Archive for the ‘Motorcycle Accidents’ Category

Riding Safe to Avoid New York Motorcycle Accidents

There’s nothing like a summer motorcycle ride in Upstate New York. With less traffic, a patchwork of historic villages, and scenic farmland, it’s an ideal landscape for a motorcycle tour. But with all its picturesque beauty, these roads can prove to be deadly places for many riders.motorcycle safety

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 154 people were killed in New York motorcycle accidents last month–an increase of 7 percent from just one year earlier. Every year, motorcycle fatalities in this state account for roughly 15 percent of the total, an outsized amount because motorcycles only comprise about 2 percent of the total number of registered vehicles. But as the NHTSA notes, you are 29 times more likely to die if you’re operating a motorcycle as opposed to a passenger car.

Buffalo motorcycle accident attorneys at The Law Offices of James Morris know that those on bikes are simply more vulnerable than other road users.

Motorcycles Not Covered Under New York No Fault Law

Although New York is one of 12 states to abide by a so-called No-Fault system of auto insurance, motorcyclists are not covered by the typical plan that most drivers would be. That means they are free to pursue bodily injury liability claims against at-fault drivers that might not otherwise pass the “serious injury” threshold required of other drivers under the no-fault system.

Still, you always run the risk that the other driver may not have the minimum bodily injury liability coverage required by New York Law of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. In other cases, the at-fault driver may have coverage, but it isn’t enough to fully compensate the motorcyclist for his or her injuries. For this reason, it’s generally recommended that motorcyclists obtain larger uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Keeping Safe on a Motorcycle in New York

While a significant number of motorcycle accidents are caused by careless drivers of passenger vehicles, motorcyclists, being so vulnerable, need to make sure they use extra caution and drive defensively.

That means following the laws (failure to do so can diminish the amount of damages you can recover), using reasonable care and common sense.

Some summer safe riding tips include:

  • Wear a helmet. This is a hotly-debated issue among motorcycle enthusiasts, but the fact is, motorcycle helmet use is required in New York for all riders.
  • Wear eye protection. This too is required for all riders.
  • Use a daytime headlight.
  • Use no mere than one earphone in helmet speakers.
  • Ride no more than two motorcycles side-by-side in a single lane.
  • Be alert. This includes not just avoiding driver fatigue, but also driver impairment. You must be completely sober in order to safely operate a vehicle. While this fact alone may not eliminate your odds of recovering damages, it could certainly limit it.
  • Watch for potholes, ruts and other irregular road conditions. This a concern that is far more outsized for motorcyclists than those operating passenger cars. A single pothole may be a minor annoyance to someone in a car, but it can be fatal to someone on a motorcycle.
  • Use extra caution in work zones.

If you have any questions about liability or how to pursue damages after a motorcycle accident in Buffalo.

Summer is the Season for Motorcycle Accidents

Recently, a 40-year-old Buffalo man died in a motorcycle accident when his motorcycle was involved in a crash with another vehicle. Buffalo News reports the accident happened at Fillmore Avenue and East Delavan and occurred shortly after 7:30 p.m. Police were investigating the cause of the collision and asked witnesses to call with information.  The Buffalo News also reported police were asking for information on another unrelated motorcycle accident which had occurred in the North Tonawanda area.

Unfortunately, as warmer weather arrives in the Buffalo area, more reports of motorcycle crashes are likely to hit the papers. This is because warm summer weather brings more people out on motorcycle-accident-300x200motorcycles to ride for pleasure or to ride to commute. Drivers, who may not be as used to seeing motorcycles on the road after a cold and snowy winter, now need to make sure they are taking extra precautions to avoid hitting and injuring or killing a motorcycle rider.

Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents During the Summer Months

A rise in motorcycle accidents does not have to be inevitable just because there are more motorcyclists on the road. Drivers and motorcycle riders can all do their part to exercise caution and try to prevent collisions.  To reduce the chances of a motorcycle accident happening as temperatures rise:

  • Drivers and motorcycle riders should stay sober: Drunk driving is a contributing factor to many motorcycle accidents. Don’t drink and drive or drive after using drugs.
  • Drivers should leave plenty of space around motorcycle riders. Drivers need to leave a gap between their car and the motorcycle so they can stop in time if the motorcyclist does something unexpected. Motorcycle riders are more vulnerable to changes in road surface and more at risk due to debris in roadways than people in cars, and drivers need to be aware motorcyclists may need to react to a road problem.
  • Drivers should follow the rules for yielding the right-of-way to motorcycle riders. Many drivers don’t successfully judge how fast motorcycles are going and thus they end up cutting off motorcyclists or striking them. Drivers should make sure to yield the right-of-way and not try to enter an intersection when it is a motorcycle rider’s turn.
  • Drivers should look twice before they turn or before they change lanes. It can be harder to see a motorcycle, which is much smaller than a passenger car. Don’t just rely on mirrors to make sure the lane is clear- actually take a look before you change lanes and accidentally hit a motorcycle rider.

By following these tips and otherwise exercising caution and following traffic safety rules, hopefully drivers can help to prevent motorcycle accidents which would otherwise be likely to occur as the weather gets warmer and more motorcycle riders take to the roads.

String of Motorcycle Accidents Has Safety Experts Decrying “Safety Nightmare”

There have been 13 fatalities in Western New York motorcycle accidents since May, with the crashes attributed to driver error, visibility issues and speeding.  The string of motorcycle accidents in the area has the Buffalo News reporting a “safety nightmare.”

Motorcycle accident lawyers in Buffalo know that there are a lot of factors that contribute to causing motorcycle accidents, with some crashes caused by driver error and others resulting from mistakes made by motorcyclists. Everyone on the roads needs to do their part to reduce the risk of accidents, especially as the fatality number has risen so dramatically in Western New York.

Motorcycle Accidents in Western New York

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of motorcycle accident deaths has increased each year for the past 14 years with the exception of 2009. This increase has occurred at a time when the overall number of accident fatalities has declined. In New York, the fatality rate has also been generally trending upward as well, although there was a slight decrease in deaths from 2010 when 180 people motorcyclists lost their lives as compared with the 168 motorcyclist deaths in 2011.

The recent string of accidents in the Buffalo area, however, shows just how deadly a motorcycle accident can be. The NHTSA estimates that a motorcyclist is 30 times as likely to die and five times as likely to be injured in an auto accident.

In Western New York, the motorcycle riders were found to be speeding in two of the recent deaths while five accidents were attributed to the inability of the motorcyclist to go around a curve. Drivers, however, were also responsible for causing some of the recent deaths and several crashes were attributed to unsafe lane changes or U-turns. Unsafe lane changes are one of many common accident causes including:

  • A failure to yield. The Gold Wing Touring Association estimates that two-thirds of all motorcycle crashes involving multiple vehicles occur as a result of a passenger car turning into the lane of a motorcycle rider or as a result of a driver otherwise failing to yield the right-of-way as required.
  • Drivers failing to see motorcyclists. A program called Look Twice, Save a Life, aims to reduce the dangers of this type of accident.

Driver intoxication, driver distraction and aggressive driving are other top causes of motorcycle accidents.  Motorcyclists are also more vulnerable to road defects that can cause their bikes to go out of control.  The Gold Wing Touring Association, for instance, indicates that around two percent of motorcycle accidents occur because of a problem on the roadway.

With so many accidents occurring in Buffalo, both drivers and motorcycle riders need to understand top crash causes and need to follow good safety practices including obeying the rules of the road; paying attention to other traffic; and staying in their own lanes.

Car accident lawyers in Buffalo can help if you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident. Contact the Law Offices of James Morris today for a free consultation. Call 800-477-9044.

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Buffalo Motorcycle Accidents in Focus this May

The Governor Highway Safety Association (GHSA) recently reported an alarming increase in motorcycle accidents in 2012. This news is especially disturbing because progress has been made in the last decade on reducing deaths in all other categories — except when it comes to motorcycle accidents. 

While the death rate is on the rise, state and federal authorities continue to try various steps to educate the public on motorcycle accident dangers and to reduce the number of accidents that occur. One effort to help reduce the number of motorcycle fatalities is Motorcycle Awareness Month. Our Buffalo, NY motorcycle accident lawyers know that Motorcycle Awareness Month is part of a nationwide and local education effort each May to encourage drivers to be safer around motorcycles and to encourage motorcycle riders to make smart choices.

Buffalo Motorcycle Deaths & Motorcycle Awareness Month

According to Your News Now, there are many more motorcycle riders on the streets during the spring and summer in Buffalo than there are at other times of the year. The reason for this is obvious of course: the good weather results in more people wanting to get out on their bikes. Unfortunately, it also results in many more accidents. The May YNN article, for example, indicated that two motorcycle accidents had already occurred in the week prior to the article’s publication.

These two accidents are unfortunately only the tip of the iceberg, as Erie County has one of the highest accident fatality rates in the entire state of New York.  That Erie County is in the top five when it comes to deaths is especially frightening because the boroughs of New York City are far more populous.

Education and training of both drivers and motorcycle riders is necessary to try to curb the number of fatalities that occur in Erie County, especially as the months grow warmer and more people go out to ride. Motorcycle Awareness Month aims to provide the wake-up call that drivers and motorcyclists need in order to stay safe.

Motorcycle Awareness Month is not just a local Buffalo event either, but is part of a national effort to stop the rising number of motorcycle accident deaths. The GHSA indicates that the fatality rate among motorcyclists has gone up for fourteen years of the last fifteen years, and the preliminary data from 2012 indicates that last year was no exception.

In fact, 2012 saw a 9 percent increase in motorcycle accident deaths across the U.S., which was more than government authorities had predicted. The number of deaths was near record highs, with fatalities increasing in 34 states.

The number of deaths is not going to decline unless drivers and motorcycle riders can be better about sharing the road. Motorcycle Awareness Month has the aim of helping to encourage motorcycles and cars to both be safe,  with local troopers in Buffalo warning:

  • Drivers to yield when required; to avoid tailgating and to be aware of their surroundings.
  • Motorcycle riders to use safety equipment, take a safety course and avoid blind spots.

By educating both drivers and motorcyclists, hopefully the ever increasing death-toll will begin to decline and more motorcycle riders will be able to ride without injury.

If you’ve been injured in Buffalo or the surrounding area, contact the Law Offices of James Morris today for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 800-477-9044.

Motorcycle Accidents

There is a significantly increased risk of injury or death from driving a motorcycle compared to driving an automobile. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that 80% of reported motorcycle accidents result in injury or death. For the sake of comparison, that figure for automobiles is 20%. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that motorcycle fatalities have increased 55% since 2000. Statistically, young riders appear to be at the highest risk of fatality in motorcycle accidents, with the highest risk level amongst 20-29 year olds.

Also alarming is that, according to the NHTSA, “statistics show that the percentage of intoxicated motorcycle riders in fatal crashes is greater than the percentage of intoxicated drivers on our roads.” This is a significant safety concern.

There are safety measures riders can take to protects themselves, some of which are similar to the tips we provided for safe bicycling. Most important is that riders use a safe and properly fitted helmet, as required by New York law. The CDC indicates the use of a helmet decreases the chances of fatality in a motorcycle crash by 37%, and decreases the risk of head injury by 69%, which is significant. Additionally, riders should wear bright clothing to make them highly visible, and protective clothing, like a leather jacket, may also be beneficial.

If you’ve been hurt, please give us a call to talk to our knowledgeable, experienced attorneys.  At James Morris Law we always fight to achieve the best results for our clients.

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How to Work Effectively With Your Lawyer

It is important to work effectively with your lawyer so you can have a satisfying working relationship with one another. This is an excellent article about the subject, which we wanted to both share and elaborate upon.

It is a good idea to bring a copy of your own insurance documents (declaration page), when you first meet with your attorney. Your attorney’s office can also obtain this information if necessary, but as the article above mentions, the client can sometimes access this information quicker.

You should also bring with you other information your attorney may need to begin working on your file. For instance, for a personal injury matter, this may include the names and contact information for all your treating physicians, or copies of police accident reports. There are often key deadlines early on in a potential lawsuit, so the more information your attorney has on hand from the outset of your case, the better.

Keep all documentation, including letters and bills from doctors and insurance companies. Discuss with your attorney early on what types of documents they may want you to forward to their office, and be sure to do so in a timely fashion. This will help to ensure the attorney will always have up to date information in your file when they need it. Sometimes it is as simple as mailing (or e-mailing) it to the office when you receive it, or leaving it with the assistant or paralegal in charge of your file.

Keep a list of questions you would like to discuss with your attorney, as well as notes about what happened since the last time you spoke, which will help you make the most of your next appointment.

For a personal injury or medical malpractice case, it can be useful to keep a calendar documenting symptoms and keeping track of all your medical appointments.

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Motorcycle Helmets in Western and Upstate New York Lower NY State Costs and Biker Accident Injuries

It makes sense that there are a lot of motorcyclists in Upstate and Western New York because it’s an ideal area for bikers, with miles of scenic, meandering roads that are great for both long and short road trips.  Because the universal helmet law applies in New York State, and all bikers are required to wear helmets, motorcycle accident injury rates are lower than they are in than states where helmets are not mandatory for all.  Thanks to a new study by the Center For Disease Control, we also now know that NY State has more money in its budget because of its helmet law. Trading biker head injuries for cash—now that’s a good deal.

The CDC research focused on motorcycle accidents and the effects of helmets purely in terms of state budget. From 2008 to 2010 they surveyed biker accidents across the country in order to establish how much each state saves when motorcycle drivers and their passengers are wearing helmets, and the results are impressive.

According to the study, over $3 billion was saved in 2010 alone, with total costs saved due to helmet use ranging from $2.6 million in New Mexico to $394 million in California. Economic costs saved from helmet use per registered motorcycle ranged from $48 in New Mexico to $1,627 in North Carolina, with a median of $286. In Western and Upstate New York, the savings was approximately $650 per registered motorcycle, over twice the national average of savings.

The experienced attorneys at the law offices of Buffalo, New York personal injury lawyer James Morris hope everyone will make note of the core message in the CDC study, which is that lives are saved thanks to helmet use. That the state saves millions of dollars each year because of NY State helmet laws is gravy.  There is caution in this good news, however, which is that bikers wearing helmets are not guaranteed complete motorcycle safety and must always drive defensively in order to avoid reckless and negligent car and truck drivers.

Nationally, says the CDC, helmets lowered deaths by 37 percent for motorcycle drivers and 41 percent for passengers, and that meant 1,544 fewer motorcyclist fatalities in 2010. Over 40 percent of motorcyclists killed in accidents between 2008 and 2010 were not wearing a helmet, says the CDC report. In states where helmets are not required, 79 percent of the motorcyclists killed were not wearing one, compared to 12 percent in states where helmets are the law.

They say money talks, so let’s hope these statistics are positive and powerful enough to inspire more states to introduce universal helmet law legislation. Hopefully, the CDC study will also motivate bikers who still choose to jump on their motorcycles without protective headgear think twice next time.

If you or a loved one suffered a motorcycle crash injury or you lost a relative in a biker accident fatality, you need strong legal representation. Contact the Law Offices of James Morris for a free consultation with a tough upstate and western New York personal injury lawyer. Call us at 1-800-477-9044 or complete our online contact form.  Don’t wait—call today, so we can help you fight for your rights.

James Morris Law
1015 Liberty Building, 424 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14202

Road Safety – Bicycles

Each summer we can’t wait to get outside and enjoy the warm weather and sunshine. Unfortunately, there have been many tragic accidents in Buffalo and Rochester involving bicyclists and motor vehicles this summer. These types of accidents are likely to result in serious injuries or fatalities. Please use caution in sharing the road with bicyclists to help prevent a fun day from turning tragic.
Some bicycle safety tips to remember:

  • Always wear a properly fitted helmet with the straps fastened.
  • Wear bright clothing and reflectors so that you’re highly visible to drivers, even during the day. You can buy reflectors, headlights, and taillights to place on your bicycle for nighttime rides.
  • Remember that on a bike you have the same rights and responsibilities as your fellow motorists, including obeying traffic signs and signals.
  • Ride with traffic. This is not only the law, it’s for your own safety. Motorists will not expect you to be riding against traffic, and statistics show this increases the risk of an accident substantially.
  • Do not wear anything that could become caught in your bicycle chain, like straps or loose clothing.
  • Signal your turns so motorists are aware of your intentions.
  • Remain alert as you ride. Watch for motorists who may turn or pull out in front of you, and watch for open car doors. Do not pass cars on the right.
  • Do not ride on the sidewalk. It is especially dangerous to re-enter road traffic from the sidewalk as you will be virtually unseen by motorists.
  • Make sure your bicycle fits you properly and is in good repair.

Motorists, please be aware you share the road with bicyclists and so you are also responsible for their safety. Use caution when driving. Be sure to check carefully for bicyclists before opening your doors, making turns, or merging into a bicycle lane.

I also encourage avid bicyclists to check the SUM (Supplement Uninsured Motorist) coverage on their auto insurance policies. This insurance will cover you on your bicycle as well as in your car. SUM insurance is supremely important should you get into an accident with another driver who is under-insured (or not insured at all), and generally it is not very expensive. If you do not own a car and cannot obtain SUM coverage, some insurance companies are beginning to offer insurance policies specifically for bicycles.

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Motorcycle accident fatalities increase in New York

Motorcycle accident season is upon us in New York. Most motorcycle riders know the risks of a motorcycle accident, but a new report provides motorcycle accident statistics reminding everyone on the road to keep an eye out for motorcycles.

The report by the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) reveals there were 136 motorcycle fatalities due to motorcycle accidents in New York during the first nine months of 2009. During the same period a year later, there were 160 fatalities, or an increase of nearly 18 percent.

Motorcycle accidents in New York can be catastrophic and can result in severe injuries and death. With so much at stake, if you or a loved one was injured, it’s important to choose a motorcycle accident lawyer in Buffalo who knows how to stand up to insurance companies. Buffalo accident attorney James Morris, who was selected as a Super Lawyer, has handled serious motorcycle accident cases. If you are represented by the Law Offices of James Morris, you will have an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Buffalo who understands how to get results for clients.

The GHSA report does carry some good news for motorcyclists. Nationwide, the motorcycle traffic fatalities continued to fall. The traffic accident fatality rate fell by 2 percent during the first nine months of 2010 (compared to the same period a year earlier), but the fatality rate unfortunately started to climb during the last three of those nine months in 2010.

The report lists recommendations for states to follow in order to reduce the number of motorcycle fatalities:

  • Increase helmet use
  • Reduce alcohol impairment
  • Reduce speeding
  • Offer motorcycle operator training to all who need or seek it

If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident in New York, don’t hesitate to contact a Buffalo motorcycle accident lawyer to learn about your rights. At the James Morris Law, we can put our knowledge of the law and our resources to work for you. Your life may feel chaotic after a motorcycle accident, but you can take back control. Choose an experienced accident attorney in Buffalo who is dedicated to helping clients.

Motorcycle accidents skyrocket in New York State. Are you safe?

What would you do if you were injured in a motorcycle accident? Sound far fetched? Sadly, motorcycle accidents are far too common. In the last decade, the number of fatal motorcycle accidents has more than doubled. In 1998, motorcycle accidents killed 2,294 people and injured more than 49,000 nationwide. In 2008, 5,290 died and more than 96,000 people were injured in motorcycle accidents.

Why the increase in motorcycle accidents? Experts have cited the recent rise in the number of motorcycles on the road. In 1998, there were 3.8 million motorcycles on the road. By 2008, that number had skyrocketed to 7.7 million motorcycles. But there may be another reason for this increase. During the same time period, many states relaxed their motorcycle helmet laws.

Helmets drastically reduce the likelihood of dying in a motorcycle accident. Riders wearing helmets are 37 percent less likely to die in a crash than riders without helmets, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s why many states still require motorcyclists to wear helmets. In New York State, all motorcyclists are required by law to wear helmets at all times.

Unfortunately, accidents happen. In New York, a total of 177 motorcyclists died in accidents in 2008.  Just recently, a motorcyclist was seriously injured on the New York Thruway near Buffalo when his motorcycle collided with a Jeep.

What would you do if you were injured in a motorcycle accident? Who would you call? Who would you trust? You need someone in your corner that will fight for your rights. You need someone who will work tirelessly to make sure you’re fully compensated for your injuries. You need the Law Offices of James Morris.

James Morris has years of experience defending the rights of motorcycle accident victims in New York State. We understand the law and know how to get the most for our clients. We also realize insurance companies often try to blame motorcyclists for causing the accident, even if it wasn’t their fault.

Don’t leave your future to chance. Take action. Contact James Morris today. We’re on your side.

The information contained in this communication is provided for informational purposes only and should not be constituted as legal advice on any subject matter.