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NYC Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Meirowitz and Wasserberg photo and text: NYC Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

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Motorcyclists are twice as likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in New York City than they are in the rest of New York state. The majority of these crashes in New York City occur on city streets rather than highways, and most of these accidents involve other drivers.

In a collision between a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle, motorcyclists almost always suffer serious injuries. Passenger vehicle drivers are often at fault for these accidents. Other potential defendants could be a roadway maintenance crew or motorcycle part manufacturer. If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, we can help. Contact us today to speak with a knowledgeable New York City motorcycle accident attorney at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP. The consultation is absolutely free.

Compensation For Motorcycle Accident Victims In New York

New York follows a no-fault rule for accidents. This means after a crash, an injured victim files an insurance claim against his or her own policy. If your injuries constitute a “severe injury” in the eyes of the court, you may be able to pursue a liability claim against the at-fault driver. The most common types of injuries that would allow you to do so include:

  • Bone fractures
  • Any injury resulting in full disability for 90 consecutive days or more
  • Permanent limitation in use of a part of the body
  • Significant limitation of use of any bodily function or bodily system
  • Permanent disfigurement

Most motorcycle accidents result in catastrophic injuries. As a motorcyclist, you likely have grounds for a liability claim and should consult a motorcycle accident lawyer in New York City. Remember that New York also follows a pure comparative negligence rule. Even if it is determined that you share some fault in your accident, you can still recover damages.

Under New York’s comparative negligence law, as long as the plaintiff’s fault percentage is less than the defendant’s, the plaintiff will receive compensation for his or her damages. However, the court will reduce his or her award by his or her fault percentage. For example, in a $100,000 case in which the plaintiff is 20% at fault, the plaintiff would lose 20% of the case award for a net total of $80,000.

ECONOMIC DAMAGES

  • Medical expenses: This does not simply mean your hospital bills after an accident. It includes all out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
  • Lost income:  If an accident causes a victim to miss work during recovery, he or she can claim the wages lost during that time as economic damages. The plaintiff will need to provide pay stubs or any other documentation so the court can award an appropriate amount.
  • Property damage

NONECONOMIC DAMAGES

Noneconomic damages are a bit more difficult to define. They cover damages that are harder to assign a monetary value. These include things like:

  • Mental trauma
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Permanent disfigurement or disability
  • Diminished ability to work

PUNITIVE DAMAGES

In some cases, the court will also award punitive damages. These damages are an attempt to dissuade a defendant from repeating his or her negligent behavior in the future. Unlike other damages, punitive damages do not aim to compensate the victim. Punitive damages may apply to:

  • Gross negligence
  • Intentionally harmful actions
  • Dangerously reckless behavior

The amount of punitive damages a court will award typically depends on the defendant’s financial status. A wealthy defendant will stand to lose far more in punitive damages that a defendant with limited financial assets.

Proving Liability in an NYC Motorcycle Accident Case

If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident in New York City, an experienced personal injury lawyer, such as the attorneys at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, will be able to help prove liability in your case.

If there are any elements of negligence that support your case, your attorney will assist you in the process of obtaining and documenting all neessary evidence.

Whether through the manual process of digging up documentation related to your case or hiring an expert who can assist with obtaining the required proof, your lawyer will gather the information needed to determine liability.

Finally, depending on the circumstance surrounding your motorcycle accident, you may be able to sue other liable parties who contributed to the accident. An experienced attorney will help determine who was responsible for your accident and in what proportion.

What if I’m partially to blame for the accident?

If you’re partially to blame for the accident, New York’s contributory negligence laws still allow you to recover damages reduced in proportion to your contribution.

In a simplistic example, if you’re responsible for 50% of the accident, the amount of damages you can recover is reduced by half.

Statute of Limitations to File a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit in New York

Based on the New York statute of limitations, you have up to three years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit.

That said, contact an attorney immediately after you’ve received medical treatment and are physically able to do so. An experienced NYC personal injury lawyer will be able to dive into the details of your accident and help you put together a strong case. The more time they have to establish your case, the better.

What To Do After A Motorcycle Accident In New York City

If you plan to pursue legal action after a motorcycle accident, there are steps you can take to minimize your losses. Keep the following tips in mind after any motorcycle accident in New York City.

1. SEEK MEDICAL CARE

Even if you think you only sustained minor injuries in your accident, adrenaline in your system can dull pain. This leads you to believe that your injuries are less severe than they are. It’s not uncommon for a person to walk away from a car accident feeling fine and then be unable to get out of bed the next day.

Seeking medical care immediately following your accident will:

  • Prevent injuries from going unnoticed
  • Help your chances in a future lawsuit or an insurance claim

If you did not immediately seek medical attention, a claims adjuster may consider this proof that your injuries were not as bad as you claimed. This can lead to a lower settlement amount or a denied claim. If you go to court, a jury may consider the delay in seeking treatment as proof you’re exaggerating your damages. Seeking immediate care will strengthen your position overall.

2. TAKE PHOTOS OF THE SCENE

If possible, try to take photos of the accident scene as soon as it is safe to do so. Take photos of:

  • The damage to your vehicle
  • Damage to the other vehicles involved in the accident
  • Your injuries
  • Any debris or skid marks in the road

All of these things will help a claims adjuster or jury form a more accurate picture of how the accident happened.

Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

A motorcyclist has very little protection in the event of a crash. Drivers and passengers of enclosed vehicles have some shielding from the impact of a crash. Motorcycles do not have these safety features. Safety equipment available to motorcyclists generally only serves to mitigate injuries, not prevent them. Some of the most common types of motorcycle injuries include:

Many of these injuries will require long-term medical care like physical therapy, rehabilitation and occupational therapy. If another person or party caused your motorcycle accident, you can claim these medical expenses as damages in a lawsuit.

Contributing Factors to Serious or Deadly Motorcycle Accidents in NYC

Several factors frequently contribute to many motorcycle accidents in NYC. Most commonly, poor decision-making by the motorcyclist can result in severe consequences.

Some common motorcycle accident-inducing factors include:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Aggressive driving and road rage
  • Failure to yield to other vehicles on the road
  • Drowsy driving, as well as any distracted driving
  • Following too closely and not being able to brake in time
  • Improperly passing or changing lanes
  • Speeding and traveling above the speed limit
  • Making improper turns and catching other vehicles off guard
  • Failing to follow traffic signals, putting other people on the road at risk

Dangerous Driving Conditions in NYC

New York State’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) defines several “Special Driving Conditions” that impact roadways and make them dangerous to all motor vehicle drivers, especially motorcyclists.

Dangerous driving conditions include situations where the motorcyclist is crossing a railroad; traveling on an expressway; driving at night; driving in rain, fog, or snow; or driving in winter conditions.

Railroad Crossings

Traveling across railroad crossings is dangerous because trains can traverse the tracks at high speeds at any time. Whenever a rider is approaching a railroad, they should always assume that a train may be present and look in both directions before crossing.

Traveling on Expressways

An expressway is any highway where traffic moves on two or more lanes. Due to the high speeds on expressways and the number of vehicles on the road, motorcyclists should take extra precautions while driving next to passenger vehicles.

Driving at Night

Ninety percent of all driving decisions depend on visual input and what you see. When driving at night during low visibility conditions, riders must take extra precautions, such as keeping more distance from other vehicles than usual and moving slower than expected.

Driving in Rain, Fog, or Snow

When the roads are slippery, the risk of losing control and causing an accident rises exponentially. All drivers, especially motorcyclists, must take extra care when driving in slippery conditions, such as rain and snow, or low visibility conditions, such as fog.

Driving in Winter Conditions

Winter is the most challenging season for driving. While there are typically fewer motorcyclists on the road in winter, brave souls still venture out on their bikes throughout this dangerous season. A motorcycle rider should avoid driving in the winter, and if they must go, they should follow all precautions.

Tips for Motorcyclist Safety in New York City

Motorcyclists need to stay safe when driving in New York City. This safety can follow a few simple rules, all of which entail taking extra time to slow down and keep your full attention on the road ahead.

Motorcyclists can stay safe by:

  • Wearing appropriate gear: Always wear a helmet to protect you from severe head injuries, and consider wearing a complete set of protective equipment like a jacket, eye protection, pants, gloves, and boots.
  • Keeping up with your training: Brush up on your DMV skills test required to obtain your motorcycle license in New York. You can also take an additional safety course from a third party.
  • Slowing down: Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit in New York City is 25 MPH by default.
  • Staying in your lane: As a motorcycle rider, you’re entitled to full use of the road, but lane splitting is not legal. Always signal before changing lanes or making a turn to alert drivers around you.

NYC Motorcycle Laws

Motorcycle riders in New York City must have a Class M or MJ Motorcycle Operator’s License or Motorcycle Learner’s Permit and obey New York’s motorcycle laws.

These laws are imperative to the safety of motorcycle riders and other vehicles on the road, and if disregarded, can put the motorcyclist and everyone traveling around them at risk.

New York State defines its motorcycle laws as follows:

  • All riders must use a motorcycle helmet that meets US DOT federal motor vehicle safety standards.
  • All riders must use eye protection that conforms to the standards of the American National Standard Institute (ANSI).
  • In the daytime, motorcyclists must use their headlights. Headlight modulators are also permitted.
  • The motorcycle must have a passenger seat and footrest if carrying a passenger.
  • Motorcycles must have all the proper equipment to ride on the road legally.
  • In a single lane, only two motorcycles may ride side by side.

Motorcycle Annual Inspections and Insurance in New York

New York requires that all motorcycles have valid registrations for one year, with all motorcycle registrations expiring annually on April 30.

All riders must have their motorcycle inspected once every 12 months at a DMV-licensed safety inspection station to keep their motorbike approved and legally driveable.

Furthermore, riders in New York need to understand that motorcycles aren’t covered under the “no-fault” insurance provisions that typically protect regular motor vehicles and their drivers. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident in NYC and were the one on the motorcycle, you will not be able to obtain “no-fault” insurance coverage.

Fortunately, you’ll still be able to sue for damages and compensation in court.

Contact An NYC Motorcycle Accident Lawyer If You Were Injured

As a motorcycle accident victim, you likely sustained serious injuries. You may have had to stay in the hospital, undergo tests, and receive surgeries or other types of treatments. Meanwhile, you’re missing work and income. The accident may have totaled your motorcycle or caused thousands of dollars in repairs. Who will pay for these losses? If you weren’t entirely at fault for the incident, there could be one or more parties legally responsible for compensating you. It’s up to you to take the right steps and obtain the money you need to move forward.

Retain our lawyers to help with insurance company settlement negotiations or personal injury claims in NYC. We can make the most out of your claim with high-quality legal representation. Partner with Meirowitz & Wasserberg to learn as much as possible about your motorcycle accident. To speak with an attorney during a no-cost case evaluation in New York City, contact us online.

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