New York City Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Today, with more and more motorcycles on the road, the number of accidents is, unfortunately, steadily climbing, many of which have devastating consequences. Unlike drivers of cars and trucks, motorcyclists are not protected by the structure of a vehicle and are also exposed to the elements. When collisions occur, motorcycle riders are at a high risk of being seriously injured.
At Scaffidi & Associates, we have decades of experience helping the injured obtain significant compensation. We are well-versed in the rules of the road in New York, and dedicate ourselves to keeping the roads and highways safe for everyone, including motorcyclists.
Motorcycle Accident Causes
A variety of factors contribute to motorcycle accidents, including:
- Inexperienced riders
- Lane splitting
- Weaving in and out of traffic
Nonetheless, accidents are also frequently caused by reckless or negligent motor vehicle drivers who may fail to see motorcyclists or who engage in distracted driving, improper lane changes, driving under the influence, or other dangerous practices. Moreover, road defects such as potholes, gravel, oil spills, and other debris can cause a motorcyclist to swerve, spin out, or lose control, and sustain serious injuries. In these cases, it may be possible to bring a claim against a town, municipality, county, or state. In order to do so, it is necessary to file a notice of claim with the appropriate government agency within 90 days of the accident before filing a lawsuit. Finally, if the accident was caused by a mechanical defect in the motorcycle, the manufacturer or distributor can also be held liable.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Many motorcycle accidents often involve the front of a bike colliding with another vehicle or obstacle on the road, which can lead to a wide range of injuries such as:
- Broken Bones
- Facial fractures and disfigurement
- Road rash
- Loss of limbs
- Spinal cord injuries/paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries
The risk of these injuries can be minimized, however, if motorcyclists wear protective gear such as helmets, leather jackets, heavy pants, boots, and gloves. In any event, injured motorcycle riders are frequently left with pain and suffering, and significant financial expenses. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the skilled personal injury attorneys at Scaffidi & Associates have a proven track record of pursuing successful motorcycle accident claims.
Motorcycle Liability Rules in New York
It is worth noting that the legal protections for motorcyclists differ from the protections for drivers of other vehicles because the insurance and liability rules in New York are not the same. Under New York’s No-Fault law, a motorcycle is not considered to be a motor vehicle, and a motorcyclist is not a “covered person.” This means that No-Fault coverage for medical costs and lost wages are not available to injured motorcyclists.
That being said, the “serious injury” threshold under the No-fault law does not apply to motorcyclists which means that an injured biker or motorcycle passenger can bring a claim against an offending driver for injuries that do not reach that threshold.
New York Motorcycle Riding Laws
There are a number of motorcycle safety laws in effect in New York, not the least of which is that motorcycle helmets and eye protection are required for all riders. In addition, only two motorcycles may operate side by side in a single lane, and the practice of lane splitting is illegal.
Daytime headlight use is also required, but headlight modulators are permitted. Handlebars or grips must be less than 15 inches above than the driver’s seat, and all motorcycles must be equipped with a passenger seat and footrest, if carrying a passenger.
Other required equipment includes:
- Lights – tail light, stop lamp, license plate lamp
- At least one red rear reflector
- Brakes (on both wheels if manufactured after 1971)
- Directional/turn signals (if manufactured after 1985)
- A horn or other warning device
- At least one rearview mirror
- A muffler – “cutouts’ or removable baffles are not allowed
Additionally, there are specific, minimum insurance premiums that motorcyclists must obtain:
- $25,000 per person injured in any one accident
- $50,000 because of the death of one person in one accident
- $50,000 for two or more persons injured in one accident
- $100,000 for the deaths of two or more persons injured in one accident.
Finally, injured motorcyclists may also be able to recover damages from their insurers through underinsured (UM) or supplemental underinsured motorist (SUM) coverage, if the accident was caused by an underinsured or uninsured driver.
Dedicated Motorcycle Accident Attorney
At Scaffidi & Associates, our legal team is dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured motorcyclists, and helping them obtain meaningful compensation. We know that being injured in a motorcycle accident can have long-lasting consequences for victims and their families, and we provide each client with compassion and knowledge.
Our attorneys have gained recognition for showing that motorcyclists are entitled to the same rights as drivers of other motor vehicles, despite the limitations of New York’s insurance laws and the public’s perception of motorcyclists. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, call our office today for a free consultation or complete the contact form on our website.