Navigating the Open Road of a Personal Injury Claim
The New York Motorcycle Accident Guide was created by Andrews, Bernstein, Maranto & Nicotra, PLLC to guide residents that have been seriously injured on a motorcycle. If you or a loved one has been hurt, contact our office for a free consultation. We will fight for you!
Motorcycle Accident Cases
Without the protection of a car surrounding the driver, a motorcycle rider is exposed and at an increased risk of injury compared to drivers of passenger vehicles.
Accidents involving motorcycles, in Buffalo and Western NY, usually occur because of negligence. Many car drivers overlook motorcycles because of their small size. Not seeing motorcycles, drivers turn into them or cut them off. These accidents can include:
- Running a red light or stop sign without seeing the approaching motorcycle
- Failing to yield right-of-way to the motorcycle, particularly during lane changes
- Failing to check blind spots for motorcyclists before changing lanes
Seeking Full Compensation and Recovery
Injured victims of motorcycle accidents can seek compensation from the at-fault parties for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, permanent injury, and emotional distress. Unfortunately, when an individual is killed in a motorcycle accident, their family members can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages as well.
What to Do if You Have Been Injured
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, make sure you remain at the crash site. If you are too injured to move, stay where you are and wait for emergency personnel. If you can move without causing additional harm to yourself, you should collect evidence from the crash site.
Take photos of the vehicles involved in the crash and of the surrounding area. Take pictures that show the entire crash site as well as damaged vehicles and injuries. Make sure to collect the contact information for all parties involved in the accident as well as for witnesses. Get a copy of the police report and make sure you get proper medical attention and treatment.
Motorcycle accidents can cause catastrophic injuries and deaths to motorcyclists. It is extremely important to preserve all evidence and uncover all sources of legal and financial responsibility.
More Information You Should Know About Motorcycle Accident Cases:
It seems, especially in the late spring/early summer, they become much more common as far as news stories because those injuries are typically much worse than car accident victims. Motorcycle accident victims are the most susceptible because they don’t have the protective shell of a vehicle, there are no seatbelts, there are no airbags, and they are most often following the law and other drivers did not see them coming. It’s the most common defense that we hear is they just didn’t see you. Those accidents are much more serious typically as far as the injuries go. The damages to the vehicle that the motorcyclist is driving are typically much worse. The bikes are often demolished and totaled, and the person themselves are typically facing a long uphill battle regarding recovery.
The other issue that’s important is that because of the high risk of injury in an accident, New York State no-fault benefits are not offered to motorcyclists. What that means is your options for treatment are much more limited. You should hope that you have good medical insurance on your own and if you don’t, you’re going to have an even harder time finding doctors to treat the injuries that you’re dealing with. One of the things you should do if you’re a victim of a motorcycle accident is call an attorney who is qualified and who knows how to handle these kinds of cases immediately because the investigation that they’ll do and the advice that you’re given at the get go is important. People wouldn’t hire somebody for a car accident that doesn’t drive a car. In my opinion, hiring an attorney who also rides a motorcycle is important because they understand what you’re seeing, what you’re going through, what situations pop up that are no fault of your own, and what you deal with in that accident.
Is there any Compensation for Motorcycle Accident Victims?
Because you are not protected by the New York State No Fault insurance or the No Fault statute, medical bills become the responsibility of the person who is injured. We look to the other car for any medical payments provisions, but can also add unreimbursed medical expenses caused by your crash as a component to your claim.
What Symptoms Should I Look for After a Motorcycle Accident?
In New York State because motorcyclists are not covered by no-fault, they do not need to prove that they are seriously injured to qualify to get compensation from the other vehicle who caused the accident. They don’t have the protection of the immediate medical benefit and the lost wage component, but they also don’t need to have a fracture, or have an injury that’s qualified as serious to receive compensation. When you’re an accident victim and it’s not your fault, whether you’re riding a motorcycle or you’re a passenger, you instantly qualify to receive compensation for your injuries. The only difference is what are those level of injuries that you’re able to be compensated for, which is why if you’re ever involved in this kind of an accident you should call an attorney immediately who understands what you are going through and is qualified to help.
Can a Passenger of a Motorcycle Accident File a Claim?
Passengers are along for the ride, so they can’t control the operation of either the motorcycle or the other car that’s involved. They are a pure plaintiff. The focus then is on what are the damages that they’re dealing with? What are the nature and extent of the injuries that they are suffering through? That really is how we approach those cases and where the value lies, and we look at it from an investigation standpoint of how the accident happened but also the biomechanics of what that passenger went through.
Who is Responsible for a Motorcycle Injury or Death?
In New York State, the person who was driving or operating the other vehicle is responsible, as well as the registered and titled owners who are vicariously liable. That means they are responsible for whatever accidents occur when they allow another person to drive their car. I advise clients as a Buffalo Motorcycle Accident Lawyer that if the driver happens to be during their employment on duty working for their company, the employer may also be held responsible for the actions of that employee while they are working.
What Should I Do if I Was Involved in a Motorcycle Accident Without a Helmet?
Although in New York State that’s quite rare because it’s against the law and it’s obvious to any police officer that you might pass, some states don’t have that same law. If, in fact, you’re ever involved in an accident like that, you do have a right to compensation if it’s somebody else’s fault for causing the accident. The difference is going to involve the extent of the damages you’re entitled to, especially if wearing the helmet would have prevented those injuries.
For example, if you broke your leg, then you are entitled to full compensation because wearing a helmet didn’t come into play at all regarding that injury. However, claiming head trauma or a traumatic brain injury will be much more challenging because the defense will be able to argue that your defenses would have been less or not occurred if you had worn your helmet. If you’re ever in this circumstance or you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, you should call somebody immediately who is a qualified personal injury attorney for assistance.