New York Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

November 18, 2020 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
New York Motorcycle Accident Attorney

When you ride your motorcycle in New York State, you choose your own adventure. You may choose to navigate mountain highways, lakeside roadways, exciting New York City streets, or all three. Riding a motorcycle makes you feel free no matter where you travel, but you also have to remember to drive defensively. Unfortunately, everywhere you go, you share the road with bad drivers who don't always consider your safety. They may drive drunk, distracted, or too fast for conditions. Bad drivers may cut you off, pull into your lane, and crash into your bike because they don't even notice you. Motorcycles are exciting and fun to ride, but bikers are some of the most vulnerable riders on the road. Even a minor crash usually sends a biker to the emergency room. When a vehicle strikes you, even at low speeds, it will likely force your bike to the ground. If a truck crashes into you, serious or catastrophic injuries are often inevitable. The tragedy is that, in most cases, these crashes are avoidable. If that has happened to you, you need the New York motorcycle accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA.

We Work Hard for Our Motorcycle Accident Victims

At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we've dedicated our legal practice to recovering damages for our injured clients. We have fought hard for injured bikers in the past, and we offer compassion, understanding, and legal knowledge when our clients need our help the most. Our attorneys use all of our skills and resources to make responsible parties pay. When we represent an injured biker, we work aggressively to build a winning case from day one. We investigate each accident and examine all available evidence. We assess the legal issues, determine the negligent parties, and place each one on notice. Our attorneys have seen how a motorcycle crash can devastate a client's life. The injuries are usually serious, often resulting in disabilities that change the victims' lives forever. We review our clients' medical records and evaluate their injuries. We do all we can to recover compensation to help our clients live better lives following their accidents.

Our Firm's Results

At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we have recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients. When negligent entities and their representatives have cooperated, we've had no problem sitting down to work out a settlement. We have negotiated aggressively with insurance companies, self-insured entities, and their defense attorneys. Our firm has represented our clients during informal negotiations as well as at trial. We have worked with neutral mediators and discussed our evidence at court-ordered settlement conferences. We understand that informal settlement strategies don't always work. That's why we always prepare our clients' evidence for an eventual courtroom presentation. We have successfully argued past cases before judges and juries. We've produced results that our clients needed to meet the future challenges presented by their injuries. As each case is different, we can't promise a specific outcome in any case, but we're proud of the results we've achieved for our clients. We invite you to view our results page for insight into our accomplishments.

Motorcycle Accidents in New York

Motorcycle enthusiasts live in every one of New York State's 62 counties. A significant number of those bike owners live in the Greater New York City area. Recent registration data shows that of the 344,688 motorcycles registered in the state, 298,912 of the owners live in New York County and its four adjacent counties. Motorcycle casualty statistics reflect this concentration.

  • Motorcycle accidents: 4,855 motorcycle crashes occurred in the state in 2019. Of those crashes, 1,682 (34 percent) occurred in New York, Bronx, Kings, Richmond, and Queens Counties.
  • Motorcycle accident fatalities: 132 motorcycle accident-related fatalities occurred in New York during 2019. Of these, 23 (17 percent) occurred in the Greater New York area.
  • Motorcycle accident personal injuries: Of the 3,608 motorcycle accident-related personal injuries that occurred, 1,222 (34 percent) occurred in the Greater New York area.

New York Motorcycle Accidents and Injuries

When you ride a motorcycle, you must weigh your desire for adventure against your need to stay safe. As a motorcyclist, you depend on your riding skill and on vehicle drivers staying alert to avoid crashes. Vehicle operators often present unreasonable dangers, so a motorcyclist can't always avoid a crash. Car and truck drivers often have difficulty judging a biker's speed. They sometimes infringe on a biker's right of way and cut the biker off while turning. They don't always recognize that bikers have the same rights as other vehicles. Sometimes, car and truck drivers simply don't notice that a motorcycle is riding near them. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) expresses common themes when discussing motorcycle casualty statistics:

  • Motorcyclists are “overrepresented in traffic fatalities.”
  • Based on miles traveled, a biker is 27 times more likely to die in a crash than vehicle occupants.
  • Motorcycles represent 3 percent of all registered vehicles nationwide, yet they are 14 percent of all traffic fatalities.
  • Vehicle drivers have problems sharing the road with motorcyclists.

Motorcycle accidents don't always involve another vehicle, but the most serious crashes do. Based on NHTSA data, motorcycle crashes involving a car or truck cause half of the documented motorcyclist fatalities in a given year.

How New York Motorcycle Accidents and Injuries Occur

Motorcycle accidents and injuries occur for many of the same reasons as vehicle-to-vehicle accidents. Vehicle drivers may collide with a biker when they drink and drive or drive too fast for conditions. Some motorists drive while distracted by phones, conversations, and other non-driving activities. Motorcycle accidents and injuries also involve factors unique only to motorcycles, including:

  • Weight differences: Even the most compact vehicle is likely much larger and weighs more than a motorcycle. The weight and mass make it easy for a vehicle to knock a motorcycle over and eject the rider.
  • Balance: Vehicles have a balance advantage as well. Given their two-wheeled construction, motorcycles can topple with just the slightest vehicle force. When a cycle overturns, it often pins down the driver and causes injuries.
  • Protection: A motorcycle's open-air construction provides only minimal protection from injuries. Drivers of cars and trucks ride in steel-reinforced metal compartments. These drivers have seatbelts, airbags, airbag side curtains, and other safety equipment.
  • Visibility: Vehicle drivers don't always notice when a motorcycle is in traffic among them. This may occur because they are driving drunk, distracted, speeding, or simply not paying attention, and it also occurs because drivers don't always notice motorcycles.
  • Vehicle driver disrespect: Motorcycles are technically vehicles, just like cars and trucks. Drivers of all vehicles have the same rights and responsibilities when on the road. Unfortunately, some vehicle drivers don't recognize these rights. Each year, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) marketing campaign reminds vehicles to share the road.
  • Failure to judge motorcycle speed: Vehicle drivers can't always judge a motorcycle's speed. When they act on their misperceptions instead of being cautious, they turn into a cyclist's path, cut into their lane, and commit other negligent acts.

Why New York Motorists Often Don't Notice Motorcycles

NHTSA statistics show that 41 percent of vehicle-motorcycle crashes occur because drivers literally don't see motorcycles in traffic. The agency addresses this phenomenon in its safety resource: “Get Up to Speed on Motorcycles.” The section “Hard to See“ discusses several reasons, including:

  • Motorcycles have a narrow profile that makes them harder to see.
  • Motorcycles are easily hidden in a vehicle's blind spot.
  • Motorcycles are difficult to see in changing light and weather conditions, such as fog, rain, and bright sunshine.
  • Objects outside a car, such as construction equipment or trees, may hide motorcycles.
  • Motorcycles are difficult to see in heavy traffic.

An article by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society labels this motorcycle visibility problem inattentional blindness. The research determined that drivers have LBFTS (looked but failed to see) accidents because drivers' brains have limited capacity to perceive surrounding objects.

Common New York Motorcycle Accident Injuries

When the NHTSA conducted a study on motorcycle accidents and injuries, the researchers revealed several common factors. In 67 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes that involved a vehicle, the vehicle struck the front end of the motorcycle. Front-end collisions were also involved in 42 percent of the accidents where the biker sustained disabling injuries. When a severe crash occurs, bikers sustain these injuries most frequently:

  • Lower extremity fractures/crush injuries
  • Upper extremity injuries
  • Head injuries/TBI
  • Chest injuries
  • Spine injuries
  • Abdominal injuries
  • Fatal injuries

Lower-Extremity Injuries

When the NHTSA evaluated 47,000 motorcycle accidents, it uncovered common injury patterns. In cyclists who sustain crash-related injuries, fractures occur more frequently than soft tissue injuries. Injured victims often sustain lower-extremity injuries and injury combinations, with 87 percent sustaining two or more lower-extremity injuries. These sometimes include:

  • Crush injuries
  • Partial or complete traumatic limb or digit amputations
  • Multiple and/or combinations of severe injuries
  • Degloving injuries (trauma pulls the skin from underlying tissues)

Upper-Extremity and Head Injuries

When motorcyclists sustain upper-body and head injuries, they often deal with difficult recoveries and complex disabilities. When an accident damages a biker's head, face, chest, or spine, it sometimes causes traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord damage.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

New York Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Statistics documented by the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems show that vehicle accidents cause 50 percent of traumatic brain injuries. Bikers sometimes sustain a TBI when a crash tosses them to the pavement. TBIs also occur when an impact severely jolts bikers' bodies. During a severe body trauma, the brain sometimes sustains damage when it moves around inside the skull. Whether a biker sustains a mild, moderate, or severe TBI, the outcome is rarely predictable. Even a “mild” TBI can result in lifelong disabilities like

  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Vision problems
  • Cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms
  • Post concussion syndrome
  • Second impact syndrome,
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)
  • Extended unconsciousness
  • Seizures
  • Convulsions
  • Numbness
  • Slurred speech
  • Comatose or vegetative states

Spinal Cord Injuries

NHTSA's motorcycle accident injury research determined that 20 percent of all motorcycle accident patients sustained spinal cord injuries. A patient's SCI-related disabilities will depend on the damage extent and the location of the spinal cord damage. SCI damage extent: An incomplete spinal trauma occurs when the injury damages the spine but doesn't sever it. A complete trauma severs the spine and nerve bundles completely, causing more profound damage. SCI damage location: A biker with an SCI loses function at and below the damage location on the spine.

  • Tetraplegia: An upper spine injury that causes paralysis and affects bodily functions below the damaged area. Incomplete tetraplegia is the most common spinal cord injury.
  • Paraplegia: Damage occurs on the lower spine. It sometimes causes paralysis and loss of function of the legs and lower body.

Recovering From New York Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Many motorcyclists recover from their injuries. Those who sustain SCIs and moderate to severe TBIs often live with profound disabilities. Brain injuries cause lifelong cognitive, physical, and emotional issues. Spinal cord injuries often limit movement and everyday functioning. After either injury, patients often require rehabilitation before returning to their home environments. Patients sometimes need continuing care to maintain an acceptable lifestyle. TBI and SCI patients often endure a lifetime of complications due to pain, depression, PTSD, and increased susceptibility to premature degenerative conditions. Injured individuals also deal with shifting career possibilities, shortened life expectancies, and quality of life issues.

Your New York Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

If you sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident, you should seek out immediate legal assistance. Contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA to schedule a free consultation with one of our New York attorneys. You can reach us by phone at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH). You may also connect with us via live chat or leave a message on our contact page.

New York Motorcycle Accident FAQs

A motorcycle is so much more than transportation. You have an adventure each time you ride. Sadly, when you're out there on the road, bad drivers add an element of danger to every trip. They may drive distracted, drink, and speed, and they may cut you off when you turn and crash into you as you cross an intersection. When a bad driver seriously or catastrophically injures you, the consequences may change your life. While an ambulance may need to transport you for emergency treatment, the bad driver who harmed you usually hops back into his or her car or pickup truck and drives away. At we've seen what happens when a negligent driver injures a biker. We've created this motorcycle accident FAQ because we want to help bikers understand their legal rights before a crash occurs.

How often do motorcycle accidents occur in New York?

The Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research maintains traffic data for the state. A search of recent updates provides the following statistics:

  • Motorcycle accidents: 4,855
  • Accident-related fatalities: 132
  • Accident-related personal injuries: 3,608
  • Property-damage-only accidents: 1,115

What is the most common type of motorcycle accident?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined that motorcycle front-end crashes occur more frequently than other types of motorcycle accidents. Front-end crashes also cause more fatal motorcycle accident injuries.

What are the most common motorcycle accident injuries?

New York Motorcycle Accident Law Firm

NHTSA studies show that both motorcycle riders and their passengers sustain lower-extremity injuries most often in a crash. Consider:

  • Fractures occur frequently.
  • Legs, feet, pelvis, ankles, and toes are the most injured body parts.
  • Injured bikers often sustain multiple fractures in an accident.
  • When chest, abdomen, and head injuries occur, these injuries are usually more serious than lower-extremity injuries.

How many motorcycles are there in New York?

The most recent New York motorcycle registration data shows that there are 344,688 motorcycles registered in the state. Of the motorcycles located in New York State, 298,912 are registered in the Greater New York City area.

Why do vehicles pose such a risk to New York bikers?

A motorcycle's two-wheel construction contributes to a bike's instability when a crash occurs. A striking vehicle's weight and mass also make a big difference in the outcome. When a vehicle crashes into a motorcycle, even at low speeds, it generates enough force to push the bike to the pavement. The impact easily tosses the biker beyond the crash area or pins him beneath the overturned cycle. Either way, the biker often sustains serious or catastrophic injuries. Bikers also have fewer protections than motor vehicle drivers and passengers.

What type of protective equipment should New York motorcycle riders use?

Bikers wear helmets to protect against head and brain injuries. They wear goggles or helmet face shields to protect their eyes. Some bikers wear Kevlar apparel and accessories to minimize body injuries after a crash. Motorcycle apparel manufacturers also offer Kevlar bodysuits, gloves, underwear, and partially or fully Kevlar-lined denim jeans. Manufacturers also create protective jeans with hip and knee pockets that hold armor inserts.

Do motorcycle helmets reduce the chance of head injuries?

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) motorcycle injury prevention page explains, helmet use reduces motorcycle deaths by 37 percent and head injuries by 69 percent.

Does New York require motorcycle riders to wear safety gear?

New York law does mandate certain motorcycle safety equipment. New York has what's known as a universal helmet law. All motorcyclists and their passengers must wear goggles and helmets that meet federal helmet standards. State law also sets legal standards for front and rear lights, handlebars, reflectors, brakes, footrests, windscreens, mufflers, and other safety equipment. Police officers sometimes set up motorcycle safety checks to ensure compliance with these laws.

Who decides if the other driver is responsible for my New York motorcycle accident injuries?

When another vehicle strikes your motorcycle, that driver's insurance company will investigate the claim and decide if you qualify to receive compensation. The company will make its decision based on whether it believes its insured party was negligent in causing your injuries. If the other vehicle's insurer denies your claim, you may still file a lawsuit against that party and try to recover your damages.

How much time do I have to file a New York motorcycle injury claim?

Under New York law, injured individuals have three years to file a claim for personal injuries or property damage. If you don't settle your claim or file a lawsuit within three years of the accident date, you lose your right to recover damages.

Do I have to file a lawsuit to get a settlement for my New York motorcycle accident injuries?

There's always a possibility that you'll resolve your claim directly with an insurer. When an insured motorist reports a claim, his or her insurance company investigates the accident. The company makes its own independent decision about liability, fault, and whether it owes you damages. Insurers set up a claim reserve, and they may eventually make an offer. They may settle your claim even if you don't file a lawsuit, but you should consult with an attorney before accepting any settlement offer.

How can a New York motorcycle accident lawyer help?

New York Motorcycle Accident Case

Motorcycle accident lawyers become your personal advocate the moment you retain them to handle your case. A lawyer will protect your legal interests and represent you on all issues related to your accident. Attorneys field inquiries from liability claim investigators and determine when and if to share your injury information or settle your claim. Your attorney will keep you apprised of negotiations and determine the appropriate timing for filing a lawsuit on your behalf. Motorcycle accident attorneys handle all legal aspects of your claim while you take time to heal. Provide a free initial consultation. Attorneys intervene more efficiently on your behalf when you connect with them as soon as possible after an accident. It's up to you to find an attorney and make a choice. During an initial legal consultation, you usually learn everything you need to know to decide to establish your attorney/client relationship. Attorneys offer several meeting options for injured clients:

  • In-person consultation
  • Phone consultation
  • Scheduled callback
  • Live chat

Discuss your version of the events leading up to your accident. Your version of an accident helps your attorney establish a game plan for how to proceed. When you tell your story, a seasoned attorney picks up on cues about liability, damages, vehicle ownership, accident scene anomalies, and other significant evidence. An attorney uses your version to determine in what direction to take the accident investigation. Answer your questions. Before your initial consultation, prepare a list of questions to ask prospective attorneys. Your attorney won't have the information necessary to respond immediately until he completes his investigation. After he hears your version, he can point out relevant issues that need follow-up. He can also address general questions about investigation strategy, damage evaluation, negotiation, and litigation. As the investigation proceeds, your attorney can provide the in-depth answers you need. Work on a contingency basis. When you go to a doctor or accountant for professional services, you usually receive a bill before you walk out the door. Motorcycle accident attorneys don't work that way, however. They handle your case on a contingency basis, which means they don't send you a bill each month. Motorcycle accident lawyers receive payment only after they resolve your case. When they settle your case or receive a court judgment, they charge you a percentage of the settlement amount. Investigate your accident. An attorney must investigate your case as though he or she will eventually present the evidence in court. Attorneys often work with trusted independent or in-house investigators who conduct their own work based on the attorney's detailed instructions. Investigators begin with your version of the accident and proceed from there. They will:

  • Look for physical and geographical evidence at an accident location
  • Photograph relevant areas
  • Examine vehicles to confirm points of contact
  • Document the other driver's version
  • Locate and talk to witnesses
  • Review police reports and any photos
  • Determine all the potentially negligent parties

Determine liability. Attorneys use your version of the accident and their investigative evidence to reveal all potentially responsible parties. This is often a key issue when a commercial vehicle strikes your motorcycle. Once your lawyer has all available evidence, he or she will assess liability and develop a legally viable theory. This theory and evidence must hold up in court should litigation become your only option. The evidence and legal theory must also be sound enough to overcome the liability insurance company's and defense attorney's strategies. Evaluate your injury. Motorcycle accident attorneys have experience evaluating their clients' injuries. They still spend a lot of time reviewing medical records, physician reports, previously handled motorcycle injury claims, and recent court judgments. All of this research gives your attorney a perspective on your case and its settlement value. Injury evaluation is a tedious process. It's also one of the reasons why you should reconsider negotiating your case without legal assistance. Without knowledge-backed research, you'll never know if an insurance company is offering you a fair settlement. Negotiate your settlement. If possible, your attorney will negotiate a settlement to resolve your case. This is often difficult when you have serious injuries or complicated liability scenarios. The settlement process usually involves the responsible driver's insurer, any co-defendants' insurers, and their defense attorneys. When a negligent driver works for a self-insured corporation, he or she will likely have independent negotiators involved. Settlement negotiations sometimes resemble a game of strategy. While your attorney tries to resolve your claim for optimum value, insureds, insurers, and their legal representatives often play negotiation games. They may offer low-ball settlements or no settlements at all, and they may deny liability to push plaintiffs into costly litigation. That's where you need a law firm like ours that can afford to stand up to deep-pocketed insurance companies and get you the compensation you deserve. File a lawsuit on your behalf. If negotiations aren't very productive or the statute of limitations is close, attorneys usually recommend filing a lawsuit. To initiate the litigation process, your lawyer drafts a summons that informs the responsible parties that you are filing a lawsuit. He or she will also write a complaint that explains your legal theories and why you are suing. The summons and complaint must follow a specific format, as designated by New York courts. The summons and complaint will name you and your spouse as the plaintiffs and name the responsible parties as defendants. Your attorney will arrange to serve the summons and complaint on the defendant in person or by substituted delivery. The defendant or his or her legal representative must file a written answer with the court within 20 days after receiving a summons in person. The defendant has 30 days to file an answer after receiving a summons by an alternate service method. Engage in discovery. Attorneys on both sides move the case forward through discovery. They will make formal requests for evidence through interrogatories, depositions, and requests for documents. Attorneys usually continue the negotiation process through court-mandated settlement conferences, hearings, and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes. Handle the ADR process. Most civil cases never go to trial. Even after filing a lawsuit, parties continue their negotiation efforts. New York recently established a presumptive ADR program that refers most civil cases to mediation and other ADR processes. Mediation is a popular, informal process that allows parties to meet with a trained mediator in a neutral location. Plaintiffs, defendants, their insurers, and all of the legal representatives present their evidence and discuss their positions. The mediator acts as a go-between among the parties, encouraging communication and productive negotiation. Try your case, if necessary. Based on New York State's ADR guidelines, attorneys still try civil cases that are deemed appropriate exceptions. Each side presents evidence in a bench trial or jury trial. In a bench trial, only the judge hears the evidence. In a jury trial, defense attorneys and plaintiff's attorneys select jury members to hear the case; a judge oversees the procedure and provides instructions. During a trial, liability and medical specialists, doctors, and other professionals testify in person or via video. Often attorneys settle a case as the trial progresses. If the parties don't settle before the trial ends, the judge decides the verdict at a bench trial. A jury issues the verdict for a jury trial. Execute the settlement documents. When your attorney concludes your case, it's not over until your lawyer:

  • Prepares a release and obtain your signature.
  • Forwards the executed release to the defendants.
  • Receives the settlement funds on your behalf.
  • Drafts and files a dismissal entry (if you have a pending lawsuit).
  • Deducts legal fees from the settlement or judgment.
  • Forwards your settlement or judgment to you.

Anthony J. Russo, Jr.
Anthony J. Russo, Jr., New York of Counsel

Do You Need Our New York Motorcycle Accident Lawyers if You're Injured in an Accident?

Yes, you do need our attorneys, especially if you're seriously injured. If you resolve your case without legal representation, you'll never know if the insurance carriers and their attorneys treated you fairly—and they probably won't. Our motorcycle accident attorneys understand the complex issues inherent in every injury claim, and they work to protect their clients' legal interests and recover the best settlement or judgment possible. Contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA to schedule a free consultation with our New York attorneys. You can reach us by phone at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH). You may also connect with us via live chat or leave a message on our contact page.

New York Office Location
3250 Westchester Ave, suite 200A/B
Bronx, NY 10461
(718) 550-3471

Client Testimonial

“AMAZING and understanding attorneys! Did great on my case and I highly recommend Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for anyone that has been injured in an accident!" Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Koralis R. Jan 2020 Read more reviews on Google!


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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