Serving Clients Throughout Upstate New York with Multiple Convenient Locations Syracuse | Oneida | Watertown | New Hartford | Binghamton | Cortland | Rochester | Oswego | Albany | Buffalo
Super Lawyers
Justia Lawyer Rating
Rue Ratings - Best Attorneys of America
Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
National Association of Distinguished Counsel
Avvo Rating
Martindalle Hubbel
Best Law Firms

Drunk Driving Motorcycle Accidents

Syracuse Lawyers for Injured Riders

Although people enjoy riding motorcycles, the sensation of freedom can transform into tragedy quickly. Motorcyclists face numerous dangerous situations, including drunk drivers. When riders encounter drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs, catastrophic injuries or fatalities can result. Even minor accidents can result in serious injuries. Riders injured in drunk driving motorcycle accidents should consult the seasoned Syracuse motorcycle accident attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano about their claim.

Drunk Driving Motorcycle Accidents

In New York, drivers of cars must have no-fault insurance coverage. However, motorcycle insurance policies don’t include this type of coverage and motorcyclists must establish another’s fault in order to recover damages in court. In order to recover damages from an at-fault driver, the motorcyclist will need to establish negligence by proving it’s more likely than not: (1) the defendant owed him a duty to use reasonable care, (2) the defendant breached the duty to use reasonable care, (3) causation, and (4) damages.

Another driver’s intoxication would likely breach the duty to use reasonable care, as would speeding, weaving, texting, tailgating, failing to yield right of way or cutting a motorcyclist off. For example, if a drunk driver ran a stop sign and broadsided a motorcyclist, the motorcyclist should be able to establish negligence. In order to establish a defendant’s breach of the duty to use reasonable care, you may need to show a violation of traffic laws or road rules. Evidence that may help your case include accident reconstruction, surveillance footage, eyewitness statements, expert testimony and medical records.

Comparative Negligence

New York follows the doctrine of comparative negligence. This means your damages will be reduced by an amount proportionate to your degree of fault. For example, if a rider and a driver were both intoxicated when they were in an accident and the jury determines that both parties were each 50% at fault, the rider will only be able to recover $250,000 of the $500,000 total in damages.

Unfortunately, almost 1/3 of motorcyclists killed in motorcycle accidents were under the influence of alcohol. And often, insurers are biased against motorcyclists and will look for ways in which motorcyclists were at fault even if liability seems clear. If you were intoxicated while operating your motorcycle, you may have been comparatively negligent. The other side may scrutinize your behavior even if you were not per se under the influence.

In order to successfully invoke comparative negligence, the defendant will need to establish your actions fell below a reasonable standard of care, thereby causing or contributing to your injuries. A court is likely to find that operating a motorcycle while intoxicated falls below the reasonable standard of care.


If another driver’s liability is successfully established, your lawyer may be able to help you recover compensatory damages. The amount and nature of damages you can recover as compensation depends upon your injuries. You’ll need to bring forward evidence to establish the economic losses related to the treatment of your injuries. Economic damages can include hospital bills, rehabilitation costs, medical equipment, and lost income. You may be able to recover noneconomic losses as well. These could include pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, loss of enjoyment, and mental anguish. Motorcyclists injured by a drunk driver may also be able to recover punitive damages.

Wrongful Death

If your loved one was a motorcyclist who was killed in a drunk driving accident caused by another, you may be able to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. In New York, you are limited to recovering pecuniary losses in a wrongful death suit. These can include funeral and medical expenses, lost earnings, and loss of pension.

Consult a Seasoned Syracuse Attorney

Victims of drunk driving motorcycle accidents should discuss their case with the seasoned lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. Our firm represents people in Rochester and Syracuse. We also represent people in cities in Upstate New York such as Watertown, Oswego, Ithaca, Lyons, Oneida, Elmira, Herkimer, Cooperstown, Binghamton, Auburn, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Utica, and Lowville. Call DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 833-200-2000 or via our online form.

Client Reviews
"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
"I highly recommend DeFrancisco & Falgiatano - Charlie represented me for a medical malpractice case. He is the best of the best. He is friendly and I am very happy with the representation he provided." Roger N., Oneida, NY