According to the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT), motorcycle accidents resulting in serious injuries or fatalities typically involve another vehicle. The NYC DOT’s study of motorcycle accidents in the city finds that visibility is often a contributing factor to these collisions. Other common causes of fatal motorcycle accidents include speeding, reckless driving, and lack of appropriate protective equipment like helmets.
When a motorcyclist dies in a crash caused by someone else’s negligence, the surviving family deserves accountability and financial compensation for their loss. A motorcycle accident attorney can help them seek justice by investigating the crash, recovering and securing physical and other evidence to support a legal claim, and identifying at-fault parties. They will then use what they find to build a wrongful death case to pursue compensation in a settlement or trial verdict.
Factors That Increase the Chances of a Fatal Motorcycle Accident
Many different circumstances can increase the likelihood of a fatal motorcycle accident, including:
- Aggressive driving or road rage
- Collisions with other motor vehicles, particularly large vehicles such as commercial trucks or buses
- Distracted driving, including using a cell phone while driving, eating or drinking, grooming or applying makeup, and adjusting the radio, climate control, or navigation system
- Driver inexperience or carelessness, such as passing a motorcycle in the same lane
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Failing to wear a motorcycle helmet
- Failing to yield the right-of-way when turning left
- Lack of training or experience with motorcycles
- Low visibility due to adverse weather or low lighting
- Poor road conditions like black ice, potholes, or debris in the road
- Reckless driving, including excessive speeding, racing, or swerving in and out of traffic
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Speeding or driving too fast for the conditions
- Stationary objects, such as utility poles, lamp posts, trees, or guardrails
- Tailgating, especially on the highway since motorcycles can brake more quickly than other vehicles.
- Visual obstructions for riders and drivers
The NYC DOT also found that age and gender correlate with fatal motorcycle accidents. Males make up nearly all rider fatalities in the city, and riders under the age of 35 account for more than half of accident deaths.
Common Fatal Motorcycle Injuries
Accident injuries that can prove deadly in a motorcycle accident include the following:
- Crush injuries
- Extensive third-degree burns
- Head and neck injuries
- Internal organ injuries and bleeding
- Perforation injuries
- Severe blunt-force trauma
- Severe lacerations, degloving injuries, and excessive bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Torn arteries or veins
- Traumatic amputation or dismemberment
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
Do Helmets Help Prevent Fatal Motorcycle Accidents?
Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries account for many of the fatalities resulting from motorcycle crashes. Motorcycle helmets can significantly reduce the number of fatal motorcycle accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Motorcycle helmets save an estimated 1,800 lives each year.
- Helmets could prevent around 750 more accident fatalities if all riders in the U.S. always wore helmets when on a motorcycle.
- Helmets reduce the risk of death in motorcycle accidents by 37 percent for operators and 41 percent for passengers.
- Helmets also reduce the risk of head injuries by about 69 percent.
States like New York with universal helmet laws have lower rates of motorcycle rider fatalities due to head injuries than states with partial or no helmet laws. Motorcycle fatality rates have spiked in recent years as some states have enacted partial or total repeals of these life-saving laws.
What Compensation Is Available for Survivors After a Fatal Motorcycle Accident?
Surviving family members of a rider killed in a motorcycle crash in New York can pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault parties to recover compensation for their losses. Although no amount of money can bring a loved one back, compensation from a fatal motorcycle accident case can provide families with the resources they need to deal with the financial consequences of their loved one’s passing.
Compensation in a deadly motorcycle crash case may include money for:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical and healthcare expenses incurred to treat your loved one’s fatal accident injuries
- The financial contributions or support that your loved one would have made to the family
- The loss of inheritance for surviving family
- The value of the services and support that your loved one provided to the family and household, such as childcare or home maintenance
- The value of parental care and guidance your loved one would have provided to surviving children
- Your loved one’s conscious pain and suffering before their passing
Unfortunately, New York law does not currently allow surviving family members to recover compensation for their emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish, or the loss of a loved one’s companionship, affection, or society.
Under New York’s wrongful death statute, the personal representative of the victim’s estate – commonly the administrator or executor – or a representative appointed by the court may pursue a compensation claim on behalf of the surviving heirs. The representative must file a lawsuit within two years of the rider’s death from injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash.
Contact the Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at Finz & Finz, P.C. for Help
If you have lost a loved one in a motorcycle crash due to the negligence of others, you deserve compensation for what you have suffered. Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. for a free, no-obligation consultation to speak with our motorcycle accident lawyers about your family’s legal options. For three generations, our nationally recognized, family-run law firm has advocated for the rights and interests of accident victims and their families in New York City and across the state. Let our firm pursue the financial recovery and justice your family deserves as you take the time to grieve and heal from your loved one’s passing.