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It probably comes as no surprise that motorcycle accidents often result in some of the most severe injuries and damages. Motorcycle’s lack of safety equipment and physical protection leaves riders exposed to significant injuries and death during an accident. While substantial injuries typically result in substantial monetary damages in civil lawsuits, it is not always that easy in motorcycle accident lawsuits

What Makes Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits Different

Unfortunately, there is an inherent bias surrounding motorcycles and their riders. Many consider motorcyclists irresponsible, reckless, and generally disregardful of both the written and unwritten rules of the road. 

The stereotype lingering over motorcyclists can lead to challenges in motorcycle accident claims. Bias against motorcycle riders often appears in accident reports, insurance assessments, court rulings, and even jury verdicts. 

Examples of Motorcycle Bias

Many specific biases surround motorcycles and their riders. However, there are a few common misconceptions and prejudices that surround them.

Accepted risk 

People consider motorcyclists as risk-takers, thrill-seekers, and individuals who like to “live on the edge.” Because of this, most presume riders accept or assume the risk of serious injury.

Speeding and Reckless Behavior 

Motorcycle riders always speed and engage in reckless behavior, such as weaving in and out of traffic, speeding, splitting lanes, and more. Even without evidence of this behavior, many assume the motorcycle was speeding or driving recklessly during the crash. 

Unfair Shift of Fault 

When people see a motorcycle accident, they automatically assume it was the motorcyclist’s fault. Often, motorcycles are unfairly blamed for causing the collision. 

Just as individuals have motorcycle bias, so do insurance companies. Insurance carriers may try to point the finger at the motorcyclist. They may even fail to conduct a thorough investigation because they assumed it had to be the rider’s fault.

Other Challenges to Motorcycle Accident Cases

Motorcycle bias is not the only challenge to motorcycle accident claims

Severe Injury

Because motorcycle accidents often result in severe injuries, it can take longer to settle your claim. Severe injuries typically require extensive medical care and treatment, and insurance companies tend to dispute accidents involving serious injuries and substantial expenses fiercely. 

More Susceptible to Road Hazards

In many motor vehicle accidents, especially between two cars, one or both driver’s negligence is the cause. However, more often in motorcycle cases, there may be an external or outside cause of the crash, such as poor road conditions. Proving the road condition that caused the accident and not the motorcyclist’s negligence can be challenging. 

No Universal Helmet Law

Many states do not require motorcycle drivers or passengers to wear a helmet. Both Indiana and Kentucky do not require helmets for most individuals.

Specifically, in Indiana, only riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet. 

Under Kentucky law, only riders under 21 must wear a helmet. 

If you were not wearing a helmet during your accident, you are still entitled to pursue compensation for your injuries. However, not wearing a helmet during the crash can challenge your claim.


Sometimes, when a driver hits a motorcycle, they panic and flee. If the other vehicle’s driver flees the scene, pursuing an insurance claim or civil lawsuit can be challenging. 

No matter the unique challenge in your motorcycle accident case, our team is well-equipped to overcome them. 

Five Ways to Overcome Challenges in Motorcycle Accident Cases

Almost all motor vehicle accident cases have some extent of challenges. However, motorcycle accident cases tend to have unique challenges because of the bias surrounding bikes and their riders. A sharp, knowledgeable attorney who will not back down in the face of these biases is critical to overcoming challenges in motorcycle accident settlements and trials. 

Highlight Motorcyclist’s Driving Record

Suppose the motorcycle accident victim has a clean driving record with minimal traffic infractions, motor vehicle points, or accidents. In that case, this evidence can help illustrate a responsible motorcyclist. A careful and responsible rider is less likely to have caused the accident. 

Gather Evidence

Your lawyer will want to gather as much evidence as possible from the moments leading up to the crash, during the collision, and immediately after. Collecting witness statements, pulling surveillance video, requesting the accident report, and more can help demonstrate the other driver’s negligence.

Focus on the Other Driver’s Negligence

If it appears the other driver was negligent by texting while driving, running a stop sign, or improperly changing lanes, then your lawyer will want to highlight that negligence. The focus on the other driver’s negligence will shift the unfair focus away from the motorcycle victim. 

Get in Front of the Stereotypes

Should your case proceed to trial, a sharp lawyer will get ahead of the stereotypes and address motorcycle biases head-on. Pretending these biases do not exist could harm your recovery. Instead, it is best to acknowledge them and show why they do not apply in your case. 

Strategic Negotiations with Insurance Companies

Most motorcycle accident cases settle outside of court, and very few cases make it to a jury trial. The key to a successful settlement is negotiating with the insurance company. Having an attorney communicate and negotiate with the insurance company will help you avoid making a statement that could hurt your case and provide you with the best chance of a significant settlement amount. A skilled attorney knows what to say and what to avoid. 

At Gerling Law, our attorneys are experienced plaintiffs lawyers. We have successfully represented many motorcyclists when they are injured in an accident. Don’t let motorcycle bias jeopardize the damages you are entitled to receive.

Gerling Law: Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

If you or a loved one was recently injured in a motorcycle accident and are worried about the unique challenges you may face, contact our team at Gerling Law. In 2024, Best of the Best Attorneys named us a top 10 personal injury law firm. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Author Photo

Gayle Gerling Pettinga

Born and raised in Evansville, Gayle is a respected, experienced lawyer and a valued community leader. She graduated near the top of her class at Indiana University’s prestigious Maurer School of Law. She’s practiced law with one of the largest firms in Indianapolis as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. And that means she knows how big law firms and big companies think and how they operate – and she will put that knowledge to work for you.

Gayle has received numerous awards and honors including Martindale-Hubbell — Peer Review Rated: AV®, American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorneys in Indiana for Exceptional and Outstanding Client Service, and YWCA Evansville 100 Years, 100 Women Honoree, 2011.

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