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Driving Without A Helmet: Can You Still Sue If You Got Involved In A Motorcycle Accident In New York?

Riding a motorcycle without a helmet may feel liberating, but what if you're seriously injured following a motorcycle accident – can you still sue for your damages even though you weren't wearing safety gear? This question is especially pertinent in New York, a state known for its complex and often challenging traffic laws.

Can You Pursue Legal Action Following a Motorcycle Accident in New York if You Didn't Have a Helmet On?

You can still sue if you've had the misfortune of getting into a motorcycle accident in New York without wearing a helmet. The New York motorcycle accident law regarding helmets doesn't necessarily prohibit you from seeking compensation for injuries sustained.

According to Daniella Levi, the principal attorney at Daniella Levi & Associates, P.C., it involves understanding various factors affecting your case and the comparative negligence law concept.

Factors That Can Affect Your Case

In considering your motorcycle accident lawsuit, several factors could influence the outcome.

The severity of your injuries and driver inattention or negligence can significantly determine the liable party and sources of compensation. Be aware that New York's comparative negligence law may also affect your case even if you share part of the blame.

The Severity of Your Injuries

The extent of your wounds can significantly impact any potential lawsuit following any type of accident, such as a motorcycle accident, even if you weren't wearing safety gear.

For instance, the risk of head injury is common in motorcycle accidents, ranging from mild concussions to traumatic brain injury or other fatal injury. The extent of these common injuries often determines your maximum compensation in personal injury claims.

Moreover, medical bills resulting from treatment for these internal injuries can pile up quickly and become overwhelming. Injured motorcyclists may also face additional costs related to rehabilitation or long-term care.

That is why, according to Daniella Levi, the Principal Attorney of Daniella Levi & Associates, P.C., partnering with seasoned motorcycle accident lawyers is crucial. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can aid you in understanding the complex legal process.

This is especially true since, as the injured party, filing an insurance claim or even a personal injury lawsuit could help recover some or all of these expenses while addressing other related damages or accident-related expenses, such as lost income, property damage, or non-economic damages like mental anguish.

Your experienced motorcycle accident attorney will work diligently to present compelling evidence showing that other factors contributed more significantly to your physical pain or injuries than not wearing safety helmets.

The Other Driver's Negligence

Even though you weren't sporting a helmet, it's crucial to remember that the other party's recklessness could be primarily responsible for your accident and injuries. If the fault driver acted negligently – let's say by speeding, ignoring traffic signals, or driving under the influence – they can indeed be held accountable even if you, as a rider, weren't wearing a helmet at the time of the event.

This principle is based on New York's comparative negligence law, which allows riders to file a motorcycle accident claim and possibly receive financial compensation.

To establish liability for auto accidents or motorcycle accidents in New York, you'll need an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to help prove the following points in court or during settlement negotiations with insurance companies:

  • The at-fault driver has the legal obligation to drive safely (duty of care).
  • They failed to fulfill this duty.
  • Their neglect led directly to your accident.
  • You got injured as a result.

Despite not wearing safety helmets, you may still be entitled to a fair settlement or financial compensation depending on how much blame lies with the at-fault party and how severe your injuries are. In this regard, according to Daniella Levi, the Principal Attorney of Daniella Levi & Associates, P.C., always consult with personal injury lawyers before making any decisions about your case.

Your Negligence

But what if your carelessness played a part in the accident? Say you were riding your motorcycle without a helmet, leading to a more severe motorcycle injury, like spinal injuries.

Under New York law's contributory negligence model, your lack of a helmet could impact any compensation for damages. This model means that the court will consider the allocation of fault, including yours when deciding how much compensation is due. Your negligence, such as not wearing a helmet, may lead to assumptions about fault that could decrease your compensation claim.

In other words, even if another driver was mostly at fault for the collision, but you weren't wearing a helmet during the accident, it can affect the percentage of fault attributed to you. The contributory negligence law allows for this kind of distribution of responsibility based on each party's actions or inactions leading up to an incident.

Therefore, while it doesn't completely bar you from receiving compensation for pain and other damages suffered from an accident caused by someone else's negligence, it does mean that any settlement may be significantly reduced due to your contribution towards the harm sustained because of not utilizing proper safety measures like wearing a helmet.

Understanding New York's Comparative Negligence Law

In New York, you've got to understand the ins and outs of Comparative Negligence Law if you plan to sue after a motorcycle accident, especially if you were riding without a helmet.

The Comparative Negligence Law balances responsibility between all parties, such as the at-fault party and the accident victim. It measures each party's degree of fault and reduces their compensation accordingly. So even if you weren't wearing a helmet during an accident, you aren't automatically disqualified from seeking coverage for motorcyclist injuries or damages just because you may have contributed to them.

One key thing to note about this law is its difference from contributory negligence. It completely bars recovery if you're even 1% at fault. In contrast, under comparative negligence law,

  • You can still recover damages or compensation even if you're partially at fault for the accident. For example, assuming you were 30% at fault for not wearing a helmet when the incident happened, your potential compensation will be reduced by that percentage.
  • The time taken to settle claims might vary depending on how clear-cut the allocation of fault is. If disputes over who's more at fault between the parties involved, it could prolong discussions with your insurance company before a compensation agreement can be reached.

Remember this: every detail counts in these situations. Don't assume that just because you weren't wearing a helmet during the accident means automatically forfeiting your rights to seek maximum compensation for damages. According to New York's comparative negligence law, it's all about establishing who bears the most responsibility for what happened during that unfortunate event.

Partner With Seasoned Personal Injury Attorneys

Navigating these complexities is a collaborative ride, so teaming up with an experienced attorney who understands comparative negligence laws is vital for motorcycle accident victims.

It can be arduous to go head-to-head with every insurance adjuster when dealing with severe injuries following an accident, particularly as a motorcycle rider without a helmet. These professionals are trained to minimize payouts and may argue that your lack of protective gear contributed significantly to your injuries.

But don't let this deter you; having a seasoned lawyer by your side can help ensure you get fair compensation or insurance settlement, even under challenging circumstances.

According to Daniella Levi, the Principal Attorney at Daniella Levi & Associates, P.C., a well-versed attorney will guide you through the entire process and fight for maximum compensation. They do this in three crucial ways:

  1. Evidence Gathering: Your lawyer can gather evidence like police reports or witness statements that show poor road conditions or other factors were primarily responsible for the accident.
  2. Negotiating With Insurance Carriers: They'll handle negotiations with the motorcycle insurance company or health insurance company, armed with solid arguments under New York's comparative fault rule, all while backed with evidence.
  3. Legal Representation in Court: Should negotiations not result in fair compensation, your attorney is prepared to represent you in court, defending your rights as one of New York's many motorcycle riders against any blame put forward due to helmet non-usage.

This partnership doesn't just alleviate stress; it increases your chances of navigating this complex process successfully and securing adequate damages for all you've endured post-accident.

Final Thoughts

Despite the hurdles and complexities, remember that legal support can make all the difference in your pursuit of justice. Time is often critical in legal matters, as they come with strict deadlines.

Don't hesitate to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as you can after your accident. Having that professional by your side could mean added leverage with the insurance company or even in court.

Whether cruising down Boston Road or weaving through a busy lane in downtown NY, having someone who understands road laws and insurance policies will be invaluable.

Your vehicle's insurance company may be quick to point out your lack of helmet but don't let this discourage you from seeking compensation for road rash or other injuries sustained during the accident. Your auto insurance company may offer basic compensation no-fault insurance, but there might also be other sources of compensation available to you. Explore these avenues thoroughly because they could significantly increase the financial support you receive following a motorcycle accident.

In light of Daniella Levi's expertise as the Principal Attorney of Daniella Levi & Associates, P.C., seeking justice isn't just about being right; it's also about ensuring any damages are properly addressed so you can return safely to the road.

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