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Rear-End Motorcycle Accidents

Syracuse Lawyers Helping Injured Riders

Often people assume a rear-end accident is less serious than a head-on or T-bone collision. When a car is rear-ended, its driver is better protected because he is positioned further away from the site of impact. However, motorcyclists involved in rear-end collisions face the full force of a collision even when traveling at reduced speeds. They don’t have much to shield them and the consequences can be devastating. Riders injured in rear-end motorcycle accidents should seek legal representation to protect their rights. Contact the Syracuse motorcycle accident attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano for a consultation.

Rear-End Motorcycle Accidents

The risk of serious injury is greater for motorcyclists than it is for those inside a car. In a rear-end car accident, the airbags may deploy, protecting the occupants of the car. The motorcyclist, however, has no airbags or other structural protections. A motorcyclist may suffer brain injuries after being rear-ended by a car and pushed into oncoming traffic or a larger vehicle ahead. When a motorcyclist rear-ends a car, there may be minimum impact to those within the car, but the motorcyclist may be thrown by the force of the collision into the air or into another vehicle.

Liability for a Rear-End Motorcycle Accident

Generally, motorcyclists and their passengers are excluded from no-fault coverage and must bring a lawsuit to recover damages, whether their injuries are serious or minor. The driver of a vehicle that collides with a motorcycle can only go beyond no-fault coverage if he or she sustains serious injuries. In order to recover damages after a rear-end motorcycle accident, you will need to establish liability. You will need to show it’s more likely than not: (1) the defendant owed you a duty to use reasonable care, (2) breach of the duty, (3) actual and proximate causation and (4) actual damages. All drivers owe a duty of care to those with whom they share the road. However, the circumstances will determine what the duty of care was and whether it was breached.

The duty to use reasonable care may be breached when tailgating, weaving, speeding, drunk driving, failing to obey traffic signs and signals, and cutting in traffic. Where a driver tailgates a motorcyclist or drives aggressively or recklessly around a motorcyclist, for example, a jury may find that the driver breached the duty to use reasonable care. However, in general, insurance adjustors and juries tend to be biased against motorcyclists and assume motorcyclists were not careful. It’s important to retain an experienced lawyer who can position your version of what happened in the best light before adjustors and jurors.

A driver may raise the defense of comparative negligence against a motorcyclist’s claim. Under this affirmative defense, the jury will evaluate both parties’ evidence and arguments, determine what the damages are, and assign a percentage of fault to each party. As a plaintiff, your damages will be reduced by an amount equal to your percentage of fault.


Once liability is established, it may be possible to recover damages. In most vehicle accident cases, damages are compensatory, meaning they’re meant to put you back in the position you would have been in had there been no accident. Compensatory damages in rear-end motorcycle accidents can include economic losses such as medical bills, physical rehabilitation, vocational rehabilitation, prescription drugs, lost earning capacity and replacement services. They can also include noneconomic losses such as loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment, pain and suffering, disfigurement, scarring, and emotional distress. The amount of damages may vary dramatically depending on the severity and nature of the injuries. Personal characteristics of a plaintiff can also influence the amount of damages, particularly noneconomic damages. For example, if you are a young female model who was disfigured as the result of a rear-end motorcycle accident, the jury may determine your losses were greater than if you are an elderly, reclusive, retired man.

Consult a Seasoned Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Syracuse

If you are injured in a rear-end motorcycle accident, you should talk to a lawyer experienced in handling personal injury cases. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, we represent accident victims in Syracuse, Rochester, and other places in Upstate New York, including in Binghamton, Auburn, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Lyons, Oswego, Utica, Watertown, Elmira, Cooperstown, Herkimer, Oneida, Ithaca, and Lowville. Please contact 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