According to 2014 statistics from the New York City Department of Transportation and the New York Police Department, almost 4,000 riders were injured in bicycle accidents in New York City alone. If you or a loved one is injured in a bike accident, call a New York bicycle accident and injury lawyer for help recovering compensation.
The attorneys at Buttafuoco & Associates can help you gather evidence, file a claim, negotiate with insurers, and represent you in court, if necessary.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
With bicycles gaining popularity thanks to cycle share programs and bike-friendly initiatives, more and more Americans are using cycles to get around. Even though we have more bike lanes and bike-friendly traffic laws, thousands of cyclists are injured or killed in bike accidents in New York every year.
Inattentive drivers are one of the most common causes of bicycle accidents. When streets do not have bike lanes, cyclists might find themselves sharing the road with drivers who do not respect them. Vehicles should treat bicyclists just like other vehicles and give them plenty of space, but that is rarely the case.
Passenger car drivers can cause bicycle accidents in several ways:
- Turning right without checking for a bicycle in the adjacent bike lane
- Opening their door into the street and into the path of a cyclist
- Running red lights or stop lights at intersections
- Turning left without noticing an oncoming bicycle
- Failing to yield right-of-way
Other factors can also lead to bicycle accidents.
Uneven pavement, potholes, and other road hazards can cause a bicyclist to crash and suffer serious injury. It is also possible that a defective bicycle or part can cause a cyclist to lose control or fail to stop and crash.
Bicycle Accidents and Insurance Coverage
Even though your accident occurred while on a bicycle, you might be entitled to compensation through a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance. The at-fault driver must carry bodily injury liability insurance to cover injuries he causes to another party. However, if the driver does not carry enough insurance to cover your injuries, you might need to rely on your own health insurance coverage.
Bicycle helmet use often comes into play when filing a third-party insurance claim. The insurance company might try to reduce or deny your injury claim if you are not wearing a helmet. It might argue that your injuries would not be as severe if you wore a helmet.
There are defenses to these accusations, such as a situation where you sustained injuries to your lower body, and a helmet would not have helped reduce your damages.
Proving Liability to Recover Damages after a Bicycle Accident
It is best to call the police to the scene of a bicycle accident, even if it did not involve another vehicle. The police officer will document the accident scene and investigate the cause of the crash. This information will become an official record in an accident report which is an important piece of evidence in your injury claim.
If there were any witnesses to your accident, make sure you obtain their contact information. You can use their statements to help you prove fault. Finally, make sure you keep your bicycle intact and secure in the event it must have an inspection for safety and potential manufacturer defects.
Recoverable damages in a bicycle accident injury claim might include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering (emotional damages)
- Permanent disability
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral expenses
The damages you are entitled to will vary with the severity of your injuries. If you sustain a permanent injury such as brain damage or spinal cord injury, you might be entitled to damages for permanent wage loss and ongoing medical care.
The best way to ensure you are getting a fair settlement for your damages after a bicycle accident is to work with a New York personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Buttafuoco & Associates offer free case evaluations to determine your eligibility to seek compensation.
Call us at 1-800-NOW-HURT to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.