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Long Island Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Motorcycles are not like other vehicles on the road. They are more unstable and much smaller, making it more difficult for other drivers to see them. Motorcyclists also do not have the benefit of no-fault insurance that governs other vehicles and motorists on the road. Motorcyclists do still have the same rights and obligations as other drivers, but those other drivers do not always uphold those rights. When drivers on the road cause an accident that results in a motorcyclist becoming hurt, they can be held liable. An experienced Long Island motorcycle accident lawyer from Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. can help injured individuals claim the maximum settlement they deserve.
Why are Motorcycle Accidents Different from Car Accidents?
It is natural to think that an accident on the road involving a motorcycle is similar to a car accident, but that is not true. A number of factors differentiate motorcycle crashes from car accidents, including:
- Exposure: Motorcyclists do not have the benefit of a steel frame around them the way other motorists do. They are greatly exposed to other vehicles and the pavement in the event of a crash, which will result in more severe injuries.
- Instability: While most other vehicles in New York have four wheels that make them very stable, the majority of motorcycles are only equipped with two wheels. This makes them much less stable, which could result in them toppling during an accident, causing more serious injuries.
- Smaller size: The smaller size of a motorcycle will have a great impact on an accident. Firstly, because motorcycles are smaller and lighter, even a minor accident can result in catastrophic injuries for the biker. Secondly, the small size of a motorcycle makes them more difficult to see, which increases the likelihood of a crash.
Although motorcycles are vastly different from other vehicles, motorcyclists still have all the same rights as other motorists. When they are involved in an accident, bikers can hold liable parties accountable for paying the damages they deserve.
Motorcyclists and No-Fault Laws in Long Island
Generally speaking, New York follows no-fault auto insurance laws. Under these laws, when two people are involved in an accident, they must first file a claim with their own insurance company to recover compensation. It is only in the event of a serious and permanent injury that motorists can file a claim directly against the liable party. However, motorcyclists are not subject to these laws.
Under the laws of the state, motorcycles are not considered motor vehicles, which makes them exempt from no-fault laws. So, bikers are not eligible for the medical and wage loss benefits no-fault insurance provides. Instead, motorcyclists must file a claim directly against the liable, or at-fault, party. However, while it may seem as though this places motorcyclists at an unfair advantage, it does not.
Due to the fact that motorcyclists are not subject to the no-fault laws of the state, they also do not have to sustain a serious and permanent injury in order to file a claim against the liable party. Even in a seemingly minor accident, bikers can still file a claim to recover damages for their medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
Contributory Negligence in New York
All personal injury cases, including motorcycle accidents, are governed by the contributory negligence laws in New York. This law states that when an accident victim contributes to the crash that caused injuries, they can be held partially liable. New York follows a pure contributory negligence model, which means accident victims can fuel a claim for compensation even if they are found to be 99 percent at fault for the crash. It is still important for accident victims to defend against contributory negligence claims. If the other party is successful with their argument, it may greatly reduce the amount of compensation the injured individual receives.
For example, under New York law, all motorcycle operators and their passengers must wear a helmet that meets the requirements under federal law. If a motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, the other side may argue they are partly at fault because wearing a helmet would have mitigated their injuries. The motorcyclist in this case may be assigned 20 percent of the blame for the accident, which will also reduce their compensation by 20 percent.
Damages Available in Motorcycle Accidents
Through a personal injury claim, accident victims can recover many different types of compensation after a motorcycle crash. The most common damages awarded in these claims include:
- Medical costs: The damages for medical expenses within a claim may include hospital stays, ambulance costs, medical supplies, prescription costs, and more.
- Lost income: When accident victims cannot return to work, they can include lost wages, benefits, and bonuses within their claim. In the event that an accident victim can never return to the same line of work again, they can also include a loss of earning capacity in their claim.
- Property damage: Motorcycle accidents are very serious and because motorcycles are not as sturdy as other vehicles, they are likely to become seriously damaged in a crash. The costs of the damage can be included in a claim.
- Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering is a loss that accident victims deserve to be compensated for. Damages for pain and suffering include the physical pain accident victims feel, as well as the emotional distress the accident causes them.
The above are just a few of the most common types of damages included in motorcycle accident claims. A Long Island motorcycle accident lawyer will determine the full amount of damages accident victims deserve.
Get Legal Help Today
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a motorcycle accident, our Long Island motorcycle accident lawyers can assist with your case. At Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C., our seasoned attorneys will determine who was liable for the crash, and defend against claims that you were at fault so you recover the maximum damages you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.