If I were to ask you how juries and insurance adjusters perceive motorcyle cases and auto cases, you might answer that they perceive them in exactly the same way. After all, they’re both motor vehicles that could crash or be hit for any number of reasons, causing various levels of damage and injury depending on the type of crash.
But you would be wrong. While many road rules and law provisions apply to motorcycles and automobiles equally, the way in which the two types of cases are handled can often turn out to be very different.
For instance, like it or not, many juries come into a motorcycle case with a preconceived notion that motorcyclists are all reckless daredevils who deserve whatever happens to them on the road. And while we’ve all noticed one or two motorcyclists zip through traffic at ridiculous speeds before, most motorcyclists are law-abiding citizens who are just as cautious as automobile drivers, and who get into accidents through little-to-no fault of their own.
Furthermore, most jury members probably drive an automobile rather than a motorcycle, and so it is automatically harder for them to understand the motorcyclist’s driving conditions. For instance, did you know that motorcyclists will "lay their bikes down" as a way to avoid a more dangerous crash? Most car drivers see motorcyclists doing that and they assume it was because the driver lost control of his bike or was driving too fast. This lack of understanding of how motorcycles work can make it very difficult for motorcyclists to get fair representation in court.
The injuries suffered by a motorcyclist are almost always different than the injuries sustained by an automobile driver. Since motorcyclists are much more exposed, it takes a much less severe crash to cause them greater injuries. Motorcyclists also often experience what is insufficiently dubbed "road rash"; it sounds as harmless as a rug burn to people who have never had one, but in reality it is often the most painful part of a motorcycle crash.
Motorcyclists often need specialized representation in court, especially since insurance companies are aware of the biases that are set against motorcyclists from the beginning. If you are in a motorcycle accident, make sure that your lawyer understands the needs of a motorcyclist, so that he or she can help win the jury in your favor.