Whether you’re on a dual-sport climbing an off-road trail or heading to the city on a touring bike along the highway, motorcycles offer recreational and transportation options for those enjoying the thrill of a good ride in the beautiful scenery Westchester provides. Too often, unfortunately, bike riders pay the price of other people’s negligence, whether it’s a pothole left by improper road care or a driver in a car sending a tweet. These commonplace oversights and distractions can lead to serious, life-changing injuries and are all too often fatal for motorcyclists.
If you have been injured in an accident, schedule a FREE consultation with a motorcycle accident attorney Westchester County relies on to obtain justice and fair compensation in serious injury matters. Reach out today and see for yourself why Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green has earned its reputation for integrity, compassion, and dedicated service.
Are Motorcycle Accidents Covered by No-Fault Insurance?
Under Article 51 of the New York State Insurance Law, which defines no-fault insurance in New York state, motorcyclists and their passengers are generally not covered under no-fault insurance. This is because they have explicitly excluded motorcycles from the definition of “motor vehicle” for purposes of coverage.
Because motorcyclists are not covered by no-fault, they do not qualify for the up to $50,000 in coverage other motorists do, so examining their legal options against the at-fault party is all the more important. Additionally, motorcyclists do not face as many restrictions due to this lack of coverage, such as requiring a “serious injury” to sue.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
While each accident has its own story, motorcycle accidents tend to involve particular types of negligent actions on the part of other drivers. These include:
- Distracted driving, such as a driver distracting themselves with a text or YouTube video;
- Tailgating, which is when a car follows too closely and may strike the back of the bike;
- Speeding, which shortens the reaction time needed to avoid a motorcyclist;
- Drunk driving, which inhibits decision-making, reaction time, and awareness; and
- Reckless driving, which is a broad term that can encompass many actions that do not show proper respect for the law or rules of the road.
Other causes can include poorly maintained road conditions, malfunctioning traffic equipment like traffic lights, or the malfunction of the motorcycle due to a manufacturer’s error.
Serious Motorcycle Accident Injuries for Riders
Motorcyclists are subject to severe crash injuries because they do not have the benefit of a car’s steel frame to protect them. Common injuries sustained by riders in motorcycle accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) – even with a top-of-the-line helmet, motorcyclists are commonly subject to concussions, contusions, cerebral hemorrhaging, and a host of other brain and spinal injuries that can dramatically alter one’s lifestyle and earning potential, involve long recoveries, and require lifelong care and treatment;
- Road rash when the cyclist is thrown from their bike and the momentum drags them across the cement. To prevent or lessen this injury, it is highly recommended to wear safety equipment like a reinforced leather jacket with armor or other gear to prevent or reduce abrasions to the skin;
- Bone fractures from hitting the road at high speeds; and
- Soft tissue and joint damage, such as tearing of muscles or ligaments.
With so much riding on the exercise of your legal rights, making an appointment to speak with a personal injury attorney at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green can set your case up for success from day one. Remember, evidence can disappear, witnesses can move before giving a statement, and taking early and aggressive action directed by a knowledgeable attorney will help you to prove your case.
Liability Issues in Motorcycle Accidents
To determine negligence in a motorcycle accident case, the courts will analyze whether there was a duty of care owed by the defendant to the plaintiff, whether this defendant violated the duty owed to the plaintiff, and whether this violation of duty caused the plaintiff’s injury.
New York embraces a “pure comparative negligence” state. This means that, within the jurisdiction of New York, an injured party can still collect even if they are 99% at fault. Fault will be apportioned at trial should a settlement not be accepted prior, and an injured party’s judgment will be reduced by the amount of responsibility they bear. For example, if a speeding car struck a motorcyclist whose light was out and the court determined that the motorcyclist was 33% at fault due to the broken headlight, they could still recover 67% of the damages resulting from their injuries.
Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Damages
Different types of compensation can potentially be collected by a motorcycle rider who is injured in an accident. These include economic and non-economic damages for:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation treatments
- Lost wages from time out of work
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages
- Wrongful death
In the tragic event of the death of a rider, surviving family members will often be entitled to compensation. This includes many of the previously-mentioned damages like medical bills and punitive damages, as well as:
- Loss of value of services for the projected lifetime of the decedent (i.e., caretaker services for children or a disabled spouse)
- Lost inheritance
- Funeral costs
- Burial costs
- Other expenses that may be unique to the case
Motorcycle accident attorney Westchester County
Speaking with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident is a good idea. A knowledgeable professional can offer assistance in choosing a medical specialist to document injuries, help with follow-up investigations for evidence, and inform you of your rights and potential compensation. This can provide vital context before reaching out to an insurance company to understand when a settlement is right for you and your family. Should a case not settle, an attorney can file the negligence lawsuit and represent you in court.
If you have been injured, it pays to speak with a motorcycle accident lawyer Westchester County residents have long relied on for fierce advocacy and results that speak for themselves. At Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, our Westchester County personal injury lawyers can assist at every step of your case, so schedule a no-cost consultation today.