Pedestrians, bicyclists and runners are increasingly at risk from distracted drivers and other hazards on the roadway. Statistically, if you are hit by a vehicle while riding your bike, running or walking, you will be injured. Those injuries could be severe, requiring a long recovery period and significant medical bills. You will need an experienced ally to make sure your expenses are covered, your damages compensated, and your rights defended. The lawyers at LaMarche Safranko Law PLLC can help.
Through our PedBikeLaw initiative, we are the area’s leading law firm dedicated to road safety advocacy and legal representation. We have a passion for outdoor activities and understand how important exercise is to a healthy lifestyle. We also understand the devastating impact an injury can have and know how to successfully negotiate a settlement or fight for you in court when necessary.
For much more information about our initiative, additional FAQs and overall road safety issues, visit the PedBikeLaw website.
Commonly asked pedestrian/bicyclist/runner-related questions and answers
Please note that while the information below may address some scenarios, New York state laws are complex and each case has its own unique circumstances. Your specific facts should be thoroughly reviewed in detail with a qualified personal injury attorney.
- I was hit by a car while walking/jogging/bicycling. What are my rights?
- I was hit by a driver with no insurance. What do I do?
- If I am in an accident caused by another driver can I automatically bring a lawsuit?
- The insurance company of the driver who hit me says I have to use my own insurance before they will pay anything. I have a huge deductible. What do I do?
- Is there a time frame in which I must file a lawsuit regarding my accident?
- Will I have to pay all the lawyer’s fees if I lose a lawsuit?
- Who has the right of way, pedestrians or bicyclists?
- If I am struck by a negligent bicyclist while walking or running, whose insurance is responsible for the damages?
I was hit by a car while walking/jogging/bicycling. What are my rights?
You are entitled to seek no-fault coverage and bodily injury compensation through the driver’s insurance company. A no-fault claim must be filed within 30 days of the accident. If the motorist has no insurance or inadequate coverage, you can turn to your own policy to submit a claim. If neither you nor anyone in your household has insurance, you may still be eligible in New York state for uninsured motorist protection from the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC).
It is important to get a lawyer involved if the extent of the injuries is serious and the damages and expenses may exceed those typically covered by no-fault.
I was hit by a driver with no insurance. What do I do?
New York drivers are required to have valid insurance upon a vehicle for it to be registered. If the vehicle that hit you was being operated illegally and there is no one with an auto insurance policy in your household, you should file a claim with the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC). The fund covers bodily injury and “No Fault” claims for New York State residents when no other insurance policy is available.
If I am in an accident caused by another driver can I automatically bring a lawsuit?
In New York, in order to bring a lawsuit for non-economic loss (i.e., pain and suffering), as a result of injuries from a car accident, you must meet the New York State Insurance Law’s definition of a “serious injury.” A serious injury means a personal injury which results in the following: (1) death, (2) dismemberment, (3) significant disfigurement, (4) a fracture, (5) loss of a fetus, (6) permanent loss or use of a body organ, member, function or system, (7) permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member, (8) significant limitation of use of a body function or system or (9) 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.
The insurance company of the driver who hit me says I have to use my own insurance before they will pay anything. I have a huge deductible. What do I do?
If the victim of an accident is a pedestrian, the insurance company of the driver who hit you is going to be responsible for paying the medical expenses.
In New York State, the No-Fault law allows for speedy compensation to drivers, passengers and pedestrians and allows for up to $50,000 for these economic losses. No-Fault does not pay for damage to your motor vehicle or other personal property damaged in the accident.
In the case of serious injuries, you can seek a legal settlement or judgment to cover economic harm and loss damages beyond these coverages, including continuing treatment, lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses as well as non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.
Is there a time frame in which I must file a lawsuit regarding my accident?
Generally, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for a car accident is three years from the date of the accident. However, if a death occurs, the statute of limitations is two years. In addition, shorter times may be applicable if the vehicle that caused the accident is owned by a municipality or public authority.
Will I have to pay all the lawyer’s fees if I lose a lawsuit?
You have options of how you would like to structure the lawyer’s fees if you choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. You may sign a retainer agreement, which would make you personally responsible for any legal expenses regardless of the outcome or a retainer that would not hold you responsible if the case is unsuccessful.
If you win, you would pay the expenses and disbursements for expert testimony and investigations first, and then a third of the remaining amount of any recovery from the suit, settlement, judgment or otherwise as legal fees.
Alternatively you may sign a retainer agreement in which all legal expenses are covered by the law firm. If the suit is successful, the law firm takes a one-third payout of the full amount of any recovery due to the suit, settlement, judgment, etc., calculated before expenses and disbursements or any payments for liens, assignments or claims in favor of hospitals, for medical care and treatment or self-insurance or insurance carriers.
Who has the right of way, pedestrians or bicyclists?
When traffic-control signals are not in place, bicyclists must yield to pedestrians crossing the roadway within a crosswalk. However, if there is not a crosswalk, pedestrians are required to yield to all vehicles on the roadway. Pedestrians are to use sidewalks whenever they are safely available.
If I am struck by a negligent bicyclist while walking or running, whose insurance is responsible for the damages?
If the negligent bicyclist has homeowner’s coverage, and you were injured while walking or running, liability claims could possibly be applied to the homeowner’s policy. Medical expenses would have to be paid through the victim’s own medical insurance.