Motorcycle accidents may involve other vehicles, or they may be single-motorcycle crashes solely affecting one bike. Often, accidents stem from factors outside the rider’s control. It is important to assess the cause of the crash in order to help determine which parties may have been at fault and whether a legal claim for compensation may be appropriate.
Some crashes are the fault of negligent drivers, while others result from issues such as unsafe road conditions or defective motorcycle equipment, including tires and brakes. In some situations, the bike “wipes out,” and the driver falls, or the bike hits an object. An injured motorcyclist may be able to take legal action against a party responsible for causing the crash.
If another driver contributed to a single motorcycle accident, such as by swerving in front of the bike or passing too closely, he or she possibly may be held accountable under a negligence theory of law. Negligence is the breach of a duty of care. To show that another driver was negligent, the plaintiff must first show that a duty of care existed. Next, he or she must demonstrate that the driver breached or violated this duty. The defendant driver’s action, or failure to act, must have caused the accident. Finally, the plaintiff must have incurred actual damages.
In the case of a single-motorcycle accident, an injured rider may show that the defendant driver failed to operate his or her vehicle as a reasonable driver would have. To show causation, the plaintiff must show that this breach of the duty of care directly resulted in the crash, without an intervening factor. Damages may range from lost income and medical bills to pain and suffering.
If the motorcycle had a malfunction, an injured rider may be able to pursue a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. The plaintiff probably could proceed under a strict liability theory, trying to show that there was a manufacturing or design defect in the motorcycle or one of its components. A manufacturing defect is a problem limited to a specific vehicle or part, whereas a design defect is an inherent flaw affecting the entire model. The elements of causation and damages still would need to be proved.
Sometimes a defendant will try to argue that the victim was partly at fault for causing an accident. Even if this is true, the injured rider still may be able to receive a lesser compensation award. New York applies a comparative negligence rule, which holds each party responsible for an amount of damages proportionate to its degree of responsibility for the accident.
Queens residents and others who have been involved in a motor vehicle collision can consult the experienced attorneys at The Cassisi Law Firm for professional, efficient representation. We also assist accident victims throughout the Bronx and Brooklyn, as well as in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
Contact our office for a free consultation by using our online form or by calling 718-441-5050.