MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT CASES
Have you been in a motorcycle accident?
At Goldstein & Goldstein, LLP, we're here to help.
Remember: it's ALWAYS worth a call to see if you have a case. We don't get paid unless you do!
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions:
I’ve been injured in an auto accident. Who pays for my medical bills and lost wages?
Under New York State law, your lost wages and medical expenses will be paid by the insurance company of the automobile that you were in at the time of the accident, regardless of whose fault the accident is. You’ll often hear this referred to as No-Fault insurance.
How do I make a claim for these expenses?
A No-Fault application should be obtained from the insurance company as soon as possible for the car that you were in at the time of the accident, as well as your own insurance company if you were not in your vehicle at the time of the accident. This application must be filed within thirty (30) days of the date of the accident. If not filed within that timeframe, your benefits may be denied.
What about my pain and suffering?
You may file a lawsuit against the responsible party for pain and suffering depending upon your degree of injury. It is difficult to tell early on whether or not this may be an injury that will qualify you to sue for pain and suffering. Therefore, at our law firm, we often take a “wait and see” approach. That means that we assist the injured party with filing insurance forms, obtaining medical records, and dealing with the insurance company until we can determine whether or not he or she has a qualifying injury. This determination could take from several months to a year.
What if I don’t have a qualifying injury? What will I owe you for your services?
If we decide, after a reasonable period of time (often several months), that you don’t have a qualifying injury or that you have a case we are not willing to take, there is no charge for the services that we provided up to that date.
What if I do have a qualifying injury?
If you have a qualifying injury, we will take your case on a contingent fee basis. This means that you will pay us only if you win. In most cases, we will advance the cost of pursuing the case such as investigator fees, court filing fees, charges for medical records and other necessary expenses. After we have received a settlement for you, we will deduct those expenses first and then compute our fee based upon a percentage of the remaining settlement proceeds. This percentage varies, but in most cases is 1/3 of the settlement.
What if we lose?
Fortunately, we lose very few cases; but if that were to occur, you would not owe us any legal fees.
How is responsibility determined for a traffic accident?
Figuring out who is at fault in an accident is a matter of deciding who was careless. For traffic accidents, your state’s traffic laws provide guidelines by which liability may be measured. These rules apply not only to automobiles, but also to motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians. In some cases, a driver may be liable for an accident even if he/she was obeying, for example, the posted speed limit, if traveling at the posted speed was unreasonably careless given the weather or traffic conditions at the time.
What if I am at fault?
In New York State, we have a “comparative fault” rule. That means that an injured party can still be compensated even if he is, in part, at fault. So, for example, if the injured party is 30% at fault and the other driver is 70% at fault, the injured party can still sue and recover damages for pain and suffering, but it will be reduced by 30%.
What if I was a pedestrian?
If an automobile strikes you, the insurance company insuring the automobile will pay your medical bills and lost wages, and may be liable for your pain and suffering.
What if I was driving or riding on a motorcycle?
No-Fault automobile insurance does not cover a motorcycle. Therefore, the insurance company does not pay your medical bills and lost wages. However, you may be compensated for any injury, regardless of its degree.
Who decides these percentages of fault?
The percentages of fault are decided by a jury, or in some cases, a judge.
What is negligence?
The mere fact that someone was hurt because they were in a car accident or they slipped and fell on someone’s property doesn’t mean that they are entitled to receive damages for pain and suffering. In most cases, you must prove that another party was negligent. Negligence simply means carelessness. It means the failure to do something that a reasonable person would do under like circumstances, or taking an action that a reasonable person would not take under like circumstances.
How are damages determined?
Damages are determined by either a judge or a jury. The judge or jury at your trial would listen to testimony from you as to how the injury has affected your life, and will listen to testimony from your doctor, as to how this injury has affected you physically and how it may affect you in the future.
Will I have to go to court?
Very few cases actually go to trial. In our experience, more than 90% of cases settle without going to court. However, it is important that the lawyer representing you is experienced in trying personal injury cases rather than just going for a quick settlement. Your attorney should have a reputation with the defense lawyers and insurance companies as someone who can and will take a case to trial, should they offer you an unreasonable settlement or no settlement at all. We find that our very high success rate in trying cases in court has enabled us to obtain better settlements for our clients and has also made it less likely that we will have to go to court. But, if we do have to go to court, we can assure you that we will put all of our resources, time, experience, and knowledge behind your case to help you obtain the best possible results.
Should I release my medical records to another driver’s insurance adjuster?
Definitely not! Medical record releases should only be signed under limited circumstances and after consulting with a qualified personal injury trial lawyer. If your medical information gets into the insurance adjuster’s hands, it could hurt your case.
Can I be found liable if my motorcycle is rear-ended in a crash?
If someone hits you from behind, the accident is almost always that driver’s fault, regardless of the reason you stopped. A basic rule of the road requires that a driver be able to stop safely if a vehicle stops ahead of him/her. If the driver could not stop, he was probably following too closely or driving too fast for traffic conditions.
If I don’t feel injured after an accident, do I have to see a doctor?
Both you and your passengers should consider seeing a doctor after an accident. The doctor may recognize injuries, sometimes serious, that are not apparent to you. The charges for a doctor visit and medical treatment may be covered by your insurance. It is not recommended that you settle claims from an accident until a doctor has seen you and advised you about the extent of your injuries.
What if I believe the accident I was in was at least partly my fault?
You are probably not in the best position to assess how or why the accident happened. Defective equipment in your vehicle, a malfunctioning traffic signal, or another driver’s intoxication are among many possible causes of an accident, which your attorney can investigate and evaluate. Accepting blame and apologizing to another driver may be used as evidence against you at trial. Leave it to a judge or jury to decide who is at fault.
I was in a car accident and the air bags in my car didn’t deploy. Do I have a case against the car manufacturer?
That depends, as there are several factors that dictate whether an air bag will deploy in a collision. You should consult with an attorney, who will investigate the airbag devices in your car and determine, with the assistance of an engineer, the circumstances under which the airbags should deploy. If the circumstances of your accident were such that the airbags should have deployed, you very well may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
You should always meet the lawyer who will actually handle your case to make sure you feel comfortable. At Goldstein & Goldstein, LLP, we treat our clients like family. We are a father-daughter team with many happy clients who can speak to our integrity, our expertise, and our compassion.
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