Motorcyclists are always getting blamed by insurance companies, so here are two situations where they may blame you no matter what you do, but the law is on your side.
In the usual motorcycle accident where a car is making a left turn and crossing your path in front of you, does it matter if you lay your bike down to avoid the accident or if you try to avoid the accident in another way?
We had a case on LI, New York, where a motorcyclist put his bike down to avoid hitting a car pulling out of a driveway in front of him. The insurance company refused to pay, arguing that motorcyclist put his bike down for no reason other than he was unnecessarily afraid. The insurance company also claimed that the car was stopped before the accident, remained stopped at all times and there was no contact.
That argument was unsuccessful and the driver was found to be 80% at fault. The motorcyclist was 20% at fault because it was found that he could have taken evasive action earlier than he did, not because he put his bike down.
In an accident where the motorcyclist kept going straight and was hit by a car making a left turn, the insurance company argued the reverse. The argument was that the motorcyclist should have laid down his motorcycle to avoid the accident.
In that case, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court ruled against the argument but only because there was no evidence to support the argument that the motorcyclist should have put his bike down.
That could leave open the possibility of an accident reconstruction expert providing the evidence to claim that laying the motorcycle down would have avoided the accident. However, I can’t believe a court would ever rule that a motorcyclist could be negligent for choosing how to be injured.
In summary, it shouldn’t matter to your case whether you put your motorcycle down without hitting the car or if you hit the car because you didn’t put your motorcycle down.
If you had a motorcycle accident in New York, whether you put your motorcycle down or not and whether or not there was contact with the car, please call us immediately.
Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is one of the Personal Injury Dream Team™ Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York; He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Franckel is well-known in New York for representing motorcyclists and created the motorcycle awareness campaign BE AWARE MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE®.