Why Are Insurance Companies Biased Against Motorcyclists?
Insurance companies are great at making it seem like they put the public and their clients first. But anyone who’s been in an accident knows this is rarely true. After all, insurance companies are businesses first and foremost. They aim to pay out as little money as possible so they can make a large profit. And while insurance companies play dirty with all their policyholders, one kind of motorist often receives the shortest end of the stick: motorcyclists.
While it isn’t said outright, insurance companies are strongly biased against motorcyclists, making it harder for these motorists to get compensation after an accident. In this article, the experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. take a closer look at the causes of this bias and how motorcyclists can claim the compensation they deserve.
The History of Motorcyclists’ Bad Image
In the early twentieth century, motorcycle racing was a popular sport across the United States. Held on banked tracks called “motordomes,” these races ran from 1900 to 1912. However, one fateful day, a race ended in disaster when one motorcyclist took a corner too quickly and catapulted off the track into the stands, killing several spectators. Newspapers at the time reported on the accident, using imagery of a “skull and crossbones,” the universal sign of danger. They also referred to the tracks as “murderdomes,” leading to these races falling out of favor and then being abandoned altogether.
After World War I, the Federation of American Motorcyclists promoted a series of motorcycle races known as the Gypsy Tours. Created to give motorcyclists a safe space to test the full power of their bikes, build a community, and improve public opinion of motorcycles and motorcyclists, these races were temporarily paused during World War II. On July 4, 1947, the American Motorcyclist Association restarted the Gypsy Tours with a race at Hollister, California. More than 1,400 cyclists signed up to put their bikes through a series of tests including hill climbing and street racing. However, things got out of hand when racers became violent, fighting amongst themselves after consuming too much alcohol. Once again, the media reported on the accident, and motorcycles became associated with violence.
In the modern era, Youtube and footage captured on video cameras has spread images of motorcyclists’ dangerous behaviors on the road, such as weaving through traffic and speeding. While only a small number of thrill-seeking motorcyclists actually partake in this behavior, their actions have negatively impacted the motorcycling community as a whole.
The Alarming Reality of the Stereotypes
Because of this dark history, many see motorcyclists as riders who perform dangerous behaviors on the road. Speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, following too closely, and performing risky stunts only exacerbate this stereotype. These behaviors can affect the following aspects of recovery after an accident:
Even responsible motorcyclists face an uphill battle with insurance companies after an accident because of this stereotype and the risky behavior of thrill seekers. Even if they were not the at-fault party and need compensation for their injuries, insurance adjusters often try to lower the amount of compensation or claim they are the true at-fault party.
Due to these stereotypes, responding officers may blame an accident on a motorcyclist even before an accident investigation has been completed. A police officer who fails to collect evidence, statements from both parties, and witness reports will have a faulty report and may place blame on the wrong party, making it difficult for a cyclist to get the compensation they deserve.
The Other Driver and Witnesses
Bias against motorcyclists can lead even witnesses and other parties involved to shift blame onto a motorcyclist without knowing the full picture. Witnesses may claim to have seen the cyclist weaving in and out of traffic when in reality they were merely changing lanes. Or they may claim the cyclist was speeding when they were actually driving the speed limit. The other driver may also believe the cyclist was at fault, as shock and fear cloud their judgment, allowing bias to take precedence.
How to Protect Yourself From Biases After an Accident?
While biases do exist, they don’t stand very well against facts. One of the best ways to protect yourself after an accident is to ensure that you take the proper steps to support your claim:
- Move yourself out of harm’s way. After an accident, you may find yourself still on the road. If you are able to do so, move yourself to safety on the side of the road.
- Check on the other driver’s and passengers. Ensure that no one else is seriously injured in the accident. If you or someone else is, call emergency services immediately.
- Call the police.
- Gather information about the accident. This information should include:
- The names of other drivers
- License plate numbers
- The insurance information of the other driver
- Makes and models of the vehicle
- Witness statements
- Contact info of the witnesses
- The location of the accident.
- Take pictures of the accident scene. This will help document the accident.
- Call a motorcycle accident attorney. This is your legal advocate and best protection against the bias against motorcyclists.
- Visit a medical professional. Doing so will create a record of your injuries for court to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Don’t Let Biases Keep You From Getting the Compensation You Deserve
Many motorcyclists face the maddening problem of getting compensation after an accident caused by the negligence of another party. Having a legal advocate on your side to fight for your right to compensation and act as your voice is extremely important. The Hernandez Law Group, P.C. has years of experience helping motorcyclists claim the compensation they deserve. We know the road to recovery is long—and made even longer when you are struggling to get the compensation you deserve. Allow us to fight on your behalf while you focus on recovery. Contact our team today for more information on our services or to schedule a free no-obligation consultation.