How to Protect My Rights After a Serious Motorcycle Crash

Every week in New York State (NYS), about 11 motorcycle drivers and their passengers ages 15 to 19 years old are hospitalized or treated in hospital emergency departments because of injuries received in motorcycle crashes. The risk of dying in a motorcycle crash is 16 times that of dying in a car crash.

The good news is that you, as a parent or caregiver, can play a major role in preventing motorcycle injuries.

Bikers who are injured because of other motorists’ negligent actions can take legal action to recoup medical costs, lost wages and for other damages related to the accident. Motorists must carry bodily injury liability insurance in NY in amounts of at least $30,000 per injured person and $60,000 per accident. They also must carry property damage liability insurance of at least $25,000 per accident.

What NYS motorcycle laws are important for me to know?

At age 16, drivers are eligible for a motorcycle license. Drivers must have a valid NYS motorcycle license to operate a motorcycle.

Both drivers and passengers must wear a helmet made specifically for motorcycles and should be Department of Transportation (DOT) approved.

Motorcycle drivers must wear approved eye protection even if the motorcycle is equipped with a windshield.

What kind of helmet should my teen wear while driving or riding on a motorcycle?

Both motorcycle drivers and passengers should always wear a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) 218 approved motorcycle helmet. Helmets must have a sticker on the outside back of the helmet with the letters “DOT” to certify that the helmet meets or exceeds these safety standards. A full face helmet offers the highest level of protection in a crash.

What are the common causes of accidents involving motorcycles?

Motorcyclists are more vulnerable on the roads of New York than other motorists. The slightest impact by a larger motor vehicle can cause serious injuries and damage to a motorcyclist. While you may not be able to avoid getting into an accident, you can take certain precautions to reduce the likelihood of a crash if you know the common causes of motorcycle accidents.

Motorists’ failure to yield the right of way.

Car cutting off a biker riding behind it.

Lack of proper training by a biker.

Lack of proper gear, primarily a good helmet.

Motorcyclists trying to share a lane with another driver or riding in the shoulder.

Product defect.

Poor weather conditions.

Dangerous road conditions, such as potholes and manholes.

What steps should I take to protect my rights and options after a serious motorcycle crash?

Contacting a personal injury lawyer with experience in motorcycle accidents is a good first step. By doing so, the motorcycle accident attorney will be able to conduct an early investigation and document the accident and your injuries.

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