Long Island is one of the most beautiful places in the country and one of the best ways to see its natural beauty is on a road or mountain bike.
How can I receive compensation after a bicycle accident in Long Island?
Unfortunately, many motorists fail to use proper care when bikes are on the road and serious injuries can occur. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident you want an experienced Long Island bicycle accident lawyer on your side to help you get full and fair compensation for all your injuries. At Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP we have focused our practice exclusively on personal injury claims since 1983. In three decades of practice we have helped thousands of people, including many bicyclists hit by car, recover full and fair compensation for losses caused by the careless or negligent acts of others. We have a comprehensive understanding of bicycle accident laws and procedures and will use our experience, skill, and knowledge to help you get the results you seek.
Bicycle Accident Facts
In 2016 the State of New York saw 18 bicyclist fatalities and 4,973 bicyclist injuries. Out of the five boroughs Brooklyn saw the most bicycle collisions, injuries, and deaths. The most common type of bicycle accident is an intersection collision. Accidents at stop signs and intersections occur when motorists fail to yield bicyclists the right-of-way. They can also happen when bicyclists ignore traffic control signs and cross when they should not. Yielding the right-of-way is critical to avoid intersection collisions.
Vehicles making left-hand turns also put bicyclists at high risk. Motorists may not pay enough attention to the road and cross in front of an oncoming bicyclist. Motorists may also misjudge the speed of the bicyclist. Bicyclists can help prevent these collisions by maximizing visibility and preparing to brake quickly if they see a motorist about to turn left. Avoiding right-hook intersection accidents is possible by staying out of the driver’s blind spot. Again, obeying roadway rules is the best way to avoid an accident.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Bicycle accidents result in certain injuries more often than others. Bicyclists in collisions with motor vehicles have an increased risk of bone fractures. With or without a helmet, bicyclists’ heads may strike the ground and sustain head or brain damage. Contact with the asphalt at even moderate speeds can cause painful road rash as well as traumatic tattooing from pieces of roadway embedded in the skin.
What are the most common injuries from a bicycle accident?
- Head and brain injuries. Skull fractures, concussion, and traumatic brain injuries can occur if the head impacts the ground or other object. Serious brain injuries can cause permanent disability.
- Spinal cord injuries. If the bicyclist’s spinal cord sustains traumatic damage in an bicycle accident, it can result in full or partial paralysis (loss of movement and sensation) below the point of injury.
- Fractures. Fractures bicycle crashes are common in the collar bone and lower extremities, including the foot, ankle, knee, hip, saddle, and pelvis. Facial fractures may also occur if the face strikes the ground or an object.
- Strains and dislocations. The musculoskeletal system can sustain damage when an object or vehicle strikes the body. Strains and dislocations are painful and can result in temporary disability.
- Internal injuries. A vehicle striking the chest or abdomen can result in internal damage such as splenic rupture, pancreatic trauma, traumatic hernia, bowel contusion, and lung injuries. Internal injuries can wreak havoc on the body and take a long time to heal.
- Superficial trauma. Skin and soft tissue injuries include abrasions (road rash), lacerations, bruising, and contusions. Even these “minor” injuries can be extremely painful and require days in the hospital and missed time at work.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that bicyclists account for about 2% of all traffic-related deaths. Fatal bicycle accident injuries often involve the brain or internal damage. Riding with a helmet significantly reduces the risk of head and brain injury in a bicycle accident, but it cannot guarantee safety. It is up to bicyclists, motorists, and others on the roadway to prevent accidents and serious injuries. One of the best ways to do so is to obey New York’s traffic laws.
New York Bicycle Laws
Almost all bicycle accidents are preventable. The number one thing roadway users can do to prevent incidents is to obey traffic and safety laws. Laws are in place to maintain order on New York’s roads and sidewalks. Obeying the law makes your actions on the roadway predictable to motorists around you. This increases your safety by decreasing the risk of collision. Obeying the law can also limit your liability in the event of a crash – potentially increasing your compensation amount in a lawsuit or settlement. A few New York bicycle laws you should know are as follows:
- Helmet laws. The law only requires bicycle riders and passengers under the age of 14 to wear bicycle helmets. Helmets must comply with federal and state safety regulations. New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1238 states that failure to wear a required helmet will not constitute assumption of fault or contributory negligence for a collision. If someone under the age of 14 wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time of a collision, this fact will not diminish his/her chances of compensation.
- Where to ride. Bicyclists must travel with the flow of traffic, as near to the right-hand side of the road as possible. The only time bicyclists can travel outside of the right-hand side is to make a left turn or to avoid hazardous conditions like debris or a ditch. Bicyclists may ride abreast of one anotherbut cannot ride next to vehicles when doing so. New York law does not permit bicyclists to ride between lanes, or “lane split.” In New York City, the law prohibits bicycling on sidewalks unless an official sign permits it. If there is a usable bike lane available, bicyclists on the roadway must use it.
- Bicycling under the influence. It is not technically legal or illegal to operate a bicycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in New York. The law in this state does not define bicycles as vehicles. It is up to police officer discretion whether or not to penalize bicyclists under the influence. Bicycling under the influence may impact a personal injury claim by placing at least partial liability with the bicyclist.
Breaking a bicycle law does not automatically place liability for a collision with you. New York is a pure comparative negligence state. The courts will still grant compensation to a plaintiff that contributed to the accident and injuries, even if the plaintiff was 99% at fault. It is worthwhile to speak to a knowledgeable Long Island personal injury attorney about your opportunity for compensation even if you broke a traffic law and contributed to the collision. You may still be eligible for financial recovery.
What to Do After a Bike Accident in New York
Bicycle accidents are scary. Keeping calm and taking the appropriate steps in the aftermath of a collision can be difficult even without injuries. If you have a broken bone, concussion, or laceration, keeping your wits about you can feel impossible. Knowing what to do after a bike accident can give you an anchor to hold onto in this delicate situation. Keep these five steps in mind in the event that you’re ever the victim of a bike accident in New York:
- Call the police. They need to know about any collision involving personal injuries, death, or property damage greater than $1,000. Even if you aren’t sure whether or not you have injuries, call 911. Police on the scene can give an official report of the collision, and collect important information like the name and license number of the driver as well as information of any eyewitnesses.
- Do not admit fault. Be polite to others involved in the collision but do not apologize or admit fault. Expect the other driver to also deny fault. Don’t let this bother you. A police investigation will document everything.
- Give facts to the police. Do what you can to tell your side of the story to the reporting police officer. Stick to the facts – do not speculate about fault. Describe any injuries in detail no matter how minor.
- Keep a record. It’s wise to keep your own record and documentation of the collision. Try your best to record information about the incident, taking photos if possible. Write down what happened in detail while it’s still fresh in your mind. Document your injuries using medical records, photographs, treatment programs, and prescription records.
- Seek help from a legal professional. Once you’ve sought medical attention for injuries, reach out to an aggressive Long Island bicycle accident lawyer at Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP. We can advise you on how to proceed with an insurance settlement agreement or a personal injury lawsuit. We will be able to represent you in the event that you need our help to secure just and fair compensation.
Bicycle accidents can be highly traumatic. Do your best to remain calm, gather facts, and contact the right people for assistance. When it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders after an injurious collision, speak to our accident attorneys. We can take over and handle everything while you focus on healing.
Liability and Damages
Everyone’s goal should be to avoid bicycle accidents altogether. Unfortunately, this is unrealistic. When bicycle collisions do occur in New York there is always the question of fault. Assigning fault is important because it leads to liability for damages. Although bicyclists almost always suffer greater damages in these collisions, motorists are not automatically at fault. It takes an investigation to assign fault and liability for pain and suffering.
There is always a chance that a judge or jury will find the bicyclist partially at fault for the collision. This may be the case if the biker was on the wrong side of the road, ignoring the right-of-way, breaking a traffic law, or biking under the influence. Getting the most for your bicycle collision claim requires proving the fault of the other party – a driver, another bicyclist, the State of New York, a municipality, or a defendant like a manufacturer for a defective product. Proving fault and assigning negligence are difficult legal tasks no matter whom you’re up against.
Protect Your Rights: Hire a Long Island Bicycle Accident Attorney
An attorney can be a significant ally during settlement negotiations with an insurance company or during a personal injury trial. The Long Island bicycle accident lawyers at Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP have decades of experience helping victims of bicycle and pedestrian accidents. Our attorneys have been instrumental in changing the laws regarding bicycle injuries, removing one of the barriers to recovery that previously existed. We successfully appealed a case involving a bicycle accident injury and had the appellate court rule in our favor, rejecting the argument that bicyclists assume the risk of injury by being on the road.
We can help you explore your legal opportunities while you recover from a serious personal injury or after the wrongful death of a loved one. After a bicycle accident in New York, call our attorneys at (631) 451-7900 as soon as you can for a free consultation. If we take your case, we will strive to maximize your compensation with aggressive litigation.