Rare Motorcycle-Motorcycle Crash in Upstate NY
Posted on October 13, 2016
In a case that may test the limits of negligence law, one rider is dead after reportedly being rear-ended by another rider in Wheatland, New York.
The motorcycle wreck occurred near the intersection of McGinnis Road and Scottsville-Mumford Road in Wheatland, NY. Authorities said that 62-year-old Albert Bullwinkel, of Churchville NY, slowed down in order to make a left turn. A trailing biker – 69-year-old Robert Miller, of North Chili NY – then allegedly rear-ended him. The two bikes stuck together and spun around before eventually coming to rest on the road.
Miller was rushed to a nearby hospital with a serious head injury. Tragically, he was later declared dead.
Bullwinkel, who was not injured in the motorcycle crash, has reportedly been charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI).
First-Party Liability in Alcohol Crashes
Normally, if a driver receives a ticket, the negligence per se (negligence “as such”) shortcut often applies. This means that instead of needing to prove all of the elements of a traditional negligence case, the plaintiff must only establish that:
- The tortfeasor(negligent driver) violated a safety statute.
- Such violation caused the plaintiff’s damages.
- The statute is designed to protect people like the plaintiff.
A DUI clearly qualifies as a safety statute, which indicates causation. Conversely, if the tortfeasor was ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt, that violation probably would not qualify.
If a motorcycle crash victim can establish negligence in New York, they may be entitled to compensation for their economic damages, such as medical bills, and their noneconomic damages, such as loss of enjoyment in life.
Defenses in NY Negligence Cases
In rear-end collisions, even if the first driver was intoxicated or speeding, the second driver is often liable under the last clear chance doctrine. This rule essentially states that a person is responsible for damages if they had a reasonable opportunity to avoid the crash but failed to do so.
So, in in the Wheatland motorcycle accident, the insurance company could potentially argue that even though the lead rider was intoxicated, the trailing rider was legally at fault for the crash because he failed to slow down, change lanes, or take some other action to avoid the crash. However, in these cases, the rider must have had the last clear chance to avoid the crash and not merely the last possible chance.
Motorcycle crashes often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with a zealous personal injury attorney in Manhattan, contact Proner & Proner today. Our main office is conveniently located across from Grand Central Terminal.