When confronted with a potential motorcycle accident case, it is important to know that the issues presented are often unique and distinct from those in the classic automobile accident case.
There are three special considerations you need to make before you decide to take a motorcycle case.
- In general, there is a prejudice against motorcycle riders. Jurors tend to consider the person on the motorcycle to be at fault even before they hear the facts and circumstances of the case. This trend of finding against the motorcycle rider stems from society’s general attitude toward motorcyclists. The media often portrays motorcycle enthusiasts as being a leather-clad, bar-room-brawling, heavy-drinking group. Whether or not this is a correct description is irrelevant for purposes of your consideration of the case.
- The second consideration of the case is the presence of a helmet. In the state of Illinois, a helmet is not required. However, when faced with a motorcycle accident case that results in a head injury, you will be confronted in court with the following question in the juror’s minds: would we be in this situation had your client worn his helmet? This prejudgment against motorcyclists who don’t wear a helmet is even more powerful than the prejudgment against automobile drivers and passengers who don’t wear seatbelts. If your case involves a head injury, you are going to have to take a careful look at whether or not your client was wearing a helmet.
- Finally, consider the damages that result from an injury caused by riding on a motorized vehicle that has very little passenger protection. Motorcycles don’t have airbags, bumpers or cushioned instrument panels that can provide some measure of safety. A motorcycle versus car case is almost always going to result in more injury to the motorcyclist than to the driver or passenger of the car because of the simple fact that there is no metal protection for the motorcyclist.
In summary, motorcycle cases can be good cases to take, you just have to be very careful to understand the risk involved and prejudice against your client when prosecuting your case. Most importantly, make sure you have experience in motorcycle injury cases before spending the time, money and resources representing these types of clients.