Many people in New York opt to ride a bike over driving a motor vehicle. Right-of-way laws make it illegal for bike riders to travel on pedestrian sidewalks, so bikers must ride on the road alongside cars, trucks, and motorcycles. These rules put you at a higher risk for injury due to driver negligence.
If you are involved in an accident with a motorist as a bicyclist, you may wonder what legal options you have to receive compensation for your injuries. Learn more about available legal avenues for New York bike riders and why working with a lawyer from Catalano Law can help you obtain a fair settlement.
According to the most recent data compiled by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYSDMV), New York saw 5,827 bicycle/motor vehicle crashes, causing 5,722 non-fatal injuries and 47 fatalities.
The report also indicates that among the incidents causing non-fatal injuries, 5,647 bicyclists were injured, whereas only 92 drivers and 43 car passengers sustained injuries. Among the 47 fatal incidents, 100% of deaths were bicyclists.
Motor vehicle drivers owe the same duty of care to cyclists that they give to fellow drivers, pedestrians, and other roadway users. Failure to observe this duty of care indicates negligence on the driver’s part and can open up the possibility of seeking compensation for the injured party.
Some of the most common situations where a negligent driver hits a bicyclist include:
- Dooring: Opening a car door without looking for incoming bikes
- Running red lights or stop signs and striking a bicyclist
- Driving over a bike lane and hitting a bicyclist
- Turning without checking the rear-view mirror for incoming bicyclists
- Tailgating a cyclist, causing a crash when the bicyclist needs to brake or stop
Though many incidents involving a bicyclist and a car are usually the fault of a negligent driver, there are also situations where a cyclist can be at fault.
Examples where a bicyclist may be considered negligent include:
- Suddenly swerving out of a bike lane and onto the main road without checking for cars
- Running a red light or a stop sign and causing a car to swerve and crash
- Riding between lanes to try and pass a vehicle, causing it to strike the bicyclist
- Driving while distracted by electronics
- Not wearing a helmet and protective gear
As an injured cyclist, you can work with our team of highly skilled New York bicycle accident lawyers to pursue compensation. The lawyers at Catalano Law can help you seek damages for injuries that meet the serious injury threshold so you can rebuild your life after a bicycle accident. Possible compensation can include:
- Medical expenses present and future, including long-term treatments, nursing, rehabilitation expenses, and other care resulting from the injury
- Any lost wages incurred from your inability to return to work
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Damages for loss of enjoyment of life
New York uses pure comparative fault when determining damages in personal injury lawsuits. Pure comparative fault means that you win compensation based on your percentage of fault. For example, if the vehicle driver is 70% at fault for the accident, but you are found to be 30% at fault, you’ll only receive 70% of the damage award.
Work with experienced bicycle accident lawyers who can assess the circumstances of your case and minimize any contributory negligence on your part.
If you have suffered injuries in a bicycle accident, you must gather as much documentation and evidence of the crash as possible. You can provide this information to your legal team to help them build your case and prove that the driver is at fault.
When you meet with a lawyer from Catalano Law, bring the following information about your accident if possible:
- Medical records
- Proof of loss of income from missed work
- Police reports
- Photo and video evidence of the incident
- Written witness testimonies
Determining negligence requires extensive legal review, even if the driver appears to be clearly at fault. To maximize your chances of receiving a fair settlement, hire a qualified bicycle accident lawyer. They possess the legal expertise and skill you need to prove your case.
At Catalano Law, our mission is to fight on behalf of bicyclists unjustly injured in traffic accidents. Our bike accident lawyers are well-versed in local bicycling laws and can help you protect your rights by filing a lawsuit against a negligent motorist and obtaining the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today for a confidential, free case evaluation.