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New York Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

New York Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Motorcycle riders are not afforded the same physical protections as drivers of cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles that have seat belts and airbags to minimize the damage in an accident.

Motorcycle accidents can result in some of the most serious and catastrophic injuries such as spinal injuries, brain injuries, loss of a limb, and sometimes partial or complete paralysis. Motorcycle accidents often prove fatal to the motorcyclist or the pillion rider.

The New York motorcycle accident attorneys at Frekhtman & Associates represent serious injury victims and families throughout NYC and New York State. Our goal is to help injury victims and protect their future. We have offices in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens.

We work throughout all of NYC including Staten Island, Westchester, and partner with counsel in New Jersey as well. Our firm works in New York City and all of New York State including Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk County), Orange County, Rockland County, Sullivan County, and we partner with local counsel further upstate to obtain maximum financial compensation for our client’s injury claim.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, our personal injury lawyers encourage you to give us a call for a free case evaluation. Furthermore, if we decide to take your case, you pay us nothing unless we win a settlement for you.

WHAT DOES THE DATA AND STATISTICS TELL US ABOUT MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS AND INJURIES?

As per the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in the year 2015, Compared to car, motorcycles are not equipped with safety devices to help prevent serious injury to occupants. Motorcycles lack of safety includes:

• Motor Vehicle Accidents: 9 cars out of 100,000 resulted in fatal crashes.
• Motorcycles: 58 motorcyclists out of 100,000 ended up in fatal crashes.
• No airbags
• No seat belts
• Vehicle is much lighter
• Occupants are exposed with no side protection
• Lack of roof or railings in case of vehicle rollover

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

  • Highest death rates. Riders between the ages of 20 and 24 suffer the most fatalities. However, older riders have begun incurring many more injuries during recent years;
  • Annual death rate. About 166 people in the state of New York die each year due to motorcycle crashes;
  • Comparison between vehicle mortality rates. New York motorcyclists are 37 times more likely to die in their accidents than people riding in passenger cars;
  • Motorcycle fatalities have risen in recent years. During one study period, motorcycle accident fatalities rose by 23%. However, during that same period, approximately 28% more motorcycles were registered within the state;
  • motorcycle accident lawyer nyc Speeding. This factor plays the biggest role in most serious and fatal accidents;
  • Emergency room treatment visits. Each year, about 4,000 New Yorkers require ER treatment for their motorcycle accident injuries;
  • Unqualified drivers killed most often. About forty-three percent (43%) of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve drivers who were not properly licensed;
  • Male vs. female motorcycle fatalities. Nearly 100% of all fatal accidents involve men;
  • Students learn how to properly turn their bikes, shift gears, and carefully apply the brakes. Instructors will also provide tips for using these skills during rainy and other inclement weather.
  • Fully trained instructors also teach students how to respond to unique traffic situations and surface street issues.
  • Beginner drivers are also reminded that before leaving each day, they should first carefully check for signs of dangerous wear and tear. Being lazy about this daily check of tire pressure, loose parts and other potential problems can lead to accidents.
  • Students are also informed about the different types of affordable motorcycle rider insurance that can best protect them. Teachers can also answer questions about obtaining different types of licenses, including a learner’s permit.
  • Special dangers of riding a motorcycle in New York City. Compared to riders in the rest of the state of New York – those riding in NYC are almost twice as likely to die in their road accidents.

WHAT NY LAWS EXIST TO KEEP RIDERS SAFE?

Given the many dangers involved with riding motorcycles, only highly experienced men and women should regularly ride them. Yet the freedom and speed motorcycles promise helps them attract large numbers of new riders who daily travel our Gotham streets and freeways.

When carefully maintained, most motorcycles can now meet our state’s safety standards.

Here is a brief overview of the laws that help all New York motorcyclists minimize their chances of incurring serious or even fatal injuries.

New York laws designed to maximize rider safety

• Using daytime headlights. All New York motorcyclists are expected to turn on their headlights each time they get on their bikes and ride. This increased visibility can make a big difference, especially during the hours closest to dawn and dusk. Every “bike” must have both headlights and taillights – as well as a light that shines down upon the license plate. In addition, all bikes manufactured after 1971 must also have directional lights – and a rear red reflector is required on every motorcycle.

• Purchasing and using a properly fitting helmet. Every motorcycle rider must wear a helmet that fully complies with the federal government’s DOT (Department of Transportation) safety guidelines.

• Proper gear for passengers is required. All motorcycle riders must offer their riders a secure seat and footpegs.

bike-accident-lawyer-new-york-city There are limitations on how high motorcycle handlebars or grips can extend. They cannot reach above the rider’s own shoulder height.

• All riders must minimize helmet or other sound equipment. While you can make use of one speaker in a helmet, no rider should ever seek full immersion in music or other similar distractions as they can prevent hearing critical sounds nearby.

• Protective eye gear is crucial for riding safety. When riders fail to properly shield their eyes and face from flying objects, they are much more likely to be in accidents.

• Riders can only move in tandem (or single file) down any street. In other words, you cannot have more than two riders traveling down any road or freeway in the same lane next to each other.

WHAT IS THE TOP SAFETY EQUIPMENT FOR MOTORCYCLISTS?

• Although an urban myth prevails that anyone can teach themselves how to safely ride a motorcycle, those who obtain training from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) — other highly reputable groups — have a much higher chance of avoiding accidents.Fully functional brakes are required on both wheels. All bikes manufactured after 1971 must provide these safety features.

• Working turn signals must always be present. Every motorcycle manufactured after 1985 must have this capability.

• Mufflers are mandatory. New York does not allow any motorcycle riders to install or use removable baffles on their mufflers.

• Every rider must have a fully functional horn or another warning device. These often come in handy when another vehicle is about to move too close to a motorcycle.

• All “bikes” must have at least one rearview mirror. Experienced riders usually know that New York also recommends that a rearview mirror be mounted on each handlebar.

ARE THERE RULES OF THE ROAD FOR MOTORCYCLE RIDERS?

Important skills taught in the MSF RiderCourse that can help save lives:

It is usually best to learn top driving skills while away from stressful traffic. Here are some of the key lessons taught in the MSF classes.

WHO HAS THE GREATEST RISK OF DANGER WHEN IT COMES TO MOTORCYCLE CRASHES?

The youngest and least experienced riders always face special challenges:

Although New York riders of every age get into dangerous and even fatal accidents, over 50% of all deadly accidents involve motorcyclists age 35 years of age or younger. Whenever possible, try to wait and travel on the busiest streets and freeways after you have gained significant driving experience.

Be sure to also wear the best airbag or leather gear you can afford – along with a sturdy helmet – to further reduce your chances of being seriously injured in a New York City motorcycle accident. And make sure to get professional advice on selecting the best motorcycle to meet your daily needs. Too many beginner riders select bikes that are much too difficult for them to easily maneuver, especially when in danger.

If you have suffered a serious motorcycle accident injury due to someone else’s negligence, you need to contact our New York City motorcycle accident law firm. We will carefully investigate all the facts of your case, review all your medical records, and then fight hard to win the maximum compensation available to you. We want every client to fully recover for all lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other losses.

HOW DO I RECOVER DAMAGES FOLLOWING A MOTORCYCLE CRASH?

If you or a loved one was involved in a motorcycle crash in New York, contact our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers for a free consultation. One of the important aspects of helping victims after a motorcycle injury is evaluating liability, answering the question of who was at fault, and determining legal blame.

We approach motorcycle accident claims by conducting a thorough investigation, going to the scene, and hiring safety experts such as accident reconstruction specialists. A complete investigation often helps us prove who the at-fault driver was in legal action. We handle personal injury matters on contingency meaning our legal fee is a percentage of the amount we win for you and you never pay anything unless we win money for you first.

In New York, the no-fault law does not apply to motorcycles. This means that a motorbike accident victim must pay out of pocket or use their medical insurance to pay for medical care. No-Fault or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits do not apply to motorcycle accidents as they do with people injured in automobile accidents. However, any out of pocket expenses incurred in paying for medical care, prescriptions, lost income, and other damages can be claimed as an expense and recovered in litigation.

NY MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT LAWSUITS

Motorcycle accident studies have found that in a majority of motorcycle accidents, the motorcyclist was not at fault in the auto-collision that caused the injuries. The personal injury attorneys at Frekhtman & Associates provide you with accident reconstruction analysis to understand how your accident happened in order to prove your case in court.

bike-accident-lawyer Negligence is the failure of a vehicle operator to exercise due care which resulted in an accident, injury, or death when dealing with motorbike accidents. It is a very hard allegation to prove but experienced New York City motorcycle accident lawyers that are skillful and smart should have no problems showing negligence by interviewing witnesses, correct documentation, and compiling a case that will meet the correct standards for negligence. Also, if the accident happened due to a defect on the actual motorcycle, you may also be entitled to receive punitive damages from the supplier and/or manufacturer.

Since most motorcycle accidents are very complex and more difficult to handle, it is imperative that you act quickly and find a lawyer to address any questions and/or issues that probably will arise so that you may get all the help that you are deserved. The statute of limitations is a deadline to file your lawsuit after which no claim can be filed. For motorcycle vs. vehicle accidents, the statute of limitations is three (3) years from the date of the incident.

Lawsuits against vehicles owned and operated by the City of New York or it agencies require a Notice of Claim within 90 days and a lawsuit within one year and 90 days from the date of the incident. There are many other time restrictions so it is always best to consult with an attorney.

Most frequent types of damages & medical injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents

Traumatic brain injury (“TBI”) or Head Injury. While it’s fortunate that many people survive their motorcycle accidents, they must often endure lengthy treatments and periods of rehabilitation. Both blunt-force head trauma (direct impact trauma) and concussions fall into this category. An injured motorcyclist with a severe head injury could need lifelong care and rehabilitation after a wreck.

  • Broken bones and fractures;
  • Lacerations, cuts, bruises, scarring, and disfigurement
  • Road rash. Many motorcycle accident victims wind up requiring extensive skin grafts
  • Spinal cord injuries. Regardless of which portion of the spinal column is damaged, many of these injuries may be permanent – or else the recovery periods are very lengthy;
  • Torn ligaments;
  • Emotional Trauma or Emotional Distress
  • Facial injuries. These can be quite extensive when riders forget to wear full-face motorcycle helmets or when their headgear comes off during accidents.

Obviously, many factors play a role in every crash – including the various types of negligence caused by other drivers who may be defendants in your lawsuit. Having an accident injury lawyer file a liability claim and then a lawsuit against all defendants is essential.

Helpful safety tips for all New York motorcycle riders

  • Never speed. When you travel at a moderate speed and carefully obey all road traffic signals and signs, you’re far more likely to arrive safely at each destination;
  • Never drink alcohol or use drugs prior to riding your motorcycle;
  • Always wear a full-face motorcycle helmet. Although they may be quite costly – they’re always worth the added money. You can obtain excellent helmet safety recommendations from your local motorcycle shop and more experienced bikers;
  • Avoid traveling through busy intersections. Whenever possible, it’s always worth the added time to find quieter routes to all your destinations;
  •  Slow down when making all turns. Also, use proper hand and motorcycle signals so that those traveling near you will know what you’re preparing to do.
  • Also, never tailgate other vehicles;
  • Avoid constantly weaving between other vehicles while you’re in traffic;
  • Keep an eye on bad weather conditions. Choose an alternate form of transportation when the weather is threatening – or delay your trip until all road conditions have fully improved;
  • Wear the best leather gear, motorcycle boots, and other protective clothing you can afford;
  • Take a defensive driving course. Many of these can be found online. You might want to first ask your insurance agent if taking and passing an approved course will entitle you to a short- or long-term policy discount. Whether you need to simply take a beginner motorcycle class – or one for more advanced riders – these classes are worth the time;
  • Watch out for various road hazards. Always be on the lookout for gravel, broken glass, potholes and other road debris. Be especially careful when driving through areas where large-scale construction projects are underway;
  • Choose the best motorcycle model for your skill level. Don’t try to ride “supersport” or extra-large motorcycles unless you have very strong riding skills. These vehicles can be harder to maneuver and tend to be in more accidents;
  • Drive extra carefully when you have a passenger. Always offer the passenger a full face motorcycle helmet and only offer the person a ride if your motorcycle was built to fully protect their safety — as well as your own;
  • Routine motorcycle maintenance is crucial to your safety. Unless you’re a skilled professional, take your bike in for frequent tune-ups and be prepared to buy new motorcycle tires whenever the treads become too worn out. Also, be sure your motorcycle headlights, horn, and directional lights are always working properly – before heading out on any new ride;
  • Keep in mind that anti-lock brakes are well worth the added expense. Also, make sure to always carry an emergency aid kit with you so you can quickly dress and bandage minor injuries before obtaining professional help;
  • Never listen to music while riding – and avoid all other forms of distracted driving.

Finally, when planning to take an unusually long ride, always consider riding with at least one or two others so you can all watch out for each other on the road.

HOW OUR MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS CAN HELP

Queens-motorcyle-accident-lawyerMotorcycle passengers can require legal representation after an accident as well. For example, they might turn to the motorcycle driver’s insurance company along with the insurance company for the drivers of other vehicles involved in the crash.

A New York City motorcycle accident lawyer can help with sorting out insurance issues, processing complicated claims, and fighting for sufficient coverage. Part of the investigation also involves identifying all potential defendants and sources of fair compensation for the lawsuit.

Motorcycle passengers may also need representation in a personal injury lawsuit, or their loved ones may seek to file a wrongful death suit if they don’t survive. Having an experienced legal advocate on your side increases the chances that you will obtain the compensation you need to cope and heal after an accident.

WHAT TYPES OF INJURIES DO MOTORCYCLISTS SUSTAIN AFTER A CRASH ?

Because motorcycles leave their rider exposed to the elements, the resulting injuries following a motorcycle accident are much more severe compared to other types of auto accidents. Motorcycle operators are susceptible to enhanced risks including:

  • Road rash or other injuries when a motorcycle rider comes into contact with the road surface after an accident
  • The motorcycle rider being thrown or ejected from the motorcycle
  • The motorcycle rider coming into contact with other vehicles after a crash
  • Greater damage due to the fact that a motorcycle is much lighter and smaller in size when compared to most other vehicles on the road including cars, trucks, and buses
  • Greater potential damage from lack of stability and balance since a motorcycle has two wheels and can easily fall over on its side after a crash
  • Motorcycle riders are exposed to danger due to operators of larger vehicles not being able to see the smaller, thinner, and lighter motor bike when changing lanes for example
  • Motorcycle riders face dangers not only from other vehicles but also from surrounding conditions such as potholes in the road, bumps, construction on the road, construction debris, puddles, and other hazards.

HOW SHOULD I DEAL WITH INSURANCE COMPANIES?

Motorcycle accidents are different from car accidents in terms of auto insurance. The New York State No-Fault or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) laws do not apply to motorcycle operators. This means that a motorcycle operator injured in an accident cannot have their medical bills and lost wages paid by the auto insurance for the motorcycle by law up to $50,000 as with cars.

motorcycle-insurance-lawyer However, the benefit is that a motorcycle operator is not limited by having to prove a serious injury in order to recover compensation in a lawsuit. This means a motorcycle operator does not have to prove serious injury or overcome any threshold of Insurance Law 5102(d) and therefore can sue for minor injuries, property damages, damage to personal items, medical bills, and any other damages arising out of the motorcycle accident.

When dealing with a bodily injury insurance company for the vehicle that crashed into your motorcycle, it is very important to have an experienced trial lawyer guide you. Finding out the full bodily injury coverage is essential. Very often an insurer will only disclose the primary limits and not the umbrella, excess, concurrent, or supplemental limits which are needed when someone has a severe injury.

The insurance company has a duty to protect its policyholder insured and a failure to treat their insured’s interests equally with their own financial interests could lead to a bad faith claim making the insurer liable for more than their policy limits. One way to get an insurer to pay a quick settlement is to leverage bad faith law in the course of litigation. Reminding them why their policyholder purchased an insurance policy in the first place is often needed to win a fair settlement.

HOW DO I DEAL WITH MEDICAL BILLS AND COSTS AFTER A CRASH ?

After a motorcycle crash, there is no No-Fault insurance coverage so an injured rider would need to use their own health insurance unless they purchased optional personal injury protection (PIP) through their motorcycle insurer which is highly recommended.

In the case of no coverage, medical costs can begin to pile up. The options including health insurance or a lien or letter of protection. The downside of having no medical insurance upfront is tempered by the fact that a rider is allowed to recover all of his or her medical expenses in a lawsuit against the at-fault party.

You are entitled to recover lost income and any reductions in earning capacity as a result of the crash. This must all be made part of the insurance claim. An attorney with experience in motorcycle law practice will fully explain and provide this service as part of the case representation. The legal work will be on a contingency fee basis so there is no upfront cost.

Our firm makes sure our clients get the best medical treatment and physical therapy to recover from their injuries after a roadway accident. This way our legal team can use the medical evidence to obtain the largest financial award via settlement or jury trial obtaining full justice and protecting your rights.

WHAT SHOULD I DO RIGHT AFTER A MOTORCYCLE CRASH?

Immediately following your accident, it’s likely that a lot of confusion will be going on. You will first need to assess your damages and make sure you are in a safe location to handle the aftermath of the accident. Avoid staying in traffic and, if possible, move your bike to the side of the road.

However, there are times when you will simply need to get away from the scene. For example, if a structure is on fire, or if you are near a dangerous drop-off, you will need to move to safety quickly. Calling 911 as soon as possible should be your first priority.

Above all, you will need to stay at the scene and stay as calm as possible. Wait for law enforcement and rescue assistance. In the meantime, take as many photos of the scene and the damage to your property as you safely can.

If possible, you may also want to draw a diagram of the accident and where the vehicles involved were located. This can be valuable evidence for your insurance company to use during their investigation. You should also make sure you exchange contact information with the other party and jot down the police report number, if available.

Visit the doctor

With just about any accident, it is a good idea to go ahead and head to the ER to get checked out. Many of the injuries you receive from an accident will be masked until the next day or later. This is particularly the case with motorcycle accidents where you have little protection from injuries.
A trip to the ER will help determine what injuries might have happened as a result of the crash.

This is also an excellent way to document your injuries officially and gather evidence of them. If you skip this step, many insurance companies will be hesitant to reimburse you for any doctor’s visits at a later time.

Get the ball rolling

Motorcycle Accident in New York City After everything is cleaned up from the accident, you will want to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible. It’s best to notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Even if the accident isn’t your fault, you will need to talk to your insurance company. There are times when the other party doesn’t have insurance, or when additional expenses might need to be handled under your policy.
You will also need to start the claim process under the insurance company who will be paying for the repairs. So, this is another call you will need to make.

Keep in mind, that most repairs and reimbursements won’t be able to get started until a police report is filed, but getting a claim started will save you time in the long run.

Don’t rush the process

Above all else, one of the most important things you should do after a motorcycle accident is not to rush the process of getting your bike repaired. All the damage should be properly documented before any damage is repaired. You will also need to keep track of all your expenses related to your bike accident. This includes repairs, doctor’s visits and any rental charges you may incur due to needing a separate vehicle to drive.

PROVING LIABILITY IN MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents that warrant the attention of a New York City motorcycle accident lawyer include:

  • Driver inattention
  • Motorist failing to see the motorcycle and therefore not yielding, cutting the motorcycle off, or otherwise crashing into the unseen vehicle
  • Excessive speed on the part of the motorcycle and or other vehicles on the road
  • Failing to engage in defensive driving techniques
  • Improper or unsafe lane changes
  • Improper or unsafe turns such as when a vehicle turns left in front of another vehicle proceeding straight ahead with the right of way
  • Following too closely leading to rear-end collisions

CALL THE NEW YORK CITY MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYERS TODAY

The Manhattan motorcycle accident lawyers at the F&A injury law firm have over 40 years of combined trial experience litigating motorcycle crashes. Contact us for a free confidential consultation.

If we accept your case, there is never an attorney’s fee or upfront payment of any kind. Our fee is a percentage of the money we win for you payable only after we win the case. Call (212) 222-1111 or fill out an online contact form to send us an email.

If you’ve been seriously injured in a New York motorcycle accident, be sure to contact the motorcycle accident lawyers at Frekhtman & Associates. We have the necessary experience to help you get through the difficult injury settlement stage (or we can take your case to trial, if necessary). We have a strong, proven track record for obtaining the highest compensation available for many of our clients and we always request the maximum amount of damages available for all your pain and suffering, lost wages, property damage, and medical expenses.