According to the Insurance Information Institute, motorcyclists were five times more likely than passenger car drivers to be injured in a traffic crash in 2014. With more than 8.4 million motorcycles on the road across the nation, motorcyclist injuries are becoming more common on our busy highways. Injured motorcyclists may be entitled to compensation if they can prove another party caused their accident. Call a New York motorcycle accident and injury attorney for help.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents and Common Injuries
Another party’s negligence is one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents. Drivers of cars, vans, and trucks can neglect to check their blind spots before changing lanes or turning, putting them in the path of a motorcycle.
Vehicles following a motorcycle too closely can cause rear-end collisions, while cars turning left at an intersection can crash into oncoming motorcycles if they misjudge the clearance. Motorcycle crashes can even occur on city streets when cars parked along the road open their doors into the street without checking for oncoming motorcycles.
The injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident are typically more severe than those suffered in a car accident. This is because cars offer more protection around their passengers than motorcycles. Protective safety gear can help reduce the risk of injury, but no helmet or padded clothing can fully protect a rider from common injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Road rash
- Spinal cord injury
- Sprains, strains, and fractures
Note: You should always wear a helmet and other safety gear to protect yourself in case of an accident.
Insurance Coverage for a Motorcycle Accident
As with any vehicle, you must register and insure your motorcycle before you can take it out on the road. However, unlike traditional vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents do not fall under the state’s no-fault laws. The benefit, in this case, is that the serious injury threshold of the no-fault law does not apply to your case.
This makes it a bit easier to file a claim against the at-fault motorist to seek damages equal to the losses you sustained, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and earning capacity
- Permanent injury
If you were partially at fault, New York’s comparative fault laws would still allow you to recover a portion of your damages, equal to the degree of fault of the other driver. For example, if you were 20 percent at fault, you can still recover 80 percent of your damages.
Note that if the at-fault driver is uninsured or police are unable to find them, you may still have recourse through your uninsured motorist coverage or through New York’s Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC).
Determining Liability in a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcyclists are often at a disadvantage when officials attempt to determine liability after an accident. Because motorcyclists have a reputation for being reckless and careless, many responsible drivers get a bad reputation. Furthermore, in many cases, officials may label motorcyclists who ride without a helmet as unsafe and “deserving” of their injuries.
The best way to avoid these stereotypes and stigmas is to provide solid evidence of how the accident happened. Make sure you gather and preserve the following items:
- Photos or video of the accident scene
- Witness testimony
- Police reports
- The damaged vehicles
- Damaged clothing or safety gear
- Medical records
Through this evidence, you will need to establish that the other driver was mainly at fault for the accident. You may need expert witnesses such as an accident reconstructionist to testify how the accident happened. An expert medical witness can also be helpful for proving that your injuries would still be severe if you wore a helmet.
This evidence is necessary if the insurance company tries to claim your injuries occurred due to a lack of helmet use.
Let Our Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Help You Settle Your Claim
After a serious motorcycle accident, you need to focus on recovering from your injuries. Let the motorcycle accident attorneys at Buttafuoco & Associates handle all the aspects of your legal claims. We can help you negotiate a settlement with the insurance company and take the case to trial when necessary.
Call us today to schedule a free case review: 1-800-NOW-HURT.