If you or a loved one was seriously injured while riding a bike, the New York Bicycle Accident Guide was created by New York personal injury attorney Leslie Krause to help residents through the difficult process of litigating a bike accident, and obtaining the maximum settlement.
Bicycle accidents can be serious events. Even if the bicyclist doesn’t have a serious injury, their bicycle could be seriously damaged. If you’re involved in a bicycle accident, you have rights. You should contact our New York bicycle accident lawyer to schedule your free consultation. You could be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, missed time from work, and damage to your bicycle as well as personal belongings you may have had on you at the time of the accident.
The Most Common Causes of New York Bicycle Accidents
Most bicycle accidents in New York are caused by:
- Impaired driving of motor vehicles, including driving while under the influence of legal or illegal drugs or alcohol
- Drivers making unlawful turns
- Drivers failing to pay enough attention to the road
- Reckless driving
- Not obeying stop signs, stop lights, yield signs, or other traffic signs
- Hitting a bicyclist with their car door
- Driving in areas that are used exclusively by bicyclists
Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident
If you’re involved in a bicycle accident, take the following steps right away:
- If you can, make sure that you’re no longer in danger. You do not want to be in a place where you’re still in danger of other moving vehicles. If you’re unable to move yourself and your bicycle, make sure that you are visible to other drivers.
- Call 911 if you have a medical emergency. If you cannot call them because your phone is damaged or because of your injuries, ask someone to call 911 for you.
- If you do not have a medical emergency, (such as a head injury, neck injury, back injury, serious lacerations, or broken bones) call the police. Even if you don’t think you’re injured, you need the police to take a report of the accident. This documents the location, date, and time the accident occurred. It will also include information about the driver involved as well as any witnesses. The police will give you the police report number. Pulling a copy of the report will be useful to you in the future. The police can also help you get the name, contact information, and insurance information of the driver involved.
- Get the information of any witnesses who were present at the time of the accident. Witness statements are often an important part of settling or litigating this sort of claim.
- Take photos of the scene, if possible. Make sure that you include photos that document the road conditions, the location of the accident, the damage to the vehicle, the damage to your bicycle, and your injuries.
- Keep copies of medical expenses and either the replacement costs or the repair costs of the bicycle.
- Call our New York bicycle accident lawyer to talk about your potential claim. Our bicycle accident lawyer can help you deal with the insurance company and the negligent party. Our job is to help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries, time missed from work, and damage to your bicycle.
Frequently Asked Questions | New York Bicycle Accident Guide
Can I File a Claim?
If you are riding your bicycle and you’re hit by a motor vehicle in New York, and you’re seriously injured, of course you have a case. You can absolutely sue the driver of the car that hit you. A motor vehicle has no right to hit anybody, be it a pedestrian or bicyclist, and you have every right to bring a lawsuit against the car that struck you.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid?
If someone is seriously injured in a bicycle claim in New York, some of the mistakes that these people make are as follows. Number one, they don’t seek medical attention. When you’re on a bicycle and hit by a motor vehicle, you’re hit by a car of many tons. This can cause a tremendous amount of damage in your body. You should immediately seek medical attention. Go to the hospital; let them test you out. Go to your personal physician; let him or her test you out. Make sure you’re okay. Some injuries you won’t know about for days or maybe weeks later. Make sure that this accident didn’t cause any terrible injuries to you that you’ll be sorry about at a later date.
The second mistake is that they think they can do it by themselves without an attorney. Don’t contact the insurance company. The insurance companies are not there to help you. They may have friendly and funny ads on TV, but their goal is to make as much money as possible for their shareholders. Their goal is not to pay you as much money as possible. Therefore, you need to hire an experienced attorney who will represent you and protect all your rights and get you all the benefits you are due following this horrible experience.
How Do I Find the Right Attorney?
If you’re in a bicycle accident and you’re seriously injured in New York, you want to find the best possible attorney to represent your interests. You want to research this and find a personal injury lawyer who will only do personal injury cases. You don’t want the lawyer who’s going to do your divorce, and do your will, and do the closing on your house, and also do an accident case. That’s not the lawyer for you. You want the lawyer who only does accidents, who’s experienced in accidents, and knows all the nuances of doing accident cases. You want the lawyer who’s been experienced for a long period of time. I have been doing this business for 45 years, representing clients in accident cases.
You want someone with a wealth of experience so they can use that experience on your behalf. You also want the lawyer who’s going to speak with you, meet with you, and help you through the process of this entire case. You don’t want the lawyer who’s going to meet you for four minutes at his office and then usher you off to a paralegal and never see you again. You want to be able to pick up the phone and speak with your lawyer. When clients call me, I will pick up the phone and talk to them. If a client wants to meet with me and ask questions, I will set an appointment to meet with the client. If the client wants to know, “What is the status of my case?” we will immediately tell them.
We walk the client through this process. It’s a long and difficult process You’re injured, it’s confusing, and you’re not really sure what’s going on. We are there for you to make this process as easy on you as possible. We are always there for the client, and you want an attorney who is always there for you.
Should I Speak to the Insurance Company?
If you are seriously injured in a bicycle accident in New York and the insurance company is calling, have someone take a message. Don’t talk to them. There is nothing you can say to that insurance company that is going to be helpful. Everything they need to know, they can find out a day or two later, after you’ve hired an experienced attorney. The insurance companies are not there to help you. The insurance company’s goal is to make as much money as possible for their shareholders. Every statement you make to them will be analyzed to see how they can get out of paying you. Every form you fill out will also be analyzed to see how they can stop paying you money that otherwise is due to you.
We are with our clients when they speak to the insurance companies. When they give statements to the insurance companies, we are on the other end with our clients, guiding them through it and making sure they give the correct statement to the company and they don’t blunder in any way, shape or form. Before any forms are filled out and signed by our clients, we review every single one to make sure they give the correct information the insurance company needs so you will get all your benefits. Don’t do it on your own. It seems simple; you can be very sorry much later.
Some companies also offer you money. They’ll say, “Here’s $500; sign this release.” You don’t know what that means; you don’t know what you’re signing away. You have no idea what they’re doing, and no one gives money away for free. They’re not making you a gift. Hire an experienced attorney. Let that attorney protect you and get you all the money due to you from the insurance carriers.
Can I File a Claim for Unsafe Road Conditions?
The answer is yes, you do have a case, because the person that created the defect can be responsible for such a defect.
When you have such an accident, the first thing you do – as you do with any accident – is go seek medical attention. Then immediately hire an experienced negligence attorney who will do all the necessary things to secure your rights. Maybe the defect is caused by a municipality. Maybe it’s caused by the power company. Maybe it’s caused by the electric company. You just don’t know. First, you have to have the attorney to investigate and determine what that defect is, and who caused it. It can very possibly be a good case for you.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
When you’re a bicyclist and are hit by a motor vehicle there are time limits in which you must begin a lawsuit. The type of vehicle that hit you determines the time limits that you have. Rather than try and learn every single possible time limit, which can be burdensome, what you should do is go out and find yourself an experienced attorney. That attorney will know all the rules. They’ll know everything he has to do to protect your rights, and that attorney will protect you against time limits, such as the statute of limitations.
I do not like to play with the statute of limitations. I like to begin the lawsuit as quickly as possible, to push my clients’ cases as hard as possible, to get them the maximum amount of money that they deserve as soon as possible.
Should I Take a Settlement Offer?
The answer to that is (unless they’re offering their entire policy) no, because it’s only an initial offer. Sometimes if it’s a serious enough injury, and the policy isn’t all that large to cover the full extent of the injury, they will offer their policy immediately to close out the case, but this is rare times. Mostly, they’re initial offer is just a small percentage of the money that you’re due for your case.
Insurance companies like to negotiate. Personal injury lawyers like to negotiate, and we do it well. You need to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer who will negotiate on your behalf and take it as far as it has to go to ensure that you get the maximum amount of money for the serious injury you sustained.
How Long Will My Case Take?
That’s a very complex question and the answer is based on many variables. Number one, how soon will we know the full extent of your injury? We want to get you every penny that you are due because of that injury. We wouldn’t want to settle too early, and then find out later that the injury is bigger than we thought and you didn’t get all the money that you should have. Number two, who is the insurance company or the other defendant who’s going to be paying the money? Some insurance companies are very fair, they’re very easy to deal with, and they pay out without too many problems. Other companies will not pay a penny until you’re literally picking a jury in court.
This is just a few of the many factors that go into the length of time that it takes to push your case to an end. Any serious injury we have, we immediately put into suit; we don’t delay. We start a lawsuit the first week you hire us, so we can get to court as quickly as possible and get you the full amount of money that you’re due for your injuries in the shortest period of time.
How Much is My Case Worth?
That has many factors that go into it. The reason that you need an experienced attorney is because that attorney will know what all the factors are and how to get you the most money possible. Maybe the insurance policy is very limited. If you have a very big case and you have only a small policy, an experienced attorney can settle that case very quickly because, unfortunately, you’re not getting the full value of your case and there’s no reason to keep that case going.
Many times, the value of the injury is much smaller than the value of the policy, and you want to make sure all the injuries are covered, so you don’t want to rush into in. You want to make sure there’s no surgery that happens that will increase the value of your case prior to settling it. Many times, there are clients who are treating and six months later they have a knee operation. You want to wait and make sure that your entire case is on the table, and you know every single fact and every single injury, so you can get as much money as possible. The key is you don’t want to rush, but you don’t want to wait, and you want to get the client as much money as possible within the shortest period of time, but always make sure that that client is covered and has every single penny that he or she should obtain.
Can I Get Compensated if I’m Partially at Fault?
The answer to this is yes. In New York State, even if you’re 99% at fault, you can still file a claim for that 1% that you’re not liable. Very few cases will have you be 99% liable. That’s just in theory; it’s not reality. Even though you think that you may have caused it or it may be a little your fault, or anything like that, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a case.
Seek out an experienced personal injury lawyer. They will review your case, and he or she will determine whether or not you have a viable case. Even if you caused part of the accident – any part of the accident – you can still have a case in New York.
What Types of Compensation is Available?
If you’re seriously injured in a bicycle accident in New York, there are many benefits available to you. The first and most important one is personal injury protection, or no-fault insurance. This is the insurance that will pay your hospital bills, whether emergency room or admission. It will pay for all the tests they do for you in the hospital. It will pay for your doctor visits. It will pay for all the tests that the doctor does for you and every medical need that you have. It will pay a certain amount of your lost wages and will also pay a certain amount of your incidental expenses. When you’re hit by a motor vehicle in New York, you get these benefits. It’s important that you hire a New York bicycle accident lawyer who files the necessary documents so that these rights are secured.
You will also be able to receive payment for your pain and suffering, lost wages, excess of lost wages by PIP, and any other injuries you may sustain due to this car accident. When you go to court, you can make money in many ways, and many different levels. There was a case I remember settled for about $800,000. The injury was only valued at $200,000, but the person proved that they lost their business because of the accident, and for this loss of the business they made $600,000. There are many avenues available to you to get money for the pain and the other injuries you sustain and damages you sustain due to this accident. That’s why it’s important that you hire an experienced attorney who can get you everything and every single penny that is due you.
Call Our New York Bicycle Accident Attorneys
If you have any further questions about your bicycle accident, please give our office a call. We offer strong legal representation for victims of New York bicycle accidents.