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Problems and Difficulties in Motorcycle Accident Cases


If you are in a motorcycle accident you may assume that your case is much like any other accident, involving two (or more) cars. To some extent that is correct—there are obviously some similarities. But in many ways, motorcycle accidents have many different issues, and often difficulties, making them more difficult and complex cases.

The Perception of Carelessness

One difference is not a legal one—it is a perception one. Many people, including people who will eventually be sitting on your jury in your personal injury trial, have an unfair and stereotypical belief that motorcyclists simply are reckless, or drive carelessly.

That means that a motorcyclist goes into a trial before a jury that automatically is suspect of the victim’s own behavior, a belief that isn’t present in most car accident cases.

Even before trial, an insurance company with the same biases, may be less willing to offer a settlement, meaning that a victim may have to fight harder, and possibly wait a little longer, to resolve the case before a trial ever happens.

The Impact of the Accident

You can just tell by looking that motorcycles are lighter than cars are. That means that traditional notions of the impact of an accident don’t apply.

In other words, when two cars collide, and it is a very minor, low speed accident, the belief is that the occupants of the vehicles can’t be that injured (which is a false belief, but one that people tend to have nonetheless). When there is a lot of damage, the belief is that injuries must be serious.

But damage in a motorcycle accident doesn’t tell us as much, because a motorcycle almost always gets damaged, because it is just lighter than a car. Additionally, even a low impact accident, say, one that would be so low or minor that it would never injure anybody inside two cars, can well cause very serious injury to someone on a motorcycle.

That means a Defendant who says that the accident was at a slow speed, or that the vehicles barely touched each other, can’t necessarily use that defense, given that even a low speed accident can devastate the rider of a motorcycle.

Helmets and Licenses

Tennessee law requires that both riders and passengers wear helmets—a good, safe practice, regardless of what the law says. But some people ignore these laws. When they do, they open an avenue for a Defendant to argue that injuries were not caused by the accident, but rather by the failure to wear helmets.

The same applies to licenses. Anybody over the age of 16 in Tennessee must get a motorcycle license—but many people believe they can ride a motorcycle just with their normal driver’s license. When they are in a motorcycle accident and don’t have a license, it again opens the door for a Defendant to try to blame the victim for the accident.

Injured in a motorcycle accident? We understand the defenses and unique issues in motorcycle accident cases. Call the Knoxville motorcycle accident lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, today.




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