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Clearing up Confusion about Motorcycle Accidents and No-Fault Insurance

Because motorcyclists fall into a different category than motorists or even passengers involved in traffic accidents, a general confusion often exists regarding what their insurance covers.

Article 51 of the New York Insurance Law is the NY No-fault Insurance Law. It is the legal reference that lays down the rules for what NY no-fault insurance does and does not cover. Reading it can be tedious due to the legal jargon, but some of the main points covered under this law can help clear up any confusion you may have.

Are Motorcycles and Motor Vehicles the same under No-Fault Law?

No. In fact, the law states: “a ‘motor vehicle’ means a motor vehicle…it shall not include…or a motorcycle.”

Article 51 defines a motorcycle using section 123 of the NY Vehicle and Traffic Law:  “Every motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding a tractor.”

Consequently, a strong distinction is made between motorcycles and motor vehicles, which are not viewed the same under no-fault insurance law.

Does the No-Fault Insurance Law state that it does not cover motorcycles?

Yes, it states this in section 5103 called “Entitlement to first party benefits.” The section explains that coverage extends to “the named insured and members of his household, other than occupants of a motorcycle…”

What Does a Motorcyclist’s Insurance Cover and Why Is It Listed as No-Fault Insurance?

If a motorcyclist strikes a pedestrian, the insurance covers the pedestrian’s injuries. A pedestrian is anyone who is not riding the motorcycle or is not a passenger in another vehicle.

Is there any other benefit insurance-wise for motorcyclists?

Yes, motorcycles have fewer restrictions when suing for damages. Motorists and passengers in vehicles, who suffer injury are subject to no-fault insurance and must show they sustained a “serious injury” to sue for damages beyond what no-fault insurance covers. However, this is not the case for motorcyclists. Because motorcycles do not have the same no-fault coverage, they can sue a negligent party for damages, even when injuries are not considered serious based on New York’s serious injury threshold.

What should you do if involved in a motorcycle accident?

If you believe someone else is at fault for causing your motorcycle accident, contact a motorcycle injury lawyer and arrange a free consultation. Our attorneys at Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP  have decades of experience handling motorcycle cases and can determine whether you have a legal basis for a lawsuit.

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