Left Turn Collisions

Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Serving Syracuse

Often drivers of larger vehicles do not see motorcyclists. A motorcyclist making a left turn or driving straight with the right of way in Syracuse may be catastrophically injured or killed in a left turn collision. Most cases that include an accident with somebody turning left have resulted in a finding that the person turning was at fault, even if the turning person is a motorcyclist who was fatally or seriously injured in the course of the accident. An experienced Syracuse motorcycle accident lawyer can look closely at the situation to determine whether there is a viable claim to recover damages from a left turn collision accident.

Left Turn Collisions

Motorcycles are a common mode of transportation in Syracuse and elsewhere in New York. However, motorcyclists are especially vulnerable to serious injuries since there is no buffer between the motorcyclist and the concrete or the force of a collision with another vehicle. Motorcycles are smaller than other motor vehicles and more susceptible to being damaged. They are also less visible due to being smaller. Since they are smaller, drivers of larger vehicles may fail to yield to them at an intersection or cut them off or follow too closely.

It may be possible to hold the driver of another vehicle liable if you are a motorcyclist injured in a left turn collision. You will need to establish negligence by proving: (1) the other driver owed you a duty to use reasonable care, (2) breach of the duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) actual damages. All drivers owe other road users a duty to use reasonable care in order to avoid harm to other people. There are different ways in which this duty may be breached in a left turn collision. For example, if another driver decided to run a red light when you were making a left turn, it is likely the jury would find that this is a breach of the duty to use reasonable care. For another example, if you had the right of way traveling straight through an intersection, and the driver turning left ignored your right of way and failed to yield, thereby injuring you, it is likely the jury would find that the other driver had breached the duty to use reasonable care.

New York Motorcycle Laws

Motorcyclists are required to abide by the rules of the road. Under New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law section 381, they must also use helmets and have lamps in a specific arrangement. Motorcycles are supposed to show one lighted lamp in the front and at the rear. When they are operated with a passenger or truck, they must have two lamps on the front and a lamp at the rear, with the rays of the rear lamp shining on the plate to make the numerals visible. It is illegal for a motorcyclist to ride the motorcycle without a protective helmet that meets particular specifications. Motorcyclists operating a motorcycle must also wear goggles or a face shield of the kind approved by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.

If you are injured while not wearing a helmet or at night without lamps, the other driver may raise comparative negligence as a defense. Under the doctrine of comparative negligence, your damages will be reduced by an amount equal to your proportion of fault. For example, if the damages are $100,000, but you are found to be 50% responsible for your traumatic brain injury because you weren’t wearing a helmet as required by law and the other driver was also 50% responsible, you could only recover $50,000 from the other driver.

Lawsuits Against Drivers of Larger Vehicles

Motorcycles are not motor vehicles within the meaning of New York’s no-fault law. Motorcyclists cannot get benefits under no-fault insurance coverage, but they also aren’t required to meet the serious injury threshold under the no-fault law.

Consult an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Syracuse

If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a left turn collision in Syracuse, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine your next steps. The lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represent motorcyclists and their families. We also represent clients in Rochester, Elmira, Auburn, Ithaca, Norwich, Herkimer, Binghamton, Oneida, Lowville, Oswego, Utica, Wampsville, Watertown, Canandaigua, Cooperstown, and Lyons. Please call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.

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