New York City Motorcycle Accident Laws

  • April 28, 2020

Every state has their own laws in regards to motorcycle and motor vehicle accidents, and New York is no exception. We reached out to an experienced Queens car accident lawyer to learn more about how the law works in regards to motorcycle accidents in New York City. 

It is important to remember your state may have different laws, so you may need to look more closely at the laws where you live to have a better understanding of what to expect if you are involved in a motorcycle accident in your state. 

New York State Helmet Laws

First and foremost, the state of New York requires all motorcyclists to wear a helmet when operating a motorcycle. It does not matter how old or how experienced a rider you are, you need to be wearing a helmet when operating your bike. 

In some states, if you are over the age of 18 you can operate a motorcycle without needing to wear a motorcycle helmet or other protective gear. But in New York, a motorcycle helmet is necessary. This will be particularly important if you happen to be partially responsible for causing the accident you were involved in. 

How Shared Fault Works

Sharing fault for a motorcycle accident is more common than you might think. Fortunately, New York follows a pure comparative fault law which does not prohibit motorcyclists who share fault from being awarded compensation from the insurance company and in court. 

However, when you are partly liable for the cause of the accident, you should expect to be held accountable for this portion of fault. This will be done by reducing the amount of your final settlement in proportion to your percentage of fault. Let’s look at an example for some clarity:

Say that Jim was not wearing his motorcycle helmet as required by law when he was struck by a driver who was following too closely. Under the state’s comparative fault law, Jim would likely be found partially responsible for his injuries since he wasn’t wearing a helmet. If the courts found him to be 10 percent at fault, his award would then be reduced by 10 percent. So if he was awarded $100,000, he would actually receive $90,000 after his shared fault deduction. 

The good news is that it doesn’t matter how much fault you carry, you can still be awarded compensation for the accident. In some states, sharing fault means you are unable to be awarded compensation of any kind.