Phil Franckel November 2014

A Car Forced You to Put Your Bike Down – Can You Sue?

It’s not only the police who think there must be contact between a car and your motorcycle for you to file a claim or lawsuit to compensate you for your injuries. One of our clients was forced to put his motorcycle down to avoid hitting a car and the car’s insurance company couldn’t understand why they should be responsible.

I previously wrote an article in Full Throttle Magazine about police officers who let drivers go without putting their information on the police report because the car did not contact the motorcycle.

I sent letters to the Suffolk County, Nassau County and New York City Police Commissioners advising of the problem and demanding that they instruct their officers to record the information on the police report. So far, the Suffolk County Police Commissioner’s office called to say that they will comply with my request.

Our client was riding down a street when a car suddenly backed out of a driveway in front of his motorcycle. Our client tried to brake but was forced to put his bike down or hit the car. The driver was going to leave until other motorcyclists told him to stay at the scene.

Our client suffered ligament tears to his thumb but the insurance company refused to offer more than $5,000 because they said the car wasn’t moving and the motorcyclist put his motorcycle down because he was just scared. But we know that no motorcyclist would ever put a motorcycle down unless it was unavoidable.

After we started a lawsuit, the insurance company still refused to increase their offer. While the case was proceeding through the court, the insurance company offered to arbitrate the case. The claims representative believe their insured that the car wasn’t moving and she was sure they wouldn’t be held liable.

We agreed to arbitrate the case before a retired New York State Supreme Court judge.  An arbitration is like a simplified trial decided by the arbitrator instead of a jury. We only agree to arbitrate with a retired judge although arbitrators can either be a lawyer or a retired judge.

The judge wrote in his decision, “Defendants contend that there was no contact between the plaintiff’s motorcycle and the defendant’s vehicle and that the defendant’s vehicle was stopped before the accident and remained stopped at all times up until the moment of impact.”

The retired NYS Supreme Court judge knew that contact was not needed and found that the defendant was backing out of the driveway. The arbitrator awarded $100,000 to our client.

If you’re hurt in a motorcycle accident where there is no contact, make sure you get the information of the car and driver or at least get a photo of the license plate or write it down.


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Philip L. Frankel Esq. and Rob Plevy, Esq. are attorneys with FRANCKEL & PLEVY, LLP representing motorcyclists hurt in motorcycle accidents.  Disclaimer: This article should be considered advertising for motorcycle accident clients; is for informational purposes and should not be relied upon because it could contain errors; the correct information may be different for your set of facts even though they seem similar; and is not legal advice which should only be obtained by contacting Phil Franckel, Esq. or Rob Plevy, Esq. for a free consultation to discuss your specific circumstances at 1-800-HURT-911.

Our web sites are, and  If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident, speak directly to Phil Franckel 24/7 at 1-800-HURT-911 — 1-800-487-8911.

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