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For the most part, motorcycle accident claims are handled the same way that any other motor vehicle accident is handled in New York. Negotiations are made between a plaintiff’s attorney – in this case, a motorcyclist’s attorney – and the attorney that represents the defendant’s insurance carrier over liability. If a there is no resolution in terms of liability via negotiation, liability is determined in either in an alternative dispute resolution setting, such as arbitration or mediation, or in a trial (click here to learn more about alternative dispute resolutions). Damages are then handled in the exact same fashion. An experienced attorney will hold all liable parties responsible for your damages. However, as a motorcyclist, there is one resource of insurance coverage that’s unfortunately unavailable to you in the state of New York.
In the State of New York, operators of motorcycles are not afforded No-Fault coverage by their insurance carriers (click here to learn more about No-Fault coverage). Since motorcyclists are less protected on the road, should they obtain an injury in an accident it will likely be severe in nature and require serious medical treatment. Motorcyclists are making a conscious choice to operate a vehicle that offers less protection than a car. This may very well be the main reason the No-Fault law does not apply to motorcyclists in New York. These insurance carriers do not want to pay for medical treatment or lost wages for motorcyclists since, in general, they are much more likely to incur severe, life-altering injuries if they are in an accident with another motor vehicle. No-Fault covers up to $50,000 in medical bills and 80% of lost income up to $2,000 a month (unless additional PIP coverage is obtained – learn about “APIP” and “OBEL”). Since motorcyclists don’t have No-Fault coverage in New York, they must first turn to their private health insurance for medical treatment. All other damages, such as lost wages, pain and suffering, and additional out-of-pocket medical costs can be brought into a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Motorcyclists do have some optional types of coverage that may benefit them should they ever get in an accident, though. Here are a few examples: “Comprehensive coverage” may help pay for motorcycle repairs if your motorcycle is damaged in any other fashion than a traffic accident; “Collision coverage” will help pay for motorcycle repairs if it is damaged in a crash; and “Medical payments” coverage will help cover any medical payments you require for your injury.