Motorcycle Accident Attorneys New York
Motorcycle crashes are considered by many to be the most dangerous type of traffic accident, and there is much statistical evidence available to back up this claim. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that a motorcyclist puts him or herself at 8 times higher risk of injury and 37 times higher risk of death than does an occupant of a car when involved in an accident. Another rather dramatic statistic shows that over the past decade, the countrywide rate of motorcycle accident occurrence has doubled due to the expanding market for motorcycles (New York ranks sixth in the nation in the number of licensed motorcyclists). If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident and sustained injuries as a result, call the Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman, P.C. & Robert D. Rosen, P.C. for a free initial consultation regarding your legal rights in order to obtain full and fair compensation and damages due to your harms and losses.
Motorcycle Accident Types
The “fail-to-yield” accident is the most common form of motorcycle accident where the driver of the vehicle that hit the motorcycle simply did not see the motorcyclist beforehand. It is important to know that this does not constitute a valid defense, especially in cases where the driver should have seen the motorcyclist. Other instances of motorcycle accidents include those due to:
- Dangerous road conditions;
- Other driver inattention;
- Other driver fatigue;
- Other driver texting;
- Other driver talking on the cell phone
- Other driver engaging in unsafe lane changing;
- DWI or DUI;
- Other driver illegal u-turns;
- Defective equipment;
- Unsafe intersections;
- Poorly maintained traffic control devices
- Pedestrian inattention;
Motorcycle Accident Causes
The leading cause of motorcycle accidents is the “fail-to-yield” situation mentioned above, where the motorcyclist’s right of way is violated by a driver who is negligent in failing to check t blind spots and in staying cognizant of surrounding traffic in general. This cause of accident accounts for about 70% of all motorcycle crashes involving at least one other vehicle.
In cases where only the motorcycle is involved, dangerous road conditions have been repeatedly proven to be a prevalent factor in those cases. These conditions include curves in the road, undivided highways and road defects such as potholes. Since motorcycles are only two-wheeled vehicles as opposed to cars that have four wheels, motorcycles are less stable and more susceptible to losing vehicular control on poorly maintained roads, roads with sharp turns and roads without proper signs. A municipality may also be liable for failing to properly maintain and repair traffic control signals.
Although relatively rare, defective equipment does exist and accounts for about 3% of all motorcycle accidents. In cases such as these, qualified experts would be called on for a thorough inspection of the bike for the cause of the malfunction. Defective equipment can also include safety gear such as helmets. All helmets have to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 in order to ensure the protection of motorcycle occupants from head injuries. If a head injury does occur as a result of a motorcycle accident, a cognizant motorcycle accident attorney would call on the services of experts in order to evaluate the helmet’s performance in accordance with the corresponding helmet laws.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Due to the intrinsic danger of riding a motorcycle, even the most seemingly minor accidents can lead a biker to catastrophic injuries or even death. Common major injuries to motorcycle occupants include road rash, burn injury, bone fractures, internal injuries, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury among others. In order to receive the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries, you will need the help of expert attorneys like those at the Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman, P.C. & Robert D. Rosen, P.C. who are equipped with the knowledge, experience and the willingness to expend all necessary expenses to best evaluate and pursue your claim.
Fatalities and Wrongful Death
The harsh reality of riding a motorcycle is that you are at great risk if an accident occurs, and deaths as a result are all too common. The sudden and unexpected loss of a family member or loved one in a motorcycle accident can cause overwhelming sadness and grief, and it can also cause losses in various areas such as benefits, income, love and companionship. It is important that if your family member or loved one died in a motorcycle accident due to the negligent conduct of another driver, a defective motorcycle, other defective equipment, or because of hazardous road conditions, you call the experienced and knowledgeable wrongful death attorneys at the Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman, P.C. & Robert D. Rosen, P.C. because you only have one chance to recover full and adequate compensation for all your losses. You should also visit the WRONGFUL DEATH page in this website as well for further information.
Motorcycle Accident Insurance
Many individuals are misled when they see No-Fault coverage listed on their New York State motorcycle insurance policy. These individuals believe this to mean that the occupant or driver of the motorcycle has No-Fault coverage, while it actually means something entirely different. The only parties who have No-Fault coverage in the event of a motorcycle accident are the ones not occupying the motorcycle itself. The definition of a motor vehicle is stated in Article 51 ‘ 5102(f) of the New York Insurance Law as, a Motor vehicle shall not include a motorcycle, as defined in subsection (m) hereof. For a more detailed explanation concerning No-Fault benefits which arise due to an accident with a motor vehicle, see our website content on HOW ARE MEDICAL/HEALTH EXPENSES, LOST EARNINGS AND OTHER EXPENSES COVERED AS A RESULT OF A MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT?
It is an unfortunate truth for motorcyclists that although they are in more danger of accident involvement and in more danger of serious injury than other motor vehicle drivers, they are not provided with the same benefits as other motor vehicle accident victims. As a result, there is no immediate coverage available from the insurance company covering the motorcycle in terms of medical costs/bills, lost wages and other reasonable and necessary expenses. As a result, occupants of motorcycles are left to seek immediate coverage from other sources such as private health insurance or a policy that covers the victim through his or her employment.
Of course, a claim can be made for all medical and lost wage/income expenses incurred as an item of special damages in addition to pain and suffering in a lawsuit against a responsible party who caused the accident. The bright side; however, is that a motorcycle occupant, unlike other persons involved in motor vehicle accidents, does not have to prove that a “serious injury” was incurred as the result of an accident, which is a necessary requirement for all other motor vehicle accident victims who want to recover compensation for pain and suffering which is considered a non-economic loss. Free from the stringent requirements of the “serious injury” law, an injured motorcyclist can more easily pursue a claim and pursue justice against negligent drivers in order to recover for damages such as non-permanent injuries, less serious injuries and pain and suffering.
It is important to realize that even when liability has been proven against another driver of a motor vehicle, the inquiry does not end there under the law in court. The reason for this is that in the State of New York, people who have been a victim of a motorcycle accident also have the duty to act reasonably as well if that person was operating the motor vehicle. Therefore, even if a jury has made a determination that a defendant driver of another motor vehicle was negligent and responsible for causing an accident, that same jury will have the responsibility to determine whether or not the motorcycle operator himself or herself bears a percentage of liability or responsibility for contributing to the happening of the accident.
In plain English, this means that a jury has the capability of finding a defendant driver of another vehicle only partially responsible for an accident whereby the motorcycle operator bears the remaining responsibility for the accident. For example, if a jury finds that the defendant driver and the plaintiff motorcycle operator were equally at fault, then they would report back that each party was fifty (50%) percent responsible. However, if a jury found that one party was more at fault, the jury would assign a higher percentage to that party and a lower percentage to the other party, with the total of the percentages equaling one hundred (100%) percent. Therefore, any combination of percentages between the parties is possible as long as the total of one hundred (100%) percent is reached. Very importantly, if the plaintiff motorcycle operator is found to be partially at fault for causing the accident, then whatever amount of money is awarded to the plaintiff motorcycle operator for his or her injuries, harms and losses will also be reduced in proportion to the percentage of liability found against the motorcycle operator. Therefore, if a jury awarded a motorcycle operator $100,000.00 for his or her injuries, that award would have to be reduced to $50,000.00 if the same jury found that the motorcycle operator was fifty (50%) percent responsible for the happening of the accident.
Obviously, if someone was injured as a passenger on a motorcycle then it would be very unlikely that the motorcycle passenger would ever be found at fault for the happening of an accident since the passenger on a motorcycle has no bearing on the facts and circumstances causing an accident. For this reason, a passenger who is riding on a motorcycle may very well need to bring a claim against the operator of the motorcycle on which he or she is a passenger in addition to bringing a claim against the driver(s) of any other motor vehicles involved in the accident.