New York Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Contact the seasoned New York motorcycle accident lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, for a free case evaluation to discuss the details of your accident. We serve clients throughout the state of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
Riding a motorcycle is an efficient way to get around New York, especially during the summer months. Even if you don’t ride your bike as a form of transportation, you might enjoy taking it out for a joyride to cruise around the boroughs when you have some spare time. Although motorcycle enthusiasts live for the time they can spend on their bikes, riding is not the safest form of transportation.
Even when bikers are safe and wear proper gear, they remain at risk for sustaining injuries from other motorists who might be distracted, fatigued, or drunk, and cause a motorcycle accident. Only motorcycle gear creates a barrier between the human body and another vehicle or the pavement, which helps to contribute to serious injuries when accidents occur, some of which might be fatal. Making matters worse is the fact that the vast majority of motorcycle accidents never have to happen if those in passenger vehicles drive with care.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s Results in Motorcycle Accident Cases
The dedicated motorcycle accident attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, have over 40 years of experience advocating for motorcycle accident injury victims, as well as others injured as a result of the negligence of other parties. The firm’s passion for seeking justice and providing excellent client service has led to settlements and verdicts ranging from a few hundred thousand dollars to several million.
Two recent case examples include a $536,000 verdict for a biker who was injured in Long Island City after a driver in a parked car opened up his car door and caused a crash and another client who received a $525,000 settlement after a driver in the Bronx ran a stop sign and T-boned our client’s motorcycle.
These recent outcomes do not guarantee specific results for your motorcycle accident case; in fact, it’s impossible to guarantee outcomes, because each case has different facts and circumstances. You can, however, rest assured the skilled legal team at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, will work to build the strongest case possible against the party who caused you harm, so you have the best odds for a favorable outcome in your case.
Injuries Bikers Suffer from Motorcycle Accidents
Bikers have very little protection when they experience a collision, sometimes resulting in severe, catastrophic, and fatal injuries. When motorcycle accident victims are fortunate enough to live through an accident, they might need to spend weeks or months recovering.
Some of the most common types of accident injuries bikers suffer include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). New York law requires all motorcycle riders and their passengers to wear helmets, regardless of age and experience. Yet, even when wearing a helmet, the impact of a motorcycle crash can lead to severe brain injuries. Mild TBIs, typically referred to as concussions, heal quickly within a few months, but severe TBIs can cause permanent brain damage plaguing victims with chronic lifelong struggles.
- Back injuries. Bikers involved in a motorcycle accident might get thrown from their bikes, resulting in painful back injuries. In addition to multiple fractured vertebrae, bikers who suffer back injuries might have slipped or herniated discs. Back injury victims often must have one or more corrective surgeries, which can still leave victims suffering with lifelong discomfort and pain.
- Spinal cord injuries. A severe motorcycle accident might also cause damage to the spinal cord resulting in temporary or permanent loss of body function. Minor injuries to the spinal cord can heal, and victims have a strong chance to regain any lost functions. Yet, when severe injuries occur, victims aren’t always as fortunate. Severe spinal cord damage can result in permanent paralysis in some or all of the body. The extent of loss a victim suffers depends on the location of the injury along the spine; injuries closer to the brain typically cause the most loss and can result in tetraplegia, paralysis from the neck down.
- Road rash. Although road rash might occur in other types of accidents, bikers are at most risk for suffering road rash. During a motorcycle accident, bikers sometimes get thrown from their bikes. When some speed is involved, the biker’s body will keep moving and slide across the road. If the biker isn’t wearing leather or other proper gear, the friction from sliding can cause open wounds that go to the bone. Protective gear can protect against road rash, but high speeds might create a situation where sliding on the road will wear through the gear and still cause mild to moderate road rash.
- Amputation. Motorcycle accidents put bikers at risk for amputation when one or more of their limbs gets pinned under their bike or under a motor vehicle. The crushed limbs lose blood flow and even with their best efforts, doctors might not be able to revive the limb. Saving the biker’s life might require doctors to amputate. Those who suffer an amputation might spend months or years recovering, need to learn how to use an artificial limb, and must struggle with the emotional trauma of losing a limb.
Motorcycle Accident Injury Statistics in New York State
Compensation for Motorcycle Accident Victims
When you get in a motorcycle accident in New York, it falls outside of the state’s no-fault insurance system. This means you need to pursue directly the at-fault party and/or their insurance carrier. Under New York law, you have three years from the date of the accident to take legal action against the at-fault party. Some exceptions exist, but they are rare; your attorney will let you know if your case warrants an extension to your statute of limitations time clock.
If you reach a settlement agreement or the court rules in your favor, you might recover damages for the following losses associated with motorcycle accidents:
- Medical treatment costs that can include ambulance and emergency services, emergency department visit, hospital stay, diagnostic imaging, surgery, follow up care, and prescriptions
- Future medical expenses when motorcycle accident injuries require months or years of recovery, or when an accident causes a permanent disability requiring lifelong treatment and care
- Rehabilitation expenses including appointments with physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and any other specialists tasked with helping accident victims regain lost functions or learn how to cope with permanent injuries
- Lost wages for time away from work related to the motorcycle accident, injury, and recovery
- Lost future wages when a motorcycle accident prevents a victim from returning to their position or seeking any other gainful employment in the future
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium with a spouse
- Loss of quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Other non-economic costs that might apply to a case
- Punitive or exemplary damages in cases of gross negligence or intentional harm
If a loved one lost his or her life in a New York motorcycle accident, surviving family members might be able to take legal action against the at-fault party, depending on their relationship with the deceased. Your attorney can answer any questions about your eligibility for filing a wrongful death lawsuit and what the best course of action is for you and your family.
What’s Next After a New York Motorcycle Accident?
If you’ve recently suffered injuries in a New York motorcycle accident, we assume you have reported the accident to the police and have seen a doctor about your injuries. The next steps you take can potentially influence the outcome of your case.
Follow these guidelines to help increase your odds of receiving the maximum compensation for your injuries:
- Keep all of your receipts and other records of economic loss related to your injuries. Sustaining injuries in a motorcycle accident can be costly, and you need proof of your loss to support your claim. Make sure to keep all medical bills, including any receipts for travel to and from the hospital or doctor. You should also keep receipts for prescription costs and over-the-counter medication you purchase to treat your injuries or their side effects. If you have a job outside of the home, gather your most recent payroll information to prove your income; in severe cases, you might also need tax records to prove your yearly income. These documents will help your attorney place a value on your lost wages and future lost wages. If you need to make modifications to your home to accommodate your injuries or hire outside services to help with yard work, snow removal, cleaning, or other things you might not be able to do, provide those receipts to your attorney too.
- Let your lawyer handle communications with defense and insurance companies. Insurance adjusters and investigators are trained to elicit statements from accident victims that might reduce the value of your claim. When you let your attorney handle communication, you will be protected from these tricky tactics. Also, you might find an insurance company will offer you a quick settlement so you waive your right to sue for damages. These offers are typically much lower than you deserve, but are meant to tempt you and protect the insurance company from having to make a big payout later on. Lawyers are trained negotiators, who can often negotiate a much higher settlement that will compensate you for your injuries.
- Only speak with your lawyer about your motorcycle accident case. As mentioned above, insurance companies can be tricky when investigating. Your friends and family members can also say something that might devalue your claim. If you keep details away from well-meaning loved ones, and only speak with your lawyer, you can protect them from accidentally saying something that could hurt your case. Once your case is settled or you’ve gone to court, you can share details about your accident and injuries without fear.
- Stay off of social media until your case is settled or litigated. Insurance companies will also check out your social media when investigating your injuries. They want to find evidence of you participating in certain activities that might devalue your claim. Ultimately, they are seeking evidence that suggests your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim. Investigators will twist anything you post on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, and use it so they don’t have to pay you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. It’s not necessary to delete your accounts, but you should refrain from posting any personal information or pictures until your case is over.
New York Motorcycle Accident FAQ
It’s summer! Summer and fall are both great times to ride a motorcycle in New York—up the Thruway, in the Adirondacks, the Catskills, Long Island, and even the heart of New York City. But, of course, riding comes with risks. It’s not uncommon for motorcyclists to have questions if they get into an accident. Below, we provide answers to frequently asked questions about motorcycle accidents in New York.
Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents occur frequently, and can leave motorcyclists with severe injuries. The National Safety Council points out that motorcycles make up only 3 percent of all registered vehicles, but are in 17 percent of all traffic accident fatalities.
If you are in a motorcycle accident, move both yourself and your vehicle out of harm’s way immediately.
If you suffer injuries, call 911 right away. If emergency medical technicians (EMTs) feel your injuries warrant an ambulance trip to a hospital emergency department, by all means, go with them.
If your injuries aren’t severe, call the police and stay at the scene. It’s against the law in New York state to leave the scene of a traffic accident that causes injuries or death.
Follow the same protocol as drivers in other vehicle accidents do. Give the attending police officer information about the accident. Tell them what happened, where you were, and what occurred. They will interview all the drivers involved.
Get a copy of the police report. It will be an excellent source of evidence about who or what caused the accident, in the police officer’s opinion.
You should exchange insurance and contact information with all other drivers. If passersby are involved, get contact information from them as well.
If you’re carrying a smartphone, take pictures of the scene. Frankly, it’s always prudent to collect any evidence you can get about how an accident occurred, how severe the damage caused was, and who or what bore responsibility. Pictures showing the trajectories of vehicles, damage sustained by vehicles, damage sustained by the road barriers or other objects, and skid marks can all constitute important evidence.
After the accident, see a doctor as soon as possible. Explain that you were in a motorcycle accident and want a doctor’s examination to see if you are injured and the extent of your injuries. A doctor should examine you and perform diagnostic tests if necessary.
Follow all the recommendations of doctors and other medical personnel. If they advise physical therapy, make an appointment with a physical therapist. If they want you to take medicine, fill the prescription and take it.
Keep all records of all medical treatment. Again, evidence is important if you’re injured in an accident. Medical records provide valuable evidence about how you were injured. They can also provide clues as to what or who caused an accident.
Finally, it’s a very good idea to take pictures of all your injuries shortly after seeking medical attention. You want a record of what the injuries looked like when they were fresh, not once cuts or broken bones heal and bruises fade.
Injured people naturally want to know how they can receive compensation for their injuries! One of the reasons you should keep police reports and other records of the accident and your injuries is for potential use if another party caused the accident, because your compensation can depend on proof of the accident’s causes.
All vehicle drivers owe a duty of care to other vehicles on the road. Usually, the duty of care consists of following all traffic laws and driving safely and prudently. Vehicle manufacturers owe a duty of care to consumers to sell them safe vehicles.
A violation, or breach, of the duty of care constitutes negligence. A driver who breaks traffic laws by driving too fast, for example, has breached their duty of care. A car manufacturer whose brakes fail to work has also breached their duty of care. Breaching a duty of care is called “negligence.” Negligent parties whose negligence causes an accident are liable, or financially responsible, for injuries stemming directly from the accident.
If your injuries stem from an accident caused by someone else, you can approach the at-fault party’s insurance carrier for compensation or file a New York motorcycle accident lawsuit against them.
In either case, you can seek compensation for:
- Medical bills to treat the injuries.
- Wages lost due to the accident and the injuries.
- Pain and suffering stemming from the injuries (physical, emotional, and mental).
As many car owners know, New York State follows a no-fault system for car accidents. “No-fault” means that people injured in an accident use their own insurance coverage to receive compensation for medical bills and a portion of wages lost from work. That’s one of the reasons car insurance is required when you register your vehicle.
But the no-fault system applies only to car accidents. If you or a loved one suffer injuries while riding a motorcycle, you are not bound by no-fault rules, even if the other vehicle was a car. You are free to approach the at-fault party’s insurance carrier or a New York motorcycle accident lawyer to represent you in a lawsuit.
Some injured motorcyclists feel that approaching the at-fault party’s insurance company is the best way to receive compensation. After all, it simply requires filing a claim, without having to hire a lawyer or go to court, they reason.
If filing a claim ensured a just amount of compensation for injured people, that belief would make sense. Unfortunately, though, filing an insurance claim doesn’t always guarantee that injured people will receive what their injuries are worth.
Insurance companies, make no mistake about it, are in the business of turning a profit. To that end, they have every incentive to protect their insured. They are certainly not above alleging that someone else, even you, caused the accident, rather than their insured. After all, if the insured caused it, they have to pay damages to you, which would affect their bottom line.
They may still offer to mail a check quite quickly. If they do, however, it is not likely to be for the amount that your claim is worth. “Low balling” is a frequently used strategy by which insurance companies settle your claim quickly, but for a very low amount.
Insurance companies also frequently simply delay a claim…and delay…and delay. They may ask for information and then quickly fade to silence. Months may go by and you may call, and call, and call… and still receive no money and no explanation.
So while contacting an insurance company may seem simple, the reality can be quite frustrating.
One of the major advantages of hiring a lawyer is their ability to negotiate with insurance companies based on their knowledge and experience with insurance company tactics. Lawyers know all the tricks and strategies insurance companies use to deny, lowball, or delay claims. They can easily counter those tricks. They can stay on top of the insurance companies if they try to delay, as well.
Perhaps best of all, law firms know what a claim is worth. Pain and suffering damages, for example, are often subjective. An experienced lawyer knows how to maximize them.
A New York motorcycle accident lawyer can help gather evidence in support of your claim. We often work with investigators, forensic analysts, and experts in medicine and employment law. We can help determine what or who caused the accident if it’s in dispute. We can request surveillance footage if it’s available. We may use medical experts to testify to the prognosis and costs of your injuries. We can use employment experts to help assess how much compensation you should receive for wages lost from work or injuries that prevent you from working at a former occupation.
Lawyers can help assess and calculate damage amounts as well.
A crucial advantage to hiring a lawyer is their ability to take insurance companies to court if they refuse to compensate you fairly for your motorcycle accident injuries. After all, if the insurance company has to face a judge and jury rather than make the decision themselves, you may get a much higher amount of compensation.
Insurance companies also don’t like the prospect of going to court because their own lawyers cost them money, so they may become more inclined to settle if a lawsuit is a possibility.
Some injured people worry that the disadvantages of hiring a lawyer are speed and costs. Let’s address these one at a time.
Lawsuits aren’t fast. They can take months or even years to resolve. But frankly, given that insurance companies use delaying claims payouts as a tactic to frustrate the injured—or even as a means to try to make them forget about the claim—seeking damages through a lawsuit may not take any longer than seeking them through a third-party insurance claim.
And the costs? Motorcycle accident attorneys most often charge contingency fees. With contingency fee payments, the lawyers don’t collect their money up front from clients. They charge a percentage of the eventual claim received or lawsuit settlement.
So if you’re short of cash, or concerned about payment, that isn’t an issue in New York motorcycle accident law. If you don’t receive a settlement, you generally owe nothing to the lawyer under a contingency plan.
Our motorcycle accident attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, offer absolutely free initial consultations. At the initial consultation, you’ll discuss what happened in the accident and after it. Who did what? How were you injured? What effects did the accident have on your health? On your ability to work? On your ability to perform the activities of daily living and activities you enjoy? Come prepared to discuss the answers to these questions, because they will allow the lawyer to develop an informed opinion about whether you have a case.
A statute of limitations is the period of time in which one can file a lawsuit after an accident. After the statute of limitations is up, courts will usually refuse to hear the claim.
In New York, the statute of limitations for vehicle accidents is three years from the date of the accident.
A word to the wise, though. Keeping track of evidence is hard enough when the accident is fairly recent. To make sure evidence isn’t lost or forgotten, it’s prudent to hire an attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
If you need answers to any other questions about motorcycle accidents in New York, contact an experienced New York motorcycle accident attorney at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, today.
Contact Our Qualified New York Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today
At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, we know the strategies and tactics dubious insurance companies use to avoid financial liability for their policyholders. As we advocate for you, we will uncover the facts of your accident, making it difficult for the defense to shift blame or use other tactics to devalue your claim. Motorcycle accidents lead to severe injuries, emotional trauma, and financial stress that can wreak havoc on a victim and their household. We remain empathetic to the challenges you might face in the wake of a motorcycle accident.
You shouldn’t have to suffer because a negligent party caused your injuries; you deserve full compensation to cover all of your losses. If you choose us to represent you in your motorcycle accident claim, we handle personal injury cases on contingency, collecting attorney fees only from any settlement or court-awarded damages you receive for losses related to your injuries.
“If it were not for the integral legal team of experts at Jacoby & Meyers I would not be where I am today with my recovery. I highly recommend hiring Jacoby & Meyers should you ever find yourself injured in an accident, and an individual or company needs to be held accountable for their negligence.” -C.J.
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