Experienced New York City Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
You’ve been injured by a negligent driver, and now you’re forced to deal with the fallout.
The New York motorcycle accident attorneys at Kaplan Lawyers PC are here to get you the compensation you deserve.
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If You’ve Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident, We Can Help
A motorcyclist is 27 times more likely to die and 5 times more likely to be injured in a vehicle crash than an occupant of a passenger car. Motorcycles give people the opportunity to use a form of transportation that is convenient, cheaper to fuel and easier to park than other types of vehicles. However, motorcyclists are also much more vulnerable to crashes and injuries than other motorists, a fact which highlights the need for safe driving on behalf of motorcyclists and the drivers they share the road with.
A motorcycle accident lawyer at Kaplan Lawyers PC can help you take the next step if you’ve been the victim of another driver’s negligence.
Our motorcycle accident attorneys have decades of experience handling claims ranging from road rash to wrongful death, and we are here to help you maximize your recovery and get the medical attention that you need.
Motorcycle Crashes are Different Than Other Types of Accidents
When two passenger vehicles collide, the occupants are often shielded from much of the impact. Motorcyclists are far more vulnerable to the force of a serious crash. Motorcyclists are often directly impacted by another vehicle and the concrete. That’s why the fatality rates for motorcycle crashes are so much higher than for occupants of passenger vehicles.
The injuries that bikers suffer in serious crashes are not only severe, they are also costly and debilitating. A motorcyclist’s injuries can greatly reduce their ability to earn an income and perform routine tasks. In other words, the stakes are often high for an injured motorcyclist, and their legal representative needs to know what they’re doing.
Understanding the Process
While each case is different, there are some common processes that you can expect when filing a personal injury claim after a motorcycle accident.
- Meeting with an Attorney – First, you’ll meet with an attorney to discuss your case. You’ll review the accident, talk about your injuries and how they’ve affected you and your loved ones. If you decide to move forward, you’ll learn how your attorney plans to proceed with your case.
- Preparing and Filing the Claim – Your attorney will get to work on your behalf, conducting investigations, interviewing witnesses, consulting experts and preparing materials to present your case. This phase of filing a claim involves many routine procedures that your attorney will handle. You will be informed about the progress of your claim and all your questions will be addressed.
- Settlement vs. Trial – A claim generally has one of two outcomes. A settlement occurs when the two sides of a claim come to an agreement on how much the injured motorcyclist will be paid. If no agreement is reached, the matter will go to trial where both sides will present their cases before a judge and a jury.
Many claims are settled before they need to go to trial. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we approach each case with the intention of taking it all the way to court, if necessary. We want to be sure that even if a claim results in a settlement, the other side knows that we are prepared to see our client’s case through to the end. The choice to proceed to trial is yours, and we will make sure that you have all the information you need to make a decision you feel comfortable with.
The Statistics on Motorcycle Safety
By taking a look at just a few of the facts and figures on crashes involving motorcycles, we can gain a clearer picture of how these crashes happen and just how common they are.
In New York, there were 4,760 motorcycle crashes, 135 motorcyclist fatalities and 4,633 injuries in motorcycle-involved crashes in 2014.
The three leading causes of these motorcycle crashes were unsafe speeds, failure to yield to right of way and driver distraction.
In the United States, over half of all motorcycle fatalities are adults over the age of 40, while motorcyclists over the age of 60 are two and a half times more likely to have serious injuries compared to younger motorcyclists.
In 2014, 29 percent of motorcyclists in fatal vehicle crashes were over the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration.
That same year, 33 percent of motorcyclists in fatal vehicle crashes were speeding at the time of the crash.
Motorcyclists on “super sport” bikes have death rates four times higher than those on other types of motorcycles.
Frequently Asked Questions for Motorcycle Accidents
Do I need an attorney to handle my claim?
No. However, the insurance company employs an army of attorneys, claims specialists, and experts to win the case, so in order to get the compensation that you are entitled to you will need to hire a New York motorcycle accident attorney that specializes in this type of law. Our legal team has decades of experience and a proven track record of maximizing settlements and we are in the best position to guarantee that you get everything that you are entitled to.
Does Fault Matter in New York Motorcycle Accidents?
Fault is a very important concept in cases involving motorcycle accidents in New York. If you are a motorcyclist or motorcycle passenger involved in a crash, you are excluded from New York’s “no-fault” insurance laws. However, this DOES NOT mean that you are without options. Even though New York’s no-fault insurance law doesn’t apply to motorcyclists, you can file an injury claim to receive compensation for all the costs you face after being hurt in a motorcycle accident.
What Expenses Can a Motorcyclist Recover in a Personal Injury Claim?
A motorcycle accident can cause many different problems in the life of the injured motorcyclist. The costs a motorcyclist faces after a crash are called “damages,” and they go well beyond the financial consequences of the crash. A personal injury claim affords the motorcyclist the opportunity to seek payment for these damages. Expenses sought in a personal injury claim can include:
Medical expenses (the costs of hospitalization, ambulatory care, tests, treatments, rehabilitation and prescription medications.), Property damage (the costs of repairs to your motorcycle or the value of your motorcycle at the time of the accident.), Lost income (the income you’ve lost due to time missed at work and the future income you’ll never collect because of an injury’s impact on your ability to perform your job.) and Pain and suffering (the “non-economic” damages stemming from your injury.) Some of these damages will be easier to calculate than others. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we have helped many clients determine an amount that truly reflects their needs. We understand how important it is to find out the true value of a motorcycle accident injury claim, and we make sure that you and your loved ones seek the amount that equals your damages.
How long do I have to bring a claim?
The statute of limitations (or time in which a claim must be brought from the date of the accident) is 3 years for a personal injury claim. If a claim is being brought for wrongful death the claim must be brought within 2 years from the date of death. If the claim is being brought against a municipality the time to bring a claim is significantly shorter depending on who the claim is against so you should consult with an attorney immediately.
Can I bring a claim even if the other driver wasn’t 100% at fault?
Yes. New York law follows the pure comparative negligence rule which states that an injured party will receive compensation for their injuries in proportion to their percentage of contributing to the accident. For example, if a jury believes that a claimant was 10% at fault the other driver is responsible to pay 90% of the claimant’s damages.
Do I have to pay any legal fees if I lose my case?
No. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee which states that if you don’t win your case we don’t get paid.
How much is my case worth?
If any attorney tells you that they know how much your case is worth before reviewing all of the documentation then they are lying or incompetent. However, our legal team has decades of experience and will maximize the value of your case.
How long will it take to settle my case?
Every case is different but our legal team utilizes the most advanced technology and aggressive legal strategy to expedite our client’s cases, generally resolving cases years faster than any other firm.
How will my medical bills get paid?
Your medical bills will be paid by your private health insurance, since anyone operating a motorcycle is not entitled to No Fault benefits. If you do not have health insurance your medical bills will be submitted as an item of special damages as part of your claim against the other driver.
How will I get my motorcycle repaired?
If you have collision coverage we would recommend that you contact your insurance company and submit a claim under your policy. If you don’t have collision coverage you will have to file a 3rd party claim with the other driver’s insurance company. However, a 3rd party claim can take significantly longer to resolve and the insurance company will try to twist your words against you so we recommend that you contact a legal professional before contacting the insurance company directly.
Can anyone sue to collect for pain and suffering if they were in a car accident while riding a motorcycle?
Yes. Since motorcyclists are not entitled to receive No Fault benefits they can collect against the other driver without having to prove that they sustained a serious injury as defined by the New York State Legislature.
Safety Tips for Motorcyclists
There are some steps that motorcyclists can take to make their rides a safe one:
- Wear a Department of Transportation-approved helmet.
- Wear lightweight, breathable material that has heavy-duty armor panels along the spine, torso, shoulders, and elbows.
- Ride defensively, assume that the drivers of the cars around you have not seen you.
- Provide a safe distance between your motorcycle and other vehicles on the road.
Unfortunately, not all accidents can be avoided. If you have been injured due to the negligence of another driver or because of a roadway defect, you should call an experienced New York motorcycle accident lawyer at Kaplan Lawyers PC. Our legal team has been helping injured riders for decades, and we are here to help you as well. If your motorcycle insurance will not pay for your medical bills or associated expenses, it is imperative that you contact us immediately so we can investigate and confirm who was responsible for your accident and hold those parties accountable. The consultation is free, and we charge no legal fee unless we win your case.
Safety Tips for Those Sharing the Road with Motorcyclists
Reducing the number of motorcycle crashes will also require the efforts of other drivers, too. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Be mindful of blind spots and always use a turn signal when making turns in the vicinity of motorcyclists. Around 40 percent of collisions involving a motorcycle and another vehicle occur when the other vehicle is making a left turn.
- Allow motorcyclists a full lane to drive in.
- Allow plenty of space when driving behind motorcyclists, especially when road conditions are even slightly hazardous.
- Always assume that a motorcycle is closer than it appears when you are at an intersection. Because they are smaller in size, it can be more difficult to judge their distance and speed.
Helmet laws in New York
New York law requires motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear helmets. The law also requires riders of motorcycles to wear protective eyewear. The helmets must meet the Department of Transportation and Consumer Product Safety Commission Standards. Many “novelty” helmets do not meet these requirements. Most of the helmets you purchase from credible retailers meet the guidelines, but it’s always best to double-check when purchasing a helmet.
Studies suggest that motorcycle helmets are 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries and 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcyclists. Head injuries are the leading cause of motorcyclist death.
Injuries and Fatalities in Motorcycle Injuries
As we can see, motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to the serious injuries that occur in vehicle crashes. These injuries can come in many forms and are often suffered in conjunction with one another. A few examples include:
- Organ Damage
- Road Rash
- Wrongful Death.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Crash
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, you should contact 911 immediately. If you are injured, or even if you suspect that you might be injured, request an ambulance. After a crash, people are often more injured than they realize, simply because our adrenaline spikes and masks the extent of our injuries. When the police arrive at the scene, answer their questions and cooperate to the best of your ability. The police will later file a report, which will be reviewed by you, your attorney and insurance companies.
After seeking medical attention, be sure to follow all of your doctor’s advice. Don’t try to fight through the pain to go to work or do anything else that might jeopardize your health or impede your recovery. Keep copies of bills or any other documents related to your medical care.
Keep track of any other bills, letters or documents you receive related to the crash. This includes motorcycle repair bills and letters from insurance companies. These documents will help your attorney determine how much money you should seek in a claim.
Consider contacting a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after your crash. Some people wait until there is a dispute with an insurance company or until it becomes obvious that the other driver was at fault for the accident. While it’s okay to contact an attorney after it becomes clear that legal action is necessary, there’s nothing wrong with contacting an attorney right after a crash. An attorney will be able to walk you through the process, explore your options and help you avoid any pitfalls that you might encounter without the aid of a legal professional.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Like most crashes, motorcycle accidents are usually the result of human error. Human error comes in many forms, though in many motorcycle crashes, it includes…
- Driver distraction
- Driver impairment
- Driver fatigue
- Failure to give a motorcyclist adequate space
- Failure to signal when changing lanes or making a turn
- Failure to follow traffic signs and signals
- Failure to adjust driving for bad weather or heavy traffic.
Drivers have a responsibility to share the road safely with motorcyclists. If a driver acts without regard to the safety of their fellow motorists, they can be held accountable for the harm their careless driving has caused.
Hurt in a Motorcycle Accident?
What to Look for in a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Ideally, you want an attorney with a track record of successfully handling motorcycle accidents. Don’t be shy about asking a potential attorney about their experience with these types of crashes. They’ll be able to tell you what they’ve achieved on behalf of their clients and how they can use that experience to maximize your chances of a successful claim.
A skilled motorcycle accident attorney knows that each case is different and requires a great deal of research and preparation to get maximum results. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we’ll investigate the circumstances surrounding your case to determine who was responsible for your injuries, how much you should seek in a claim, and we’ll build your case to ensure you get payment that reflects the damages you’ve encountered.
Determining Fault in a Motorcycle Crash
The majority of all vehicle crashes are due to human error. It is often the driver of the other vehicle, and not the motorcyclist, who was responsible for a multi-vehicle crash. Whether due to driver distraction, impaired driving or reckless driving practices such as speeding or failing to notice another vehicle when changing lanes, there can be a number of contributing factors that lead to one single crash. Determining fault in a motorcycle crash means examining and investigating many different aspects of the incident. An New York experienced motorcycle accident attorney will be able to investigate the facts of a case and determine who was at fault in the crash.
The Costs of Filing a Motorcycle Accident Personal Injury Claim
How much you’ll spend filing a claim depends on the firm you choose to work with. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we work on a contingency fee basis. This means that if we don’t win your case, you owe use nothing. We know how important your case is, and we know the costs of a serious injury can be substantial. Our team wants to ensure that you don’t face financial repercussions if your claim is unsuccessful.
We also offer free consultations to help you better understand your legal options. If you are on the fence about filing a claim, then feel free to reach out to our firm and schedule a consultation. You are not obligated to proceed with a claim if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. If you do choose to file a claim, know that if you don’t get paid, we don’t either.
What Sets Kaplan Lawyers PC Apart
Our attorneys have experience with many different types of injury cases. Some of our team members have previous experience working on the other side of injury cases, which gives us a unique perspective. We understand what the legal teams and insurance companies are thinking, and we use that knowledge to your advantage.
Most importantly, we cater our services to fit your needs. If you can’t come to our office, we send a representative to meet you on your terms. We know how difficult it can be for an injured person to meet the demands of travelling around the city. We prioritize customer service to make our clients’ lives as easy as possible.
Contact Kaplan Lawyers PC today to schedule your free consultation.