Being involved in a motorcycle accident is very serious.
No bumpers. No airbags. No re-inforced steel or plastic to absorb the impact of a serious collision. Add to that the proximity to the hard road and the impact falling off the bike can have. A thousand and one other bad things can happen after a motorcycle accident.
The weight of the motorcycle landing on its driver or passenger.
Not having a seat belt to keep you in place which can lead to the driver or passenger going flying off the bike and landing who knows where.
Helmets work. But how much will a helmet protect its wearer when a collision takes place at high speed.
There is still a negative stigma against motorcylists in many communities. The preconceived notion that bikers are rebels with bad attitudes hasn’t gone away and can work against an innocent accident victim where liability is an issue. This is particularly important when the evidence of independent witnesses is important. This is also important when the police aren’t on the biker’s side in determining fault for the motorcycle accident.
The evidence of police and independent witnesses is very important in any case where liability is an issue. The Plaintiff will most always give evidence which favours their version of the events in order to support their claim. Conversely, the Defendant will give opposing evidence to refute what the Plaintiff said and to support his/her version of events.
In this scenario, whose evidence will a Judge or Jury trust?
More often that not, it comes down to credibility and likeability. Likeability is a term we use at Goldfinger Injury Lawyers to describe how likeable a party will be in a case. The more likeable to person, the greater the chance their truth or story will be accepted.
If members of the Jury don’t like bikers, or don’t like motorcycles to begin with; then the injured Plaintiff biker will have a problem getting their points across and getting their version of the truth accepted.
Other times, the Judge or Jury will look to the evidence of the police and independent witnesses to form their opinion about the case. Evidence from these sources carries a lot of weight because these people don’t have any skin in the game. They don’t care who wins or who losses the case. All they care about is to speak their truth about what they saw, or remembered.
I specifically use the term “their truth” because memories fade. Personal Injury Lawyers have learned that everyone has their own version of the truth. Even worse, we now live in a society where irrational blind belief trumps knowledge and objective fact. Don’t believe me? Try watching the news.
By the time these independent witnesses present testimony on the stand, many years will have passed. Many many more years will have passed on account of predicted Court delays from COVID-19. Good luck getting a Court date for any personal injury claim in the future. Getting a trial date is not a quick or as simple as putting a bag of popcorn in to a microwave and getting delicious popcorn in under 3 minutes. If only it were that easy!
Memories fade over time. The stories which these independent witnesses will tell often won’t be accurate depictions of what transpired on account of the passage of time fogging their memory.
This is the sad part about many personal injury cases. These are very important claims with life long implications for seriously injured accident victims. When it comes to motorcycle accidents, it’s not uncommon to see spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, crushed vertebrae, paraplegia, quadrapedigia, loss of limb and other catastrophic type of injuries.
After sustaining a catastrophic injury in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to call a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. There is too much at stake not to. Your benefits need to last as long as possible, and you will need to get the best help you can so that you can piece your life back together again to the best of your ability. Sometimes piecing your life back together to what it was simply isn’t possible on account of the devastation of the personal injuries. But your personal injury lawyer should be able to assist in getting the very most help and benefits out of the insurance company in order to improve your quality of life and restore some sense of dignity in your everyday routine.
In addition to securing your benefits (which are called accident benefits), your personal injury lawyer should also be able to make a claim for negligence against the at fault party for causing the motorcycle accident. This is called a tort claim. The tort claim will only exist if the injured motorcyclist can establish that the negligence of another party caused the motorcycle accident. In the event it’s a single vehicle collision, there is no other motorist to sue. But, there may be a case against the municipality if the road was not kept in a proper state of repair. It’s much easier to establish a case for negligence against another motorist than it is to establish a case of gross negligence against a municipality. There are a plethora of laws and cases which make it very tricky to sue a municipality for their alleged negligence. In addition, the bar for establishing negligence against a municipality is a much higher bar than it is against an ordinary individual. Negligence vs. Gross Negligence.
A quick reminder to bikers. Make sure that your motorcycle is insured! Many people don’t ride their motorcycles year round. They store them for the winter and don’t insure then during the winter months. When spring/summer roll around, they take the bikes out of the garage and go for a ride. But, some people forget to call their insurance company to re-insure their motorcycles! That’s not good. It’s also illegal. Getting involved in an motorcycle accident without insurance will pose some very serious consequences, particularly if you’re the one who is at fault for the collision.