Our Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Explain Some Basic Things You Need to Know if You Were Injured in a Motorcycle accident
Motorcyclists are particularly at risk for injury when involved in a motorcycle accident. Injuries to the spine, knee and shoulder are quite common in motorcycle accidents because riders are less protected than car passengers. In fact, motorcyclists commonly sustain burn and “road rash” type injuries when the accident results in a fall off the motorcycle. If you were injured in an accident while riding a motorcycle, here are some important things you should know.
How Do I Prove (And Win) A Motorcycle Accident Case?
To win a case as a motorcyclist, you must prove that the other driver was negligent. You can prove negligence by showing, for example, that the other driver disregarded a stop sign, traffic light or struck you from behind. You can also prove negligence by simply demonstrating that the other driver failed to exercise reasonable care at the time of the accident. You can do this by proving, for example, that the other driver failed to:
- Have the vehicle under reasonable control;
- Maintain a reasonably safe speed;
- Keep a proper lookout for other vehicles and dangerous conditions;
- Use reasonable care to avoid an accident.
What are the Obligations of a Motorcyclist?
Motorcyclists, like any other type of motorist, also have a duty to obey New York State’s vehicle and traffic laws. There are, however, some specific and additional rules that motorcyclists must follow. For example, motorcyclists:
- Cannot ride between lanes of traffic or between adjacent rows of vehicles;
- Cannot carry more than the number of persons for which the motorcycle is designed;
- Cannot ride more than two riders next to each other in a single lane;
- Must wear a helmet at all times;
- Must ride the motorcycle the way it was intended to be ridden.
Just like any other type of car accident, even if the defendant is found to be negligent, your conduct is also important. Under New York’s comparative negligence rules, the jury (and the insurance company, if the case is negotiated prior to trial) will evaluate your conduct as a motorcycle operator to determine whether you were also at fault for the accident. If you are also found to be at fault, your award will be reduced by the percentage of your fault. For example, if you are awarded $100,000, but are found 50% at fault for the accident, your award is reduced to $50,000.
Are Motorcyclists Entitled to No-Fault Benefits?
No-Fault benefits provide coverage for medical bills, lost earnings from work and other incidental expenses in most circumstances for those involved in a car accident. Unfortunately, however, motorcyclists are usually not entitled to No-Fault benefits. As a result, injured motorcyclists who do not have other medical insurance may be forced to receive little or no medical treatment for purely financial reasons.
A motorcyclists’ lack of entitlement to No-Fault benefits does have one benefit: you do not need to prove that your injury is a “qualifying injury” under New York’s restrictive Insurance Law. In other types of car accident cases, the injured party is required to prove that the injury sustained is a qualifying, or serious injury. This hazy requirement is often at the core of car accident litigation. Fortunately, motorcyclists are not required to prove a qualifying injury to recover for pain and suffering in a car accident case.
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If you have any questions concerning your motorcycle accident, contact our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers for more information, by email or calling (800) 762-9300. You can also get started by simply filling out one of our case intake forms, and we will have one of our attorneys get right back to you.
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