Unfortunately, auto insurance companies often have a bias against motorcyclists. This is a long-standing basis that hasn’t changed much over many years. They treat motorcycle riding as a high-risk activity and assess exaggerated premiums for bikers as a result.
Even worse, motorcyclists who suffered an injury in crashes frequently struggle to receive fair treatment, not to mention full and fair compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company.
What are they to do? The good news is that motorcyclists have rights they can act on. Those who sustain injuries hurt in accidents can combat insurance company bias by hiring a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer immediately after their accident.
Seasoned motorcycle accident lawyers know how to push back against the unfair assumptions and stereotypes insurers rely on to decrease or deny an injured rider’s injury claims. They also understand the state and federal insurance laws that forbid insurance companies from the unfair treatment of injured bikers.
Motorcyclists who suffer injuries in accidents usually rely on motorcycle insurance to help pay for some of their covered and unexpected expenses. If the accident isn’t their fault, they typically also have the right to pursue compensation from the party who is at fault for causing the accident.
Under most state laws, the person at fault for a motor vehicle accident crash must pay for their damages, including the injured motorcyclist’s:
As such, other motorists may owe the biker money for causing an accident that leaves them with substantial injuries.
However, they aren’t the only potentially liable parties in motorcycle accidents.
Other parties that can have liability might also include:
Civil personal injury law usually states that the at-fault parties owe damages to an injured motorcyclist. However, most of the time, the at-fault party’s liability insurance policy is responsible for handing over any compensation. Unfortunately, and far too often, receiving monetary damages for injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash involves convincing or compelling the applicable insurance carrier to pay for the damages their policyholder caused.
Generally speaking, insurance companies don’t want to pay large liability claims. As such, they look for any reason or excuse not to have to pay the claim or, if that’s not possible, to decrease the claim’s value. For example, when it comes to motorcycle accident claims, the insurance industry often does this by exhibiting two distinct forms of bias against motorcyclists; economic bias and blame.
A bias is a preconceived notion of something or a prejudice. When it comes to motorcyclists and their behaviors, insurance companies typically already have them labeled as dangerous and risky and tend to blame the accident on them—no matter how it happened or who caused it.
The first bias is economically rooted. Insurance carriers typically calculate premiums in accordance with the risk of a policyholder suffering a covered event. In other words, how likely is it that the policyholder will get into an accident or other incident causing them to file a claim? Since motorcyclists have a greater risk of getting hurt and suffering severe, catastrophic, or fatal injuries in a motor vehicle crash, insurance companies charge bikers relatively high premiums compared to other policies that aren’t for motorcyclists.
Unfortunately, bikers don’t have many options but to live with this economic bias and pay higher premiums to be insured. However, they can sometimes decrease their premiums by taking precautions to prevent crashing or sustaining severe injuries.
Steps motorcyclists can take to decrease the financial impact of insurers’ economic bias against them include:
The other type of insurance company bias against motorcyclists is a much larger issue. It’s a blame bias. Insurance companies commonly assume, without any supporting evidence, that a motorcyclist is to blame for any accident that leads to a personal injury. Under this biased assumption, insurance carriers regularly treat injured motorcyclists as wrongdoers. They, therefore, deny their legitimate claims for financial compensation from the actual at-fault parties.
This unfortunate blame bias against bikers frequently means that injured people must fight to have insurers take their accident injury claims seriously. In fact, many insurance adjusters will investigate motorcyclists more aggressively than other motorists regarding accident claims. They also tend to recommend partial or total denials of injured motorcyclists’ claims more commonly than claims from other types of accident victims.
The challenges bikers face in seeking compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company can lead to severe financial strain, emotional strain, and, sadly, even personal bankruptcy. It can also place them under intense physical and personal strain. Motorcyclists often struggle to afford medical care to treat their accident-related injuries. This can result in job loss, problems in personal relationships, and mental health issues.
So, why do insurance carriers have a blame bias? The concerning answer is simply because it pays. Injured motorcyclists sometimes suffer severe or catastrophic physical harm that requires intensive medical treatment and long-term financial support. Liability insurers don’t want to pay for this. They know that if they can shift even partial blame for the accident onto the injured motorcyclist, they can usually save hundreds of thousands of dollars, or more, in claim compensation.
It all comes down to the fact that insurance companies have a blame bias against motorcyclists because they don’t want to pay them for the harm their policyholder caused them.
Experienced motorcycle accident lawyers can also help ensure that claimants receive fair treatment from all insurance companies who may owe them compensation for their damages, including their own motorcycle accident insurer.
State insurance laws and regulations require insurance carriers to follow fair claims adjustment and processing practices. Insurers often violate those laws by making it unreasonably hard for their policyholders and others to file and pursue claims, or they don’t pay valid claims promptly. In many jurisdictions, such a violation can make the insurance carrier liable for extra damages owed to the claimant.
Hiring a seasoned motorcycle accident injury lawyer can ensure that you will receive the minimum fair treatment from an insurer as the law requires. In addition, if an insurance company insists on using illegal practices, an attorney can help you pursue another type of claim for damages on top of the damages the insurance company already owes for your accident-related injuries.
Insurance companies tend to blame motorcyclists for accidents based on generic assumptions about motorcyclists and motorcycle riding, such as that bikers:
Instead of focusing on assumptions, an experienced attorney insists on focusing on facts—especially the facts of the case. They investigate the accident that injured their clients, gathering detailed evidence to prove exactly how a crash happened and who is at fault.
The facts of a motorcycle accident case might stop an insurer’s bias if they have no choice but to own up to them. An experienced attorney knows just when and how to present the details of a crash to the insurance company, with supporting evidence, in a way that forces them to accept them as the truth.
An insurance company might still try to avoid liability for a motorcyclist’s injuries by relying on the terms and conditions outlined in their at-fault party’s insurance policy. For example, insurers dealing directly with an injured motorcyclist often use insurance industry jargon such as “single occurrence,” “policy exclusions,” or “subrogation” to rationalize their refusal to pay what they owe. Their only goal is to confuse and intimidate the claimant so they will give up fighting, accept what the insurance company is willing to give them, and move on.
Other tricks and tactics insurance companies often use to get claimants without legal representation to move on or accept smaller settlements include:
Do you worry that biased insurance companies will take advantage of you? Here are several steps you can take today to secure your rights.
Sometimes injured motorcyclists put off getting medical treatment because they worry they think they cannot afford it. Although that’s a valid concern after an accident, delaying medical care can cost far more in the long run.
Seeking prompt medical care, as well as following the doctor’s prescribed treatment plan, protects your health. Not only that, but it also creates a vital record of your injuries that your attorney might require to prove your claim to the at-fault party’s insurance company. It also protects you from an insurer arguing that you made your injuries worse by not seeking prompt medical care and caring for yourself.
Common motorcycle accident injuries can be severe and include:
The insurer representing the party at fault for your motorcycle accident may contact you directly to discuss the details of the accident, your injuries, and your claim for damages. However, you must be very careful in this type of situation. If possible, politely decline to speak until you have an experienced attorney representing you.
If you think about it, the only real reason the insurance adjuster contacted you is to confirm its bias against you and to look for reasons not to pay you what you deserve for your accident injuries.
After sustaining injuries in a motorcycle accident, it’s in your best interest to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner you have a seasoned motorcycle accident attorney on your side, the better your odds of addressing the bias insurance carriers have against motorcyclists like you.
Your injuries and damages are real, and you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. While the insurance company may not treat you this way, your attorney certainly will while they fight for your rights with the insurance carrier. The right attorney understands how vulnerable motorcyclists are to injuries and will take your claim seriously. Seek the help you need today. Contact a personal injury lawyer to get started on your consultation.