In a world of cars, trucks, and buses, many New York commuters choose bicycles to get from one place to another. Some even use bicycles for their delivery and courier businesses. But since New York has some of the busiest streets in the country, bicyclists are at risk of significant injury. They have the right to pursue compensation when they sustain injuries in a bicycle accident due to someone else’s negligence.
Have you or a loved one been hurt in a bicycle accident? Let the personal injury attorneys of Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. discuss your options.
Why Do Bicycle Accidents Happen?
If you’ve been injured while riding a bicycle, it’s important to piece together the events that led up to your accident. Your goal, and that of your attorney, will be to prove that the accident occurred because of someone else’s negligent behavior. Since the burden of proof is on the victim, it therefore makes sense to consider some of the most common reasons bicycle accidents happen. Among them are:
- Distracted driving: The driver of a bus, car, or other vehicle may not have been focused on the road at the time of the accident. Common distractions include texting or using the cell phone, talking to passengers, and listening to the radio.
- Speeding: Not only is it illegal to speed but doing so puts everyone else – especially bicyclists – in danger. Bicyclists don’t have the same protections that automobiles have, so a speeding car could cause a serious or even fatal accident.
- Carelessly opening car doors: Also known as “dooring,” this happens when an automobile driver or passenger opens the door to the vehicle without looking. Since many New York roads are fairly narrow, bicyclists ride close to parked cars and can suddenly be struck by an opening door.
- Driving in bike lanes: New York City and Long Island have hundreds of miles of dedicated bike lanes. Although these lanes are clearly marked, a negligent driver could cross into one and strike a bicyclist.
- Road defects: Potholes and other road problems could prove disastrous for bicyclists. The same is true if debris is left in the path of a bicyclist. Cases like these may involve governmental units, to which special rules apply when pursuing an injury claim.
- Construction zones: Construction is always happening around New York City, but there are strict rules for warning oncoming vehicles – including bicyclists – so no one is injured. An attorney can help determine who is liable for these types of bicycle accidents.
- Failure to yield. A car, bus, or other vehicle may cause serious injury by failing to yield when a bicyclist has the right of way. Violation of any traffic law (including this one) is strong evidence of negligence.
What Do You Have To Prove In A Bicycle Accident Case?
Personal injury lawsuits in New York, including those involving bicycle accidents, are generally subject to a four-part test. The victim must prove:
- Duty of care: Anyone who uses the streets of New York, from bicyclists to bus drivers, owes everyone else on the road a duty to safely operate their vehicles and obey traffic laws. This is known as the duty of care.
- Breach: Violating, or breaching, the duty of care happens when someone acts negligently. Negligence can be an act or omission. The above-listed common causes of accidents are a few examples of negligence.
- Causation: This element establishes the link between the at-fault party’s negligence and the bicyclist’s injuries. Proving causation is especially important when several parties are involved in the accident.
- Damages: Damages concern the various costs and losses that bicycle accident victims incur. Your attorney can help prove the nature and extent of your damages.f
Damages That May Be Available In Bicycle Accident Cases
Suffering a bicycle accident can cause major financial burdens for the victim. When these expenses are the fault of somebody else, the victim should not be forced to bear these costs. You may experience these and other common damages:
- Personal Injury: Recovering compensation for your physical injuries and changes in your life is of paramount importance. We know you need the resources to resume your activities to the extent you can.
- Pain and suffering and emotional distress: These so-called non-economic damages are not as easily calculated as compared to economic damages. Nonetheless, they are available to bicycle accident victims.
- Medical bills: This is by far the largest category of damages. It includes hospitalization, surgery, prescription medications, adaptive medical equipment, rehabilitation, and other expenses.
- Lost wages: Time spent recovering from your injuries or seeing a doctor for follow-up treatment is time that you aren’t working. Your attorney can help you recover lost income.
- Lost income earning capacity: You might not be able to return to the same line of work due to the severity of your injuries. This could cost you a lucrative career and significant sums of money in the form of lost future earnings.
- Wrongful death: When bicyclists die from their injuries, their surviving family members may be able to pursue wrongful death claims. These lawsuits are similar to personal injury cases, and our law firm has extensive experience handling them.
What Our Firm Can Do For You
We have a thorough understanding of personal injury and wrongful death laws as they apply to bicycle accident cases. We also know what it takes to build a strong case. If possible, we will negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company that fairly compensates you. But we never pressure our clients into accepting unfair offers. We will take your case to court if necessary.
Our litigators have a network of expert witnesses who are relied upon to provide compelling testimony on behalf of our clients. Some of these witnesses are accident reconstructionists who can explain how the accident took place and how the defendant caused it. Others can discuss the victim’s future medical needs and the impact that his or her injuries will have on the victim’s ability to earn a living, enjoy life, and more. These elements are essential to making your case to a jury.
Contact Our New York Bicycle Accident Attorney
The streets of New York should be safe for everyone, including bicyclists. If someone’s negligence has caused you to suffer an accident, let the caring team at Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. go to work for you. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.
Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. help clients with their bicycle accident claims throughout New York including Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens, and Brooklyn.