicted in movies and television. They’re mothers and fathers and sons and friends. As ridership grows, so too does the public’s acceptance and awareness of motorcyclists.
There are a number of things you can do to help speed this acceptance along and combat the negative biases faced by motorcyclists throughout California.
1) Know Traffic Laws – It’s your responsibility to know all the traffic laws that pertain to you and abide by them every time you get on your bike. By practicing good stewardship of the road, you become an ambassador for motorcyclists across the country.
2) Ride Defensively – The bottom line is that you are your best ally on the road. That’s why it’s always smart to ride defensively. Maintain proper space between following and leading vehicles, keep your head on swivel, and always have an “out” planned in case the car in front of you stops suddenly. Keeping your bike in tip-top shape is essential too. Doing so will keep you safer and help reduce your risk of a serious motorcycle accident.
3) Take a Rider Education Course – Even if you’ve been riding for a while, there are likely a few things you can learn to help you ride safer and smarter. Rider education courses can teach defensive driving techniques in days or weeks—these technical aspects of safe driving may take years to learn otherwise.
4) Have Good Insurance – Nobody wants to spend more than they have to but getting a bigger insurance policy than is absolutely necessary (usually just liability) but it is a good way to give yourself a financial cushion to fall back on if you are involved in a motorcycle accident in San Francisco. While at fault drivers can be held financially responsible for your injuries, getting that money can be difficult and take longer than you may expect—especially when you have to combat the biases that motorcyclists face every day. This is why I highly recommend upping your underinsured motorist insurance immediately!
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured in a California Motorcycle Accident
Unfortunately, if you’ve been involved in a California motorcycle accident, you’ve likely experienced this negative bias personally. Maybe you’ve heard off-hand remarks from responding police officers, maybe you’ve seen the accident report that doesn’t accurately represent what happened, maybe you’ve witnessed the automobile operator who caused your crash claim you did something you didn’t do.
If you’ve been injured, having an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer on your side is the best way to combat these biases and get fair representation from insurance companies and in California court rooms.
But what can the motorcycle accident attorneys at Sally Morin Law do for you?
1) Ensure the Evidence Speaks for You – our experienced team of motorcycle accident investigators can review evidence collected by the police, gather new evidence (including eye witness reports and accident reconstruction reports), and challenge any false assumptions put forth by police or insurance investigators. We have the skills and the tools to ensure you get a fair shake in the conference room or in the court room.
2) Push Back Against Insurance Companies – it’s an adjuster’s job to get you to settle for as little as possible. They’re going to paint you and the circumstances of your motorcycle accident in the darkest light possible. But when armed with the facts and a true accounting of what really happened, our team of expert motorcycle accident lawyers in San Francisco can force these companies to see that you were not at fault (which results in a bigger settlement like this one).
3) Highlight Your Character – You need an advocate on your side who can show the world that you are the victim, not the motorist who caused the accident! It’s our job to present you as a real person with real injuries and real financial needs, not a stereotype. Judges and juries are more likely to side with you if they know you’re a good person and not some cartoon criminal they have in their mind.
Need a California Motorcycle Accident Attorney to Stand for You?
Sally Morin and her team of expert California motorcycle accident lawyers have helped deserving victims like you overcome biases and get the financial compensation they deserve. Sally was an avid motorcyclist herself and understands that insurance companies, police officers, and the public in general has a skewed perception of bikers. She also knows what it takes to get these people to see you as a human being, not a caricature.
When you’ve been injured and need help, there’s no better ally to have on your side than one of the California motorcycle accident attorneys at Sally Morin Law. Submit your details for a FREE case evaluation online to get the legal help you need fast.