How to Make Sure You Receive FULL Compensation for Your Motorcycle Accident Injuries
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident in New York and the accident was caused by the negligence of another, you deserve full compensation for your injuries, property damage and other damages. The experienced personal injury lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP can help you and your family during this extremely difficult time by securing the results you need.
Our attorneys recognize that no settlement award can truly make up for all of your pain and suffering, but we also know you need some financial assurance as medical bills accumulate, particularly if you have been unable to return to work because of your injuries.
Achieving the Best Possible Outcome for Your Case
To achieve the greatest possible outcome on your case, you need to work with a skilled personal injury lawyer. In our decades of personal injury practice, Parker Waichman LLP has secured tremendous results for our clients, garnering more than $2 billion in settlement awards and verdicts. Our law firm has the knowledge and resources to achieve a favorable result on your behalf.
Motorcycle Accidents in New York
New York’s picturesque landscape offers motorcycle riders numerous options for scenic, relaxing rides. However, as Parker Waichman’s attorneys have discovered in our law practice, motorcyclists are at a greater risk of danger than other motorists traveling on New York’s roads and highways.
New York Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Recent estimates indicate a person is killed in a vehicle accident every 12 minutes in the United States; and vehicular accidents, including motorcycle accidents, are the leading cause of death for people under age 30 living in New York City. When these accidents involve motorcycle riders, the chances of severe injury to the rider are extremely high. Our seasoned personal injury litigators know the laws applicable to these accidents in New York and are ready to help you and your family recover for your accident injuries.
U.S. reports show that motorcycle riders are far more likely – about 25 times – to endure fatal collision injuries than occupants of a passenger car. On a local level, according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, approximately 4,500 to 5,000 motorcycle accidents occur every year in New York. Of those accidents, about one-fourth involve serious injuries or death.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
The two wheels on a motorcycle, as well as the open design, leave riders far more vulnerable to serious injuries when accidents occur. Even when wearing a helmet, riders can experience extreme harm to the head and body. They can suffer a direct body hit or skid along the road after collision without the protection of a vehicle exterior.
Parker Waichman’s attorneys have experience with motorcycle cases involving the following injuries:
- Head and/or neck injuries
- Joint dislocation
- Internal bleeding or organ damage
- Brain injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
With the potential for such serious injuries to occur, motorists need to take every precaution to not collide with motorcycle riders. Unfortunately, however, a majority of the motorcycle accidents we have seen in our personal injury practice involve preventable automobile driver conduct.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in New York
Drivers of automobiles are often the cause of accidents with motorcycle riders. When drivers on the road do not respect riders’ space or fail to pay attention at the wheel, they run the risk of running into a motorcyclist and causing significant injuries or death.
A few of the most common reasons for motorcycle crashes we see in New York are:
- Unsafe lane changes
- Unsafe passing
- Distracted driving (text messaging, eating, emails, etc.)
- Tailgating or following too close
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Reckless driving
- Dangerous driving during inclement weather
- Failure to stop at traffic devices, lights or stop signs
When drivers are making poor decisions on the road, they can end up causing a number of serious kinds of accidents with motorcycle riders. We pursue many types of motorcycle accident cases in New York and we have found that motorcycle collisions typically originate from a series of similar events. While the events may vary in individual circumstances, the majority of motorcycle cases we usually take involve the following:
- Skidding on road debris
- Car door openings
- Turn accidents
- Lane-change accidents
Motorcycle accident and injury cases can be notably complicated, which means you need the best legal representation on your side.
Standard of Liability for Motorcycle Accidents
In a motorcycle crash in the state of New York, we will typically file a claim for damages against the wrongdoer under a theory of general negligence. When you bring a negligence claim in New York, you are required to prove four things in court:
- A duty existed by the wrongdoer;
- The wrongdoer breached that duty;
- You suffered harm; and
- Your harm was caused by the wrongdoer’s negligence.
A Duty Existed
When we set forth evidence to prove that a duty existed, we use what is called a “reasonable care” standard. Under the circumstances, did the defendant have a duty to use reasonable care? Everyone has a general duty to use care on the road. In motorcycle cases, other motorists on the road have a duty to use reasonable care to look out for riders so as not to injure them.
A Breach of Duty
Breach of duty means that the defendant failed to use the level of reasonable care required under the circumstances. The court will look at what the defendant did versus what a reasonable person would have done. If the defendant driver did not look before changing lanes, the court will likely decide a reasonable person would have looked and used caution before changing lanes.
We also have to prove that you suffered an injury. This might seem straightforward, but some injuries are difficult to prove. If you have suffered a brain injury, expert testimony may be required to demonstrate exactly how it has affected you and how it will continue to inhibit your life. A head injury isn’t always evident to a jury, so we have to ensure that we have the proper experts to prove the case. Injuries are also not limited to bodily injuries. We also want to hire experts to testify as to the full extent of your economic loss, like medical bills and lost wages.
Lastly, we must prove that your injury was, in fact, caused by the negligent conduct of the defendant. If we cannot link the two, your case will not prevail. This can sometimes be the most difficult element of a case to prove, but we have access to national experts who will help us prove your case with ease.
The Doctrine of “Negligence Per Se”
Outside of general negligence theories, in rare cases, if a motorcycle accident occurs because an automobile driver violated a traffic law, you might be able to seek compensation for your injuries using the doctrine of “negligence per se.” Negligence per se is the legal term which means if a defendant violated a safety law, the defendant will be automatically deemed negligent by the courts. In other words, the injured plaintiff no longer needs to prove that the defendant in the injury case “owed a duty of care or failed to use care.”
That is not to say that you will automatically win your case. Even under a “finding of negligence per se,” you must also prove a violation of law has taken place, and the violation caused your accident, and that you were also injured as a result. This can be challenging, especially when an accident occurs in an area without cameras and with no objective witnesses. Whatever legal allegations you advance, you must be sure you are filing your lawsuit within the appropriate period of time, as set by New York law.
Statutes of Limitations on New York Motorcycle Accident Claims
New York has a time limit on filing motorcycle accident cases called a statute of limitations. Each and every state has their own set of statutes of limitations because they tend to encourage plaintiffs to investigate their potential claims and file them expediently. If you do not file your accident claim within the correct period of time prescribed by state law, you will never be permitted to file it. This is true regardless of how strong your case is or why you missed a timely filing.
Filing Quickly is Critical
Such a strict time limit might seem unfair, but the limitation has an intended effect of preserving the integrity of evidence to be presented at trial. When you file sooner, you will be able to more easily access medical records and reports related to your case, and your witnesses’ memories will be fresher. You will also be able to receive deserved compensation more quickly.
In New York, the statute of limitations for motorcycle accident claims is generally three years. This means you must file your case within the appropriate court within three years of the date of the motorcycle accident. Sometimes in complex cases, it is difficult to determine when the clock started running, so it is extremely important that you hire experienced lawyers to be sure you do not miss your time window to file. Many factors go into determining the correct statute of limitations in a person’s case, and a misguided calculation can turn into a complete extermination of your legal rights.
When you hire a skilled lawyer at Parker Waichman LLP, we will begin investigating your personal injury action immediately to be certain we have enough time to build a strong case and timely file within the right court.
New York’s No-Fault Law in Motorcycle Accidents
When you are considering a motorcycle accident claim in New York, your lawyer needs to understand the state’s No-Fault Law and that it does not apply to motorcyclists. New York is one of about a dozen states in the United States with No-Fault laws for most collision cases. When you are injured in a vehicular collision in New York or one of these other 12 states, in order to seek reimbursement for economic losses, like medical bills and lost wages, you must turn to your own vehicle insurance carrier.
New York enacted the No-Fault Law to expedite the majority of accident claims in the state, so economic losses can be paid by way of a set insurance system, rather than a litigation about who was to blame in the accident. This process only provides reimbursement for economic losses in the event of an injury vehicular accident, and it does not apply to noneconomic losses, like pain and suffering.
In order to recover for physical and mental pain and suffering related to most vehicular accident injuries, plaintiffs must meet the “serious injury threshold” encompassed in the No-Fault Law.
A serious injury is one of the following:
- Bone fracture
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- A “Significant limitation” of use of a body function or body system
- Permanent limitation of use of a body organ or body part
- Full or substantial disability for at least 90 days following the accident
This requirement can make most vehicular cases complicated, and can limit the damages you are able to seek in court, as well as the potential defendants you can sue.
However, the No-Fault Law does not apply to New York motorcycle claims. For purposes of the law, motorcycles are not considered motor vehicles. This means, as an injured motorcyclist, you need a lawyer to advocate for every possible area of recovery to which you might be entitled. You are not subject to the same insurance processes, and you do not need to meet the serious injury threshold.
Parker Waichman LLP understands the ways New York’s laws do and do not apply to your case, and we are prepared to take on your individual claims, regardless of complexity. Contact our firm today to find out more information.
Frequently Asked Questions About New York Motorcycle Accidents
When clients call us about their potential motorcycle accident cases, they often have several questions about the claims and the litigation process. Below you will locate a list of a few questions we hear most often, along with our answers to those questions.
What Type of Settlement Award Can I Receive?
It is important to understand that settlement awards and court verdicts cannot be guaranteed. We will fight aggressively on your behalf, but we can never be completely certain of the defendants’ receptiveness or case strategy. What we can guarantee to you is that we will do everything we can to obtain the highest level of compensation possible. This includes pursuing the following types of damages:
- Past medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Lost wages (current and future)
- Mental and physical pain and suffering
- Punitive damages (if appropriate)
We recognize your accident injuries have significantly affected your life, and we will fight for your rights to recover damages for all the ways you have been harmed.
Do I Need to Pay You When I Sign Up?
You never need to pay money to us up front – not when you first sign up and never throughout your case. We offer free medical/legal consultations, and we take cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only recover when you do. Should you receive a settlement check or jury award, we will take our fees and expenses out of that. But should you be unsuccessful in obtaining compensation, we will not receive any reimbursement for our out-of-pocket expenses or receive any fees. You will never need to worry about receiving a legal bill from us. We take on the financial risk ourselves because we firmly believe in making justice accessible for everyone.
How Long Will My Case Take?
We hear this question a lot, but it is very difficult to answer. Many aspects of a case determine how long it might take to resolve, and again, a favorable result is never completely guaranteed. If your case is complex, involving multiple parties and insurance companies, it might require more discovery than a simpler case, which will cause it to take longer.
If we proceed to filing your case, we will usually receive a trial assignment and scheduling order from the court, which will give us an idea of the potential litigation timeline. It is important to keep in mind, though, that even the court’s schedule can change, depending on the judge’s availability, the progress of your case leading to trial, and the potential obstacles we might face. But rest assured, our legal team will always keep you updated about your case, including what we have done, what your legal team plans to do next, and how long our current to-do list might take.
What Are the Next Steps?
The first step you need to take to start protecting your legal rights is contacting our firm. You can call our New York office or use our convenient online form. When you contact us, you will be able to speak with a compassionate member of our staff and also with one of our professional personal injury attorneys in a free case consultation. We will listen to your story and take down information about your potential claim. If it sounds like we might be able to help, we will ask you to fill out some simple paperwork that will allow us to begin our investigation of your case. This will include gathering documents and ordering records. The process can take a little time, but we will keep you informed of our progress and how we think we can move forward with your potential case.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me?
We know that the legal system might seem overwhelming, but we try to keep our case intake and investigation process as stress-free as possible. During your initial call to our firm, you will have the opportunity to talk with a member of our skilled legal team who will explain all the services we can provide for you and your family.
When you hire Parker Waichman LLP, your experienced lawyer will build your case by doing all of the following on your behalf:
- Documenting exactly how you were injured and by whom;
- Drafting a list of potential witnesses and contacting them for interviews;
- Obtaining medical records that document the injuries to have suffered and the treatment you have received;
- Gathering police reports, accidents reports, and any other pertinent documents from the day of your accident or injury;
- Identifying which statute of limitations for your claim (the state-determined time during which you must file your lawsuit);
- Consulting with experienced and trustworthy medical experts and industry specific experts in order to obtain support for your claim;
- Determining where your case should be filed;
- Drafting and preparing a petition for filing.
These are just some of the steps we will take at the outset of your case, and a lot of the harder work will begin after filing. It is vital that you have the best legal representation for your claim to make sure that your case receives the attention and full workup it deserves.
Why Choose Parker Waichman LLP For Your Motorcycle Accident and Injury Case?
We know your motorcycle injuries have greatly affected several aspects of your life, and we want to help you move forward. We offer free initial case consultations and will investigate your potential case with no money down. We know you and your family have enough to worry about at home. Allow us to take some of the stress off your shoulders, and find out all of your options for financial recovery by working with Parker Waichman LLP.
Awards and Accolades
In our decades representing victims of motorcycle accidents, Parker Waichman has earned a reputation for dedication, professionalism, and commitment to client advocacy. Throughout the life of our national firm, we have received numerous accolades from clients, judges, and colleagues. We are extremely proud to serve New York communities, with honors bestowed to us including:
- 8 (out of a perfect 10) Rating by AVVO (a service that rates every attorney in the United States)
- Martindale-Hubbell® “Preeminent Lawyers” AV Peer Review Rating
- “5 Dragons,” the highest possible ranking by Lawdragon
- Best Lawyers Publication
Free Case Evaluation and Consultation
We know when you are in the position of filing a motorcycle accident lawsuit, you have a lot of stress in your life. We work extremely hard to ease the burdens placed on you and your loved ones by fighting for your legal rights and ensuring that you are fully compensated for your injuries. When you hire our firm, you can feel confident you have lawyers who care about you and who will be right by your side throughout your entire case.
Contact Parker Waichman LLP at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) For Your Free Case Review
Our experienced personal injury lawyers in New York are ready to start the process of investigating your potential claim, beginning with a free consultation. If you were or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle accident, contact our law firm today by filling out our online web form or by calling 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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