New York Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
In urban streets as crowded as New York City’s, a motorcycle’s maneuverability and small size can be great assets on the road. However, motorcycle riders are also at increased risk for accidents because they are harder for cars to see, lack the protection afforded by closed vehicles, and are less stable on two wheels than automobiles are on four.
For all these reasons, what might be a minor or moderate accident for a car, could be a devastating one for a motorcyclist. And the pain of such accidents can be compounded by the stress of being unable to claim enough money from your insurance company to pay your medical bills or make up for your lost work. When this happens, you need an experienced motorcycle attorney who can help you claim what you deserve from the other driver and allow you to focus on healing.
Motorcycle Accidents: A Different Animal
In New York City, motorcycles are subject to different vehicle and traffic laws than other vehicles. Unlike cars, they are not considered “motor vehicles” for purposes of insurance liability, which means that riders are not constrained by the no-fault policy that bars other motorists from filing suit for damages after an accident.
For example, if two cars collide in the East Village, each insurance company automatically pays for its respective driver’s medical bills, regardless of which driver was at fault. However, neither driver is allowed to sue the other for additional damages or pain and suffering unless he sustains severe injuries, such as a broken bone, or impairment of a major organ or body system.
Motorcyclists, on the other hand, can file suit from the very first dollar (although we don’t usually recommend this unless your medical bills exceed the limits of your insurance policy). Once in court, it is treated like every other personal injury claim and you can work with your attorney to prove fault and to demonstrate the extent of the damage done by the other party’s negligence.
It’s very important, however, that you call an experienced motorcycle accident attorney immediately upon being involved in an accident. Proving liability and preparing to file suit is complex and you must file a claim within 3 years of the accident unless you are suing any type of city entity, including the NYCTA, NYCHA, city bus or subway. Then you have only 90 days to file a notice of a claim. An experienced attorney can give you a good idea of how much benefit you’re likely to receive from such action as well as help you prepare your defense, including getting the appropriate documentation of your injuries.
How Much Is My Claim Worth?
One of the most common questions we receive is “how much can I expect to receive from a bodily injury suit?” Our answer to that is always the same – “it depends.” The award you can expect to receive depends on many factors, including:
The extent of the damages you received
The proportion to which you were also at fault
Aggravating or mitigating circumstances surrounding the accident
The role of the court is that of an equalizer. Your award is their attempt to accurately estimate how much you lost (financially or emotionally) and restore this to you. The greater the extent of the damage, the greater your potential award.
The courts take into account both special damages (monetary expenses) and general damages (non-monetary injuries) when calculating your award. These may include:
The cost of future medical care
An estimated value of future wages likely to be lost
Household expenses incurred because of the injury
Pain and suffering
Loss of companionship/consortium
New York: A Comparative Fault State
In addition to the estimated value of your damages, the court also takes into consideration your degree of fault for the accident. As a comparative fault state, New York almost always considers both parties to be partially responsible for an accident – even if your degree of fault is only nominal. It then reduces your actual payout by your percentage of responsibility.
For example, if you were in an accident that caused $100,000 worth of damages and you were found to be 10% at fault while the other vehicle was 90% at fault, the court would declare the award to be $100,000, but your actual payment would only be $90,000. $10,000 would be “paid” by you, since you were 10% responsible.
One of the most important jobs we have as personal injury attorneys, is to accurately establish the role of each person in the chain of events so the award is split fairly and the injured party receives as much as they are rightfully entitled to, and does not have to shoulder an unfair portion of the blame.
Call Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier Immediately After An Accident
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident and your insurance or the driver’s insurance isn’t covering your medical bills, you need help immediately. Give us a call and let’s discuss your case to see what the best solution is for you. We can not only take care of money so you can focus on healing, but you can also have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that if you don’t win, you don’t pay. It’s as simple as that.
Call a NYC personal injury lawyer at Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier today at (212) 777-9400.