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Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

New York’s Vehicle and Traffic laws are designed to ensure that people can safely travel the roads and highways throughout the state. When people fail to comply with these laws, it often leads to accidents, and it may constitute negligence per se or negligence as a matter of law. Recently, a New York court discussed negligence per se in the context of a motorcycle collision, in a matter in which it ultimately granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff. If you were hurt in a collision caused by a negligent driver, it is in your best interest to speak to a Syracuse personal injury lawyer about what claims you may be able to pursue.

The Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was operating his motorcycle on a New York road when the defendant, who was approaching from the other direction, made a sudden left turn into the plaintiff’s path of travel. The plaintiff and defendant collided, and the plaintiff suffered significant injuries in the accident. He filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, asserting that the defendant’s negligence caused the accident and his subsequent harm. He then filed a motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability and asked the court to dismiss the defendant’s affirmative defenses. The court denied the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Negligence Per Se in the Context of Car Accidents

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling and granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff. In doing so, it explained that a violation of New York’s Vehicle and Traffic laws constitutes negligence as a matter of law. In other words, a person driving a vehicle with the right of way is entitled to presume that a motorist approaching from the other direction will yield the right of way in accordance with the law. Continue Reading ›

In addition to proving that the defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty of some sort and that this duty was breached in some manner, the plaintiff in a Syracuse motorcycle accident case must also be able to prove that this breach of duty was the proximate cause of the accident for which he or she seeks to recover money damages. Without proof of the element of causation, the plaintiff’s case will fail.

It is not unusual for the defendant in such a case to attempt to get the case dismissed on the grounds that there are no material facts at issue and that, thus, a jury trial is unwarranted. In such a situation, the defendant is basically saying, “Even if everything the plaintiff says is true, I can’t be held liable as a matter of law.”

A fair number of negligence cases end with just such a motion, but the entry of summary judgment is not necessarily fatal to the plaintiff’s case. The appellate court is there to review the trial court’s decision – and to set an erroneous entry of summary judgment aside, if necessary.

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In a Syracuse motorcycle accident negligence lawsuit, the premise is simple: the defendant should be held legally liable to the person or family who was hurt by his, her, or its failure to act in a reasonably prudent manner. Four elements are required in order to prove negligence: duty, breach of duty, damages, and proximate cause.

In a car, truck , or motorcycle accident case, the defendant is usually averred to have breached a duty by failing to operate his or her vehicle as required by law. Speeding, distracted driving, and failure to yield are common examples of these types of claims. Sometimes, however, liability can arise in other situations.

Regardless of who is named as the defendant in a negligence lawsuit, the basic issue is, did the defendant conduct arise to a level that was unreasonable (or illegal) under the circumstances? If so, he or she can potentially be held liable for the damages incurred by the injured party or his or her family.

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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;

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.

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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