Bifurcated Motorcycle Trial
We all know motorcycles are inherently dangerous. Because of this, the insurance companies offer less coverage than what a car has. Buffalo personal injury attorney Robert Maranto discusses a bifurcated motorcycle trial that he successfully litigated for his client.
Bifurcation, in our system, means that the court system, based on the fact that the case has unique issues regarding liability, separates the liability issues out from the damages issue. In this case, my client was a passenger on a motorcycle, and that motorcycle was quite clearly going through a red light. The vehicle that they were involved in and the accident that they were involved in was with a vehicle that was entering the intersection on a green light.
We wanted a bifurcated motorcycle trial because we were trying to show that the car that had the green light was also partially at fault for the accident, and that insurance company was telling us that there was no way that we would be able to show that because they were simply proceeding on a green light from a stopped position. In New York State, we have what we call joint and several responsibility in automobile accident cases, which means if we’re able to show that the car that went through the green light has even 1% of fault for the accident, we can then open up their entire insurance policy. Because my client’s injuries were extensive and the insurance of the motorcycle was small, we needed to try to hit them for at least 1%.
As a result of this trial (we had a jury trial through completion) the jury, despite the fact that that car had the green light, found that driver 10% at fault. By opening up that 10% and opening up the insurance company, we were now able to go after the full amount of that insurance from that vehicle.
Attorney Robert Maranto is the Managing Partner at Andrews, Bernstein, Maranto & Nicotra, PLLC and has achieved a superb rating on Avvo. Following a motorcycle accident, an insurance company may try to contact you. The insurance company’s goal is simple — to minimize the cost to the insurance company. Insurance companies have little regard for the well-being of injured victims, and they will do everything possible to protect their interests — even when that means asking victims to sign documents or statements without having an attorney review them, or trying to convince victims to agree to a settlement much lower in value than they deserve.
If you have suffered a serious injury from a motorcycle accident in WNY, contact our experienced Buffalo motorcycle accident attorneys to fight for you. We offer free confidential consultations and will fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.