New York Fatal Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Losing a loved one in a fatal motorcycle accident is a tragedy that no family should endure. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5,286 people across the United States died in a motorcycle crash in 2018. In New York City, approximately 165 motorcyclists succumb to fatal injuries every year, and hundreds more sustain serious injuries. Motorcyclists in the New York City area face a two-fold increase in fatal injuries compared to the rest of the state. 

For the families of those who lost a loved one in a fatal accident, life can become a blur of grief and stress. Even when you attempt to move forward, you still have the burden of your loved one's medical expenses and must live without that person's financial contributions to your household. 

Based in the heart of New York City, the law firm of Raphaelson & Levine is available to help you pursue justice for your loved one through a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver. Our motorcycle accident attorneys have worked with hundreds of grieving family members in the nearly 30 years we have served New York City. 

Under New York law, you have the right to pursue litigation when you have lost a family member to a fatal accident if you feel the wrongful death occurred due to another party's negligence. Proceeds from a wrongful death claim go beyond what you might receive from your family member's insurance company under the New York no-fault auto insurance statute. For a free consultation and to learn more about the process of filing a wrongful death claim in New York, please contact the law firm of Raphaelson & Levine at 212-268-3222.

New York Motorcycle Accidents Fatalities

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that motorcycles account for only three percent of all registered vehicles across the United States and only .6 percent of traffic. Although the low numbers compared to other motor vehicles, motorcyclists are six times as likely to die in an accident than other motorists. Here are some other statistics about motorcycle accident cases in New York:

  • Bikers between the ages of 20 to 24 and inexperienced bikers of all ages account for the most significant percentage of fatal injuries in motorcycle accidents and personal injury claims. 
  • Motorcyclists in New York are 37 times more likely to die in fatal motorcycle accidents than other motorists. This is in sharp contrast to the six-fold increase across the rest of the United States. Bikers are also twice as likely to die in a fatal accident in New York City than the rest of the state.
  • Approximately 43 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents in New York involve drivers without a proper license to drive the bike.
  • Speeding by bikers or drivers of other motor vehicles is the leading cause of all motorcycle crashes.
  • Men die from fatal motorcycle injuries at a rate of nearly 100 to 1 over women.
  • Motorcycle riders suffer serious injuries and wrongful death in less than 10 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents.

As you can see, being a biker in New York isn't always as safe as it should be. Drivers must look for motorcyclists and grant them the same consideration as other motor vehicles. At the same time, bikers must know and abide by New York's safety regulations to avoid head injuries, property damage, road rash, and fatal injuries.

Common Causes of Fatal Motorcycle Accidents in NYC

The following are some of the most common motorcycle accidents and fatal injuries, either immediate or delayed.

Collision With a Car Door

Drivers exiting their parked car may not see a motorcyclist approach in enough time to prevent a collision. This type of motorcycle crash can cause serious injuries such as traumatic brain injury and broken bones. It can also lead to wrongful death. A motorcycle accident attorney from Raphaelson & Levine can help in either situation. Please contact us at 212-268-3222 to request your free case evaluation today.

Distracted Driving

From texting and driving to eating behind the wheel, non-driving related tasks that take the driver's eyes off the road for even a few seconds greatly increase the likelihood of a fatal motorcycle accident and future wrongful death claim.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

New York enforces a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of .08 percent. However, a fatal motorcycle accident can occur with much lower amounts of alcohol or mind-altering drugs in the system. Resulting in deadly consequences.

Left-turn Accidents

Misjudging distance when making a left turn or a motor vehicle driver failing to yield right-of-way can cause a severe motorcycle crash. Left-turn motorcycle crashes are far more common than right-turn motorcycle crashes. 

Manufacturing Defects

A design flaw in the motorcycle or other motor vehicle could cause a fatal motorcycle accident. Liability can be more challenging to determine if you suspect that a manufacturing defect caused the wrongful death of your family member. Your wrongful death attorney from our law firm will begin investigating the accident immediately to determine if more than one party shares fault. 

Road Conditions

Road construction and poorly maintained roads can also lead to fatal motorcycle accidents. Since New York City is responsible for maintaining roads, you would need to sue the government for this type of wrongful death claim. With the added complexity of government claims, you need to work with an experienced fatal motorcycle accident attorney right away. Please don't hesitate to contact Raphaelson & Levine at 212-268-3222.


As we have already noted, speeding is the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal motorcycle injuries. 

Sudden stops resulting in a rear-end collision: If the driver ahead of a motorcyclist stops suddenly, a biker can hit the back of the vehicle with enormous force and suffer fatal motorcycle injuries. 

Unsafe Lane Changes

All drivers must signal lane changes and then complete the maneuver safely. Unfortunately, negligent drivers often fail to check their blind spot to see a motorcyclist before it is too late. 

Weather Conditions

Weather can change suddenly and dramatically, making it even more challenging for motorcyclists driving with nothing surrounding them for safety. Heavy rain or winds can even knock a motorcyclist off the bike and increase the risk of another motor vehicle driver striking the biker. 

Raphaelson & Levine is here to help regardless of the cause of your loved one's wrongful death. Please complete a contact form on our website or call us today at 212-268-3222.

Definition of Wrongful Death in New York

New York requires anyone who files a wrongful death claim to meet these five criteria:

  • Death of a family member occurred.
  • The deceased would not have suffered fatal motorcycle injuries if not for the negligent actions of the defendant.
  • The deceased loved one could have pursued their own legal action if not for the fatal motorcycle accident.
  • A family member must have suffered a financial loss due to the death of the motorcycle accident victim.
  • The estate of the deceased sues for recoverable damages.

New York is unique among many states in that its government does not allow a family member to bring forth a wrongful death claim. The motorcycle accident victim’s surviving family must appoint a personal representative to sue for wrongful death on their behalf. However, a family member can also be a personal representative. When the wrongful death claim settles, the personal representative oversees payments to family members based on a previous legal arrangement made with them. 

Compensation You Could Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim

Judges in wrongful death claims consider several factors when determining the compensation to award to surviving family members. Some of these criteria include the motorcycle accident victim's age, overall health before sustaining fatal injuries, occupation, and earning potential. Here are just some categories of compensation you could receive in a New York wrongful death lawsuit:

  • Conscious pain and suffering your loved one endured before succumbing to the fatal motorcycle injuries.
  • Funeral and burial costs.
  • Lost inheritance of adult and minor children.
  • Value of the guidance and care a deceased parent can no longer provide to minor children.
  • Value of the services your loved one contributed to the household, such as lawn care and car maintenance.
  • Wages your family member could not receive between the time of the motorcycle crash and death.

Although our motorcycle accident attorneys cannot quote a specific amount you might receive in your wrongful death claim, we encourage you to review the settlements page to understand how aggressively we fight for maximum compensation. 

New York Statues of Limitations in Wrongful Death Claims

New York allows two years from the date of your loved one's death to initiate a wrongful death claim against the person responsible for causing the fatal motorcycle accident. This is true even if your family member passes away weeks, months, or years after the motorcycle crash. 

State law does not permit stopping the two-year Statute of Limitations in a wrongful death claim if the personal representative files on behalf of a child or an adult mentally incapable of understanding the proceedings. A parent of the minor child or guardian of the disabled adult would file the wrongful death claim instead of the personal representative. 

Who is Liable in a Fatal Motorcycle Crash?

Determining liability is crucial but sometimes challenging in a fatal motorcycle accident. The driver of a motor vehicle could be entirely at fault, your deceased family member could be entirely at fault, or a combination of the two. A manufacturing defect in either the car or motorcycle could also cause the crash. 

It is so important to get this right because New York is a comparative negligence state. For example, if your family member's actions contributed 35 percent to the fatal motorcycle accident and the motor vehicle driver’s actions contributed 65 percent, you would receive 65 percent of the proceeds from your wrongful death claim.

The motorcycle accident lawyers at Raphaelson & Levine have years of experience determining liability in personal injury and wrongful death claims. When you visit our law firm for a free consultation, your motorcycle accident attorney will discuss the steps we take to prove liability in more detail. 

Contact Us for Free Consultation with a Fatal Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Our entire law firm would like to extend our sympathies on the loss of your family member in a fatal motorcycle accident. We understand and respect that you are dealing with complex legal issues while grieving.

Although working with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney at Raphaelson & Levine won't bring your loved one back, settling a wrongful death claim can remove your life’s financial stress. Please call our law firm today at 212-268-3222 to schedule a free case evaluation. You can feel confident knowing that our law firm is always on the side of motorcycle accident victims and their family members.

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