When you're involved in a motorcycle accident that you didn't cause, you fully expect the insurance company to compensate you for your injuries and damage. However, insurance companies are always looking for ways to avoid paying claimants and will use any excuse to give you less than what you're owed or nothing at all. Here are two things the adjuster may use against you to get out of paying your damages and losses.
You Weren't Wearing a Helmet
Almost all states have laws requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets. For one reason or another, though, some people refuse to put them on. The problem is, depending on the state, you could be barred from collecting compensation for some of your injuries, and your insurance company will use this to their advantage if this is the case.
This is because it's been proven wearing a helmet can prevent or reduce the severity of head and neck injuries. Failure to wear a helmet in states that require them will often trigger comparative or contributory negligence laws that impact how much you can recover from the accident. In Maryland, you can't recover compensation for injuries if you are found partly liable for them, for instance. However, you may be able to get paid for other injuries that wouldn't have been affected by your helmet use.
Sometimes you can get around this issue by showing you still would have sustained the head or neck injury even if you had been wearing a helmet. However, the insurance company could make a compelling case that you increased the severity of the injury by not wearing a helmet and reduce your payment by the percentage of liability they feel you contributed to the incident.
You Were Lane Splitting
Lane splitting the act of driving a motorcycle between lanes on the road. Motorcyclists often do this when there is a traffic jam as a means of getting past the stalled vehicles. The trouble here is lane splitting is only legal in one state (i.e. California). Other states either outlaw it outright or don't have laws on the books addressing the issue.
As with the helmet laws, insurance companies may try to attribute some liability for the accident if it occurred while you were lane splitting in a state where it's not allowed or not expressly condoned. This can be hard to fight back against because even if the other party wasn't watching where he or she was going, the insurance company may be able to successfully argue the accident wouldn't have occurred in the first place if you hadn't been driving illegally.
For more information about these issues or assistance with handling a motorcycle accident case, contact a motorcycle accident attorney.