Because of their relatively small size and dexterity, motorcycles are oftentimes the preferred mode of transportation when navigating the busy streets of New York City. However, just like cars, motorcycles can, at any time, be hit by another vehicle. If a motorcycle accident occurs and it is caused by the driver of a car or truck, the motorcyclist involved in the accident is likely to suffer serious injury or death depending on the circumstances surrounding the crash. Fortunately, if an accident does occur in New York, New York law allows injured motorcyclists and motorcyclists killed in a crash to bring personal injury claims against the driver or rider responsible for negligently causing the injuries or death. Below, we outline how an injured motorcyclist or the loved ones of a deceased motorcyclist can preserve claims against the responsible party in New York.
Request Police Assistance After the Accident and Obtain the Police Report Authored by the Responding Officer
When a motorcycle accident occurs, it is prudent for the motorcyclist to call the police to the scene of the accident to investigate it if a police officer is not already at the scene. Police officers investigating motorcycle accident scenes typically speak with the people involved in the accident, review the scene itself, and, from there, will author a police report detailing what he or she perceives to be the facts surrounding the accident. Sometimes, in their reports, police officers will opine that one of the parties involved in the accident is at-fault for causing the accident. While this is not conclusive proof by itself that the other person involved in the accident is responsible for causing the crash and the motorcyclist’s resultant injuries, the motorcyclist may use this report as evidence to prove that the other party, and not himself or herself, caused the accident.
We recognize that not every motorcyclist will be able to call the police after an accident due to his or her injuries, i.e. if unconsciousness occurs. In those instances, not having police officers there to investigate and create a report related to the accident does not destroy any potential personal injury case the motorcyclist may have against the other person involved. However, if the motorcyclist can request police intervention at the scene, he or she should do so.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention for Any Possible Injuries
After the motorcyclist is in an accident, another way he or she can preserve a personal injury claim against a negligent driver or rider is to seek immediate medical attention for injuries he or she sustains. Seeking medical attention will help the motorcyclist to discover the extent of his or her injuries, get an idea of the extent of treatment needed to heal the injuries, and get an idea of the costs associated with getting the needed treatment. From a legal standpoint, seeking immediate medical attention is useful to prove that the accident itself, and not any other event, caused the motorcyclist’s injuries. Also, getting medical attention for your injuries creates documentation of your injuries from a neutral party, which can then be used to prove the cause and extent of the injuries you sustained in the accident.
Take Photographs of the Accident Scene, Your Injuries, and the Damage to Your Motorcycle
While still at the scene of the accident, it is also a good thing to take photographs of the accident scene. This allows you to obtain evidence of the positioning of the motorcycle and other vehicle involved at the time of the crash, the traffic signals that were potentially applicable at the time of the accident, and any skidmarks on the road. While this step may not seem important when a motorcyclist is hit by another driver or rider, having these photographs will help the motorcyclist’s attorney and accident reconstruction specialist determine what actually happened and what evidence needs to be collected to win the motorcyclist’s personal injury claim.
In addition to photographs of the scene, motorcyclists should take photographs of their physical injuries as close to the accident as possible to be able to show a potential jury or judge the extent of the injuries suffered because of the crash. Similarly, taking photographs of the damage to the motorcycle may help to prove that, in addition to physical injuries, the motorcyclist suffered property damage for which he or she should be compensated.
Retain an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney
While all of the above-described actions are important in preserving a personal injury claim after a motorcycle accident, perhaps the single most action an injured motorcyclist or the loved ones of a deceased motorcyclist can take is to hire an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to represent him or her. Experienced motorcycle accident attorneys know what types of evidence that need to be collected and presented at trial to win a case, they know the law surrounding motorcycle accidents and what types of legal arguments to pursue on your behalf, and they know when and how to negotiate settlements instead of going to trial if that is what is the best outcome for the injured motorcyclist or the loved ones of the deceased motorcyclist.
Contact a New York City Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Motorcycle Accident Case in New York
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a motorcycle accident in New York? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Proner & Proner, Attorneys at Law represent clients injured because of motorcycle accidents in Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, throughout New York, and Bethel, Connecticut. Call (212) 500-1003 or email us to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 60 E. 42nd Street, Suite 1503, New York, New York 10165, as well as offices in The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Forest Hills, New York, and Bethel, Connecticut.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.