New York is a no-fault state, meaning each driver must file against their own insurance company after an accident, no matter who was at fault. However, Article 51 of New York’s Insurance Laws, which defines no-fault insurance in New York, has extremely specific language. Under this law, motorcycles are treated as separate vehicles altogether when compared to cars, trucks, and buses. As a result of this categorization, New York’s no-fault insurance laws do not apply to motorcyclists, which can drastically impact your ability to receive compensation after a motorcycle accident.
How Does No-Fault Insurance Work?
Typically, when someone is injured in a car accident in New York, that person is required to file an auto accident claim with their own insurance policy. These policies apply whether a policyholder was injured while driving, as a passenger, as a pedestrian, or while riding a bicycle. However, for an accident victim to receive compensation under their own insurance policy, they must meet the “Serious Injury” Threshold as outlined by Article 51, which includes:
- Significant disfigurement
- A fracture
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of the use of a body organ, member, function, or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of the use of a body organ or member
- A significant limitation of the use of a body function or system
- A medically determined non-permanent injury or impairment that impacts the victim’s daily activities
However, for motorcyclists, the process is much more complicated. Since motorcyclists are not covered under New York’s No-Fault Insurance Laws, they cannot file under their own insurance policy in an accident, despite being required to have the same minimum liability insurance as car drivers. Instead, they must file a claim against the driver who caused their injuries.
Your Options After a Motorcycle Accident
After a motorcycle accident, you may be worried about covering the costs of your injuries, fulfilling your duties at work, and paying for any long-term treatment.
While getting compensation after an accident is never easy or simple, the process is often more complex for motorcyclists. Many people, including insurance adjusters, consider motorcycles inherently dangerous and believe that riders reap what they sow when they get in an accident. Popular media has negatively portrayed motorcyclists as reckless and belligerent riders who make dangerous life choices. That couldn’t be further from the truth, but it still heavily impacts a rider’s ability to file a claim.
If you attempt to file a personal injury claim on your own, you may be quickly dismissed by an insurance adjuster. While you may not have to meet New York’s Serious Injury Threshold, the insurance adjuster may still offer you an insultingly low settlement or argue that you are the only one to blame for your injuries, even if the other driver was obviously negligent. Despite how often motorcyclists suffer severe injuries at the hands of other vehicle operators, the initial offers given to them are generally very low when compared to car accident claims.
However, you should not despair, because there is help out there. At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, our experienced and compassionate team of personal injury lawyers have seen first-hand how devastating these accidents are. We understand that you’re in a lot of pain, stressed about your future, and unsure about how to move forward with a claim. But we are staunch advocates for injured motorcyclists in New York and can provide the best in legal guidance about your case.
If you bring your claim to us after an accident, our New York motorcycle accident attorneys can utilize all of their expertise, skill, and knowledge to advocate for full compensation for your injuries from the other driver’s insurance company. We will handle all of the legal legwork for your case, including:
- Investigating the cause of your accident
- Collecting evidence and witness statements
- Speaking to accident experts
- Assessing your medical injuries with your doctors
- Reviewing the other driver’s insurance policy and driving record
- Negotiating with the other driver’s insurance company for full compensation
- Representing you in a personal injury trial, if necessary
Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, has more than 50 years of experience and has routinely received accolades for our commitment to our clients. Among our numerous cases, we have successfully achieved positive case results for injured motorcyclists, including in a complicated case involving a negligent government agency. If you or someone you loved was injured in a motorcycle accident in New York City, you can trust that we will handle your case with diligence and professionalism. To speak to one of our attorneys in a free, no-obligation consultation, call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353.