A motorcycle accident can be one of the scariest events in a person’s life. Without the physical barriers that other vehicles provide, a collision on a bike opens up the potential for more severe injuries. More frightening is the fact that the rates of motorcycle accidents appear to be rising.
When someone’s carelessness causes a motorcycle accident, the negligent party is typically liable for covering a victim’s damages. The circumstances dictate who is responsible, and the individual or entity could be one of many.
Vital Information About Insurance Claims
The lack of doors and a roof are not the only exposures to danger motorcyclists face. Though New York is a no-fault insurance state, those statutes do not apply to motorcyclists.
Automobile owners must carry insurance that automatically covers a specific amount of medical bills, regardless of the at-fault party. After an accident, the driver and passengers in a car first apply for benefits from the insurer of their vehicle. If a person is a pedestrian or occupant of another vehicle that a motorcycle strikes, that individual can pursue the limits of no-fault insurance.
Liability insurance for motorcyclists only indemnifies riders from accidents they themselves cause. The coverage does not handle any of their own losses.
Collision and comprehensive insurance can assist with the damage to the bike during an accident. Coverage for medical care is often expensive and hard to get since the risks of riding a motorcycle are considerably higher than traveling in a car.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can help if a person is in an accident with an uninsured driver. This coverage might assist with some of the cost of medical treatment and lost wages. A rider can only pursue this claim after seeking compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance.
As with other insurance cases, a victim usually benefits from legal representation to get the full amount of coverage when dealing with the insurer. If an insurance provider acts in bad faith, a lawsuit may be advisable.
Parties to the Accident a Person Might Sue
New York is a pure comparative fault state. Therefore, a plaintiff must address all responsible parties to get the total due compensation after an accident.
Under pure comparative fault rules, liable parties only pay for their respective percentage of contribution to the accident. A victim may have to make claims against any of the following entities.
Other Motorists and Passengers
If the collision is with another vehicle, a motorcycle rider or any accident victim can sue the at-fault driver for damages that other insurance does not cover. The help of a qualified attorney in this instance and many other cases is beneficial because motorcyclists may find themselves facing an unconscious bias when pursuing compensation.
The at-fault driver may be an individual on the job. In such a case, the employer is usually responsible for damages.
The situation may not be as simple as only recovering damages for injuries. If the company is negligent in hiring practices or vehicle maintenance, punitive damages to discipline the company might offer additional compensation.
Riders who are performing official duties and have an accident on the bike can request workers’ compensation. Such cases are likely rare because few companies will sponsor or insure travel on motorcycles, but any authorization to handle responsibilities by using a bike could open an employer up to claims.
The at-fault driver of the vehicle may be a government employee. An injured rider can then bring a tort claim against the responsible government entity. If poor road maintenance or some other negligence was a factor, the rider could sue the liable Department of Transportation, which may be New York City or New York State, depending on the location of the incident.
The crash may happen on someone’s property or be the result of someone’s property creating an unsafe situation on the road. In this instance, a rider needs to bring a case against the owner who caused or permitted the hazardous conditions.
For example, decorations can obscure visibility or debris may blow into the roadway and cause a crash. If shrubbery or other items obstruct the view of road signs, this can play a factor as well.
Either vehicle may have a defect that creates a dangerous circumstance, despite the proper operation of the car or bike. Injured people can sue the manufacturer of the vehicle or defective part.
Determining liability in such cases becomes complicated because negligence may fall on the designer, manufacturing facility, supplier, seller or some combination of these parties. Plaintiffs will likely face high-powered legal teams and require the help of an attorney who knows how to navigate the situation.
Repair or Maintenance Technicians
If a licensed mechanic does not perform a repair correctly, the shoddy work can create liability. Motorcyclists also need to consider this possibility.
Common Injuries and Damages
One area where plaintiffs can make a regrettable mistake is by not determining all available damages. Compensation may be economic or non-economic.
Economic damages refer to items with a specific monetary amount. The cost of repairing or replacing a bike is part of this. These damages also include the money a person loses from missing work.
There are also medical expenses, which tally up quickly. Health care costs can include ambulance transportation, surgical costs, doctor visits, physical therapy, medications and long-term care.
Noneconomic damages are more difficult to determine. Pain and suffering are invisible but have real consequences. A person may have to change careers, which can affect self-esteem.
Trauma from the event can cause a person to avoid certain locations or situations that make life more inconvenient. Some injured people might not be able to do the same activities as before, affecting their quality of life. Such aftereffects have a cost that deserves some level of compensation.
How a Lawyer Can Assist
A good lawyer does more than fight a case in court. Competent attorneys recognize that trials require more time and money, so they do what is possible to settle out of court. Presenting a strong case before filing a suit can facilitate getting fair compensation quicker and with fewer expenses.
As a firm bargains with the other parties, one’s representation can take care of various issues, such as:
- Communicating with other parties for the client
- Gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses
- Determining the liable parties
- Understanding all available damages
- Explaining the case and providing regular updates
Lawyers also make sure that clients do not miss deadlines set by statutes of limitations. For example, a person usually has three years to file a personal injury claim. That limit changes to two years when a family member must file a wrongful death suit on behalf of a loved one who died in a motorcycle accident.
Insurance claims can have their own deadlines. People may have a hard time deciphering insurance contracts to understand when to file. If the liable party is a government entity, the plaintiff only has 90 days.
Accident lawyers understand that most clients cannot afford high upfront hourly rates. Reliable firms often provide a free case evaluation to determine the viability of a case. The firm then does the work and only gets paid when the client wins the suit.
Help From Cellino Law
The struggle of recuperating from a motorcycle accident can be worse without the help of experienced legal counsel to fight for every penny of compensation. When you or a loved one needs representation in a motorcycle accident case, contact Cellino Law, the right attorney for your needs.