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How to Prove Negligence After a New York Motorcycle Accident

Posted by James Hunt | Apr 01, 2021

prove negligence after a New York motorcycle accident

In order to prove negligence in a motorcycle accident court case, you must meet specific criteria. Beyond allegations, you must also have the proper evidence to back up your claims against the other party, including drivers and insurance companies. Weaknesses in your case can result in settlements that do not compensate you entirely or, in the worst-case scenario, losing your case in court.

The civil laws in New York also impact your case from a litigation and defense standpoint. Without understanding how these laws work, you may expose yourself to unwanted consequences. A New York motorcycle accident lawyer will investigate your injuries, preserve evidence, handle insurance company negotiations, and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Elements of New York Motorcycle Accident Negligence

New York laws establish the elements of negligence. If your case meets specific, proven criteria, then the law entitles you to a civil award. However, you must not only raise your allegations, but you must also prove them with admissible evidence in court.

You must allege and prove the following four elements of New York motorcycle accident negligence to receive compensation:

  1. The defendant held a general duty of care. All drivers on New York roadways must meet the obligation to drive safely and conscientiously.
  2. Failing to meet this duty results in a breach. Two simple examples of a breach of duty are (1) driving recklessly or (2) driving through a red light without stopping.
  3. The breach caused your motorcycle accident injuries or a family member's wrongful death.
  4. You suffered an injury, whether it is physical, emotional/mental, or financial damage.

Depending upon the specific circumstances and facts of your case, these points may become complicated to prove, particularly if multiple parties were involved. Without an independent investigation conducted by a New York motorcycle accident lawyer, you could be leaving compensation on the table without knowing what triggered the accident.

New York's Laws Underscore Proving Negligence

New York follows a no-fault insurance system. This means that in the typical car accident, your own car insurance provides you with certain benefits regardless of who is at fault for the accident. These benefits would include paying medical bills for treatment, prescription drug costs, lost wages, and transportation to/from doctor appointments.

However, in New York, motorcycles are not included in the no fault insurance system.  As a result, a motorcycle rider is not entitled to these no fault medical and lost wage benefits.

The trade off is that a motorcycle driver can pursue a legal claim against a third party who caused the accident even if the motorcyclist suffered only minor injuries.  New York Motorcycle Insurance minimums are $25,000 per person injured in any one accident;  $50,000 because of the death of one person in one accident; $50,000 for two or more persons injured in any one accident; $100,000 for the deaths of two or more persons in one accident; and $10,000 for property damage per accident.

Pure Comparative Negligence

In addition to no-fault rules, the New York also recognizes pure comparative fault laws. New York is one of thirteen states that uses the pure comparative fault rule. Pure comparative fault means that involved parties have a chance to recover an award even if they are each partially responsible for the accident. In other words, an injured rider who is only partially to blame will still be entitled to recover compensation.  However, each party responsible for the accident will have their compensation decreased by the percentage of fault assigned to them by a jury. 

It is also a defensive technique. If the other party were at fault, the insurance company would investigate to determine if you contributed to it. If they can prove it, then they can reduce your civil award. Hire a motorcycle accident lawyer in New York to investigate your accident to prevent taking a settlement for less than what you deserve.

For example, say the other party can prove that you were 40% at fault for the accident, and your injuries are worth $100,000, then you will only receive $60,000. Therefore, motorcycle accidents can become complicated by multiple allegations coming from all sides.

Motorcycle Accident Negligence Examples

Proving the cause of your specific motorcycle accident may require an expert's opinion. Unless the cause is clear from the police report, an accident reconstruction expert witness may be needed to prove the other driver was at fault. Doing so prevents your case from becoming your word against the other.

Examples of motorcycle negligence include:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Road rage
  • Poor vehicle maintenance
  • Poor road maintenance
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Distracted driving
  • Failing to yield

Every driver on New York roadways should keep their focus on the road. Any careless or reckless action can cause a severe crash with a motorcycle. The driver may allege that you were the party at fault for the accident, which can reduce the amount of compensation the insurance company pays you.

How to Prove Negligence After a New York Motorcycle Accident - Prove Negligence

Types of Evidence that Prove Negligence

The type of evidence that proves negligence after a New York motorcycle accident varies on a case-by-case basis. Your strategy will ultimately depend upon who caused the accident, the evidence obtained, location, level of injury, and other elements.

In general, many cases incorporate the following evidence to prove negligence after a motorcycle accident in New York.

  • Police and accident reports
  • Police officer testimony
  • Testimony of witnesses
  • Passenger witness testimony
  • Testimony of drivers
  • Photos or video of the accident scene
  • Depositions
  • Accident reconstruction expert witnesses
  • And more

Depending upon losses you suffered and the state in which the accident occurred, the rules of evidence may vary. Even though you are going through the claims process, you should prepare your case as if it is going to trial. The admissibility and packaging of evidence in one jurisdiction or venue may not work for another.

Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Fight for You

Your health is the highest priority. After a motorcycle accident, your rehabilitation and return to good health should be your main focus. Instead of worrying about a fight with the insurance company or other drivers, a motorcycle accident lawyer in New York will handle the negotiations, investigations, and litigation for you. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer will take the stress of a lawsuit away while you focus on your health.

There are statutory and civil deadlines that apply to your case in New York, which means that you should speak with a New York motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Avoid missing your opportunity merely because of a legal technicality. Talk to an experienced NYC motorcycle accident lawyer today.

Connect with Us for Legal Help

Hunt & Associates, LLC protects the rights of motorcycle accident injury victims and their family members. Call our legal team of New York motorcycle accident attorneys now for your free no-obligation consultation at (866) 456-HUNT or message us online directly. Hablamos Español o puedes contactarnos aquí.

About the Author

James Hunt

Jim Hunt, the founder of Hunt & Associates, is a former Big Law attorney who trained at one of the biggest and most prestigious law firms in the world. He now uses that unique experience and training to help his injured clients fight for justice against “the big guys,” i...


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