Fatal Motorcycle Wreck Raises Fault Questions
Posted on June 21, 2016
A rider is dead after a serious motorcycle crash at an intersection in Gates, NY. The other motorist reportedly made a left turn directly into the bike’s path, resulting in the deadly collision with the motorcyclist.
According to police and witnesses, 22-year-old Jacob Imburgia, who lived in Ogden NY, was riding his bike on Manitou Road when he failed to come to a complete stop at a traffic control device. A motorist, whose name has not yet been released, was turning left with the green arrow when the two vehicles collided. Imbugia was subsequently thrown off his bike and into an oncoming SUV. Tragically, the motorcyclist did not survive his injuries.
Law enforcement later closed Route 531 for several hours as police officers investigated the crash.
Comparative Fault in a Motorcycle Accident
In this case, it appears that both vehicle operators may have shared some responsibility for the crash because the driver turned directly into an oncoming vehicle and the motorcyclist failed to stop at a light. These situations are not uncommon. For example, sometimes one driver may be intoxicated and the other one may be speeding, ultimately resulting in a serious collision. In these instances, the jury or other factfinder must apportion liability based on New York’s generous comparative fault statute.
The Empire State is one of only 12 pure comparative fault jurisdictions in which the Plaintiff is almost always entitled to recovery, regardless of fault. Assume the jury finds that the Plaintiff and the Defendant were each 50 percent responsible for a motorcycle crash. If the damages were $100,000, the Plaintiff would receive $50,000 in New York. However, if the same facts existed for a motorcycle accident in New Jersey, the Plaintiff would receive nothing. That’s because under the Garden State’s comparative fault law, the Defendant must be at least 51 percent responsible in order for the Plaintiff to recover any damages.
Damages in a Motorcycle Crash Case
New Jersey and New York are similar in the way they address motorcycle crash damages. Even though New Jersey is a tort state and New York has a no-fault insurance law, motorcycle wrecks are exempt from these provisions.
As a result, motorcycle crash victims are always entitled to compensation for both their economic damages, like lost wages, and their noneconomic damages, like pain and suffering. Punitive damages are also available, in some cases.
For prompt assistance with a motorcycle crash claim, contact our New York office. Mitchell Proner is a motorcycle wreck survivor who understands how difficult it can be to deal with the legal issues surrounding a significant motorcycle accident. Mr. Proner is prepared to assist you with your personal injury claim and will help you throughout the legal process.