The Ultimate Guide to Bicycle Accidents: Safety, Claims, and Settlements – Tips From a Bicycle Accident Lawyer

The Ultimate Guide to Bicycle Accidents: Safety, Claims, and Settlements - Tips From a Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Most motor vehicle accidents in New York involve cyclists. For instance, 12 450 reported accidents involving cyclists in New York City despite the lockdown measures. Regardless of the cause, victims of bike-related accidents need to understand their rights and legal options.

Very few people think of bicycle accidents in the legal context. However, bike riders are more at risk than other road users. According to the CDC, more than 1000 bicycle riders die from road accidents on U.S. roads every year. Similarly, over 130,000 suffer from bike-related injuries.

If careless driving, poor road design, or driver negligence caused the accident, a specialist lawyer can assist, such as the Bronx bicycle accident lawyer who explains some of the issues involved in bike accidents and how to file a compensation claim.

Common Bike Accident Injuries

Bike accidents are avoidable, especially if road users drive attentively. Because of limited protection, injuries from bicycle accidents are sometimes very severe. Common injuries resulting from bike collisions include:

  • Minor injuries – scrapes, cuts, bruises, and sprains are common minor injuries resulting from bicycle accidents.
  • Fractured bones – cyclists can easily sustain fractures depending on the nature and severity of the accident. Fractures lead to long hospitalization and affect the victims’ normal daily functioning.
  • Head, brain, and spinal injuries – serious bicycle accidents can lead to severe head, brain, and spinal cord injuries. As mentioned, cyclists have very little protection on their heads, neck, and spine.
  • Psychological injuries – victims involved in road accidents can suffer from anxiety, stress, and other psychological issues. Most victims even fear getting on their bikes after the accident.

Who is At Fault for Bicycle Accidents?

The person at fault for bike-car accidents varies depending on various factors. For starters, riders are treated like drivers in all states and expected to follow traffic rules. Therefore, if a cyclist runs a red light or doesn’t give way, they are partly or fully to blame. However, vehicle drivers are primarily at fault for most bike-car accidents.

The following issues are considered when determining the party at fault:

  • Was the driver or bike rider negligent? Negligence in bike accidents means behaving more carelessly than an average person. One of the key questions to consider is whether the cyclist was following the traffic laws and regulations.
  • Did the driver or rider’s negligence cause the collision? The driver or rider is liable for damages and injuries if their negligent actions directly caused the accident. It may also be that the driver was impaired or distracted in some way, which would lead to his or her liability.
  • Did road conditions or other infrastructure issues contribute to the accident?

In addition to these factors, liability can also be influenced by the specific laws and regulations in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred. It is important for both cyclists and drivers to be aware of their legal rights and responsibilities in order to avoid accidents and minimize liability.

Eyewitness testimony, CCTV footage, and official police reports are used to determine the party at fault.

Legal Options to Consider After a Bicycle Accident

Victims of bicycle accidents can follow several legal options to claim compensation. You can file for compensation for injuries and damages from:

  • Your health insurance company – your health insurance provider should pay for medical costs. However, your cover won’t pay for other damages, such as lost wages or property damage.
  • Auto-insurer – you can also file a compensation claim from your auto insurer even if you were on the bike when the accident occurred. Auto insurance providers, especially in no-fault states like New York, compensate accident victims with personal injury protection policies.
  • At-fault driver – most accident victims prefer filing for compensation from the driver at fault. However, in most cases, the at-fault driver will refer you to their insurance company. With the help of a bike accident attorney, you can file a claim in court or choose to settle the matter out of court.
  • At-fault driver’s employer – the doctrine of vicarious liability allows accident victims to file for compensation from the driver’s employer if the at-fault driver caused the accident while at work. 

Accident victims can also seek compensation from the bike manufacturer and the government. You can sue the bike manufacturer or distributor of bike parts if the accident resulted from defective parts. Similarly, the government can take the blame for poor road design or lack of traffic signs.

How Much Compensation Can You Claim?

Bicycle accidents consist of several elements that directly determine the compensation awarded. This makes it challenging to decide on the exact value to claim from the party at fault for the accident. Nonetheless, victims of bike accidents can claim compensation for:

  • Medical bills for personal injuries
  • Psychological trauma
  • Damage to the bicycle
  • Lost wages if they can’t work due to sustained injuries

The surviving loved ones can pursue a wrongful death claim if the accident is fatal. Working with an experienced attorney can help you evaluate the cost of your claims.

The Bottom Line

A significantly growing number of cyclists are on the streets of New York. While some people cycle for fun, others use bicycles to beat traffic, work, get fit, and conserve the environment. Even though cycling is largely safe, bicycle accidents involving other road users are common. Speaking to a bicycle accident attorney can help ease the aftermath of a cycling accident.

Source: Jacoby & Meyers

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