Motorcyclists typically must pay for separate insurance policies for their bikes. Many people only learn when they are involved in an accident in a no-fault state that the no-fault provisions of the law do not apply to motorcyclists. This is one form of bias that insurers are clear about. However, motorcyclists face other prejudices when they are victims of an accident involving another vehicle.
Insurance Bias Protection for Motorcyclists
Insurance companies many times will charge a motorcyclist higher rates for coverage which can be a challenge.
Some of the options a motorcyclist has to dispute their rates include:
- Shopping for better rates. A motorcyclist may shop around different insurance companies for a better rate if they feel their premiums are excessive. This is a good first step to addressing bias.
- Demonstrating responsibility. if a motorcyclist has an excellent driving record, has completed safety courses, and has a long history of operating a motorcycle safely, they may be able to overcome some biases.
- Enhanced safety equipment. Motorcyclists may opt to increase the equipment they have on their bikes to improve safety, including anti-lock brakes. Showing an insurer that a motorcyclist has invested in and wears protective gear when riding may also help reduce rate bias.
There is a tendency for insurers to assume that a motorcycle operator is not as cautious as the operator of a motor vehicle. Considering these factors, it is not hard to determine that a claim will be challenging for a motorcycle accident victim. This is a difficult situation for an accident victim, which they must oppose with the assistance of an attorney.
Challenges With Claims Following Motorcycle Accidents
When someone is involved in any roadway accident, there are generally challenges with getting insurers to handle their claims effectively. The claims process can be even more challenging when the victim is a motorcyclist
The challenges include:
- More victim blaming. insurers are liable to ask unusual questions regarding the accident. For example, an insurer may ask if the motorcyclist wore a helmet, even when they live in one of the three states where helmets are not required. There is usually a rush to judge that the motorcyclist is entirely or partially at fault for the accident. An insurer will always use any information available to support that assumption.
- Deeper investigations. chances are a motorcycle accident victim will face a more comprehensive claim investigation following the submission of a claim. It is worth noting that this may involve asking for additional documents and demanding further proof that injuries occurred during the motorcycle accident.
- Minimizing medical expenses. an insurance company processing a motorcycle accident claim will likely attempt to minimize its financial exposure by demonstrating that the medical expenses submitted by a motorcycle accident victim are excessive. An attorney may recommend the victim not file a settlement demand until the victim’s medical status reaches maximum medical improvement, which the Department of Labor (DOL) classifies as the time after which further treatment would not improve the victim’s condition.
These are only some potential challenges a motorcycle accident victim may face following an injury in an accident. Insurers are constantly seeking ways to minimize their exposure, regardless of the type of accident their customer is liable for. Unfortunately, due to their biases, there may be more challenges when a motorcyclist is involved.
Compensation Issues With Motorcycle Accident Claims
Since most motorcycle accident victims suffer more serious injuries than those involved in an accident between two other motor vehicles, medical bills tend to be much higher. This is frequently because of the types of injuries a victim may suffer. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), in one recent year, 83,000 people sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident.
Some of the common injuries include:
- Head injuries. even when a motorcyclist wears a helmet, there is a significant risk for head injuries. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) will impact a victim daily for the rest of their life. In some cases, a TBI may prevent a victim from returning to regular employment, increasing the compensation they can seek.
- Crushing injuries. while crushing injuries can occur in a car accident, there is a greater likelihood of a bike pinning the motorcyclist under it in an accident. These injuries can result in amputations and other life-altering issues. Victims may require long-term care, home modifications, and medical devices to recover fully from their injury. This can increase the amount of compensation the victim claims from the insurer.
- Fatalities. the chances of being killed in a motorcycle accident are high. In fact, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), motorcycles only account for three percent of registered vehicles, but they account for 14 percent of roadway fatalities. Insurance bias impacts families filing a wrongful death claim for losing a loved one.
Because there are so many challenges facing victims of motorcycle accidents or families who have lost a loved one in a motorcycle-involved accident, hiring an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer is necessary. A skilled attorney may help victims get the compensation they deserve after an accident.
Why Hiring a Lawyer Makes Sense After Motorcycle Accidents
It is important to understand that insurance companies have few obligations to accident victims. The insurance company is not required to approve any claim or settlement demand without a full investigation of the circumstances of the accident.
Furthermore, they are under no obligation to pay the total settlement amount. It is in the insurer’s best interest to pay as little as possible on any claim. They will often go to lengths to minimize the settlement to which a victim is entitled.
Some of the tactics insurers may use include:
- Complete denial of liability. this is normally the first tactic an insurer will use. By denying liability and claiming a motorcyclist caused the accident, they generally hope the victim will not fight back. When someone hires a motorcycle accident attorney to assist with their claim, this may not occur.
- Partial denial of liability. the insurer will nearly always attempt to shift some of the blame to the motorcyclist, claiming they were operating erratically, taking insufficient precautions to prevent an injury, or the victim exacerbated their injuries. A skilled motorcycle accident attorney can help by conducting an impartial investigation of the accident and proving liability.
- Unreasonable demands for documents. generally, an accident victim will be required to show proof of their losses to an insurer to get reimbursements for their injury and other losses. However, in the case of a motorcycle accident, the insurer may make unreasonable demands, including maintenance records, medical records which have nothing to do with the accident, and additional quotes for damage to the victim’s motorcycle.
It is essential to be aware that there are other items that an insurer may insist on, including recorded statements. All accident victims should be aware there are no rules which state a victim must provide a recorded statement to an insurer following an accident. This is a tactic insurers may use to see if they can get information from the victim, which would help them minimize their exposure. Remember, with the knowledge that an insurer may be biased toward a motorcyclist, hiring a lawyer is a fine idea.
How an Attorney Can Help a Motorcycle Accident Victim With Injury Claims
Accident victims are oftentimes reluctant to involve an attorney in the claims process. There are numerous reasons for this reluctance, and in some cases, the insurer may advise the victim that getting an attorney involved will complicate the process.
No one has to go through the insurance claim process alone, and those who have suffered significant injuries or lost a loved one should never file a claim without seeking legal advice first.
Here are some of the benefits of seeking legal advice:
- Lawyers understand victims’ rights. an insurance company is not obligated to advise a motorcycle accident victim of their rights. However, an attorney will not only help a victim understand their legal options, but they can help protect the victim’s rights throughout the claims and settlement process.
- Lawyers know first offers are seldom final. insurance company adjusters will often advise a motorcycle accident victim the first offer they make against a claim is the maximum offer they will get. This is seldom the case; an attorney will fight hard to ensure the insurer treats the victim fairly.
- Lawyers review documents sent by insurers. many times, accident victims are buried in documents by insurance adjusters. On many occasions, these documents generally have onerous clauses buried in them, which diminish a victim’s rights. An attorney can review any documents sent to a victim and ensure they are not harmful to the victim.
- Lawyers are skilled negotiators. most of us have never had to deal with an insurer as a negotiator. An experienced motorcycle accident injury lawyer has the skills to negotiate with insurers because they are accustomed to handling these types of negotiations regularly.
- Lawyers can prepare for court. when an insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith, a lawyer is ready to present a case for a victim in court. Hiring a lawyer to help with insurance company claims and negotiations immediately following an accident is one of the best options for an accident victim.
You Need a Lawyer to Overcome Insurance Company Biases Against Motorcyclists
Whether a motorcyclist is dealing with unreasonable restrictions contained in their insurance policy or fighting hard to get a fair settlement after they are in an accident, the insurance company will fight back. This is particularly challenging after a motorcyclist is involved in an accident when they have suffered a grave injury.
Motorcycle accident injuries can cause a family far-reaching financial hardship, especially when the victim is the sole breadwinner for a family. The inability to work, mounting medical bills, and limited income can wreak economic havoc on an accident victim. While no attorney can assure a victim they will be compensated 100 percent for their losses, a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer has the experience necessary to help ensure the victim is treated fairly and is treated fairly by an insurer.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Immediately After an Accident
Accident victims typically wait until an insurer has denied their claim or made excessive demands. The time to seek legal help is immediately after an accident. Getting a personal injury lawyer involved immediately can help a victim ensure the insurer takes their initial claim seriously. It may reduce the time it takes to get a claim resolved.
Accident victims must focus on their physical and mental recovery after an accident. Having a motorcycle accident lawyer available to help them through the claims process can give a victim the peace of mind they need to focus on their recovery.
Even when a motorcyclist obeys all traffic signals, travels safely, and invests heavily in protective gear, it is not always enough to protect them from a major injury in a crash. Hiring a personal injury lawyer after a motorcycle accident can help a victim recover financially from an accident.