Motorcycle Accidents and New York Personal Injury Law

Warren Redlich

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Motorcycle Accidents often involve personal injury problems for motorcycle drivers and passengers. In New York State, the rules for motorcycle accident cases are different than for car accidents.

In car accident cases, your medical bills and lost wages are paid by the insurance company for the car you were in at the time of the accident. This comes through a part of the insurance coverage on that car called “No-Fault, " which also applies to pedestrians or bicyclists injured in a collision with the car. However, this coverage for a car does not apply to a motorcycle driver (or motorcycle passenger) who collides with the car.

The No-Fault Law in New York generally does not apply to motorcycles, and the coverage is not included in motorcycle insurance policies. An injured biker will often have substantial medical bills and lost wages. These may be paid by some other form of insurance, or the motorcyclist may have to deal with them out of his or her own pocket.

The issue of medical bills and lost wages affects the biker's personal injury claims as well. In a car accident personal injury case for pain and suffering, these “economic damages" are generally not a factor unless they exceed $50,000 - which is rare. In motorcycle cases, these damages often come into play. If a health insurer paid the bills they will often assert a “lien" against the damages from the personal injury case. The case cannot be resolved without addressing the lien, and some of this may come out of whatever the motorcyclist gets. Similarly, if the medical bills were not paid, the hospital and other medical providers may assert a lien themselves.

One consequence of the No-Fault Law for car accidents is that an injured person must prove that they sustained a “serious injury. " Many New York car accident lawyers refer to this as the serious injury threshold. It makes these more difficult and indeed, renders many cases worthless. By contrast, since No-Fault does not apply, New York motorcycle accident lawyers have an easier time getting money for clients because they do not have to get over the serious injury threshold.

Another concern in motorcycle accident cases is the danger of jury bias. Many people view motorcycling as an inherently risky activity, and they may view bikers in a bad light. Such jurors are more likely to find a motorcyclist at fault. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer will assess potential jurors during jury selection with an eye to finding people with these or other harmful biases and removing them.

New York Personal Injury Lawyer Warren Redlich handles motorcycle accident and car accident cases across upstate New York. In 2007 he obtained a $3.85 million verdict in a motorcycle accident case in Albany, New York for a biker who suffered a below-the-knee amputation when an SUV crossed over the centerline, striking the biker and driving him into another SUV.


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