According to recent reports, motorcyclist Miguel Mercado was killed after being thrown from his motorcycle and struck by an oncoming vehicle on the Henry Hudson Parkway. One source, citing police reports, reported:
Miguel Mercado, 44, of The Bronx, was traveling southbound in the left-hand lane about 9 p.m. Saturday when he hit the highway’s center median and was thrown from his 2014 Kawasaki motorcycle into the opposite lane[.]
He landed on the northbound lane near West 72nd Street, where he was struck by a 1992 Mazda MPV minivan being drive[n] by a 26-year-old man[.]
Reports indicate that the police investigation is ongoing. It is, of course, far too early to determine whether there will be a personal injury action brought on behalf of (or against the estate of) the deceased motorcyclist and/or the extent of any recovery.
Motorcycle accidents carry significant risks of serious injury or death for the motorcyclist, particularly in (for example, as in the above accident) a collision between a motorcycle and a car. While car accidents can likewise be deadly, particular risks to motorcyclists arise due to the absence of a protective shell enjoyed by car occupants.
In recognition of this, motorcyclists are exempted from New York’s “No Fault” Law. As explained by the Department of Financial Services Website, the “operator or passenger of a motorcycle involved in an accident [is] excluded from No-Fault benefits”, and “may sue from first dollar loss”. This means that a motorcyclist operator or passenger may prevail in a personal injury lawsuit without needing to establish that they have suffered a “serious injury” as defined by Insurance Law 5102(d).