faq motorcycle accidents

Motorcycle riding has the potential to turn from an enjoyable activity into a tragedy within minutes. The lack of a motor vehicle body to protect them in case of an accident places motorcycle riders in a highly vulnerable position while on the road. While riding a motorcycle, even a seemingly insignificant accident can result in severe injuries to the rider.

Being the victim of a motorcycle accident can prove to be a traumatic and harrowing experience, to say the least. In such a situation, it is normal to feel confused and undecided about what to do next. At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, our experienced and knowledgeable New York personal injury lawyers are always available to answer any questions you might have about motorcycle accident injury compensation claims.

We have tried to answer some of the most pertinent and frequently asked questions for you below.

How Can I Legally Ride a Motorcycle in New York?

In New York State, to start riding a motorcycle, you need to apply at an office of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, for a motorcycle learner’s permit. Having practiced with your learner’s permit, you need to take a road test or complete a New York State Motorcycle Safety Program that can help waive the road test.

Like all other motor vehicles, your motorcycle needs to have a New York registration and title. Additionally, traffic laws require a motorcycle rider to carry the following liability insurance coverage:

  • Bodily injury coverage of $25,000 for the rider
  • Total bodily injury coverage of $50,000 for injuries to multiple people in an accident
  • Death coverage of $50,000 for the rider
  • Death coverage of $100,000 for multiple fatalities in an accident
  • Property damage coverage of $10,000

What is the Law for Wearing Helmets for Motorcyclists in New York?

Presently, the New York State law requires all motorcycle riders, including passengers, to always wear helmets while riding. A helmet can prove to be the difference between life and death for a motorcyclist. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studies, the lives of 37 % of all riders killed in a crash while riding without a helmet could have been saved if they had been wearing a helmet.  

What are the Main Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

Some of the common causes for accidents involving motorcycles on our roads are:

  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Running a stop signal
  • Improper lane changes
  • Drunk drivers
  • Door accidents

Is It Dangerous to Ride a Motorcycle in New York?

There are numerous fatalities and severe injuries amongst the motorcycle riding community in the state of New York every year. Despite the biased popular notion about bikers, most of these accidents are not because of high speeds but the negligence of other motorists.

If you are a motorcyclist, you must beware that the real danger in riding comes not from the motorcycle itself but from other negligent drivers and dangerous road conditions. Never forget to wear a helmet while riding, be as watchful as you can be, and always be vigilant about other drivers on the road.  

Are Motorcycle Accidents Common on New York Roads?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2018 data, motorcycle accidents in New York accounted for the premature death of 149 motorcyclists. Between 2009 and 2018, there have been, on average, 146 deaths per year in motorcycle accidents in New York. In New York, on average, motorcyclist injuries result in 1,558 hospitalizations and 4,458 emergency room visits every year. 

How Can I Prevent Accidents as a Conscientious Motorcyclist?

Both beginners, as well as advanced motorcycle riders, can benefit from the classes offered by the New York State Motorcycle Safety Program, to learn about safe bike riding habits. We list some of these below:

  • Do not tailgate other motor vehicles
  • Use headlights to increase motorcycle visibility, notwithstanding the time of the day
  • Be extra careful when riding on gravel, or slippery surfaces
  • Never mix drinking and riding
  • Learn and practice defensive motorcycle riding skills

Who Will Compensate for My Motorcycle Accident Injuries Caused by a Dangerous Road?

Apart from a negligent or irresponsible driver, there are some motorcycle accidents where the roads might be the culprit. In such cases where a road hazard, a pothole for instance, causes a motorcycle crash, you may file a claim against the responsible municipality. 

In New York, any claims where an individual holds a government entity responsible will have special legal requirements. It’s crucial for you to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident.

A Defective Part Caused My Motorcycle Accident? What Do I Do?

Defective parts or manufacturing faults may be the cause of some motorcycle accidents. You must consult with a personal injury lawyer to determine if you can recover compensation in such cases. A proficient attorney, after due diligence, can help you identify the liable party responsible for the defect that caused the accident, and competently guide you in recovering your rightful damages. 

What if a Car Forced My Motorcycle Off the Road in a No-Contact Accident?

Termed as phantom vehicle accidents, your uninsured motorist insurance covers the damages from such crashes. By default, the law considers an unknown driver as uninsured. Your insurance company may try to pin the blame of the accident on your negligence to minimize their payout, making the pursuance of such a case tricky. You will need an experienced attorney to present the case and absolve you of any negligence or wrongdoing on your part. 

What if I Crashed My Motorcycle While Riding Without Wearing a Helmet?

Since the New York laws make it mandatory to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, you can certainly expect a ticket for going against the law. However, the law does not forsake your legal right to fight for compensation because of your failure to wear a helmet. For any injuries suffered by you on other parts of your body, your decision to not wear a helmet is irrelevant. 

The court might reduce your claim based on comparative negligence if your decision of not wearing a helmet caused some of your injuries. For example, if a jury establishes your responsibility at 30 percent for your failure to wear a helmet, you will receive 70 percent of the compensation awarded. 

What Do I Need to Do After a Motorcycle Accident?

If your injuries in the accident require medical assistance, call 911 immediately and inform the dispatcher of the location and about any other injured people at the accident scene. In case your injuries are not serious, gather as much information at the crash scene as you can.

The information you must gather includes photographs of injuries to yourself and the damage to your motorcycle, the contact information of any eye-witnesses present at the scene, pictures of the license plate of the other vehicles, insurance details of the other vehicles, etc. 

Even if you feel alright and think your injuries are not serious, you must see a physician. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are quite common in motorcycle accidents. These and some other injuries may not display noticeable symptoms at the time but could turn serious later.

Make sure to keep records of your medical treatment bills, damages to the property, and loss of income. Hire a competent New York motorcycle accident attorney to review your case and help you protect your legal rights.

Is There a Timeframe Within Which I Need to File a Motorcycle Accident Claim?

The New York statute of limitations demands that motorcyclists must file a personal injury claim within three years of the date of the accident. In case of the loss of a loved one in a motorcycle accident, the law stipulates two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit from the date of their death.

What Is the Amount of Compensation I Should Expect for a Motorcycle Accident?

While an ideal compensation for a motorcycle accident is one that covers both your present and future damages, the amount may vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the circumstances of the crash, the seriousness of the injuries, the available insurance coverage, and the damage to property.

You can, and should, seek compensation for:

  • Medical bills, past, and future
  • Lost income
  • The repair, or replacement cost, of your motorcycle
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages, where the injuries and damages resulting from extreme irresponsibility by the other party

Call Our Accomplished New York Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

You must speak to an experienced New York motorcycle accident attorney immediately if you are the victim of a motorcycle crash. A skilled and insightful lawyer can help you navigate the complicated legal maze of a personal injury claim.

When you seek legal counsel from Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, you will not owe us a legal fee unless we help you win your claim. We work on a contingency fee basis and expect to receive a legal fee only if we settle your case successfully, or help obtain a court award.

Our team of lawyers has the necessary expertise to help identify the liable entities, gather critical evidence, prove negligence, and seek the rightful compensation for you. With an experienced New York motorcycle accident lawyer by your side, your chances of recovering the maximum possible damages are very high. Call Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP today at 1-800-660-2264 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.


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