In Tennessee, the same laws apply to crash cases whether they involve motorcycles or passenger cars. However, there are a great many additional factors that must be considered in cases where a motorcycle rider has been injured, including who may be held liable and how much each party needs to prove to win compensation. If your attorney does not specifically handle motorcycle crash cases, he may overlook the importance of these differences, resulting in less compensation than you deserve.
Why Motorcycle Accidents Differ From Other Injury Cases
Motorcyclists are over ten times more likely to die in road accidents than drivers of motor vehicles. Nearly 100,000 people are injured every year in motorcycle accidents in the United States, many of whom are often under-compensated for their crash costs due to:
- Severity of injuries. The cost of injuries in motorcycle accident cases is often much higher than in accidents involving two vehicles. Without the safety of steel frames, seatbelts, airbags, and other safety features, motorcyclists are much more vulnerable to injury. It is not uncommon for a motorcyclist to suffer broken bones, traumatic head injury, or loss of a limb in a crash where the driver walks away with minor bumps and bruises.
- Road designs and hazards. The design and condition of a road is more important for a biker than it is for a driver. Ice and debris on the road can be perilous for motorcyclists, while blind corners and uneven terrain make the odds of a motorcycle accident much more likely. Many bikers are unaware that road designers and municipalities can be held liable for causing their accidents.
- Stigma against riders. Many people wrongly perceive motorcyclists as risk-takers or unsafe riders. Unfortunately, this may cause a judge or jury to see the biker as playing more of a role in causing the accident than he or she is responsible for, lowering the amount of compensation awarded.
- Fault considerations. Tennessee’s fault system in injury cases is one of modified comparative negligence, meaning a victim can only recover damages if he is 49% or less to blame for the accident. Motorcyclists are often too injured to recover evidence at the scene, record the names of witnesses, or give police statements at the time of the crash, sacrificing vital evidence that can be used to prove their innocence.
- Insurance company tactics. As motorcycle crashes tend to have higher injury costs, insurance companies are more likely to deny and underpay claims made by motorcyclists. In addition, adjusters are well aware of the public’s bias against motorcycle riders, making it easier for them to pressure victims into accepting less than their claims are worth.
- Manufacturing and repair defects. Many motorcycle accidents are a result of a problem with the overall design of the bike or the quality of its components. If the motorcycle was in some way defective, the rider can pursue a case against the person responsible (such as the maker of the bike, distributor of the defective part, or someone who performed inadequate repairs). Unfortunately, many riders repair their motorcycles as quickly as possible after a crash, destroying vital evidence that could be worth thousands in an injury case.
- Permanent effects. Motorcycle accidents will often result in lifelong paralysis or other permanent consequences for the rider. This may make it impossible for him or her to earn a living, while at the same time causing a sharp increase in medical and living expenses. If the accident is fatal, survivors will have to shoulder the burden of funeral expenses, unpaid medical bills, and other end-of-life costs.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, we can help you get proper compensation for your injury costs, loss of income, property damage, and pain and suffering. Fill out the quick contact form on this page to have the attorneys at GriffithLaw explain your rights in your free case evaluation, or order a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.