Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle Accidents

New York City Bicycle Accident Law Firm

If you have come to this site, you most likely have had a bicycle accident in New York City. You have questions and need answers. In any type of litigation, one wants to know if they actually have a case. The Bicycle Accident Law Firm of Joel J. Turney specializes in personal injury litigation. We always consider it a privilege to represent a client and our goal is to provide the best guidance and representation possible. If we take a case, we are with you step by step through the process. We are small enough to provide our clients with the day to day counsel they need during the entire legal procedure from the start to an actual settlement, resolution or trial. Our many years of experience with the Courts of New York City and with insurance companies give us the understanding necessary to realistically evaluate, pursue and resolve any bicycle accident case we undertake.

Riding a bicycle in New York City is a fact of life. People not only ride bicycles as a form of exercise but as an attractive method to commuting to work or actually a part of their job throughout the day. Comparatively speaking it can be the most economical means of transportation short of walking in New York City. Furthermore, bicycle sharing has come to New York City. In March 2013, the Transportation Department has said the program will begin with 7,000 bikes at 420 stations with a goal of 10,000 bikes. New York City will have a bicycle-share system which other world class cities already provide.

Whenever there is an increase in a form of transportation there is generally an increase in accidents. Unfortunately, there is already an increase in bicycle related accidents in New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island). For instance, 754 crashes involving bicycles and motor vehicles occurred in the last three months of 2011 according to a Department of Transportation Report collected by the NYPD. Jennifer Fermino reported these facts in a June 9, 2012 article in the New York Post. These statistics accounted for 755 cyclist injuries and three cyclist fatalities. Of this data, Brooklyn had the most bicycle accidents reported (285) followed by Manhattan with 229.

Remember, these statistics involve reported accidents for just a three month period.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly wants bicycle accidents to be viewed like any other traffic accident or crime and to be documented, not with a short information card but with a full accident report.

The requirement reflects that a bicycle accident victim should receive the same degree of attention that any motor vehicle accident would receive by the responding authorities.

A bicycle accident can be caused from contact with a motor vehicle (being actually hit by the motor vehicle or just colliding with a door being opened by an inattentive passenger or driver); bicycle accidents arise from negligent maintenance of public roadways or negligent maintenance of private property; and finally some accidents arise from a product defect or negligence in the maintenace of the bicycle.

If you or a family member has been involved in a bicycle accident in New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island), please contact the Bicycle Accident Law Firm of Joel J. Turney to seek advice and to find out your rights under the Law. Mr. Turney has been in the business of litigation since 1996. He will advise you of the course of action that you should pursue. The clock is always ticking when an bicycle accident occurs. Take a moment to call the office or E-mail for a quick and honest response. You can be assured that you will get the best advice and counsel. There is no fee unless you recover compensation.

Bicycle-NYCNew York City is making efforts to make cycling a more user friendly experience.  Despite the concerted effort of increased bicycle lanes, and law enforcement in favor to the protection of cyclists, the risk of serious injury navigating the streets of New York unfortunately remains high. 

Our firm is committed to representing, protecting and advancing the interests of cyclists that have sustained injury through the negligence of another.  Those who have braved the streets of NYC by way of bicycle, all of contributes to making NYC a better place, deserve every protection the law affords.

BICYCLE – CAR CRASH

The most common form of bicycle accident in New York City is motor vehicle related.  (hyperlink – Bicycle – Car Crash).   Bicycle – Car Crash accidents arise from contact with a moving vehicle or doors being suddenly opened into the path of travel.  In a motor vehicle related accident, the cyclist has two potential claims, the first is a No-Fault claim, and the second is a liability bodily injury claim.  

The No-Fault claim is a statutory required portion of coverage that the motor vehicles in New York State must provide.  No-fault coverage covers necessary medical treatment arising from the accident and a portion of lost earnings.  

The bodily injury claim is conditioned upon proving fault, i.e. either a statutory violation that was a substantial factor in the cause of the accident or what is known as common law negligence, which is the failure to exercise reasonable care in the operation of the motor vehicle.

In a bicycle-car crash accident, the cyclist must also prove a serious injury as defined by the No-Fault law.  This is commonly known as the “threshold” requirement.  

There are also bicycle accidents that arise from involvement of uninsured motor vehicles or hit and run accidents, where there is physical contact with the vehicle and the vehicle flees the scene of the accident and remains unidentified.  (Hyperlink – Bicycle – Hit and Run Accident).

BICLYCLE – DEFECTIVE ROADWAY

Another category of bicycle accident in New York City arises from defective and dangerous conditions in the roadway.  (Hyperlink – Defective Roadway Accidents).  The City of New York is generally responsible for the maintenance of the roadways.  In order to have a valid claim against the City of New York for a defective roadway type of accident, the cyclist must prove that there was an unreasonably dangerous condition that was a cause of the accident, and that the City, by its agents actually created the condition or had what is known as prior written notice of the condition (at least 15 days prior to the occurrence).  

Other defective roadway type of accidents arise from the negligence of entities other than the City of New York in the maintenance of “special uses” of the roadway, such as manhole covers, gratings or other structural uses of the roadway.  In this type of case, there is an affirmative obligation to maintain the area immediately surrounding the “special use.”  Other common type of roadway accidents are caused by the negligent placement of construction plates, either significant gaps, or the failure to properly ramp the edges, both of which can cause serious bicycle accidents.    

When involved in a defective roadway type of accident, there is no first party medical coverage such as No-Fault benefits.  Therefore, medical bills would have to be covered by whatever first party medical insurance that the cyclist may have.  Due to the fact that the bicyclist did not have the benefit of No-Fault coverage, there is no corresponding serious injury requirement for the liability bodily injury claim. 

RISK OF SERIOUS INJURY

Needless to say, cyclist traveling faster than pedestrians and not having the surrounding protection of a motor vehicle, are very much exposed to the multiple dangers and corresponding risk of injury.

Unfortunately, there is a degree of prejudice that insurance companies as well as juries often attempt to assign to a cyclist in a claim involving injury.  This is the simple fact that few adjusters and for that matter few jurors that actually preside over a case ride bicycles in New York City.  This has changed over time and the public perception has improved.  Even though the doctrine of assumption of risk does not apply to bicycle accidents, this is a prejudice that an attorney representing a cyclist must appreciate and make all efforts to remove in the successful handling of bicycle injury related case.    

WHAT TO DO AFTER A BICYCLE ACCIDENT:

Bicycle Accident LawyerThe first and obvious thing to do is to get your self to a point of safety. Try and obtain an assessment of the extent of your injuries.  Have someone call 911 for emergency assistance, which should include the police and an ambulance if necessary.  Ask people around to see if there are any witnesses.  If so, please try and obtain their name and phone number.  Do not engage in significant conversations with the other person involved.  Do try to obtain relevant photos.

It is imperative that the police arrive to document the occurrence, obtain the proper insurance information and respective versions of the accident.  Even in a roadway defect accident it is important for the police to document the cause and location of the accident.

We had a recent case in our office involving a metal plate that was not properly secured.  Due to the fact that the police were called to the scene and the particular police report documented the condition that was the cause of the accident in a rather detailed manner, we were able to settle the case in the very early stages as soon as the client reached maximum medical improvement.  Otherwise, without the police report, the case (still would have been a case without the report) would have to have been taken through full discovery including depositions of all parties in order for the carrier to have a basis for liability assessment.

Obtain emergency room treatment to make sure that all injuries are treated and stable.  Very often in a bicycle crash, the rider is in a state of shock with significant amounts of adrenalin running though their system.  This often makes it difficult to determine the extent of injury.

After receiving Emergency Room treatment it is important to follow up with a qualified and appropriate medical personnel to treat your injuries and document the problems that you are experiencing.

Often times, especially in a motor vehicle related bicycle crash, the insurance company for the vehicle involved will contact you to try and obtain your version of events.  The adjusters or investigators from the insurance company are working to get a favorable version or often times spin of the facts of the occurrence in their favor in an effort to minimize their financial exposure.

You are better off not speaking with the insurance company until you have at least sought the advice of counsel.

After you have stabilized your injury, this is often the best time to reach out for representation.

Our firm will make sure that all your questions are answered.  We will make sure that you have a complete understanding of how your medical bills will be paid.  We will make an appointment to come to you at a time that is convenient for you.  We will contact the insurance company on your behalf.  We will conduct the initial investigation into the cause of the occurrence.  We will gather your medical records directly from your providers and commence your case as soon as beneficial to your particular situation.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (Expandable)

CAN ONE SUE FOR A BICYCLE ACCIDENT?

If you or a family member have been injured while on a bicycle due to the fault of a motorist or another party, you have the right to bring a law suit for personal injuries and other damages.  If the accident is caused by a motor vehicle, the plaintiff does have to sustain a serious injury as defined by the No-Fault law in order to have a qualifying law suit. There is no type of serious injury requirement if the accident is caused by something other than a motor vehicle.

The case would seek compensation for all economic losses, together with compensation for past and future pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.

WHAT ABOUT BILLS?

Under New York State Law, in most instances, the insurance company of the motor vehicle involved in the accident will cover all of an injured cyclists medical bills regardless of who was at fault.  The insurance company will also cover the cost of all diagnostic exams and surgeries, if needed, without any co-payment by the injured bicyclist. Transportation costs to and from medical appointments will be covered.  The insurance company may even pay for any household help needed during recuperation. The insurance company will also be responsible for a portion of lost earnings (up to 80% of your income or $2,000.00 per month, which ever is less).  The above coverage is afforded under the No-Fault law.  An application for No-Fault benefits must be filed within 30 days of the accident for the insurance company covering the vehicle involved.  All medical bills must be submitted within 45 days of given treatment.

Under certain circumstances, if the accident involved a public bus , the insurance of the bicyclist’s motor vehicle will be primary for the purposes of No-Fault coverage.  If the bicyclist has no motor vehicle in his or her household, then the entity of the public bus will provide coverage for No-Fault benefits.

WHO WOULD BE SUED ?

The negligent driver/owner of an automobile, bus or truck if the accident was caused by the driver.

The public municipality that maintains the roadways if the accident was caused by the negligent maintenance of a roadway.

The entity deriving the “special use” if the accident is caused by a an improperly maintained manhole, metal plates or other device embedded within the roadway.

The owner of private property or the maintenance company of that private property, if the accident was caused by negligent maintenance of private property.

The manufacturer or retailer of the bicycle, if the accident was caused by a defective product .

WHAT OTHER SITUATIONS ARE THERE?

If the bicycle accident is caused by an uninsured driver, or the accident is caused by a hit and run motor vehicle, and the cyclist has no motor vehicle in his or her household, then all medical expenses will be paid for by a statutory entity known as the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation ( MVAIC ).   Simply put , this entity was formed to protect those who have been injured by irresponsible owners of motor vehicles who do not insure their vehicles or victims of “hit and run” motor vehicle related accidents. MVAIC will “step into the shoes” of the motor vehicle’s owner/driver and will provide coverage for No-Fault benefits.  Furthermore, the statutory entity known as MVIAC allows itself  to be sued by the bicycle accident victim for the purposes of the liability-bodily injury portion of the claim.

CAN THE DAMAGE COSTS TO THE BICYCLE BE RECOVERED?

The health of the bicycle accident victim is of the utmost most importance immediately after an accident.  However, one can recover compensation for damages to property (the bicycle).  If fault is not contested by the other party, this portion of a case may take only a few weeks to resolve.

CAN A CYCLIST EVER BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR AN ACCIDENT?

Under New York State Law, bicyclists, for the most part, must abide by the same laws as motor vehicles.  If a bicyclist violates any of these rules and regulations as set forth for motor vehicles or specifically for bicyclists and this violation is found to be a substantial factor in causing the accident, then the bicyclist can be found at fault for the accident.   New York State recognizes pure comparative fault.  In other words the relative fault of an accident may be distributed on a relative percentage basis, all of which must add up to 100 percent.

IF A CYCLIST IS INJURED AND FAILED TO WEAR A HELMET, WILL THAT FACT DESTROY THE CASE?

It is very important to wear safety equipment while riding a bicycle especially in New York, but the failure to wear this equipment does not, in and of itself, destroy a lawsuit.   The failure to wear a helmet is not relevant on the issue of negligence (i.e. who was at fault for the happening of the accident), but rather it can only be used in the limited capacity to mitigate the damage claim to the extent that there is a claim of a head injury due to the accident.

AFTER A BICYCLE ACCIDENT OCCURS , TO WHO SHOULD ONE TALK WITH AND WHAT SHOULD ONE SAY?

The insurance company of the negligent motor vehicle that struck the cyclist will contact the accident victim. The accident victim should not speak to the representative of the insurance company.  These representatives are called adjusters.  It is their job to collect as much information from the bicycle accident victim as possible.  This information may be used against any claim brought forth as a result of the accident. It is imperative that one speaks with an attorney as soon as possible .  The Law Office of Joel J. Turney will contact any adjusters immediately and advise them that the accident victim is now being represented.  The insurance adjustors will not be allowed to contact the victim in the future.   Remember, it is the business of insurance companies to have people working immediately on a case after the accident.  Likewise, it is in the best interests of a bicycle accident victim to also have immediate legal representation .

WHAT WILL IT COST TO CONSULT THE LAW OFFICE OF JOEL J. TURNEY?

Nothing!  All consultations are without charge. The legal fee (standard one-third) is contingent upon recovery.  In other words, if we don’t win or settle your case, there is no cost to you.  This firm pays all expenses in the prosecution of the action.

WHAT IS THE VALUE OF A BICYCLE ACCIDENT CASE?

This question can only be answered on an individual basis.  Is only a minor injury involved or a more serious injury?  Serious injuries such as a concussion, broken bone(s), a separated shoulder, permanent scarring, and torn cartilage naturally increase the value of a case. Serious injuries typically require ongoing medical care and sometimes surgery.  Future medical care, loss of earnings, disability, or permanent injury are unknown factors at the time of an accident and sometimes the passage of time is important to place a proper value on a given loss.  In other words, before considering a compromise of your case in terms of a settlement, it is important that maximum medical treatment has been reached.  The value of a case is very much determined three general factors (1) the extent of injury (both economic and non-economic losses); (2) the nature of the liability and (3) the insurance coverage available (or ability to pay),

Valuing a personal injury case is never an easy task.  This is why the initial consultation with an experienced litigator is of primary importance.  Be assured that the Law Office of Joel J. Turney will provide you with a candid opinion of your case.  If retained, you as the victim in a bicycle accident, will be advised through every step of the legal process.

HOW MUCH TIME IS INVOLVED ?

This office may resolve your case within a year from the date of the accident.  However, be aware that depending on the severity of your injury and/or the complexities of the accident, a case that proceeds to trial can take up to two years or more.  If there is available insurance coverage to cover all damages sustained it is important that the plaintiff cyclist reach maximum medical improvement before settlements are engaged.  There is never a standard time line in the area of litigation.   The Law Office of Joel J. Turney will always try to resolve your case as soon as possible when, and only if, it is in the best interests of the client.  Any resolution always involves the client’s participation and approval.

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU CARE FOR HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN A BICYCLE ACCIDENT IN NYC – CONTACT OUR FIRM:

Be assured that the Law Office of Joel J. Turney values each and every case that is accepted and we will pursue our client’s best interest with diligence, honesty and without compromise.   

Our firm is committed to representing, protecting  and advancing the interests of anyone who has sustained significant injury arising from a bicycle accident due to the negligence of another.     

Please contact our office to learn all the aspects involved in your situation.  There is no obligation, and of course the consultation is free.  Do not hesitate to call.