Deaths from motorcycle accidents reached an all-time high in 2008, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In less than a decade, the death rate had more than doubled. Riding a motorcycle can be a thrilling experience, but also it can be a deadly one if drivers or motorcyclists are reckless. Who is liable for a motorcycle accident? It all depends on the circumstances, which a Long Island personal injury lawyer will help New York victims establish in an accident liability claim.
When the Car Driver is at Fault for a Motorcycle Accident
Because of their small size, motorcycles can be difficult for the driver of a passenger vehicle to see. In many motorcycle-passenger vehicle accidents, the car is at fault for disobeying traffic laws such as right of way laws at intersections. All vehicles on the roadway have a duty to watch out for the safety of others. Larger vehicles should treat motorcyclists the same as passenger vehicle drivers. They must drive safely, slow down, anticipate the actions of others and follow traffic signals and signs.
If a passenger vehicle driver is responsible for the accident, he/she may hold accident liability for medical expenses, motorcycle damage and possibly other damages the motorcyclist experiences as a result of the accident.
When the Motorcyclist is at Fault for a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycles are susceptible to accidents caused by road hazards, such as road kill, potholes, puddles, oil slicks, leaves, sticks and railroad tracks. But if motorcyclists drive too fast or ignore traffic laws, then they can hold accident liability. Motorcyclists may be responsible for accidents if they lack experience and familiarity with the motorcycle and lose control of it.
Lack of proper maintenance can cause the motorcycle rider to be liable for an accident related to poor upkeep. Motorcycles need to be tuned up regularly in order to achieve optimal performance. Failure to change tires as needed or keep the bike aligned can lead to problems, especially at higher speeds.
In addition, if the motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash and suffered head injuries, then he or she could be held partly responsible for the accident, even if the person did not directly cause the crash. If a motorcyclist is injured due in part to his or her own negligence, then he or she still can receive compensation.
However, because New York is a state that recognizes contributory negligence, the amount of recovery decreases with the percentage of fault. A Long Island personal injury lawyer can help New York motorcyclists evaluate their own liability or that of another party and establish fault in a claim or lawsuit.
When the Manufacturer Is at Fault for a Motorcycle Accident
In some cases, neither driver is found to hold accident liability. Sometimes an accident can be caused by a manufacturer defect. For example, if, due to a flaw in the motorcycle’s design, the tires explode or if the brakes stop working, then these issues should be brought to the attention of the manufacturer. A Long Island personal injury lawyer can work with New York accident victims to evaluate product liability issues on a particular model of motorcycle and use it as evidence in the case.
Contacting a Long Island Personal Injury Lawyer about a New York Accident Liability Case
Determining accident liability is important in order to determine who pays for medical expenses and other damages. In the event of a fatality, the victim’s family also has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Victims can learn more about their legal rights by consulting a Long Island personal injury lawyer from Gacovino, Lake & Associates in New York. Contact us today at (800) 246-4878 to set up a free consultation about your motorcycle accident.