Across New York, there are more than 5,000 motorcyclists. Unfortunately, bike operators can often be involved in accidents which can cause them serious injuries, regardless of how safely they operate their bikes. Motorcyclists have very little protection and the injuries they sustain when involved in an accident are far more likely to suffer serious injuries than their counterparts operating a car.
New York Motorcycle Accident Statistics
In 2013, across the state of New York there were more than 5,000 motorcycle accidents, nearly one for every registered motorcycle. More than 2,000 involved a only the motorcycle, more than 2,500 involved at least two vehicles and nearly 250 involved three or more vehicles. As with any type of motor vehicle accident, there are numerous factors including:
- Driver related – More than 3,700 motorcycle accidents involved human error including in excess of 800 as a result of failure to yield, nearly 800 due to unsafe speed and 700 as a result of distracted driving. Alcohol and illegal drugs were cited as a cause in 145 motorcycle accidents on NY roadways.
- Vehicle related – Slightly more than 200 accidents were caused by issues with a vehicle including tire failure, defective accelerators and issues with steering.
- Environmental factors – The primary issue drivers faced on the roads that are uncontrollable included animals, slippery pavements and obstructed views among others which accounted for more than 800 accidents.
Statistically, accidents are caused by a number of factors and some are within the control of the motorcycle drive while others are not.
Injuries Sustained in Motorcycle Accidents
As with any type of accident, injuries occur but when a motorcycle operator is involved in an accident, chances are the injuries they sustain will be far more serious than an operator of a car since motorcycles offer no protection to drivers. Some of the more common injuries include:
- Head injuries – While most operators do wear helmets, they are often inadequate to provide the level of protection necessary to fully protect the head. Victims of motorcycle accident can suffer mild concussions and in more serious cases can suffer traumatic brain injuries.
- Road rash – Most people believe that road rash is a very minor injury but the fact is that road rash caused by a motorcycle accident often involves deep gouges in the skin that can lead to infection, nerve damage and in very serious cases, could involve amputations.
- Arm and leg injuries – Motorcycle operators are typically thrown from a bike when they are in an accident. This can result in long-term nerve damage to both arms and legs causing life-long pain, paralysis or broken bones.
Determining Causes of and Fault
Under New York statutes, it is necessary to determine who is at fault for a motorcycle accident before filing a personal injury lawsuit. Since New York is considered a comparative fault state, if victims are partially responsible for the accident, any award they may receive for their injuries will be reduced by the percentage they are found to be at fault. For example, if a motorcycle operator is speeding and is struck by a drunk driver, the court may determine they are ten percent at fault for their injuries. If the award is $100,000, they will ultimately receive $90,000.
While the most important thing for victims of motorcycle accidents is to seek immediately medical attention, they should also do anything possible to determine if there were witnesses to the accident, make a note of the road conditions as well as any factors that may have contributed to the accident. A motorcycle accident attorney will typically use police reports and other information to reconstruct the accident to help them determine fault. Suits may be filed against the driver responsible for the accident, repairmen if the accident was caused by faulty maintenance and in some cases, by manufacturers if there was a mechanical defect.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident or you have lost a loved one because of a motorcycle accident, contact an attorney who has the skills and experience in dealing with motorcycle accident claims in Upstate New York. The costs of medical care, lost time from work and damage to a motorcycle can all cause significant financial hardships for victims; hiring an attorney to protect your rights and serve as a strong advocate can help you recover financially after an accident.