Motorcycle accidents are a common occurrence. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates about 82,528 motorcyclists suffered injuries in traffic accidents in 2020. Bikers are also at greater risk of injury or death since they have minimal protection from a crash. Yet motorcycle accident victims may feel like they’re fighting an uphill battle to receive restitution.
Having your claim denied when you’ve been in a motorcycle accident can be disheartening, but the right legal representation can help you win fair compensation. Discover why motorcyclists may have trouble receiving fair accident settlements in Alabama and how The Vance Law Firm can help you earn the compensation you deserve.
Motorcyclists have a reputation for being reckless and rebellious. While the outlaw persona of motorcyclists is not wholly unearned, for example, biker gangs like Hells Angels and the Bandidos have been linked to criminal activity, the stereotype doesn’t apply to most riders.
Unfortunately, these stereotypes often work against safety-conscious bikers who get into accidents through no fault of their own. The Alabama Department of Transportation reported that 64% of motorcyclists killed in 2019 were at fault. However, this data may come from biased reports made by insurance companies and police reports.
In pop culture and the media, bikers are often portrayed as speed demons whizzing between cars and pulling dangerous maneuvers with little regard for safety or traffic laws. Movies and T.V. may also indicate that motorcyclists are drug and alcohol users who are always eager to start a fight. These stereotypes and portrayals can cause police and insurance companies to assume a motorcyclist was driving unsafely, aggressively, or under the influence, even if they lack evidence.
For example, a police officer may write in the accident report that the motorcyclist showed signs of aggressive driving, even if no hard proof exists. They may record small details, such as noting a rider’s appearance or over-excited attitude, negatively affecting the motorcyclist’s insurance claim.
Insurance companies who use these reports may incorrectly assume fault on the motorcycle rider’s part when reviewing evidence and refuse to compensate them per Alabama’s contributory negligence doctrine.
Alabama is an at-fault state, which means that the person who causes a motorcycle accident is responsible for compensating the other person’s accident expenses. If you are in a collision where the other driver acted negligently, you can file a claim seeking a settlement from their insurance to pay you for your repair costs, medical bills, and lost wages.
Alabama uses a doctrine known as contributory negligence. Under contributory negligence, you become ineligible to receive damages if you bear any fault in an accident. The other driver only has to prove that you are 1% at fault to stop you from receiving compensation.
Contributory negligence often works against motorcycle riders in Alabama. If you make a small mistake while driving, for instance, you drive slightly over the speed limit, you may not receive compensation for injuries caused by another’s negligence.
If you ride a motorcycle, you may be concerned about possibly being injured in a motorcycle accident and insurance denying your claim. You can maximize your chances of winning compensation by taking the following actions:
A history of speeding tickets or reckless driving can work against you in an accident. Make an effort to avoid speeding, risky stunts, or distracted driving. Consider taking a motorcycle safety course to show you are a responsible driver.
Not maintaining your motorcycle makes it more likely that a part will malfunction, such as bakes or lights. If you get into an accident, the opposing party can claim that you weren’t visible on the road or that your bike’s poor maintenance contributed to the collision. Install reflectors on your bike to increase visibility and maintain your bike’s regular maintenance.
Cameras are available that attach directly to your motorcycle or your helmet. You can use footage from this device to bolster your claim with the insurance company. Footage can show that you were driving safely, following the speed limit, and obeying all traffic laws at the time of the accident.
The insurance company or opponent’s lawyer can use any statements you make against you to deny you compensation. Don’t speak to other involved parties without legal representation. Instead, hire an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to handle all accident-related correspondence.
Get a Free Case Review from The Vance Law Firm
If you are denied compensation after a motorcycle accident due to unfair biases, speak with a skilled Montgomery motorcycle accident lawyer from The Vance Law Firm. Our attorneys understand how seemingly minor details or media biases can affect your chance at a fair settlement. We will work to gather and present evidence that proves the other driver caused the accident and win you maximum compensation.
Contact us today to schedule a review of your case and stand up for your rights to fair compensation.