Riding a motorcycle can be an exciting and freeing experience. However, motorcycle riders are significantly more vulnerable on the road compared to drivers of cars and trucks. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are about 27 times more likely to die in a crash per vehicle miles traveled compared to passenger car occupants.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident in New York, finding an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer should be a top priority. An attorney can advise you on your legal options and rights, build a strong case on your behalf, and negotiate with insurance companies to help you recover maximum compensation.
This comprehensive guide provides an overview of motorcycle accident claims in New York and explains what to look for when choosing the best motorcycle accident attorney in New York City and throughout the state.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in New York
Motorcycle accidents occur for many reasons, some of which relate to the inherent risks of operating a two-wheeled vehicle. However, most motorcycle crashes are caused by negligent drivers of passenger vehicles. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in New York include:
- Drivers failing to yield the right-of-way to motorcyclists when turning left at intersections or merging into traffic. This is one of the leading causes of NYC motorcycle accidents.
- Speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving or drugged driving by motor vehicle operators. Impaired drivers cause a disproportionate number of motorcycle crashes.
- Drivers improperly changing lanes or merging and striking motorcyclists in their blind spots.
- Hazards on the road like potholes, debris, uneven pavement, or slippery surfaces. These can cause motorcyclists to lose control, especially when making turns.
- Aggressive or reckless driving behaviors like tailgating motorcycles or cutting them off.
- Bad weather such as rain, fog, and wind affects visibility and traction.
If another driver caused your motorcycle crash due to negligence or recklessness, you have the right to pursue legal action and compensation for your damages.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries in New York
Motorcycle crashes frequently result in severe or catastrophic injuries, given the lack of protection for riders. Some of the common injuries suffered in New York motorcycle accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and head injuries — are caused when an unhelmeted rider’s head strikes the pavement or a helmeted rider receives violent impact forces. Even mild TBI can result in permanent cognitive deficits.
- Spinal cord injuries — resulting in partial or complete paralysis of the arms and/or legs when the spinal cord is damaged in the crash.
- Neck and back injuries like herniated discs and vertebral fractures lead to chronic pain, disability, and expensive medical care.
- Orthopedic injuries involving broken bones, such as fractures of the arms, shoulders, legs, feet, hands, and wrists. Compound or comminuted fractures that damage surrounding tissue can be especially severe.
- Road rash — abrasions and skin damage from sliding on the pavement. Road rash is extremely painful and prone to infections.
- Internal organ damage — such as punctured lungs, ruptured spleen, or liver lacerations. This is life-threatening.
- Amputated limbs are when a rider’s extremities get crushed under the motorcycle or struck by another vehicle.
- Psychological trauma, PTSD, anxiety, and depression resulting from a traumatic motorcycle crash.
These injuries can require extensive medical treatment including hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and long-term care. There may be life-long medical expenses and loss of income associated with the injuries.
A top motorcycle accident attorney will work to account for all present and future accident-related costs and help injured riders recover maximum compensation through an insurance claim or motorcycle accident lawsuit.
Factors That Determine Motorcycle Accident Settlements in New York
The amount of compensation a motorcyclist can receive after an accident depends on many factors. Working with an experienced NY motorcycle accident lawyer is the best way to ensure you receive a full and fair settlement. Factors that impact settlement amounts include:
- Liability and fault determination — Accident responsibility must be proven, usually through police reports, witness statements, video footage, and crash reconstruction evidence. A lawyer can demonstrate the other driver’s liability.
- Injury severity — More serious injuries that resulted directly from the crash warrant higher payouts, as there are likely substantial medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering damages.
- Insurance coverage — The at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits, as well as applicable underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, set parameters for settlement amounts. Excess coverage can sometimes be accessed.
- Contributory negligence — New York uses pure comparative negligence rules. If the motorcyclist was partially at fault, it reduces their compensation proportionally to their degree of fault. An attorney can minimize findings of contributory negligence.
- Timely reporting — Insurers look for gaps between the accident date and the date the claim was reported. Delays can unfairly reduce settlement offers.
- Ongoing medical care — Insurers often make multiple incremental settlement offers as medical treatment continues, to cover accumulating expenses.
- Willingness to negotiate — An experienced lawyer can negotiate effectively with insurers to maximize settlement amounts. If negotiations fail, filing a lawsuit is the next step.
A thorough crash investigation, skilled legal representation, and strategic negotiation are key to recovering full and fair compensation after a motorcycle accident in New York.
Statute of Limitations for Motorcycle Accident Claims in New York
The statute of limitations refers to the time limit crash victims have to take legal action and file a motorcycle accident claim in New York. It is crucial to act quickly and engage a lawyer to avoid having a claim barred by the statute of limitations.
For injury claims seeking compensation, New York generally imposes a three-year statute of limitations. This means motorcycle accident victims must file a lawsuit within three years from the date of the crash.
There are a few exceptions and caveats:
- If the victim died in the crash, wrongful death claims also must be filed within two years of the date of death.
- The statute deadline may be extended in cases involving serious injuries where the full harm was not immediately apparent.
- If the accident claim is against a New York government entity, a Notice of Claim must be filed within 90 days. Then the lawsuit can proceed.
- Minors involved in accidents have until they turn 18 to take legal action.
The statute of limitations applies only to filing lawsuits. There are no legal deadlines governing when insurance claims can be submitted or negotiated. However, it is still vital to promptly report crashes to insurers and retain legal counsel, while evidence is fresh. Letting months or years lapse can weaken a claim.
Finding the Best Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in NYC
New York City sees extensive motorcycle use, along with heightened accident risks from heavy traffic, congested roads, and aggressive drivers. Retaining an experienced NYC motorcycle accident attorney is essential for bikers injured in the city.
Characteristics of top motorcycle accident lawyers in New York City include:
- Extensive knowledge of state and city traffic laws and insurance claims processes. NYC motorcycle accident cases involve unique local factors, which lawyers intimately familiar with the local legal landscape can leverage most successfully.
- Experience litigating complex cases in New York courts. For severe NYC motorcycle accidents, complicated civil lawsuits may need to be filed. Lawyers prepared to take cases to court can often obtain better settlements for clients.
- Resources to conduct thorough investigations. NYC law firms have teams of investigators, researchers, and forensic experts who can recreate accidents, pinpoint liability, find eyewitnesses, and gather critical evidence to prove negligence.
- Ability to value case damages accurately. Top NYC motorcycle accident law firms employ legal nurses and life care planning experts who can assess injuries, treatment needs, and costs. Higher verified damages equal higher settlements.
- Staff and experience managing liens. With serious accidents in NYC, various health insurers and workers’ compensation plans may have liens on any settlement money. Experienced lawyers can negotiate lien amounts.
- Expedient response and continuous communication. Leading NYC firms are equipped to start investigating immediately after an accident occurs, with lawyers who directly update clients through every step.
NYC has no shortage of law firms, but it is important to vet each one thoroughly regarding experience with motorcycle cases specifically before selecting legal representation.
Best Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Buffalo, NY
Buffalo, New York — home to about 250,000 people — is exposed to long, snowy winters and sees many motorcycle accidents annually. Ice, slippery roads, driver error, and reduced visibility contribute to Buffalo motorcycle crashes.
If injured on a motorcycle in the Buffalo area, key traits to seek out in a lawyer include:
- Local experience in Erie County. Buffalo lawyers familiar with local roads, traffic patterns, judges, and insurance companies can maximize case outcomes.
- Past success recovering damages for Buffalo bikers. Look for a Buffalo firm with many precedent-setting verdicts and settlements for clients in motorcycle accident injury lawsuits.
- Familiarity with technical winter driving issues. Snowy and icy conditions introduce certain liability arguments. Lawyers experienced with Buffalo winters can win compensation even when poor weather plays a role.
- Resources to reconstruct Buffalo-area crashes. Helmet cameras, surveillance video, weather and road reports, and data from the motorcycle’s Event Data Recorder may be needed to prove vehicle negligence in Buffalo. Experienced firms have access to accident reconstruction experts.
- Staff who can detect traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Even mild TBIs from motorcycle crashes are disabling. The best Buffalo accident lawyers work with neurologists who can diagnose TBIs that other medical providers may miss.
- Associations with top local medical specialists. For the best care and documentation of accident injuries, leading Buffalo motorcycle accident firms refer clients to trusted orthopedists, neurosurgeons, and rehabilitation specialists in the area.
- Commitment to keeping insurance companies accountable. Buffalo lawyers who won’t hesitate to take cases to court when insurers make unreasonable settlement offers to get results for injured riders.
Partnering with a firm that knows how to build strong motorcycle accident cases in Buffalo’s unique environment is key.
Selecting the Best Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Rochester, NY
With a population approaching 200,000 people, Rochester sees many motorcycle collisions annually. Icy winter roads, changing weather patterns, heavy traffic, and high-speed thoroughfares all contribute to local motorcycle crashes.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a Rochester-area motorcycle accident, priorities for choosing an attorney include:
- Strong ties to the Rochester legal community. This provides advantages in front of local judges and when accessing local evidence sources.
- Experience litigating complex cases in Rochester courts. For large damages or complicated liability fact patterns, a lawyer prepared to take the case to court is often needed.
- Thorough understanding of New York negligence laws. Establishing liability rests on arguing negligence correctly under NY statutes and case law precedents. Rochester lawyers intimately familiar with state law have an edge.
- Record of top settlements for Rochester motorcyclists. Look for a Rochester firm that consistently delivers seven- and eight-figure verdicts and settlements for injured motorcycle accident victims locally.
- Access to accident reconstruction experts. Recreating what happened in a Rochester motorcycle crash often requires specialist investigators, especially if factors like poor weather or impaired driving were involved.
- Ability to fully account for long-term damages. With severe injuries, experienced Rochester lawyers work with medical experts to project lifetime costs. Higher verified damages support maximizing compensation.
- Staff focused on client communication and support. Rochester firms who treat clients with compassion and care during the difficult legal process tend to deliver the best outcomes.
Finding Rochester-based motorcycle accident lawyers with proven expertise and extensive local experience leads to the best results.
How to Choose the Best Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Syracuse, NY
With heavy traffic, long winters, and many miles of interstate highways passing through Syracuse, motorcycle accidents pose risks for local riders. Protecting your rights after a Syracuse-area motorcycle crash requires an attorney thoroughly familiar with the local courts, laws, and insurance climate. Considerations for choosing top Syracuse motorcycle accident lawyers include:
- Years of experience specifically handling Syracuse-area cases. Knowledge of local judges, juries, and insurance adjustors is invaluable.
- Willingness to take cases to court if needed. In complex cases, being prepared to file a lawsuit gains leverage in negotiations and produces higher settlements.
- Staff resources to fully investigate Syracuse crashes. Gathering police reports, video footage, eyewitness statements, and other evidence to prove negligence takes significant resources that respected Syracuse firms have.
- Access to medical experts in the Syracuse area. Having trusted relationships with respected local doctors benefits injury documentation, care, and case valuation.
- Demonstrated success recovering damages for Syracuse motorcyclists. Look for past results securing large verdicts and settlements for injured bikers locally.
- Ability to win compensation even with pre-existing conditions. Experienced Syracuse motorcycle accident lawyers know how to minimize the impact of prior medical history on damages.
- Strength negotiating with insurance companies. Maximizing compensation often requires forcefully negotiating with insurers. The most successful Syracuse firms have these negotiation skills.
- Commitment to personalized client service. Finding a Syracuse lawyer who communicates proactively and shows compassion for clients goes a long way.
Taking the time to identify motorcycle accident attorneys who check all the boxes in terms of Syracuse-specific expertise and resources leads to the best legal support and financial recovery.
Factors in Selecting the Best Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Albany, NY
As the capital of New York, Albany sees constant motorcycle traffic and accidents. Heavy transportation activity, changing weather patterns, and congested roads contribute to local motorcycle crashes. Albany motorcycle accident lawyers should have:
- Comprehensive knowledge of Albany-area roads and traffic laws. Leveraging familiarity with local accident-prone locations bolsters negligence claims.
- Experience handling cases before Albany judges. Understanding the Albany judicial climate translates to better case strategies and outcomes.
- Resources to investigate Albany motorcycle accidents. Gathering police reports, videos, and eyewitness testimony requires experience with local Albany sources.
- Associations with Albany medical experts. Having trusted Albany doctors who can detect accident-related injuries not apparent immediately after a crash is a major asset.
- Staff dedicated to uncovering insurance funds. Albany firms with legal professionals who know how to identify all possible insurance policies and underinsured motorist coverage deliver bigger settlements.
- Strength taking cases to trial in Albany if needed. Being unafraid to file a lawsuit ensures insurers know cases will reach juries if unreasonable settlements are offered.
- Success recovering damages for injured Albany motorcyclists. A proven record of results provides confidence in a lawyer’s abilities.
- Focus on communication with Albany-area clients. Finding Albany attorneys who provide compassionate, personalized attention through the legal process reduces stress.
Identifying motorcycle accident lawyers with intimate knowledge of Albany’s local legal landscape is key after a motorcycle injury crash in the city.
Choosing Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Outside Major New York Cities
If injured in a motorcycle crash in other areas of New York beyond the main metro areas, finding a lawyer with statewide experience is recommended. Seek out attorneys with:
- Comprehensive knowledge of New York negligence laws and motorcycle cases. Statewide expertise ensures lawyers can successfully argue motorcycle accident cases before local judges.
- Experience litigating motorcycle cases across New York. Lawyers accustomed to trying injury lawsuits across the state have an advantage over local lawyers who rarely leave their home county.
- Resources to deploy investigators anywhere. To gather police reports, witness statements, and secure evidence, lawyers need investigators able to travel to the accident scene promptly, wherever it occurs.
- Access to medical experts across the state. Developing relationships with respected doctors in regions across New York facilitates excellent care and documentation of accident-related injuries occurring anywhere in the state.
- Ability to bring New York motorcycle cases to court. Having the confidence to take cases to trial puts pressure on insurers to make reasonable settlement offers, even in tough venues.
- Success in recovering damages for injured bikers statewide. Look for consistent results securing substantial verdicts and settlements for motorcycle accident victims throughout New York.
- Focus on responsive communication. With remote clients, lawyers must provide regular status updates, stay personally involved, and show compassion through calls, texts, emails, and video meetings.
While local lawyers can be an option outside major cities, those with statewide expertise and resources often produce superior results for injured motorcyclists.
Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in New York
Selecting the right legal representation after a motorcycle crash in New York is critical. Certain missteps to avoid when researching lawyers include:
- Selecting a lawyer who lacks specific motorcycle accident expertise. Handling motorcycle cases well requires specialized knowledge. Vet each lawyer’s experience closely.
- Choosing a lawyer who appears disorganized and distracted. Complex cases require focus and attention to detail. Make sure your lawyer is prepared to devote sufficient time.
- Going with a lawyer who overpromises. Beware of guarantees of specific results or dollar amounts. Ethical lawyers make no such promises.
- Picking a lawyer who pressures you to settle quickly. Responsible lawyers allow time to fully assess crash-related damages before negotiating settlements.
- Hiring a lawyer who lacks resources to investigate. Thorough investigation and evidence gathering are crucial. Make sure the law firm has funding and experience deploying investigators.
- Selecting a lawyer unfamiliar with local courts and environments. Knowledge of specific judges, juries, and insurance companies in the crash location is extremely beneficial.
- Choosing a lawyer who rarely goes to court. A track record of taking cases to trial helps in negotiating favorable settlements and shows the lawyer is fully prepared.
- Waiting too long to consult a lawyer. Due to strict legal deadlines, promptly retaining counsel should be the top priority.
Avoiding these common errors ensures you have the right legal team for maximum recovery after a New York motorcycle accident.
Finding the best motorcycle accident lawyer in New York requires diligent research, careful consideration, and a willingness to ask questions. Your choice of lawyer can significantly impact the outcome of your case and your ability to secure the compensation you deserve.
By following the steps outlined in this article, you can increase your chances of finding a skilled and experienced attorney who will stand by your side and advocate for your best interests during this challenging time.