New York Bicycle Accident Lawyer
New York’s varied landscapes offer endless opportunities for bike riders. Throughout the state, riders take to the roads for exercise and leisure. In New York City and the state’s other large cities, many urban dwellers also ride bicycles as their primary form of transportation to, from, and even for work.
Bicycles are easy to park, nimble in traffic, and environmentally friendly.
Still, cycling also has a downside. Cyclists lack the safety protections afforded to those who ride in passenger vehicles. Typically, only a helmet protects bike riders in a crash, and even helmeted riders risk severe injury and sometimes death in a collision with a motor vehicle or in a violent spill.
If you have suffered preventable injuries in a New York bicycle accident owing to someone else’s dangerous or wrongful actions, then the law may permit you to take legal action for damages. The experienced New York bicycle accident lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP understand the challenges that come in the wake of a serious injury and are here to help New York bicycle accident victims get the compensation they deserve for their injuries and losses.
Contact the New York personal injury lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP today for a free case evaluation to discuss the facts surrounding your bicycle accident, the extent of your injuries, and your potential rights to financial compensation.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP Helps Bicycle Accident Victims Seek Justice and Financial Accountability
The award-winning personal injury lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP has helped New Yorkers seek justice and financial accountability for preventable injuries for more than 40 years. Many of our cases have involved representing clients who sustained injuries in New York bicycle accidents. Our firm’s dedication to passionate client advocacy and diligent case preparation has contributed to our successes, which total millions of dollars in settlements and jury awards.
In a recent case we handled involving a bicycle accident, our client suffered severe injuries to his wrist and dominant hand when his bike tire hit a depression in street pavement and he took a tumble. The injuries required corrective surgery. As soon as the client made initial contact with our firm, we sent an investigator to the scene of the accident to take photos and gather information. The photos clearly showed that the city knew about the depression in the roadway, because city workers had painted lines over the area. We also gathered local 411 complaints and found that several area residents had complained about the depression before our client’s accident. With this evidence in hand, we negotiated a $425,000 settlement for our injured client.
This case serves as an example of a recent New York bike accident claim, although it does not guarantee a specific outcome for any future case we might handle. Each New York bike accident has distinctive facts and circumstances that may increase or decrease its value. Still, the skilled bicycle accident injury team at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP has the knowledge and resources to investigate a claim and build the best case possible against careless drivers and other parties whose poor decisions and unsafe actions end up injuring bicyclists.
Bicycle Crashes Lead to Severe Injuries
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates about 1,000 bicyclists die each year across the United States in traffic accidents. Cyclists have little protection from drivers who hit them or from the pavement when an accident throws them from their bikes.
Some of the most severe injuries that cyclists suffer include:
- Brain injuries. Even helmeted bicyclists can suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a bike accident. All types of TBI, from “mild” (concussion) to severe can lead to lifelong health complications and struggles with cognitive functions, motor skills, emotional regulation, and other impairments. Children who suffer head injuries in bicycle accidents are especially vulnerable to a life-altering TBI because their brains are not yet fully developed.
- Neck injuries. Getting thrown from a bicycle in an accident can lead to severe neck injuries when a cyclist’s head hits the pavement or ground below them at the wrong angle. Examples of neck injuries sustained in bicycle accidents include broken cervical vertebrae, bulged discs, and torn soft tissue. A severe neck injury can lead to a lifetime of chronic pain for bicycle accident victims.
- Back injuries. Bicycle accident victims sometimes suffer excruciatingly painful back injuries, including fractured vertebrae and herniated discs. Back injuries can leave victims in chronic pain even after one or more surgeries, forcing them to rely on dangerously addictive prescription painkillers just to get through the day. Expensive pain management often becomes a large part of recovery for back injury victims, and may include pain management devices and cortisone shots.
- Spinal cord injuries. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), most spinal cord injuries across the nation occur in traffic accidents. Severe bicycle accidents can lead to tetraplegia (complete paralysis below the neck) and other debilitating, catastrophic, and hugely expensive spinal cord injuries.
- Deep cuts. Suffering a cut might not strike people as a cause to take legal action, but bicycle accidents can inflict deep lacerations that lead to disability and leave permanent scars. Bicycle accident victims also run the risk of suffering severe road rash injuries, which not only causes significant scarring in many cases, but can also lead to life-threatening infection.
- Joint dislocation and soft tissue injury. Cyclists thrown from their bicycles in a crash commonly try to break the fall with their arms, or land awkwardly on their limbs. The impact can easily result in a dislocated joint or a rupture, tear, or severe sprain of a tendon, ligament, or muscle. Though bicycle crash victims can make a full recovery in time with proper care and rehabilitation, they suffer severe pain and difficulty doing so. Other injuries never fully heal, and leave a victim with chronic pain and disability.
- Amputation. Bicycle accident victims can get one or more of their limbs pinned under a vehicle in an accident, which results in loss of blood flow to the limb. In some cases, doctors can restore blood flow so victims fully recover. In other cases, doctors must amputate the limb to prevent infection from spreading and causing death. Many amputees cope with physical pain and emotional trauma for the rest of their lives.
- Organ damage. A bicycle accident can mangle a cyclist’s body. Broken ribs can cause organ damage and internal bleeding that can lead to death if left untreated. Severe injuries can lead to permanent damage to vital organs requiring continuous treatment and lifelong, expensive, debilitating health complications.
Insurance and Bicycle Accidents in New York
New York is one of a handful of states that has a no-fault insurance system. Residents of New York who register a motor vehicle must purchase a minimum of $50,000 worth of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Those injured in traffic accidents file a claim under their own PIP policy, regardless of who caused the crash, and receive benefits that pay for medical treatment and a portion of their lost wages, up to the policy’s limits.
In a quirk of New York law, however, cyclists injured in a traffic accident involving a driver covered by a New York PIP policy typically have the right to seek compensation from that driver’s PIP policy, even if the cyclists themselves also carry or are covered by their own PIP policy (say, because they also own a car, or are children covered by a parent’s policy). In the event an uninsured driver strikes a cyclist, the cyclist might also have the ability to file a claim under their own auto insurance policy, if they carry one.
Regardless of whether an insurance policy covers a cyclist for injuries suffered in a New York bicycle accident, the cyclist will also typically have the right to take legal action for compensation against anyone whose dangerous decisions or actions caused the crash. The lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP routinely represent bicycle accident victims, and can help guide their clients through the sometimes-confusing questions of how insurance coverage and legal claims for damages intersect.
Workplace Bicycle Accident Injuries in New York
May cyclists in New York’s larger cities, especially New York City, rely on their bikes as part of their work. Riders who deliver food, packages, or documents via bike often face the risk of a passenger vehicle or truck hitting them in a crowded city street, or of tumbling from their bikes because of an uneven or dangerous road surface.
If you have suffered injuries on-the-job while riding your bicycle, receiving compensation for your injuries can follow several different paths depending on the severity of your injuries and your employment status. If you are an independent contractor and a vehicle hits you, you may need to file a PIP claim or take legal action to recover compensation for your injuries and losses. If, however, you are an employee of the company or individual you work for, then, you likely have rights to compensation under your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy, and you may have additional rights, too.
In either case, the experienced New York bicycle accident injury lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP have the resources and know-how to pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.
Taking Action After Claim Denial
Not all bicycle accidents involve a collision with a motor vehicle, but regardless, in the aftermath of a bike accident injury, the victim usually needs to deal with some type of insurance carrier. Unfortunately, insurance companies stay in business by resisting paying the full value of claims made against policies they have issued. Sometimes they deny a claim outright, which can cause financial devastation for accident victims.
Some examples of questionable justifications insurance companies give for denying or reducing bicycle accident claims include:
- Administrative errors such as filling out forms incorrectly or filing the claim too late
- Downplaying injuries and deciding they were not caused by the bicycle accident
- Arguing your medical treatment costs are overvalued
If an insurance company has denied or reduced your bicycle accident injury claim, do not lose hope. The seasoned personal injury attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP can guide clients through even the most contentious insurance claims process to fight for the compensation they deserve.
Recovering Damages in a Lawsuit After a New York Bicycle Accident
Frequently, after reviewing a new client’s case, the bicycle accident injury team at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP advises that the best course of action is to file a lawsuit in New York courts seeking damages from the individual or entity at fault for the client’s bike wreck injuries. Every case Jacoby & Meyers, LLP handles has its own unique aspects, of course.
However, in general, in lawsuits arising from New York bicycle accidents, our clients can often seek to recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses such as ambulance and emergency services, hospital stay, surgery, diagnostic imaging, aftercare, and prescription medication;
- Estimated future medical expenses when a bicycle accident causes catastrophic injuries;
- Lost wages from missing work due to bicycle accident injuries, hospitalization, and recovery;
- Lost future wages when a catastrophic injury prevents a bicycle accident victim from returning to their job;
- Physical pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of consortium;
- Scarring and disfigurement; and
- Punitive damages in cases involving willful harm or gross negligence.
No one can guarantee the outcome of a New York bicycle accident injury case, of course. However, with Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s lawyers by their side, our clients can rest assured they have a team advocating for them that knows how to get results.
New York Bicycle Accident FAQ
Riding your bike is not only an enjoyable activity, but for many it is a necessary mode of transportation, especially in New York. Messengers, curriers, and delivery workers use bikes in their occupations, as do commuters, because on busy New York streets, bikes can sometimes get to their destinations faster than cars.
Still, getting on a bicycle does not come without risks or danger of significant accidents. If you or a family member has been injured in a New York bicycle accident, you have the right to pursue a claim against the at-fault party and go after the damages you deserve.
Those who find themselves in this complicated and challenging situation usually have a list of questions and issues they want answers to regarding their New York bicycle accident claim. In this blog post, we will discuss some of these frequently asked questions concerning bicycle accidents, related legal claims, and how an experienced New York bicycle accident attorney at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, can help you.
1. What should I do after a New York bicycle accident?
If you are harmed in a biking accident, you need to take the necessary steps to ensure your safety and protect your legal rights.
These steps include the following:
- Call the police and seek medical attention: Whether you think your injury is severe or not, you need to get checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible. A doctor will ensure that you do not have any significant injuries while also documenting your damages, which will be beneficial to you if you decide to pursue a claim.
- Collect evidence: After a biking accident, it is imperative to collect as much evidence from the accident scene as possible. Take numerous pictures or videos of the crash scene, your visible injuries, any other vehicles involved in the accident, and any hazards on the road.
- Take down the other driver’s information: If there was another driver involved in your biking accident, you need to get their information. Write down their name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, and insurance information.
- Witness statements: If there were any witnesses present at the time of your accident, they can provide valuable and persuasive evidence to help prove your claim. Make sure to take down their information, including their name, address, and phone number.
- Be careful what you say to the insurance company: After an accident, the other party’s insurance company and/or your own insurance company will soon be calling. Many people believe that the insurance company will want to help them get the compensation they need after an accident. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Insurance companies are businesses that aim to make money. They accomplish this goal by paying out less than they should. Often, insurance companies will try to do anything to devalue or deny your claim, including trying to get statements from you that are not true.
- Call our New York bicycle accident attorneys: After a bicycle accident, you should contact a New York bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. They can not only help evaluate your case and help you to decide on the best course of action, but they can also start an investigation into the accident immediately, making sure to find crucial evidence that can help prove your claim.
2. Whom can I recover damages from?
After a bicycle accident, one of the most common questions people ask is: Whom can I recover damages from? The answer is not always straightforward and depends on who was at fault.
Some of the most common situations are discussed below:
- If another driver or drivers caused the accident, you can go after the negligent driver(s), which can include bus drivers, truck drivers, or other motor vehicle drivers.
- If a defective product caused the accident, you can go after the negligent retailers or manufacturers responsible for making your bike or bike parts, or for making defective parts on the other vehicle(s) involved.
- If unsafe road conditions caused the accident, you can go after the governmental or public entities responsible for maintaining the road, including the county, city, or state.
- If negligent repair caused the accident, you can go after the negligent mechanic.
- If dangerous conditions on private property caused the accident, you can go after the parties responsible for the upkeep of that property.
3. How much money can I expect to recover from a New York bike accident claim?
Bicycle accident settlement amounts vary on a case-by-case basis. In fact, there are a lot of factors that can determine how much money you can collect, including the severity of your injuries, how long you were out of work, and the type of medical care that is necessary for your treatment. In addition, insurance companies will try to keep settlement amounts as low as possible, which will also affect how much money you can recover. With this in mind, it is best to seek help from an experienced New York bicycle accident lawyer who can negotiate in your best interests and go after maximum damages.
4. What types of damages can I expect to recover in a New York bicycle claim?
If you are injured in a bicycle accident in New York, you may recover certain types of damages, including economic, non-economic, and in some instances, punitive damages.
- Economic damages: These damages are specific tangible amounts that are easily quantified and designed to compensate the plaintiff for measurable losses. This type of damages can include costs related to the medical expenses and bills (past and future), lost wages (past and future), medical rehabilitative services, household services, lost earning capacity, and property damages.
- Non-economic damages: These general damages are somewhat subjective, non-measurable losses. They include things such as mental anguish, pain and suffering, emotional distress, physical impairment, the loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.
- Punitive damages: The court only awards punitive damages if the defendant’s actions were so egregious that the court wants to not only punish the defendant but also deter them and others from committing the same act in the future.
5. How long do New York bicycle claims take?
The length of time it takes to resolve a bicycle claim depends on the severity of the victim’s injuries and their medical treatment needs. Usually, a New York bicycle accident attorney will wait until the victim has finished their medical treatment and their doctor can predict what future treatments they may need to start settlement negotiations. Further, if settlement negotiations do not go well and the parties cannot settle, a lawsuit will usually follow. Unfortunately, the litigation process can be quite lengthy, taking anywhere from several months to years to resolve.
6. What if my bike was part of the problem that caused the accident?
Sometimes there may be several parties at fault in a bike accident. Brake failure or parts malfunction may be an unusual outcome but can also end up being a significant factor in a severe accident. When this happens, the victim may be justified in pursuing legal action against multiple parties, including the manufacturer of the bike. Discussing your collision with a trusted New York bicycle accident attorney can help you determine if any design defects were present in your bike and if they contributed to your biking accident.
7. How long do I have to file a claim after a bike accident in New York?
Typically, in New York, victims have three years from the date of the accident to file a claim. However, if the accident involves a government entity, the statute of limitations is significantly shorter. Generally, it is not wise to hold off too long to file a claim because evidence can be lost, memories fade, witnesses become unavailable, and these factors can ultimately reduce the strength of your case.
8. How do the injuries differ in a typical New York bicycle accident versus a car accident?
Yes, both types of accidents can result in extensive damages. However, one of the more common issues that bicyclists face is that their injuries tend to be more catastrophic. Unlike in a motor vehicle, a bicyclist does not have the safety structures that are built into a car to protect them, such as seat belts or airbags. Instead, it is just the rider and a helmet. That is why when bicycle accidents happen, the most common type of injury is head trauma.
But, of course, the injuries that result from a specific accident depend on the point of impact, the amount of force the bicyclist was struck with, and the aftermath of the situation, which can determine what other injuries result, including broken bones, deep lacerations, and soft tissue injuries.
9. Should I accept the first settlement offer I receive from my insurance company?
The quick answer is NO. The longer answer is still NO, but for good reason. As explained above, when dealing with your insurance company, you need to tread lightly and be careful about what you say and what offers you agree to. Most often, the insurance company will want to settle with you for less than you are due.
However, when you have a New York bicycle accident attorney representing you, your lawyer can escalate the matter if you are not treated fairly. There is a lot involved when looking into what fair compensation looks like for you and the first settlement offer rarely covers all of your costs and future expenses. That is why it is best to let your attorney handle the matter and try to get you the most significant results that they can.
10. Can I recover if a pothole injured me?
Many different things can injure a bicyclist. However, problematic road conditions such as potholes are one of the more common methods, especially in New York. But in regions where roads are subject to freezing and thawing conditions, which can lead to cracks or holes forming in the road, bicyclists assume some amount of risk. This makes bringing a claim against a government entity for a hazardous road condition that much more complicated. If you have had an accident like this, it is especially important to secure the assistance of our New York bike accident attorneys.
11. What are my responsibilities as a bicyclist in New York?
An individual operating a bicycle in New York has the same responsibilities and duties as any other motor vehicle driver. They must yield to pedestrians, operate the bike in the same direction as traffic on the roadway, and keep right. Failing to abide by these rules could reduce the amount of damages they receive if they are injured in an accident.
12. How can a New York bicycle accident attorney help me?
For those who have been involved in a bicycle accident, the period right afterward can be a scary and stressful time. Not only are you potentially dealing with significant injuries and skyrocketing medical bills, but on top of it all, you have to now understand New York’s legal system. When you let an experienced and knowledgeable New York bicycle accident attorney handle your claim, you can focus on more critical matters like your healing process.
Our experienced New York bicycle accident attorneys have the skills and experience necessary to handle your biking injury claim and an attorney can take over the process from start to finish.
If you hire an attorney, they may:
- Investigate: Hiring a New York bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible allows that attorney to begin an exhaustive investigation into your accident as quickly as possible. This can ensure that critical evidence is not lost, witness statements are taken, and any video footage of the accident is located.
- Document: Your New York bicycle accident attorney can not only promptly file critical documents, but that necessary evidence is collected to help your claim, such as your medical records and bills.
- Hire experts: Proving fault in a bicycle accident can be a complicated process. However, an experienced attorney has an extensive network of experts they can hire to prove your damages, including medical experts, doctors, and economists.
If you were in a bicycle accident, do not wait any longer. Contact an experienced New York bicycle accident attorney at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, today. Let us provide you with the legal assistance that you need.
Get the Legal Help You Need From the New York Bicycle Accident Attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP
Suffering severe injuries in a bicycle accident can devastate victims and their families. In addition to the physical and emotional pain, victims must cope with financial stress they did not plan for and should never have had to face.
The skilled bicycle accident injury lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP understand the struggles our clients face in the wake of a New York bicycle accident, and we are here to help.
Contact us today online, start a chat with one of our live representatives,or call (877) 505-2368 for a free case evaluation.
“If it were not for the integral legal team of experts at Jacoby & Meyers I would not be where I am today with my recovery. I highly recommend hiring Jacoby & Meyers should you ever find yourself injured in an accident, and an individual or company needs to be held accountable for their negligence.” -C.J.
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