Bicycle Accident Lawyers for the Injured
New York State offers excellent opportunities for bicycle commuting and recreational riding; however, many drivers are unaccustomed or unwilling to share the road with bicycles. The results of an accident between a bicycle and a car or truck can be tragic. If you have been involved in an accident with a vehicle while riding a bike, you likely have many questions that our personal injury lawyers can answer.
Frequently Asked Questions about Bicycle Accidents
Our personal injury lawyers provide answers to some important questions below.
Yes. If you’ve suffered a “serious injury” as a result of being struck by a car while cycling, a claim can be pursued against the driver and the driver’s automobile liability insurance policy for the injuries you’ve suffered.
Yes. In New York, in order to pursue a lawsuit against a driver for your pain and suffering after being involved in a bicycle accident, your injuries must meet the New York State Insurance Law’s definition of a “serious injury.” A serious injury means a personal injury which results in any of the following:
- Significant Disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss or use of a body organ, member,
function or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system; https://www.lamarchesafrankolaw.com/new-york-courts-get-serious-about-ptsd/
- A medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
Yes. However, as mentioned above you can only sue a motorist who hits you if you have suffered a “serious injury”. Therefore, even if the driver was 100% at fault because he was not paying attention, he was using a cell phone or he was speeding, you still cannot pursue a claim in New York unless you have suffered a “serious injury”.
Yes. New York State is a comparative fault jurisdiction. This means that in a lawsuit involving a personal injury, such as a bike accident, a jury can apportion fault to both the driver of a car and the bicyclist. In cases that settle or do not go all the way to trial, your attorney and the insurance adjustor will discuss the different levels of fault for those involved in the accident.
For example, let’s say a cyclist was riding a bicycle at night and was not wearing any reflective gear. Let’s also say the bicyclist was completely stopped at a stop sign waiting to make a turn when she is suddenly struck from behind by a car. In this example, the driver of the car would be at fault, but his or her insurance company would argue that part of the fault lies with the bicyclist for not having reflective gear on at night. Thus, if fault is apportioned 50/50, and the value of your case is $100,000, you will only recover $50,000.
That determination can be made by a judge, a jury, a mediator, an arbitrator or negotiated between lawyers or with the insurance adjuster. This kind of determination is not an exact science. Rather, to determine who is at fault, it is necessary to consider many factors including the location of the crash, the speed of the vehicle that struck you and eyewitness testimony.
Regardless of who was at fault in causing the crash, NY law allows for compensation to bicyclists for medical costs, lost wages, as well as reasonable and necessary expenses, up to $50,000. This is called no-fault coverage. This $50,000 limit is a minimum limit and certain insurance policies may have more than $50,000 available coverage, called additional personal injury protection (APIP). A no-fault claim must be filed within 30 days of the accident.
Your medical bills should be paid for by the automobile insurance carrier for the person who hit you. Make sure to fill out a no-fault form and submit it to the insurance company for the person who hit you within 30 days. Also, make sure you notify your medical providers that you were hit by a vehicle, so they bill the no-fault carrier rather than your medical insurance. Importantly, applying for no-fault benefits will have no impact on your ability to file a claim for your “serious injuries” against the driver who hit you.
When the $50,000 no-fault benefits are exhausted, you may apply for additional no-fault benefits, known as “additional personal injury protection” (APIP) to pay for your medical expenses and lost earnings. Additional personal injury protection (APIP) is an optional coverage that may or may not be available. If APIP benefits are not available through the policy of the vehicle that struck you, you should check your own policy.
If there is no additional personal injury protection (APIP) available and the $50,000 no-fault policy is exhausted, you should submit your medical bills to your medical insurance carrier. If you are still out of work and suffering lost wages, you should apply for disability benefits. In addition, as mentioned above, a claim can also be brought against the driver that hit you and the drivers automobile liability insurance policy if you have suffered a “serious injury”.
You should file your claim with the insurance company that insures the vehicle that hit you. You file a claim by filling out the No-Fault forms sent to you by the insurance company. Note that you are not obligated to give any formal statement (other than what is requested on the No-Fault forms) about how the accident happened in order to file a No-Fault claim.
If you do not know who struck you or if the vehicle was uninsured, you may file a claim with your insurance company or any insurance company for a relative you live with at the time of the accident.
If you do not know who hit you, or the vehicle was uninsured and there is no automobile insurance policy in your household, you should file a claim with the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC).
If the driver who hit you has no insurance, you can turn to your own policy to submit a claim. If neither you nor any family member in your household has automobile insurance, you may be eligible for uninsured motorist protection from the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC).
Generally, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit after being hit by an automobile is 3 years from the date of the accident. However, if a death occurs, the statute of limitations is 2 years. In addition, shorter times may be applicable if the vehicle that caused the crash is owned by the state or federal government, or by a town, village, city, county, or transportation authority.
No. Insurance companies usually look to blame the cyclist for a crash, so they don’t have to pay full compensation for your injuries. Take the name, phone number and the claim number from the insurance adjuster calling you and have your personal injury lawyer call them.
Yes. You should always cooperate with your own insurance company after an accident. However, if you feel more comfortable speaking to a lawyer first, respectfully tell the insurance adjuster who calls you that you will have to get back them at another time. Then contact a personal injury attorney that handles bicycle accident cases with any questions.
Timeline of a Personal Injury Case
- If injured, when ready, contact a personal injury lawyer to determine if a claim can be pursued on your behalf
- Meet with a lawyer to discuss the incident
- Bring medical records or other relevant documents including an accident report if available
- Your lawyer will help you understand the process of a personal injury case
- Follow the doctors’ advice
- Go to all medical appointments
- Report all symptoms to doctors
- Take photos of injuries
- Tell lawyer anytime a new doctor is seen
- Determine how and why the injury occurred
- Speak with witnesses
- Obtain any investigative reports
- Obtain scene, vehicle and product photos, as applicable
- Obtain medical records and bills
- Consider all possible claims and theories of liability against any potential defendant
- Consult with experts
- Communicate and negotiate with the insurance company
- Obtain a settlement or pursue a lawsuit
- File a summons and complaint prior to the statute of limitations
- Serve the legal documents on the defendants
- Prepare and exchange evidence with the other lawyers in the case
- Conduct depositions of all relevant parties (also called EBTs)
- Defense medical examination conducted
- File motions (written applications) to the court if necessary
- Participate in arbitration or mediation if appropriate
- Determine liens if any
- Settle the case or proceed to trial
- You have the right to a trial by jury or by the judge who will act as both judge and jury
- At a trial, the injured person must prove it was more likely than not that the defendant was negligent and caused injuries
- The judge or jury will listen to all the evidence presented and the arguments by the lawyers, apply the facts to the law, and render a decision
LaMarche Safranko Law Testimonials
[fusion_fusionslider name=”testimonials” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” /]
“I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your excellent representation on my recent matter. I have worked with lawyers, and in law firms much of my professional life, but I have never encountered the rare mix of skill, integrity and humanity in one individual—you….
“Dear Andrew and George,
I cannot thank you enough for your hard work, diligence, and selfless manner that you put towards my legal difficulties in Colonie. From the first moment I met you, you helped reassure me that things were going to turn out in a more favorable manner than I originally thought. Clearly, the final result of my court case displays the quality of time and work that you put into this….
“I can honestly say that the best decision I’ve ever made was retaining George LaMarche as my attorney. I was in a situation where everything wasat risk; my career, livelihood, and the ability to provide for my family. In desperation, I contacted over a dozen attorneys. The majority of the lawyers I spoke with promised results without seeing paperwork or knowing valuable facts….
“No one likes to be in a bad situation, but if you need a lawyer George is your man. Not only does he point you in the right direction he offers good advice for your future. As much as we bring him business he does not encourage that next time anticipation….
“The arrest of my husband in 2008 was an extremely difficult and emotional time for our family. The arrest turned our lives upside down. It was sudden and unexpected and had tragic emotional as well as financial consequences. I had no idea what to do under the circumstances….
“I wanted to express my deepest appreciation to Mr. Andrew Safranko for the exceptional job he did in regards to my legal representation. Mr. Safranko displayed the utmost in professionalism and discretion during the entire court process, and took the time to explain each and every step….
“Throughout the attorney client relationship regarding my personal injury lawsuit, George and his staff continually exhibited tremendous amounts of legal knowledge, skill, and a vast amount of expert resources that ultimately resulted in a final judgment in my favor. George was there every step of the way to explain where we stood and what to expect next and there was never a need to question his professional judgment…
“I am an attorney who found himself in the middle of a serious, personal legal matter that compromised not only my personal life but my professional life as well. I immediately contacted Andrew (Andy) Safranko, Esq. Andy worked tirelessly and extremely hard to bring my legal situation to a very favorable resolution. In so doing, Andy not only saved certain aspects of my personal and professional life…
“Dear George, Andy and Staff,
Thank you all for your kindness and all your help in getting back to my wellbeing and life. I could not have done it without you all. Everything is going so well again. I recommend you highly. Thanks Again!”
Thank you so much for everything you have done for our son over the last three years. This has been a very challenging time for our family and the knowledge that our son has an attorney as capable and amazing as you are has given us peace of mind!
“I cannot thank George E. LaMarche lll and his team for the excellent legal work they provided for my son, and in extension, our entire family. His experience, knowledge of the law, networking ability and communication is second to none. In our case, our son was wrongly accused by a small town police officer and charged with 5 tickets…
“Dear Mr. Safranko,
Thank You so much for answering my question, and so expediently!
The dedication, respect, and consideration with which you treat your clients, current and past, is remarkable. It is why I reached out to you when searching in my time of need, and why I would highly recommend…
“The staff at LaMarche Safranko Law took care of whatever I needed, it was just fabulous. It was top shelf, if I called, I got George. If he was in a meeting, they left him a message. He called me right back after the meeting. Everybody was very courteous and very nice there. If I left a voicemail, everybody got back to me quickly. The level of service was very, very good and I would Highly recommend them.”
“My family and I cannot thank George and his staff enough for all of the support and guidance they have given us over the past six months. Anyone who has ever suffered a personal injury knows how difficult they are to overcome, but I’m glad we had such an intelligent and hardworking attorney on our side so I could focus on my recovery rather than on the details of the case….
Consult With An Attorney
When faced with a painful and potentially life-altering legal situation, you want the best people on your team. Someone you can trust. An advocate that listens and becomes your voice. A dedicated, seasoned professional who genuinely cares and can provide guidance in a time of uncertainty.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense or you or someone close to you has been injured, contact LaMarche Safranko Law for a no-obligation consultation, or call 518-982-0770, 844-RECOVER or 844-ACCUSED. We have law offices in Latham, Albany, and Plattsburgh NY, and we are available to take your call 24 hours a day.