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Proving Fault in New York Bicycle Accident

Feb 25, 2021 | Personal Injury

Bicycles can be a great way to get around New York City. In fact, there are hundreds of miles of dedicated bike lanes throughout all five boroughs. While biking can be fun and recreational, it can also be dangerous. According to reports, at least 21 cyclist fatalities occurred last year in New York City. 

You might think that biking on city streets has inherent risks, so you can’t be compensated if you’re hit by a car — this is incorrect.

In many cases, drivers of other vehicles on the road are to blame for cyclist injuries or fatalities. You may even be entitled to compensation if the accident was partly your fault. Unfortunately, a lot of bicyclists are unaware of their legal rights and the recourse they may have against a negligent driver.

Common Causes of New York City Bicycle Accidents

Like drivers of cars, SUVs, and trucks, bicyclists have to follow the rules of the road. However, unlike the operators of these vehicles, they don’t have walls of steel protecting them if they’re struck. Even if a cyclist takes all necessary safety precautions and wears protective gear, an accident can result in catastrophic injuries.

Some common causes of driver negligence resulting in bicycle accidents can include:

  • Inattention
  • Driving under the influence
  • Disregarding traffic signals
  • Failure to yield to the bicyclist
  • Speeding or driving recklessly

In some cases, you might be able to file a lawsuit against the bicycle manufacturer if an equipment failure caused the accident.

Establishing Negligence in a Bicycling Accident

Importantly, to obtain compensation for any injuries you sustained in a bicycling accident, you must establish that another driver was negligent. In other words, you need to show that the driver’s action or inaction contributed to the accident, resulting in liability for your injuries.

Sometimes, a cyclist’s own actions may have contributed to the accident — for example, if they were riding on the wrong side of the street, didn’t signal when turning, or failed to stop at a traffic light, their negligence may be partly to blame.

So, how would a cyclist’s own negligence affect their personal injury case?

New York follows the doctrine of comparative negligence. This means that you may be entitled to monetary recovery even if you were 99% at fault for the accident — any compensation would be reduced by your percentage of negligence.

But if you’re going to get any recovery at all in your lawsuit, you need to ensure you have strong evidence to support your case.

Critically, cameras are everywhere in New York City. A good personal injury lawyer will be able to obtain the footage of any security cameras near the scene of your accident to assess how the incident happened and who was at fault.

Other key pieces of evidence can include photographs, statements from witnesses, police reports — and most importantly, medical documentation. The sooner you seek medical attention in your case, the better. Not only is getting immediate medical help the best thing you can do for your health, but it is essential to build the strongest possible claim. 

Significantly, even if you can prove fault, you don’t have a case unless you have sufficient medical documentation for your injuries.

Compensation in a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit

If you can establish fault and show that you’ve suffered serious injuries in your bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, time lost from work, out-of-pocket expenses, and pain and suffering. Those who lost a loved one in a bicycle accident may also be able to recover compensation in a wrongful death action.

Additionally, you should be aware that bicyclists are entitled to no-fault benefits under New York State law. Since these benefits kick in almost immediately — as long as you timely submit your application to the insurance company — you won’t have to wait until your case is over to get the financial relief you may need to pay your accident-related medical bills.

Contact an Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney

The personal injury lawyer you retain could have a significant impact on the outcome of your bicycle accident case — it’s best to make sure you hire an attorney with the experience and acumen necessary to secure you the maximum compensation you deserve. Regularly appearing on the top verdicts and settlements lists in New York State, our firm has secured millions in compensation for numerous bicycle accident victims due to our knowledge, skill, and honest approach.  

The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown LLP is a New York City personal injury firm with more than eighty years of experience fighting for the rights of bicycle accident victims. Located in Manhattan, we have been helping those who have been injured by the negligence of another obtain the compensation they deserve since 1937. Call to schedule a free consultation at (212) 425-1999 today.

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