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Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

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After a Syracuse motor vehicle accident, the drivers, eyewitnesses, and first responders likely have their own opinions as to who caused the crash – Driver A or Driver B, assuming it was a two-vehicle accident. However, in some situations, it is determined that the parties have shared fault in causing the wreck. Under New York law, a party’s monetary recovery in a negligence case is reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault attributed to him or her by the finder of fact. Thus, insurance companies have an incentive to blame the opposing party if at all possible, so as to pay a lesser amount of damages even if their own insured was “mostly” to blame. Thus, it is very important that a person who has been hurt in a car, truck, or motorcycle collision talk to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible so that his or her legal rights may be protected.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case filed in the Supreme Court of Steuben County, the plaintiff was a woman who was riding as a passenger on a motorcycle when it collided with a dump truck that allegedly ignored a traffic control device. She filed suit against the owner and operator of the dump truck, as well as the driver of the motorcycle. The dump truck owner and operator filed a cross claim against the motorcycle driver, alleging that he was to blame for the accident and seeking indemnification and contribution. The motorcycle driver passed away while the lawsuit was pending, and the administratrix of his estate was substituted. The trial court granted the administratrix’s motion for summary judgment dismissing the cross claim asserted against her.

The Court’s Ruling on the Issues

The Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department reversed the trial court’s order granting the administratrix’s motion for summary judgment on the cross claim of the remaining defendants. The court noted that, in moving for summary judgment, the administratrix had the initial burden of showing, as a matter of law, that the motorcycle driver was operating his motorcycle in a lawful and prudent manner and that “there was nothing [he] could have done to avoid the collision.” In the court’s opinion, the administratrix failed in this burden.

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A Syracuse motorcycle accident can cause serious, life-threatening personal injuries or even death. Those who have been hurt or lost a loved one in a motorcycle crash have certain legal rights, including the right to file a negligence claim against the person or persons responsible for the accident. If the claim is successful, the victim or his or her family may receive payment for medical treatment, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other losses caused by the accident. It is important that legal action be taken promptly, as there is a strict statute of limitations in these types of cases. Claims not filed within the time set by state law are likely to be dismissed.

Facts of the Case

In a recently decided appellate court case, the plaintiff was the guardian of a motorcyclist who was injured in a 2012 accident that occurred when the motorcyclist hit a utility pole after swerving to avoid a car that was exiting a driveway. The guardian filed separate lawsuits against the driver of the car and the county in which the accident occurred, alleging that the motorist was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that the county was negligent in failing to maintain the vegetation along the street where the accident occurred and in designing the street with a certain curvature. After the suits were consolidated, the county filed a motion for summary judgment, which the Supreme Court of Tompkins County denied. The county appealed.

The Decision of the Appellate Court

The New York Appellate Division, Third Department, affirmed the lower court’s decision to deny the county’s motion for summary judgment. The court first noted that the driver of the automobile that had pulled out in front of the motorcycle had explained that he did so because his view was obstructed by trees, bushes, and the curve of the road. According to the appellate tribunal, it was undisputed that the county had a duty to maintain the street in a reasonably safe condition; that duty included trimming vegetation within the street’s right-of-way to assure visibility of traffic.

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Motorcycle accidents often lead to death of the motorcyclist. If you have lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to recover damages from the at-fault party through a wrongful death claim. For years, our highly skilled Syracuse motorcycle accident attorneys have been settling and litigating motorcycle injury claims. With vast experience, you can rest assured that we will fervently advocate for your rights every step of the way.

Earlier this week, the New York State Police investigated a deadly accident in which a car allegedly turned left directly into the path of a Harley Davidson. The motorcycle driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the car was arrested and charged with drunk driving and other traffic offenses. Law enforcement is still collecting information on the accident and requests that anyone who has relevant information reach out to police.

Fatal Motorcycle Accident Statistics

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2016 fatal crash data reveals that motorcyclist deaths took place 28 times more often than deaths in other automobiles. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that there were 34,439 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2016 in which 37,461 deaths occurred. In New York, there were 965 fatal motorcycle crashes resulting in 1,025 deaths that same year.

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If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, you need to contact a Syracuse motorcycle accident attorney without delay. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, we thoroughly understand New York motorcycle laws and can help you file an accident claim to recover the damages you deserve for your harm. You can rest assured that we are committed to protecting your rights at every step of the way.

New York has a law that requires motorcycle riders and passengers to wear a helmet regardless of age, licensing, or level of riding experience. Essentially, the law applies to anyone on a motorcycle. The relevant law is found in the Vehicle and Traffic Law at Section 381(6), which states that “it shall be unlawful for any person to operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless he wears a protective helmet.” The helmet must meet federal regulations.

Motorcycle riders are susceptible to catastrophic injuries when they get into an accident. The risk of injuries can greatly increase when individuals on motorcycles are not wearing a helmet. Data from the New York Department of Health reveal that motorcycle helmets are estimated to be 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle riders and 42 percent effective for passengers. In addition, helmets are 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries in crashes; riders without helmets are three times more likely to have a brain injury as a result of a crash when compared to riders wearing helmets.

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Losing a loved one is never easy, but it is even more devastating when the death is a result of a tragic accident. If you have lost a loved one in a fatal motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, we can help. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, we understand how to navigate complex motorcycle accidents. You can rest assured that we can thoroughly investigate your case and help you pursue the compensation you need to move on with your life. Wrongful death claims are often very complex, and having the right attorney on your side can make all the difference in your case.

According to the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to experience a deadly crash on the road than people in passenger cars. The New York State Department of Motorcycles found that there were 142 fatal crashes involving motorcycles in the state in 2014. There were 4,055 non-fatal personal injury crashes that same year. Fatal motorcycle accidents can have a number of causes, including but not limited to:

  • Distracted driving;
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From semi truck crashes to pedestrian collisions, traffic accidents of all kinds can be devastating. However, motorcyclists often face particularly perilous outcomes when they are struck by a vehicle. Unfortunately, far too many motorcyclists have had their lives shattered because of the negligent behavior of drivers in Syracuse and other New York cities. For motorcyclists, recognizing the prevalence of these crashes could help. Sadly, even the most responsible of motorcyclists could find themselves in the middle of a serious accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published statistics on motorcycle accidents which show that an estimated 88,000 motorcyclists suffered an injury and over 4,660 motorcyclist fatalities took place during 2013. In comparison to the year before, these figures represent a slight decrease in the number of motorcyclists who were hurt and killed. However, the numbers are still staggering and far more people have had their lives shattered because of motorcycle crashes in the years since.

For victims of these crashes and the family members of motorcycle wreck victims, it is crucial to understand some of the other challenges that can arise from an accident, in addition to the loss of life and physical injuries. For example, a victim may lose his or her mobility, interfering with their quality of life and keeping them from earning a living. Moreover, funeral expenses, health care costs, and rehabilitation expenses can create even more financial problems. Because these wrecks are so serious, negligent drivers who fail to drive safely and watch out for motorcyclists must be held liable when they cause a crash.

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It seems that not a day goes by without you hearing about or seeing motorcycle accidents in New York. The number of riders is increasing every day; so is the risk of accidents. In 2015, there were “8.6 million motorcyclists on the roads” across the country, state the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Any type of accident that occurs on the roads is enough to leave you wondering what kind of injuries the victims sustained. You may also find yourself wondering about the causes of these crashes and what can be done to prevent them. Here is a brief overview of factors that lead to motorcycle accidents.

Road conditions

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Many New Yorkers believe the majority of motorcycle accidents occur when road conditions are bad. However, a recent study in Motofire states that “most motorcycle accidents happen when road conditions are ideal. The study is based on reported data on motorcycle accidents in Australia. The information suggests that there are other contributing risks that lead to motorcycle accidents. 

Take some time to learn about factors that affect motorcyclist safety when road conditions are ideal. 

Biker age 

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Motorcyclists are subjected to heightened safety risks on the road, especially when coursing busy thoroughfares laden with other drivers who may be distracted, inattentive or careless. While some motorcycle safety precautions are commonalities, others are incorrectly understood.

The Huffington Post shared an article which discusses some of these myths and aims to educate bikers and drivers alike to encourage motorcycle safety. Some of these notorious myths include:

  • Loud is best: While some people believe that a loud exhaust increases a motorcyclist’s safety by making more noise, this is false. Not only do many motorists drive with their windows up and music blaring, but sound projects backward which does nothing for drivers that may be in front of a motorcyclist.
  • Leather is a fashion statement: Because many bikers sport leather chaps, jackets and other apparel, people commonly think it is a fashion statement designed to make bikers appear more hardcore. However, the truth is that leather is highly effective against preventing road rash and bodily injury in the event a biker crashes.
  • Drivers are aware: Unfortunately, not all drivers are attentive and vigilant. In fact, even the most careful drivers can sometimes miss something in their blind spot. Bikers should never assume that they are going to be seen. Rather, they should always drive attentively and be sure that motorists can see them before changing lanes, turning or making other maneuvers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 14 percent of all traffic fatalities were people driving motorcycles. Additionally, in the same year, nearly 88,000 bikers were injured.  

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Many motorists are so excited to take the roads in New York that they fail to realize the dangers they face. Their vehicles do not have the same protective structures as cars. Even though some bikers wear helmets and riding gear for protection, many of them do not. According to, these factors along with higher speed limits, drugs and alcohol use increase the risk of motorcycle crashes, injuries and fatalities. 

Bikers who understand the common factors that lead to crashes can take measures to protect themselves on the roads. 

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