Staten Island Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Riding a motorcycle is a favorite hobby for many New Yorkers. Whether you are riding for fun or as an alternative to owning a car, you are vulnerable to serious injuries in a crash.
If you have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident or a loved one has suffered a wrongful death in a motorcycle crash, we can help you get the compensation that you deserve. When someone else causes a motorcycle accident, they can be held financially liable for your losses. This money is often critical to helping you make a full recovery.
At The O’Connor Law Firm, we will deal with the insurance companies, guide you through the legal process, and help you get the compensation you deserve. Our offices are located in Manhattan and Staten Island, but we can come to you if you cannot travel. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation with a seasoned Staten Island motorcycle accident attorney.
Motorcyclists Face Many Hazards
Riding a motorcycle is much more dangerous than riding in a passenger sedan. The statistics bear this out. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to suffer a fatal crash than the occupant of a car. They are also 4 times as likely to be injured.
Some of the hazards bikers face include:
- Careless drivers who are not looking for motorcyclists and often pull directly in front of them.
- Dangerous and aggressive drivers who do not believe they need to share the road with motorcyclists and cut them off or pass too closely.
- Potholes and other road defects which a car would drive over but which might upend a bike.
- Lack of protection so that bikers often suffer horrifying injuries in a collision.
All these hazards conspire to make riding a dangerous activity. As experienced Staten Island motorcycle accident attorneys, we are not surprised by the high number of accidents – including those that involve serious or fatal injuries.
Motorcyclists are Prone to More Severe Injuries Than Car Passengers
When a motorcyclist is involved in a collision with a passenger vehicle, the injuries to a biker are often more serious and sometimes catastrophic. There are several reasons why bikers have a higher fatality rate than vehicle occupants after a collision:
- Motorcyclists are more vulnerable on impact due to the very nature of a motorcycle – it has no metal enclosures or other protection except for use of a helmet.
- Motorcycles operate on two wheels which makes them less stable than four-wheel vehicles.
- Motorcycles often have difficulty being seen by larger vehicles and trucks due to their smaller size and blind spots of larger vehicles.
- The smaller size and lighter weight of motorcycles make them vulnerable to potholes or other roadway defects that do nothing more than feel like a bump in the road to passenger vehicles.
New York City and State Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to the New York Department of Health, an average of 141 motorcyclists die each year in accidents. In addition, 1,558 people are hospitalized and 4,458 people visit the emergency room due to injuries related to motorcycle accidents.
The NYC Department of Transportation also conducted a Motorcycle Safety Study that revealed the following:
- New York City’s fatal crash rate for motorcyclists is near twice the rate of New York State motorcyclists.
- Motorcycle injury crashes are more likely to occur during the afternoon or evening hours and on weekends.
- The majority of motorcycle fatality crashes occur on city streets, rather than highways.
- There were 197 motorcyclist fatalities in New York between 2010 and 2014.
Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
While the majority of motorcycle accidents are caused by operators of passenger vehicles, trucks, and others, there is an inherent bias against bike riders and a false perception that cars and trucks have a greater right to the road and should not have to make room for motorcyclists.
This bias and false understanding of the rules of the road can create dangerous conditions for motorcyclists and result in reckless behavior by other drivers. Motorcycle accidents can happen anywhere in Staten Island, but here are some common situations:
- Left-hand turn collisions. Often, a motorist is hanging out in an intersection to make a left-hand turn once oncoming traffic passes through. However, the motorist doesn’t notice a motorcyclist bringing up the rear and crashes into them.
- Rear end collisions. A motorcyclist stopped at an intersection or in the parking lot can be struck from behind by a motorist who fails to brake in time.
- Sideswipes. A motorist might pass too closely because they are in a hurry. Unfortunately, they clip a motorcyclist, which sends them off the road.
These types of accidents are often caused by things such as:
- Distracted driving
- Unsafe lane changing
- Following too closely
- Improper and unsafe turns
- Failure to yield
- Blind spots
- Disobeying traffic controls
- Lane splitting
- Driving under the influence
Additionally, many road hazards make riding a motorcycle risky. Potholes, road debris, and unplowed snow can send a biker tumbling when they strike the hazard.
Serious Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle riders and their passengers are vulnerable to severe injuries as a result of the lack of protection during an impact with another vehicle or the pavement. Some common injuries include:
- Road rash
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Arm and leg injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Nerve damage
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Amputation/loss of limb
- Wrongful death
These injuries require immediate treatment at the hospital. If you don’t have insurance, then you will need to pay out of pocket or find a doctor willing to treat you in exchange for a lien on your settlement. Whatever you do, please avoid delay. Many injuries worsen without treatment. This is true of back and spinal column injuries. Contact a Staten Island motorcycle accident lawyer if you need assistance finding appropriate medical care. The faster you get on a treatment plan, the stronger your odds of successfully healing.
Many of these injuries can cause serious, long-lasting disabilities. You may spend a substantial amount of time in the hospital after a motorcycle accident, going to doctor’s appointments, or undergoing different types of therapy to more fully recover from your injuries. This can quickly become incredibly expensive, which is why it is so critical that you hold the at-fault party responsible for your losses.
If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident, get help now from an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. If you cannot travel to our office, we can come to you. We will answer your questions and give you the peace of mind you deserve.
What Compensation Can You Receive?
In any personal injury case, you may be entitled to three types of compensation (damages): economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic and non-economic damages are compensatory, which means that they compensate injury victims for their losses. Punitive damages are different because the purpose is to punish an at-fault party who acted intentionally or recklessly.
Economic damages pay for your direct financial losses. They are most often proved through documentation like estimates for property damage, pay stubs, and invoices from hospitals, doctor’s offices, and therapists. Examples of economic damages include lost wages, reduced earning capacity, property damage, medical bills, and future medical treatment or care.
Non-economic damages pay for intangible losses, which can be much harder to quantify. They may include things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring, disfigurement, and loss of consortium. An experienced Staten Island motorcycle accident lawyer can help put together a strong case for non-economic damages using their knowledge of similar cases and consultations with experts in the field.
Finally, punitive damages may be awarded in cases where the defendant acted intentionally or recklessly. A good example of a motorcycle crash case where punitive damages would be awarded is a drunk driving accident. These damages penalize a wrongdoer and serve as a deterrence to other people who might engage in similar conduct.
Keep in mind that insurance companies are almost never willing to pay motorcycle accident victims the true value of their case unless and until a lawyer gets involved. Their goal is to maximize their own profits, which is why they work hard to pay out as little as possible on legitimate claims. Even if the insurance adjuster tells you that they accept liability, you shouldn’t trust that their settlement offer will even come close to covering your full damages.
Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you before you speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. It is important to understand how much your case is worth. At The O’Connor Law Firm, we are dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to motorcycle accident victims. We will explain the damages you may be entitled to and guide you through the legal process.
Who Is Responsible For My Motorcycle Accident?
The O’Connor Law Firm understands the importance of compensation. Without it, many injured motorcyclists would be unable to pay their bills or get their bikes fixed. They need money to cover their rent, mortgage, or other living expenses, and without this money they cannot support their family.
Fortunately, New York law allows you to sue anyone responsible for the crash. These parties can include:
- Other motorists on the road. The driver of a car or truck could strike you or force you off the road because they were negligent or reckless.
- Commercial employers. If a trucker, delivery driver, or taxi driver caused an accident, you can usually sue their employer. They are automatically liable under the legal concept of “respondeat superior.”
- Mechanics. A mechanic might have done poor repairs on your bike. For example, the brakes might fail because he did not put the brake pads on correctly. A mechanic is liable when their negligence contributes to a crash.
- Municipalities. The government agency responsible for the road will be liable if a road defect or hazard contributed to your collision.
- Motorcycle manufacturers. Your bike might have a defect which causes a crash. We can often sue the manufacturer or the manufacturer of a competent part that fails.
Identifying the correct entity to sue takes legal knowledge and a close attention to detail. Our legal team can fully investigate a crash and talk to people who witnessed the event.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
After a motorcycle accident in Staten Island, you may receive a call, visit, or letter in the mail from the insurance company. The adjuster may be incredibly kind and seemingly concerned about your health and well-being. They may ask you to give a statement, sign some documents, or agree to a settlement.
You should never talk to any representative of the insurance company before you have had a chance to consult with an experienced Staten Island motorcycle accident attorney. The insurance company wants to get rid of your case for as little money as possible. We will fight to make sure that you get top dollar for your injuries.
Our process starts with a free initial consultation, where we will listen to your story and then offer you advice on your options for pursuing a claim. If you decide to hire our law firm, we’ll get to work right away to investigate your accident. This may include reviewing videos and photographs of the accident scene, interviewing witnesses, analyzing police reports, and going over medical records.
Next, we will draft a demand letter to the insurance company. This letter will outline the facts of the crash and the legal reasons why their insured was liable before making a demand for compensation (damages). In most cases, the insurance company will respond with a counteroffer.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in New York City due to the fault of someone else, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, including damages for economic loss and pain and suffering. We can help you recover for all the damages you are entitled to, including:
- Hospital bills
- Rehabilitative care
- Physical therapy
- Past and future lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional distress
- Property damage
It’s important to understand the kind of compensation that you may be entitled to so that you have a better sense of what to expect in a motorcycle accident lawsuit. Too often, insurance companies take advantage of injury victims’ lack of knowledge about New York personal injury law to trick them into accepting a lowball settlement offer. Our team of experienced Staten Island motorcycle accident lawyers will fight for your right to full compensation – and will help you achieve justice.
The majority of personal injury claims are resolved outside of court. That being said, it may still be necessary to file a lawsuit to preserve your rights and comply with the statute of limitations. Even after a lawsuit has been filed and we are preparing your case for court, we will continue to negotiate with the insurance company – right up until the eve of trial.
If your case does go to trial, we will use our substantial courtroom experience to fight for your right to full compensation. We will make arguments, present evidence, and question witnesses before asking the jury to return a verdict in your favor. While we cannot guarantee a particular outcome, our track record of success speaks for itself.
Steps to Take following a Staten Island Motorcycle Accident
After your bike flips, your entire world might be turned upside down. Someone with traumatic injuries might need to wait for an ambulance to pick them up and take them to the hospital. Others might be knocked unconscious and lie helplessly in the road for a Good Samaritan to come along.
But if you are conscious and can move around, we recommend doing the following:
- Obtain information from the driver who caused your crash: name, contact information, license, registration, and insurance information. Share your own information in turn.
- Speak to witnesses. Get name and contact information for each. They might testify later as to what happened.
- Take pictures of the vehicles involved, along with anything else that’s relevant, like a pothole or road debris. These pictures are helpful at recreating the accident later.
- Call the police to come out to the accident scene. An officer should file a crash report, which is a helpful document for your case.
- Report the accident to your insurer as soon as possible. They can open a claim.
- Go to the hospital shortly after the accident. Tell the doctor you were involved in a motorcycle accident.
- Avoid giving a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster without talking to a lawyer first. These adjusters might ask vague or confusing questions, and your answers need to be precise and accurate.
You will significantly improve your odds of success if you follow these steps.
Contact a Staten Island Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident due to the negligent conduct of another, you have the right to seek compensation, including all past and future medical costs and for your pain and suffering. Instead of trying to juggle your case in between doctor’s appointments, rely on our firm’s deep experience in this area. If necessary, we can bring a lawsuit in a timely manner to protect your right to compensation.
The O’Connor Law Firm has significant experience advocating for motorcycle accident victims throughout Staten Island. We offer free initial consultations and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more, give us a call at 718-948-3500 or fill out our online contact form.
How Can I Afford to Hire a Staten Island Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
Personal injury law firms typically handle cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you pay nothing upfront, and you only pay a fee if we recover money for you through a settlement or verdict at trial. The total amount that you pay will be a percentage of your recovery based on the terms of your contingency fee agreements.
These arrangements mean that you can afford to hire a lawyer, even if you don’t have the extra cash to pay an hourly fee. At the O’Connor Law Firm, we understand that many of our clients struggle to make ends meet after a tragic accident. Our goal is to get you the money that you deserve for your injuries, without worrying about how you can pay for our services. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation with a Staten Island motorcycle lawyer.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Resolve My Motorcycle Accident Claim?
You are not required to hire an attorney for your motorcycle accident case. However, in almost every case, it is a good idea to have legal representation. The insurance company has teams of lawyers – the best way to level the playing field is by having your own attorney.
Studies show that people represented by counsel recover an average of 40% more for personal injury claims compared to people who represent themselves. Our law office can help you get the money that you deserve. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation with a Staten Island motorcycle attorney.