Ride a Motorcycle? Get a GoPro® !
By Mark Wolfe, Attorney at Law
In my 35 years as a personal injury attorney I’ve represented thousands of motor vehicle crash victims. A number of my clients have been motorcyclists. Motorcycle vs car personal injury claims and cases tend to be more difficult than the typical car vs car matter. Why is that? I’ll tell you in just a second but first let me tell you about the law. Whenever you make a claim against someone (and their insurance company) for negligently hurting you, you carry the burden of proof. That means you have to prove they were at-fault with credible evidence. This burden of proof is what makes motorcycle vs car crash claims a little harder.
If you’ve ridden a motorcycle for any length of time, you know there is a stereotypical prejudice against motorcyclists. People believe motorcyclists “go too fast”, are “risk takers”, are “reckless”, are “disobedient to the rules of the road”, etc. Herein is the problem. It’s very common in a car crash scenario for the at-fault driver to either blame the other driver completely or deflect some degree of responsibility for the crash to the other driver. My experience tells me that this occurs at a higher level in a motorcycle vs car crash. The driver of the car is more likely to either try and blame the motorcyclist completely for the crash or say the motorcyclist contributed to the crash by some “unsafe” manner of operating the motorcycle. Usually, “the motorcyclist was speeding.” Because many law enforcement officers have the same stereotypical prejudices mentioned above, these allegations against the motorcyclist often find their way onto the accident report and can weigh heavily on the officers determination of fault for the accident. Insurance companies use the information in the accident report as the main part of their liability investigation. If an unfounded or false accusation against the motorcyclist is in the accident report, it could result in a legitimate claim being delayed or even denied.
So what can you do? Two things. First, consider using a GoPro® or similar video recording device while riding your motorcycle. If you do this and you are in a crash, DO NOT immediately tell the investigating officer you have a video of the crash or give the officer the recording card or chip. (Sometimes a crash video may reveal something that the other side can use to argue the motorcyclist contributed to the accident. Also, if the officer maintains the original card or chip it may not be available to you because it is now being held as “evidence.”) Rather save the video card or upload the video to a permanent hard drive and get a copy of the accident report as soon as the report is available. Then once you have a copy of the accident report immediately consult with an experienced motor vehicle crash attorney. (Do this even if you don’t have a video of the crash.) Most injury attorneys offer free consultation and he or she can review the accident report, and the video, and determine the best way to proceed. It may be everything is in order and you may not need to retain an attorney. But if the report needs to be amended or producing the video will be helpful with the other driver’s insurance company, the attorney will be able to effectively and efficiently help you do this and keep your claim moving forward. Read more about motorcycle crash statistics here. CLICK.
At Boteler Richardson Wolfe consultations about a motor vehicle crash situation are always free: call 251 410-7761 to speak directly with Mark Wolfe or send him an email: firstname.lastname@example.org (include “Motorcycle Crash” in the subject line). The law firm handles motor vehicle crash claims and cases in multiple states and has lawyers licensed to practice law in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Georgia.
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