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How do You win a New York Motorcycle Accident Case?
Our Syracuse motorcycle accident lawyers believe the secret is jury selection. Let us explain.
But first of all, you have to understand that a motorcycle accident case in many ways is no different from a car-on-car accident case. Whether it is a car-on-car collision, or a car-on-motorcycle collision, the law, the court, and the lawyers still must look to see who was following the rules of the road and who wasn't. The rules of the road for motorcyclist are virtually identical to those for a driver of a car. Whoever didn't follow those rules should be held liable. If both the motorcycle operator and the car driver did not follow the rules of the road and together caused the collision, then they each should be held partly responsible. But if only one of them blew a stop sign, or was speeding, or failed to signal a turn, or failed to yield the right of way, that vehicle will likely be found to be mostly if not 100% liable.
But sometimes, even when the biker followed all the rules of the road, and the car driver did not, jurors want to put part of the blame on the biker. This is what makes representing a motorcycle operator tougher and trickier than representing an injured car driver: Juries tend to not like motorcyclists. Some potential jurors tend to feel that the motorcyclist is at fault for just being on a motorcycle. Some jurors will be thinking, “well, I would never get on a bike because it’s too dangerous, it’s asking for trouble, so this motorcyclist must be at least partly to blame for his own injuries”. From the get go, before they even hear the evidence of the case, many jurors see motorcyclists as reckless and believe they “got what they deserved” if they got hurt.
But this is all wrong. And our Syracuse motorcycle accident attorneys are trained to not let the jury take this route. New York law does not allow a jury to punish a motorcycle accident victim for simply being a biker. So the most important thing for a motorcycle accident lawyer to know how to do, whether in from of a Syracuse jury or a jury elsewhere in New York State, is to pick the jury. Any jurors who cannot follow the rule of law must be eliminated from the jury pool. Skilled lawyer questioning can make those who are prejudiced against motorcyclists admit their prejudice. They can then be dismissed from the jury “for cause”.
Here at Michaels & Smolak, our motorcycle accident attorneys how to eliminate those potential Syracuse (or other area) jury members who have the greatest prejudice against bikers. Years of experience have taught us ways of asking questions to the potential jurors to ferret out the ones who are going to blame the motorcyclist.
Under our law New York State the judge will instruct the jury that they cannot blame the motorcyclists at all for the mere fact that he enjoys motorcycle riding and that he was on a motorcycle. Instead the jury has to look only to the rules of the road to determine who did what wrong without regard to the fact that one of the parties happens to have been operating a motorcycle rather than operating a car. But juries often disobey this rule and the judge’s instructions and go by their “gut” about who was responsible.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you had better hire a lawyer who knows how to ferret out these troublesome jurors. Otherwise, you will be doing yourself and your family an injustice.
So if you have a motorcycle case our Syracuse motorcycle accident attorneys would be happy to talk to you free of charge for consultation to see whether you've got a winnable case or not. Contact us and we’d be happy to speak with you for free about your case.