Motorcyclists often suffer serious injuries when they are involved in collisions with motor vehicles. Indeed, as the Insurance Information Institute (III) emphasizes, “motorcycles are by their nature far less crashworthy than closed vehicles,” which means that “motorcyclists and their passengers are more vulnerable to the hazards of weather and road conditions than drivers in closed vehicles.” In 2019 alone, more than 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in collisions, and many more sustained nonfatal injuries. To underscore the way in which motorcyclists tend to suffer particularly serious and debilitating injuries, the Insurance Information Institute notes that motorcyclists are “nearly 29 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle miles traveled.”
When a motorcyclist is injured in an auto accident in New York, what does that motorcyclist need to know about seeking compensation?
New York’s No-Fault Laws are Not Applicable to Motorcyclists
First, it is essential for motorcyclists to know that they are not covered by New York no-fault laws. As the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) explains,
“If you are the operator or passenger of a motorcycle involved in an accident, you are excluded from No-Fault benefits (you may sue from first dollar loss).”
Accordingly, a motorcyclist cannot begin the claims process by filing a no-fault insurance claim as other motor vehicle drivers or passengers can. At the same time, a motorcyclist is not bound by the “serious injury threshold” under New York law that motorists must meet in order to be eligible to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. Since motorcyclists are not covered by the no-fault law and its requirements, motorcyclists are not required to prove that they meet the serious injury threshold in order to be eligible to file a lawsuit.
Proving Fault in a Motorcycle Collision Involving a Car or Truck Driver
In order for a motorcyclist to be able to obtain financial compensation through a lawsuit, it will be essential to prove that the car or truck driver who caused the accident was negligent. There are various ways to show that a motorist’s negligence caused the collision, and the evidence necessary will depend upon the specific facts of the case.
In an intoxicated driving collision, you may be able to obtain information about a breathalyzer test administered at the scene. Other forms of negligence, such as distracted driving or drowsy driving, can be more difficult to prove. You may be able to use the information contained in a police report, witness testimony from others who were present at the scene of the crash, and material provided by an accident reconstruction expert.
After a collision, you should seek advice from a lawyer about proving fault in a collision and showing that the motor vehicle driver who caused the motorcycle crash was at fault.
Contact a New York Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident and you need assistance filing a claim against an at-fault car or truck driver, you should seek advice from one of our experienced New York auto accident lawyers as soon as you can. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC for help with your case.