Bronx Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Motorcycles are one of the more energy-efficient methods of transportation, and they can also be a lot easier to park than a standard motor vehicle. Unfortunately, motorcycle operators and passengers are at significantly higher risk for injury and death if they are in an accident.
“In the Bronx, I have seen some devastating injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents. In those cases, my goal is to ensure that victims receive compensation for their injuries.”—Ivan M. Diamond
Contact Bronx motorcycle accident attorney Ivan M. Diamond for your free consultation today
Table of Contents
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
During a single year, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reported nearly 5,000 accidents involving motorcycles. The causes of motorcycle accidents, like those of auto accidents, are varied and can involve other motorcycles, automobiles, and pedestrians.
Some of the most common causes of accidents include:
- Driver Errors – Failure to yield the right of way is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents accounting for nearly 900 accidents. Other significant causes include distracted driving and traveling at unsafe speeds.
- Vehicle Issues – More than 200 accidents involved vehicular factors such as defective brakes or tire failure. In more than one-half of these accidents, the problem with the vehicle was unidentified.
Environmental Issues – Animals are the leading cause of the 800 motorcycle accidents each year that involve environmental factors. Defective roadways and slippery pavements combined account for nearly 200 motorcycle accidents.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Slightly more than 2,000 motorcycle accidents involved only one vehicle while nearly 3,000 involved two vehicles and slightly more than 200 involved more than three vehicles. There were 164 fatalities on New York roadways, of which 157 were motorcycle operators. Five pedestrians also lost their lives as a result of a motorcycle accident.
Injuries varied among victims, including nearly serious 1,000 ones, nearly 1,400 moderate ones, and nearly 1,800 minor ones. In addition, almost 700 accidents resulted in property damage. If you have had your property damaged or you were one of the thousands injured in motorcycle accidents, a lawyer can help you recover financially from your losses.
Riding a motorcycle in the State of New York is heart New York sees roughly 4,000 injuries per year in motorcycle injuries severe enough to require an emergency room visit. Of those, nearly 200 die. Statistically, for each mile driven, a motorcyclist is nearly 40 times more likely to die in traffic than the occupants of a passenger vehicle. Nearly one out of every five traffic accident fatalities in New York happens in a motorcycle accident.
Determining Who Bears Responsibility
Proving fault is the cornerstone of personal injury lawsuits. Since those involved in an accident will have to file a police report, your lawyer will review the reports, go over your medical reports, and speak to witnesses who saw the accident or know about the road conditions that caused the accident. Since New York has a no-fault insurance plan, we can often help you file the necessary paperwork, due within 30 days of an accident, to recover immediate medical costs and lost wages.
A motorcycle accident recovery generally requires, like any personal injury, proof of negligence on the part of the at-fault driver. Although New York’s No-Fault auto insurance plan generally makes it difficult to sue for damages, it is possible to do so for certain accidents involving severe injuries. If you sustained a serious injury as defined under Article 51 of the New York State Insurance Law or if you sustained an economic law of more than $50,000 combined lost wages and medical payments.
A serious injury includes:
- Loss or limitation in the use of a body organ, member, function, or system
- A medically confirm impairment of 180 or 90 days
These requirements do not apply, however, to motorcycle accidents, so you can sue to recover even minor injuries, including
- Medical expenses
- Lost income and future income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Punitive damages (where the defendant’s conduct warrants them)
To win a personal injury case, your attorney must prove:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care – The law presumes all drivers to owe a duty of care to all others on the road, so this is usually an easy element to prove.
- The defendant breached the duty of care – You can demonstrate the breach by proving things like speeding, distracted driving, poor lane changes, and other careless or reckless driving by the defendant.
- The breach was the proximate and factual cause of your injury – Proximate cause means that the defendant’s breach foreseeably caused your injury. Cause means that the defendant’s negligent behavior directly caused your compensable injuries with no intervening cause.
- The injuries from the breach caused you damages – Once you have established the first three elements, you must show that the injuries led to damages and that it would be equitable to award them to you. Damages in New York can be economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic damages are out-of-pocket expenses or losses that you can simply demonstrate by documentary evidence. Non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, are more subjective and harder to prove. Punitive damages, generally only available when the defendant’s conduct was shocking, punish the defendant and deter others from similar conduct. They do not compensate the victim, but the victim benefits from them.
New York follows the collateral source rule. This means that if the court awards you $100,000 and your insurance company has already paid you $50,000, you will not necessarily receive the entire $100,000. After a separate hearing, the court may reduce the award by the amount your insurance company already paid you.
New York also has a shared responsibility clause that means that if you are partially responsible for an accident, any award lawyer may secure on your behalf may decrease by your assigned percentage of fault. However, this does not eliminate your right to recover, and it is worth it to seek the compensation you can.
There are some significant injuries that victims can suffer after a motorcycle accident. I have seen victims with broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and crush injuries. Unfortunately, I have also worked with the families of victims who have lost their lives. When you are involved in a motorcycle accident, the first thing you should do is make sure you get immediate medical attention.
What rights do motorcycle operators have in the Bronx?
According to NY VTL § 125, motorcycles qualify as motor vehicles in the Bronx (excluding electric-powered bicycles and scooters).
Riders have the same general rights and responsibilities as drivers in New York under VTL § 1250, with the following notable additions:
- Operators must sit astride a regular seat facing forward with one leg on each side of the bike
- Motorcycles may only carry one person per designated seat
- Bikers may not carry packages, bundles, or persons that prevent them from keeping both hands on the handlebars
- Motorcyclists must have a clear view of their surroundings
- Riders may not attach motorcycles to other vehicles, excluding sidecars
- Riders may operate two abreast in one traffic lane
Importantly, VTL § 1252 states that motorcyclists have full use of the lanes where they operate, and other drivers may not de
prive any rider of this right. Likewise, riders may not overtake and pass other cars or trucks in the same traffic lane or operate in the gaps between lanes.
Injured motorcyclists might reduce their financial compensation if they violated these traffic provisions. Still, insurance adjusters often unlawfully use these regulations as grounds for denying injured riders just compensation.
What types of motorcycle accidents often lead to serious injuries?
Any accident involving a motorcycle may result in serious bodily damage to the rider.
However, the following accidents cause the majority of rider injures in the Bronx:
- Road hazards – Serious roadway dangers, such as potholes, road debris, and misplaced construction tools, may easily throw riders off their motorcycles.
- Left-hand turns – Drivers sometimes struggle to see a rider signal a left-hand turn and run directly into the back or side of turning motorcyclists.
- Head-on collisions – Many rider fatalities result from distracted or drunk drivers running red lights, making wrong turns, or swerving directly into the front of a bike.
- Run-overs – The most serious injuries often occur when one of the above accidents forces a rider in front of another moving vehicle, causing the unexpected driver to hit or run over the rider.
Motorcycles may also fall onto riders after an accident, causing additional burns, fractures, and lacerations. The negligent driver responsible for setting the accident in motion typically bears primary responsibility for these chain-reaction damages. State or local highway departments might also carry liability for creating hazardous roadway conditions resulting in motorcycle crashes.
What injuries do bikers commonly suffer in Bronx motorcycle crashes?
Even seemingly minor rear-end accidents on the Major Deegan usually injure motorcycle riders more than motor vehicle occupants.
The simple weight differential between cars and motorcycles often results in fatalities and the following serious injuries:
- Paralysis/spine damage – Most motorcycle accidents result in riders landing on a hard surface or suffering several impacts and damaging their spines.
- Head trauma – Concussions and similar traumatic brain injuries, often combined with neck trauma, may forever change a rider’s life.
- Disc herniations – Even a relatively minor impact with concrete may dislodge spinal discs resulting in nerve damage, pain, and difficulty standing, sitting, sleeping, or walking.
- Fractures – Complete fractures, including compound and comminuted fractures, often occur when negligent drivers knock riders off their bikes or propel them into the path of moving vehicles.
Friction burns – Sliding on rough terrain frequently results in painful friction burns, causing permanent scarring and disfigurement.
Bronx Motorcycle Accident FAQs
Q. Do all states require motorcycle riders to wear a helmet?
A. No. Forty-seven states impose some helmet requirements. Three states, Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire, have no helmet laws. Twenty-nine states impose an age-based limit on the requirement to wear a helmet, requiring, for example, that all drivers under the age of twenty or seventeen wear a helmet.
New York, by the way, requires all motorcycle riders and passengers to wear a helmet.
There are some quirks: Florida allows those 21 and over to ride without helmets only if they can show proof of a specific amount of medical insurance. Michigan has a similar statute.
Q. Does New York require motorcycle riders to wear protective eyewear?
A. Yes. Motorcycle riders in New York must wear protective eyewear. The eyewear must, at a minimum, meet U.S. Department of Transportation requirements for helmets and eye protection. If the motorcycle has a windscreen, the standards may differ somewhat.
Q. If I receive reimbursement for some of my expenses from my New York motorcycle accident, will my medical insurance still cover those expenses?
A. It certainly should do so. Yes, generally, New York will require payment of your full policy benefits without regard to any payments you may have already received.
Q. I was in a motorcycle accident and wasn’t wearing my helmet. Can I still seek damages from the other driver?
A. Although your failure to wear a helmet might constitute negligence, if another driver is genuinely at fault in your accident, you will most likely still recover most or all of your damages. Still call a Bronx motorcycle accident lawyer even if you did not wear a helmet.
Q. What allows the state to force me to wear a helmet?
A. A lot of what the state forces on drivers might be illegal under other circumstances. In other words, the government generally cannot condition your exercise of a constitutional right on a payment or the performance of an act. However, driving is not a constitutional right; it is a privilege based on compliance with government-imposed rules and regulations.
The U.S. Supreme Court has held for more than a century that the state may regulate driving privileges (Kaney v. State of New Jersey, S.Ct., 1916). As recently as 1999, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said flatly that people have no fundamental right to drive. (Miller v. California DMV, 1999). According to the Miller court, there is a fundamental right to travel, but not a fundamental right to do so by driving a car. So, whatever the government says you have to do to drive, you have to do.
Q. What is a motorcycle under New York law?
A. New York’s Vehicle & Traffic Law, Sec 123 defines a motorcycle as a motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the rider that operates with not more than three wheels in contact with the road but is not a tractor.
Limited use motorcycles are low-speed vehicles with three or two wheels. Mopeds and scooters are such limited-use motorcycles and must comply with all motorcycle registration and licensing laws. The law divides these vehicles into classes based on their top speed. Each class must meet specific requirements.
Q. What equipment do I have to have on my New York motorcycle?
A. Your New York motorcycle must have:
- Lights – A headlight, taillight, brake light, and license plate lamp are required.
- At least one red rear reflector.
- A horn or other warning device.
- At least one rearview mirror is required; one on each handlebar is preferred.
- You must have brakes on both wheels for bikes manufactured after 1971.
- Directional and turn signals must be on motorcycles manufactured after 1985.
- If made after 1980, your motorcycle must have a working speedometer that calculates speed in miles per hour.
- Mufflers are required. Cutouts or removable baffles are prohibited.)
- Handlebars or grips cannot exceed the driver’s shoulder height.
- If a motorcycle has a windscreen, it must have a manufacturer label saying it is suitable for highway use.
Q. What should I wear while operating a motorcycle in New York?
A. Obviously, there is no standard uniform. Still, some motorcycle riding training schools recommend that you wear boots or shoes that go above your ankles, long pants of heavy fabric, long sleeves with a motorcycle jacket recommended, and a U.S. DOT-approved helmet with DOT-approved protective eyewear. Finally, you should wear full gloves. This clothing will protect you in a minor accident.
Q. Is there a separate license for driving a motorcycle in New York? If so, what are its requirements?
A. Yes. To drive a motorcycle, you must obtain a Class M or Class MJ (for drivers under 18) driver’s license. After obtaining an M or MJ learning permit online, you must pass a written test and a road test. The DMV recommends at least 30 hours of practice before taking your road test.
If you don’t already have some form of New York driver’s license, you must complete a pre-licensing or driver’s education course, which is good for one year and two years, respectively.
Once you pass your exam, you will either receive your motorcycle license in the mail or, if you already have a license, may go to a DMV office and obtain an amendment to your existing license.
Q. If I have a motorcycle license from another state, can I exchange it for a New York motorcycle license?
A. If you become a New York resident, you should exchange your out-of-state license for a New York motorcycle license within 30 days of becoming a state resident. Your current license must have a photo, be current or expired for less than 24 months, and have been issued at least six months before your application for a New York license.
The New York license will be valid for five years from the date of issue. You cannot exchange a suspended, revoked, lost, stolen, hardship, or employment-only license, or one marked non-renewable or non-transferable.
Q. Why are motorcycle accidents so dangerous for motorcycle riders and passengers?
A. The average American car weighs just over 4,000 pounds, says the EPA. The average weight of a motorcycle is around 700 pounds, bearing in mind that there is a tremendous range in the size and weight of motorcycle makes and models. Nonetheless, a car has a distinctive size and weight advantage in a collision between the two vehicles. Another issue that makes motorcycle accidents so dangerous is the complete lack of protection of the rider by the vehicle itself.
Cars have a huge structure surrounding each passenger. Most of the time, it keeps the passengers from directly hitting the road or other vehicles. There are also protective devices like seatbelts and airbags.
On a motorcycle, the rider has none of these. If the collision knocks the bike over, the rider may well be dragged along the pavement or crushed under the bike. The rider may also be hit directly by one or more of the other vehicles in the accidents. And, even the best of helmets does not protect the head the way that being inside a car can. Motorcycle riders are vulnerable, and injury and death statistics confirm that vulnerability.
Contact Bronx Motorcycle Accident Attorney Ivan Diamond
Once you have received medical care, contact Bronx motorcycle accident lawyer Ivan M. Diamond at (718) 588-2000 for your free consultation.
“My job is to make sure that you get the compensation you deserve, including for your medical bills, reimbursement for lost wages, and pain and suffering. Motorcycle accident victims often suffer far more serious injuries than those in a car accident. Don’t hesitate to call me for help—I am committed to getting you the compensation you deserve.”—Ivan M. Diamond
The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond
888 Grand Concourse Suite #1L, 10451
“Mr. Ivan Diamond is the definition of professionalism hard work. He’s my first experience with a lawyer (I retained him to represent me in two separate instances) … and he made it a pleasant one! He’s VERY hands on, very attentive, asked the questions, consistently checked up on me and prepared me for any and every possibility. Extremely knowledgeable. I recommend Mr. Diamond to friends and family who we’re all happy with outcome of their personal injury case’s. I consider Mr. Diamond to be family, because that’s how hard he worked for me and expressed real compassion for my circumstances. Hiring Mr. Diamond is a decision you will never regret..” -Bia S.
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The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond888 Grand Concourse #1L Bronx, NY 10451 Phone: (718) 588-2000 Ivan M. Diamond is available for home and hospital visits, as well as weekend and evening appointments.
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