Motorcycles are an increasingly popular form of transportation to save money on gas and move more freely through a crowded and congested city, but riders throughout New York City are at risk for motorcycle accidents on city streets and highways due to negligent or reckless automobile drivers as well as roadway defects and hazards. And while cars are continually being made safer for their occupants in the event of a collision, motorcycle riders still remain exposed and vulnerable to catastrophic personal injury or wrongful death, often with nothing more to protect them than a helmet, boots and riding leathers. A biker who is forced off the road or into a skid may suffer only cuts and bruises and property damage if well-protected, but an impact with a car, truck, or van can end in multiple fractures, permanent paralysis from a spinal cord injury, or worse.
When motorcycle riders are seriously injured due to the negligence or wrongful conduct of another, they should be able to recover compensation for their medical expenses, time lost from work, pain and suffering, and other damages under the law.
Negligent Drivers, Reckless Drivers
Automobile drivers are expected to drive with ordinary, reasonable care. This duty includes being aware of the weather, traffic patterns and other conditions around them at all times, including the possible presence of motorcycles. Motorcycles may be harder to see than other cars on the road, and they often come up suddenly into view, but it is the driver’s responsibility to constantly scan the road around them and drive carefully. Some drivers simply do not respect motorcycles and intentionally drive recklessly or aggressively around them, failing to give bikers adequate room to maneuver or time to react to poor decisions.
A negligent roadway design that is too steep, too sharply curved, or improperly marked with signage can be especially dangerous to a motorcycle, which is inherently less stable than a four-wheeled vehicle. Insidious defects in a poorly-made road, such as uneven pavement or defective joint sealant pose additional risks, as do temporary conditions such as debris on the road, particularly sand, silt, or loose gravel blown onto the road surface from nearby road work or a construction zone. Subtle changes in road conditions may not even be noticed by larger vehicles, but they can be disastrous to the motorcycle rider.
The Rider’s Own Negligence
Bikers may also drive carelessly or recklessly, or heedless of the fact that they may be less visible to other cars on the road. Negligent riding can be the cause of an accident or a contributing factor. When both the automobile driver and the motorcycle rider are partially to blame for causing the accident, New York’s comparative negligence law will assign a measure of responsibility to each party. An injured plaintiff may still recover against a negligent defendant for the portion of the damages that are the defendant’s fault, regardless of the plaintiff’s own negligence.
At the law office of Figeroux & Associates, we look carefully at all the possible causes of an accident, including defective design or manufacture of the bike or a critical component such as the tires or brakes. Whether the cause is negligence or products liability, we seek to hold all responsible parties accountable for their conduct. If you have been injured in a New York motorcycle accident, contact Figeroux & Associates to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney with a track record of proven results.
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