Injured Motorcycle Passengers
Motorcycle passengers may suffer catastrophic or deadly injuries in an accident. These injuries are often far more severe than the ones sustained by car accident victims because a motorcyclist’s body will absorb the full force of the crash. Even though motorcycle accidents can result in serious injuries, the state does not require motorcyclists to purchase no-fault insurance coverage. Passengers may find recourse by bringing a lawsuit for damages. However, passengers may be reluctant to sue the person who was operating the motorcycle because that person is a close friend. After an accident, you should seek immediate medical care. Injured motorcycle passengers should meet with the experienced Syracuse motorcycle accident attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano to review their case. We may be able to help you seek damages from the parties responsible for the accident to compensate you for your losses.Injured Motorcycle Passengers
Because Article 51 of the New York State Insurance Law excludes motorcyclists and passengers from coverage under no-fault insurance, you will need to establish that another person or entity was liable for your catastrophic injuries. This may require an investigation into the cause of the motorcycle accident, including whether the motorcyclist or another driver acted negligently. In order to establish liability by a preponderance of the evidence, you will need to show: (1) you were owed a duty of care by the defendant, (2) breach of the duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) actual damages.
The duty of care that is owed by the defendant and whether that duty was breached will depend on the particular situation. In general, those operating vehicles on the road may breach the duty to use reasonable care by speeding, running a stop sign, lane splitting, tailgating, and failing to signal and check a blind spot before changing lanes, or failing to yield to another vehicle. For example, a motorcyclist may breach the duty to use reasonable care by running a red light such that the motorcycle is hit while traveling through the intersection and you are injured. For another example, a driver may breach the duty to use reasonable care by making an unsafe lane change and colliding with a motorcycle traveling in an adjacent lane.Joint and Several Liability
In some cases, multiple people may be at fault for a motorcycle accident. Holding all the responsible parties accountable in a lawsuit may require the hiring of an accident reconstruction expert, who will analyze the events leading up to the accident. When it comes to economic damages, New York courts generally follow the rule of joint and several liability in which a party who is at fault can be held responsible for the entire amount of damages such as medical bills and lost wages. However, a party will be only severally liable for noneconomic damages if the jury finds it is less than 50% liable for your losses. To recover the full amount of your noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, your lawsuit may need to bring in every party potentially responsible for your injuries.Damages for Injured Motorcycle Passengers
If your lawyer can establish that the motorcyclist or another driver was liable, you may be able to recover compensatory damages to return you to the position you would have been had you not been injured. Compensatory damages may include medical bills, wage losses, and out-of-pocket costs. For example, if you suffered a brain injury in a motorcycle accident caused by another, you may be able to seek compensation for your medical care and physical therapy. If you can no longer perform your job or require ongoing nursing care, those losses are also recoverable. In limited cases, the court may award punitive damages to punish egregious misconduct.Retain an Experienced Syracuse Attorney
If you are an injured motorcycle passenger in Syracuse, you should talk to our seasoned lawyers about whether you have a viable claim. We represent motorcycle passengers across upstate New York in Auburn, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Rochester, Watertown, Lowville, Oswego, Herkimer, Ithaca, Oneida, Cooperstown, Binghamton, Lyons, Elmira, and Utica. Complete DeFrancisco & Falgiatano’s online form or call us at 315-479-9000.