Motorcycle Laws in New York

Motorcycle drivers and passengers have very little protection on the open road. Except for their helmets, motorcyclists do not typically have a barrier between themselves and the ground or another vehicle. Therefore, in an accident, they stand to suffer permanent and sometimes fatal injuries.

Many motorcycle crashes in New York happen when other drivers intentionally or negligently violate various traffic laws. When drivers commit these traffic law violations, they might cause their vehicle to strike a motorcycle. In the process, the cyclist may fall to the ground and suffer serious injuries.

If you or someone you care about was recently in a motorcycle crash, retain a skilled attorney who can represent you as quickly as possible. A New York motorcycle accident lawyer can handle all of the legal components of your case while you seek medical treatment, undergo medical procedures, and focus on getting better.

Once your medical treatment ends or you know your future treatment needs, your attorney can begin negotiating with your insurance company and pursuing the full monetary recovery you deserve. In certain circumstances, your lawyer can also file a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Every step of the way, your lawyer will advocate for you – and help you achieve the best possible result in your personal injury case.

Injuries That Riders May Suffer in a Motorcycle Collision

Motorcycle Laws in New York

When motorcyclists fall directly on the ground in an accident, they may experience permanent and sometimes deadly injuries. The specific injuries that a motorcycle rider suffers will frequently depend on the type of motorcycle crash, how they land on the ground, and whether or not they wear protective clothing, such as helmets and riding gear.

Some of the most common injuries that motorcycle riders may suffer in an accident include:

  • Internal organ damage, including internal bleeding
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Soft tissue contusions
  • Rib fractures
  • Complete and incomplete paralysis injuries
  • Full and partial spinal cord injuries
  • Mouth and jaw injuries
  • Teeth injuries
  • Eye injuries
  • Road rash

If you suffered any of these injuries in your recent motorcycle crash, always get the medical care you need and complete all requested medical treatment. If you discharge yourself early from medical care, the insurance company might look skeptically at your claimed injuries, believing that they are not severe.

However, if you concentrate on completing your medical treatment fully, the insurance company is more likely to take your claim seriously and offer you the fair monetary recovery you deserve for your losses.

Types of Motorcycle Accidents That Result From Road Rule Violations

When other drivers violate traffic laws, the chances are high they will cause a motor vehicle crash. In some cases, these crashes involve motorcycles and bicycles.

Some of the most common motorcycle accidents that happen in New York include:

  • Rollover accidents, where the force of a collision causes a motorcycle to flip over, frequently resulting in permanent injuries and fatalities
  • Sideswipe accidents, where the side of another vehicle strikes the side of a motorcycle while both vehicles are traveling forward in the same direction
  • Tailgate accidents, where the front of another vehicle hits the back tire of a motorcycle
  • Broadside or T-bone accidents, where the front of another vehicle strikes the side of a motorcycle. These accidents typically occur when a negligent driver fails to yield the right-of-way to the motorcyclist
  • Head-on collisions, where the front portions of another vehicle and a motorcycle strike one another directly, frequently resulting in one or more fatalities

You are not alone if you suffered an injury in one of these motorcycle crashes. By retaining legal counsel to represent you as quickly in the process as possible, you increase your chances of filing a successful claim or lawsuit for monetary compensation. Your attorney can pursue a favorable settlement offer from the at-fault driver’s insurer.

Traffic Law Violations That Lead to Motorcycle Crashes

Drivers owe other drivers, as well as motorcycle riders, a duty to drive reasonably, carefully, and prudently at all times while on the road. However, when other drivers break traffic rules and fail to drive carefully, they can bring about a severe motorcycle crash.

Some of the most common traffic law violations that lead to motorcycle collisions in New York include:

  • Exceeding the speed limit, especially by failing to take into account the prevailing traffic and weather conditions
  • Failing to use turn signals when switching lanes, exiting a traffic circle, or turning onto a different road
  • Running red lights, yield signs, and stop signs or disregarding other traffic control devices
  • Failing to use rear-view and side-view mirrors while driving and when exiting a parking space in a parking lot or parking garage
  • Dooring accidents, where a driver negligently opens their door into the path of an oncoming motorcyclist
  • Failing to use technological devices on a vehicle, such as lane-change warnings and rear backup cameras
  • Distracted driving, such as texting and driving, listening to loud music in a vehicle, or tending to passengers in the backseat
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Driving while intoxicated – or DWI – is especially likely to cause a motorcycle accident because an intoxicated driver frequently experiences both physical and mental symptoms that may affect their driving abilities.

For example, a drunk driver might experience blurred vision that prevents them from seeing other vehicles, including motorcycles. An intoxicated driver may also have difficulty controlling their reflexes or stopping their car in time to avoid a motorcycle crash.

If you suffered a severe injury, your lawyer can file an injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer and handle settlement negotiations on your behalf.

​No-Fault Coverage and Motorcycles

New York follows no-fault insurance laws for motor vehicle accidents, and every driver must carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, including motorcyclists. However, no-fault coverage applies to an accident very differently motorcyclists.

New York insurance law excludes motorcyclists and passengers from no-fault coverage. The PIP coverage they must carry provides no-fault coverage for others injured in motorcycle crashes, such as pedestrians, or car drivers and passengers. If you are a motorcyclist with injuries from an accident, your PIP policy will not cover you, no matter who caused the crash. Instead, you must seek compensation through an at-fault insurance claim against a liable third party.

Usually, to pursue fault-based claims for a motor vehicle accident in New York, a victim must prove they have serious injuries. This is also different for motorcyclists.

If you suffer any injury at all – even minor or superficial injuries – in a Bronx motorcycle accident, you may sue for compensation. The serious injury threshold requirement under Section 5102(d) of the No-Fault Law does not apply to motorcyclists or their passengers when they sue for compensation in court.

Specifically, Section 5102(a) of the No-Fault Law exempts motorcyclists and their passengers from the serious injury requirement. This is the trade-off for the exclusion of injured motorcyclists and their passengers from entitlement to the benefits of no-fault insurance under the No-Fault Law.

To recover monetary damages as part of a third-party personal injury claim, you must satisfy several legal elements. Specifically, you must demonstrate that the at-fault driver behaved unreasonably under the circumstances, that the accident directly resulted from the other driver’s negligence, and that you suffered at least one physical injury as a direct result of the motorcycle crash.

Insurance companies have absolutely no incentive to fairly compensate you for your motorcycle accident injuries. Instead, the insurance company will do everything possible to undervalue your claim or lawsuit.

Suing the At-fault Driver Following a Motorcycle Crash in New York

If you file a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and the insurance company refuses to offer you fair monetary damages, your attorney can file a lawsuit in court and begin the litigation process.

During litigation, the parties will participate in both written and oral discovery. During the written stage of discovery, the parties will answer one another’s written Interrogatories and exchange various documents, including copies of police reports, witness statements, medical bills, and medical treatment records. During oral discovery, the parties will typically submit to depositions.

If the defense lawyer deposes you in your motorcycle accident case, they will likely ask you questions about:

  • How the motorcycle accident occurred
  • The physical/mental injuries that you suffered (or you continue to suffer)
  • The medical treatment you underwent for your injuries
  • The effects that the accident has had on your life and well-being

A knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney can thoroughly prepare you for your deposition and anticipate the questions the defense attorney will likely ask.

Also, during the discovery portion of litigation, the parties may attend a settlement conference with the court and attempt to resolve their case. If that does not happen, the parties might take their case to a civil jury trial, where a jury will decide the outcome of all disputed issues.

In most situations, the most disputed issue is that of monetary damages. At other times, the parties might agree to take their case to alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, such as a mediation or binding arbitration hearing.

Given the facts and circumstances, your attorney can advise how best to proceed with your case. Your attorney can also represent you at all legal proceedings in your case and pursue the full and fair monetary damages you deserve to recover for your injuries.

An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in your area can negotiate with insurance company adjusters on your behalf and aggressively fight for your rights. Your lawyer can take your case to court if the adjuster refuses to take your motorcycle accident case seriously and offers you fair monetary compensation.

Recovering the Monetary Damages You Need for Your Injuries

In filing a third-party personal injury claim against the at-fault driver, you want to recover fair monetary damages for your injuries. This includes compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, housekeeping costs, and medical transportation costs related to the accident and your injuries.

In most situations, to file a third-party claim, the accident victim must meet a specific threshold, such as suffering a disfiguring or permanent injury in the accident.

As part of a third-party claim, the accident victim can recover additional damages, including monetary compensation for:

  • Anticipated medical costs
  • Mental distress
  • Loss of use of a specific body part
  • Lost quality of life
  • Loss of spousal consortium
  • Long-term or lifetime care costs
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement

Your motorcycle accident lawyer can file the appropriate claim in your case and negotiate with insurance company representatives on your behalf. Your lawyer may also explore litigation options if the insurance company does not compensate you fairly for your injuries.

Speak With an Experienced New York Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Right Away

Hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer shouldn’t cause financial concern. Most accident and injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only collect a fee if they win your case. This arrangement allows access to legal representation without upfront costs. It motivates your lawyer to secure the best outcome for your claim, aligning their success with yours. You can pursue your case with confidence, knowing that legal fees won’t burden you.

Andrew G. Finkelstein

Andrew G. Finkelstein, New York Motorcycle Accident Attorney

If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash, always involve a qualified motorcycle accident lawyer in New York as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you may inadvertently waive your right to file a claim or lawsuit seeking the monetary recovery you deserve.

Your personal injury attorney can take the appropriate legal action on your behalf and help maximize your total monetary recovery. Best of all, your lawyer can do this for you while you focus on the most important thing: recovering from your injuries. Never wait to learn about your legal rights and options following a motorcycle crash and injuries.