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What Are Your Legal Rights for Motorcycle Accidents in New York?

Can You Recover Compensation for Injuries?

Insurance coverage differs for motorcycle accidents and motor vehicle accidents. The main difference is that no-fault insurance, which Article 51 of the NY State Insurance Law defines, does not cover motorcyclists and their passengers.

In a car accident, unless injured parties suffer a serious injury (as defined under NY Insurance law), they cannot sue the at-fault driver for damages. Because no-fault insurance does not apply to a motorcyclist, an injured motorcyclist has the right to sue an at-fault driver for damages without having to meet the serious injury threshold.

However, the lack of no-fault insurance has an upside and a downside. The upside is no restrictions on the right to sue. The downside is that if the accident was not another driver's fault, the motorcyclist will have to cover injury expenses themselves. It is wise for motorcyclists to carry good medical insurance.

Determining Whether the Motorcycle Accident Is the Vehicle Driver's Fault

An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can investigate and gather information to prove another driver’s liability in an accident.

New York State bases recovery of compensation on its comparative negligence law. This means that the court must determine the percentage of fault for causing an accident and award compensation for damages based on the percentage. For example, if the court decides that the driver was 75 percent at fault and the motorcyclist was 25 percent at fault, the motorcyclist could recover 75 percent of the damages resulting from the accident.

Some of the factors that the court considers when determining fault include:

  • Failure to yield the right-of-way
  • Traffic law violations
  • Speeding violations
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Reckless driving
  • Distracted driving

To recover compensation for damages, your attorney will have to prove the other driver was negligent.

When the other driver was at fault, it is wise to get the contact information of people who witnessed the accident. Interviewing witnesses can help establish fault.

For more information, please see our Motorcycle Accidents page.

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