A More Direct Path to Fair Compensation for NY Motorcycle Accidents
Posted on September 23, 2016
A driver is in jail, and a motorcycle rider is dead, after a serious motorcycle crash in Colesville, New York.
According to Broome County Sheriff’s deputies, 36-year-old Jason Smith, of Binghamton NY, was riding his motorcycle on Route 235 when he was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident. As Smith legally passed through an intersection, 28-year-old Adam Alexander, of Afton NY, allegedly ran a stop sign at a high speed and collided with the motorcycle.
Smith was rushed to a nearby hospital with serious injuries, but doctors could not save him. Meanwhile, Alexander was not seriously hurt in the auto accident, but his motor vehicle was severely damaged.
Alexander now faces multiple criminal charges in New York, including Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and second degree vehicular manslaughter.
Proof in a New York Motorcycle Crash Negligence Case
Normally, a motorcycle accident victim must prove five elements in order to obtain compensation in New York civil court. However, if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) violated a safety statute, like failing to obey a traffic control device, driving while under the influence, or failure to yield the right-of-way, the victim need only prove three elements:
- Legal Violation: In most cases, the mere fact that the tortfeasor was cited is sufficient to establish this element by a preponderance of the evidence, which means more likely than not.
- Causal Connection: The tortfeasor’s action or inaction must have proximately caused the victim’s injury.
- Protected Class: The victim must be in a category of persons that the law was designed to protect. For example, the stop sign law exists to protect other motorists.
Keep in mind that negligence per se (negligence “as such”) normally does not apply if the tortfeasor violated a municipal ordinance, like a leash law, or an administrative agency’s rule.
Damages Available to Victims in NYC Motorcycle Accidents
In addition to negligence per se, there is another shortcut available in motorcycle crash cases. Typically, to obtain compensation for noneconomic damages, the victim must prove that there was a serious injury under Article 51 of the Insurance Law. But motorcycle crashes are exempt from the no-fault law, so victims are automatically entitled to compensation for damages like:
- Pain and suffering.
- Loss of enjoyment in life.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of consortium (companionship and contribution to household maintenance).
These damages are in addition to economic losses, like medical bills, lost wages, and property damages. Moreover, additional punitive damages may be available as well. Money awarded through punitive damages is designed to deter future wrongdoing and to punish the tortfeasor.
There may be some evidentiary shortcuts available to victims in motorcycle crash cases. To take advantage of them, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Manhattan. A lawyer at Proner & Proner can potentially arrange for victims to obtain ongoing medical care, even if they have no money and no insurance.