The Syracuse Post Standard reports that a Baldwinsville man got a one-to-three year jail sentence for seriously injuring two motorcyclists last fall in a Syracuse, New York car-on-motorcycle collision. He was driving through the intersection of Hiawatha Boulevard and State Fair Boulevard in Syracuse with a .08 blood-alcohol count when he turned left into an oncoming motorcycle. The driver of the motorcycle ended up having the lower part a leg amputated. The motorcyclist’s passenger also suffered leg and back injuries in the crash, and still walks with a cane.
From my experience as a Syracuse New York motorcycle accident lawyer, I can tell you this is an all too common car-on-motorcycle crash in three ways: (1) the car turned left in front of the bike, violating his right-of-way (a very common cause of car-on-bike crashes); (2) the motorist clearly failed to see the motorcycle (also very common); (3) the motorcyclist lost a leg (a common injury in motorcycle accident cases – we represented a cyclist last year who had to have a leg amputated as well); and (4) alcohol was involved (again, far too common).
What are these New York motorcycle accident victims’ rights (besides seeing this guy go to jail)? They both have a strong claim under New York motor vehicle accident law for compensation from the driver, and from his insurer. The problem is this: I can almost guaranty you that his insurance policy won’t have a high enough limit to fully compensate these horrific injuries. And the motorist himself, now in jail and with no income, won’t be able to contribute a dime. So these Syracuse motorcycle accident victims will probably just remain under-compensated (unless they have something known as “SUM” coverage in their own motorcycle insurance policy, which I will discuss in a later blog). Unfortunately, this too is all too common.