Riding a bike around New York City can be a great way to get exercise, avoid traffic, and take in the sights. But it also comes with risks, especially when sharing the road with cars and trucks.
If you’ve been hit by a vehicle while biking, you may be wondering if you can take legal action and sue the driver. Here’s what you need to know about determining if you have a case and your options after a bicycle crash.
Proving the Driver’s Liability is Key
If you want to successfully claim damages, you must be able to prove the driver is at fault. The at-fault driver would be legally liable for any injuries and losses you have suffered due to their negligent actions.
To establish liability, your bicycle accident lawyer will need to demonstrate that the driver owed you a duty of care, which they breached by operating their vehicle negligently or recklessly.
Evidence like witness statements, photos of the scene, police reports, and more can help build your claim that the driver failed to yield, ignored traffic signals, or made an illegal turn.
Seeking Prompt Medical Attention is Crucial
No matter how minor you believe your injuries are, it is vital to get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Not only does this allow you to get the necessary treatment, but medical records will serve as evidence of your injuries. Gaps in treatment can weaken your claim and complicate the process of valuing your damages.
Identifying All Damages to Claim Full Compensation
In a successful injury claim or lawsuit, a bicyclist struck by a vehicle may recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses like emergency treatment, hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, and prescriptions
- Lost income for time missed from work during recovery
- Loss of future earnings if there is permanent disability
- Property damage to the bicycle, clothing, devices, etc.
- Pain and suffering to compensate for physical and emotional trauma
Punitive damages may also be awarded in cases of gross negligence like drunk driving. An experienced Brooklyn bicycle accident attorney can accurately calculate full damages.
Filing an Insurance Claim and Potential Lawsuit
Start by making a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, requesting compensation for your damages. If they deny your claim or make an unreasonably low settlement offer, your attorney can help you file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver.
The statute of limitations in New York for filing a lawsuit over a bike accident injury is 3 years from the date of the collision. This deadline also applies if you want to add a claim against the city or state for unsafe road conditions.
Taking Action After a Bicycle Collision
In the chaos following an accident, it is critical to take key steps to preserve your legal rights:
- Get medical assistance – Even if you feel fine, see a doctor immediately. Having prompt medical records will help support your claimed injuries later.
- Report the accident to the police and cooperate fully with the investigation. Retain a copy of the official report.
- Notify your insurance provider about the collision and potential claim. Refrain from providing a recorded statement until speaking with an attorney.
- Contact a bicycle accident attorney – An experienced lawyer understands how to build a strong case for maximum settlement
- and can negotiate skillfully with insurance adjusters.
- Collect evidence like photos of damage, footage from security or traffic cameras, and contact info for witnesses.
Factors That Can Impact a Bicycle Injury Claim
A few key factors come into play that may affect your ability to recover damages:
- Determining fault – Evidence must show the driver’s actions were negligent and directly caused the accident. Any comparative negligence on your part as the bicyclist can reduce compensation.
- Insurance coverage – Using your own auto policy’s medical and lost wage coverage can help while pursuing compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer.
- Documenting damages – Keep records of all accident-related costs, losses, and effects on your life. The more evidence you have, the better.
- Legal time limits – Filing a claim or lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired will prevent you from recovering anything.
Get Help from a Trusted Brooklyn Bicycle Accident Lawyer
The attorneys at Held, Held & Held have years of experience assisting bicycle accident victims in NYC. They are known for their compassionate counsel and tenacious advocacy in and out of court.
If you were injured on your bike by a negligent driver, contact Held, Held & Held for a free consultation. They will review your case details to advise you on the best path forward.