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NYC Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Motorcycle riding is a popular activity in New York City, but riding a motorcycle can be extremely dangerous. While other types of accidents have declined in the last decade, motorcycle accidents have increased, particularly among older riders. Accidents frequently occur due to the negligence or carelessness of another vehicle operator, including drunk drivers, inattentive drivers and those disobeying highway traffic safety laws.

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Motorcycle accidents often result in catastrophic injuries such as head injuries, road rash or burn injuries, back injuries, spinal cord damage, leg amputation, fractures and brain damage. Riders have very little other than a helmet to protect them and are extremely vulnerable when a collision occurs. Consequently, many riders are seriously hurt or fatally injured.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, Hecht Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. is experienced at assisting injured motorcyclists. We know how to properly document the extent of your injuries. Our New York City personal injury lawyers will fight for the maximum benefits that you are due.

Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents

Certain contributing factors are most common in motorcycle accidents, all of which pose high risk of serious injury or death. The most common factors in motorcycle accidents involve human error or a violation of law:

  • Alcohol-related
  • Driver inexperience
  • Driver distraction
  • Following too closely
  • Failure to yield right of way
  • Passing or improper lane usage
  • Reaction to other vehicle
  • Unsafe speed
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Improper turns

Since motorcycles are smaller than other passenger vehicles, they are easier for other drivers to overlook and sometimes they disappear completely in an automobile or truck driver’s blind spot. Drivers should signal and look in their mirrors and over their shoulders to check for the presence of vehicles in their blind spot before changing lanes.

New York Motorcycle Accident Statistics

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles (NYDMV) provides data about the numbers of deaths and injuries for all types of vehicles, including motorcycles. According to the NYDMV, in the most recently released data (2013), the numbers of deaths and injuries from motorcycle accidents that were reported to police are as follows:

  • Total Crashes: 5,190
  • Non-Fatal Crashes: 4,387
  • Fatal Crashes: 164
  • Property Damage Crashes: 639

The agency also reports the severity of these motorcycle accidents:

  • Fatal Crashes: 165
  • Serious Personal Injury Crashes: 968
  • Moderate Personal Injury Crashes: 1,350
  • Minor Personal Injury Crashes: 1,785

Driver inattention or distraction is a contributing factor in a significant portion of motorcycle accidents. According to NYDMV, distraction was a contributing factor in 700 motorcycle accidents, and unsafe speed in 771 of the accidents. Motorcyclists are at very high risk of permanent injuries or death when sharing the road with distracted drivers or drivers who violate the posted speed limit. An impact with a motorcycle throws the rider to the road. In addition to the danger of the initial impact, the rider is at risk of secondary impact from other vehicles.

As part of our investigation of your motorcycle accident, we will obtain the at-fault driver’s cell phone records to determine if the driver was talking or texting on a cell phone and likely distracted at the time that the accident occurred.

What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident

It is important that you take the right steps after a motorcycle accident. In many instances, the other driver will be held liable for what occurred. But there must be evidence of negligent driving to support your claim or lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident.

Follow these steps.

  • In cases of serious injury, the primary concern is the health and life of the victim, and emergency services must be contacted immediately and the injured motorist transported to hospital.
  • Call the police.
  • Try to be calm and do not engage in any altercation with the motorist who was involved in the accident. Be extremely mindful of what you say, and it is crucial that you do not admit fault. If the other motorist admits fault, ensure that you write down exactly what he or she says.
  • If you are physically able, photograph the area in which the accident took place with your cellphone, including your motorcycle’s position, the vehicle position, and any skid marks on the roadway.
  • Gather the names, phone numbers and addresses of eyewitnesses to the accident. Witnesses can provide critical testimony to support your claim or lawsuit.
  • Get the names and badge numbers of police officers at the scene.
  • Take notes about everything that happened as soon as possible after the accident.
  • Call your insurance company and report the accident.
  • Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer to review the facts of the accident and discuss your legal options.
  • For families who have a seriously injured loved one, it is crucial that you retain legal counsel to assist with all matters regarding compensation. In cases of loss of life, the immediate family has the right to recover compensation when the accident was caused by a negligent driver. Get legal representation as early as possible.

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Why Motorcycle Accidents Cause More Serious Injuries

Wearing a DOT approved motorcycle helmet can help to protect against head and brain injuries, but even those who wear helmets can suffer these injuries if the impact is severe. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that motorcycle crashes claim the lives of more than 2,100 riders every year and that motorcyclists are 16 times more likely to be injured in a collision. They also report that in the majority of these motorcycle accidents, the rider was not at fault and that in 80 percent of the cases, injury or death is the tragic outcome.

Common Types of Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents

Injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents are often severe. Even at slow speeds, the impact with the street is extremely dangerous. The Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine conducted a study of the injury patterns and severity among hospitalized motorcyclists that revealed the most common injuries.

The report showed that the most common injuries were as follows: lower extremities, upper extremities, thorax (upper body between neck and abdomen), head, face and neck, abdomen, and spinal cord. Some of the most common, and potentially fatal injuries suffered by motorcyclists after an impact include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Fractures
  • Severe abrasions
  • Internal injuries

Lower Extremity and Upper Extremity Injuries

Broken bones are common injuries in motorcycle accidents. A broken bone is not a minor injury, particularly a broken femur, which can be exceptionally difficult to repair. Broken arms or legs, shattered knees or elbows or broken hands may require several surgeries followed by a long period of rehabilitation.

Fractured Hips

A fractured hip is a serious medical condition. It takes great force to break the pelvis and hip. The break will be treated based upon what areas of the joint were affected, as well as the soft tissue surrounding the hip. The femur may be broken as it reaches the hip socket and can have very serious physical consequences, and require months of treatment.

Head Injuries

The use of a helmet is the best protection against the risk of a head injury. But riders wearing helmets still are vulnerable to head injuries. A motorcycle accident often involves the rider being thrown into the air upon impact, and landing on their head or neck. The injuries sustained can include permanent brain damage, with the victim facing both physical and cognitive impairments.

Chest Injuries

A motorcycle accident often involves secondary impacts. The force of the collision throws the rider off the motorcycle onto the road. Often, another driver cannot avoid hitting the rider in the roadway, breaking ribs or causing internal organ damage, which can lead to death.

Spinal Cord Injuries

With 31% of motorcycle accident injuries affecting the spinal cord, the risk of permanent impairments is extremely high. The location and severity of the injury will determine the long-term impact on the victim. Generally, when the injury is “complete” there will be no sensory ability below the level of impact. In an “incomplete” spinal injury, there is still some information passing from the brain through the spinal cord and the victim may retain some level of ability to move. These are catastrophic injuries, and will change a life forever.

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Why You Need a Lawyer After an Accident Caused by Another Motorist

After a motorcycle accident caused by another motorist, you need a legal advocate on your side who will do a thorough investigation and identify all the responsible parties. You need a lawyer who will deal with insurance companies so that you can focus on your recovery and in some cases, adapt to a new life after a serious accident. At Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek in New York City, our team has uncommon qualifications to bring to the table for you. We have more than 75 years of combined legal experience, and our firm was established to serve the community with a higher level of individual service.

We pursue top dollar settlements and verdicts in motorcycle accident injury and death cases. The final outcome of your case will depend in large part on the facts in the specific case and the actions of the law firm representing you. We know the law, we deeply care about our clients, and we are steadfast in demanding justice for those we serve. Contact a NYC motorcycle accident lawyer now for help. We invite you to speak with us and find out how we can help.

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07/05/2015

After meeting a half dozen lawyers at different firms, I decided to go to Hecht, Kleeger and Damashek. As soon as I met Jon Damashek, I knew I had to look no further. Mr. Damashek made me feel at ease…

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