Understanding Your Rights After A Bicycle Accident

Understanding Your Rights After A Bicycle Accident
Calendar icon April 12, 2024

Bicycling is more than a leisurely activity or a convenient mode of transportation; for many, it’s a way of life. However, amidst the joys of cycling, there’s a serious potential risk — bicycle accidents. These accidents can be traumatic, resulting in serious injuries or even fatalities. If you or a loved one are involved in a bicycle accident, it’s imperative to understand your rights and the legal avenues available for recourse.

Bicycle Accidents Statistics

Statistics illustrate the surprising reality of bicycle safety on the roads. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are an average of 883 bicyclists involved in a fatal accident each year over the past 5 years. These figures don’t account for the thousands more that sustain injuries annually, which is roughly 45,400 individuals each year across the United States. 

Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents

Understanding the common causes of bicycle accidents is the first step in preventing them. Some commonly seen causes of bicycle accidents include:

  • Driver Negligence: One of the leading causes of bicycle accidents is driver negligence, such as distracted driving, speeding, failure to yield, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Dooring: This occurs when a driver or passenger opens a car door directly into the path of an oncoming cyclist, causing a collision.
  • Unsafe Road Conditions: Poorly maintained roads, lack of designated bike lanes, and hazardous road conditions can increase the risk of accidents for cyclists.
  • Defective Bicycle Parts: Sometimes, accidents can occur due to defective bicycle parts, such as brakes, tires, or frames, leading to loss of control and crashes.
  • Failure to Obey Traffic Laws: Both cyclists and motorists failing to adhere to traffic laws, such as running red lights or stop signs, can result in collisions.

Common Injuries From Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, from minor bruises to severe, life-threatening conditions. Some of the most common injuries sustained by cyclists include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): Head injuries are a significant concern for cyclists, even when wearing helmets. TBIs can range from concussions to more severe brain damage, leading to long-term disabilities.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Accidents involving significant impacts can cause spinal cord injuries, resulting in paralysis or loss of motor function.
  • Fractures and Orthopedic Injuries: Broken bones, dislocations, and sprains are common injuries in bicycle accidents, often requiring extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: Cyclists may suffer from cuts, bruises, and abrasions due to contact with the road surface or other objects during a crash.

What To Do After A Bicycle Accident To Protect Your Rights

If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, it’s essential to understand your legal rights and options for seeking compensation for your injuries and damages. Here are some steps to take:

  • Seek Medical Attention: After an accident, your health should be the top priority. Even if you don’t believe your injuries are severe, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident. Some injuries may not be apparent right away, and prompt medical care can prevent future complications.
  • Document the Accident: If you are physically able, try to document the accident scene by taking photos or videos of the vehicles involved, your injuries, road conditions, and any relevant traffic signs or signals. Collect contact information from any witnesses who may have seen the accident.
  • Report the Accident: After an accident, especially one involving a motor vehicle, it’s important to get a police report. Even if the injuries seem minor, filing a police report creates an official record of the incident, which can serve as an important piece of evidence if you’re filing an insurance claim or pursuing legal action.
  • Contact an Attorney: Dealing with the aftermath of a bicycle accident can be overwhelming, especially when trying to navigate the legal process on your own. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in bicycle accidents can help protect your rights and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries from the insurance company.
  • Consider Your Legal Options: Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party to recover damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. An attorney can review the details of your case and advise you on the best course of action.

Dealing With Insurance Companies After An Accident

Dealing with the insurance company after a bike accident can be a complex and sometimes daunting process. Here are some key tips to help you navigate conversations with insurance adjusters:

  • Report the Accident Promptly: Notify your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. Provide them with accurate and detailed information about the incident, including the date, time, location, and parties involved.
  • Be Honest and Accurate: When speaking with insurance adjusters, be truthful and provide concise information about the accident and your injuries. Avoid accepting blame for the accident, exaggerating, or downplaying your injuries, as this can undermine your credibility.
  • Document Everything: Keep thorough records of all communication with the insurance company, including phone calls, emails, and letters. Take notes during conversations and keep copies of any documents or correspondence related to your claim.
  • Don’t Accept the First Offer: Insurance companies often try to settle claims quickly and for the lowest possible amount. Don’t accept the first settlement offer without carefully reviewing and considering your options. It may be beneficial to consult with a personal injury attorney to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
  • Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with your rights under your own insurance policy and the state laws where the accident occurred. Understanding your rights can help you advocate for yourself and protect your interests during negotiations with the insurance company.
  • Don’t Sign Anything Without Review: Before signing any documents or agreements from the insurance company, review them carefully and make sure you understand the terms and conditions. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to seek clarification from your attorney or the insurance adjuster.
  • Consider Legal Representation: If you encounter challenges or disputes with the insurance company, consider hiring a personal injury attorney who specializes in bicycle accidents. An attorney can help protect your rights, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

Dealing with the insurance company after a bike accident requires patience, diligence, and a clear understanding of your rights. By following these tips and seeking legal guidance when needed, you can navigate the claims process with confidence and maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation for your losses.

Do You Need a Bicycle Accident Attorney?

After a bicycle accident, one of the first questions that may come to mind is whether you need to hire a bicycle accident attorney. While not every accident requires legal representation, consulting with an attorney can be immensely beneficial, especially in complex cases involving serious injuries or disputes over liability.

Here are a few reasons why you might consider hiring a bicycle accident attorney:

  • Legal Expertise: Personal injury law can be intricate, and navigating the legal process on your own can be daunting, particularly when dealing with insurance companies and at-fault parties. A knowledgeable attorney can guide you through the process, ensuring your rights are protected every step of the way.
  • Assessment of Damages: Calculating the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, can be challenging. An experienced attorney can help you assess the true value of your claim and negotiate with insurance companies to secure fair compensation.
  • Investigation and Evidence Gathering: Building a strong case requires thorough investigation and gathering of evidence. An attorney can conduct a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances of the accident, gather relevant evidence, and consult with experts if necessary to strengthen your case.
  • Negotiation Skills: Insurance companies often try to minimize their liability and settle claims for the lowest possible amount. Having an attorney on your side who is skilled in negotiation can help to protect your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
  • Litigation Representation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, your attorney can represent you in court and advocate for your rights at trial.

Ultimately, whether you need a bicycle accident attorney depends on the specific circumstances of your case. However, consulting with an attorney can provide valuable insight into your legal options and help you make informed decisions about how to proceed.

Evidence To Build Strong Bicycle Accident Case

To help build a strong case, your lawyer will extensively collect and examine all the necessary evidence, which includes:

  • Police and accident reports
  • Witness statements
  • Medical records linked to the injuries
  • Documentation of missed work and lost wages
  • Photos or videos of the accident scene and the injuries sustained

By gathering and preserving evidence from your accident, you can assist your attorney in helping to build a case that proves you were not liable for your injuries. In instances of more complicated accidents, your attorney may also enlist the assistance of an accident reconstructionist or medical professional to strengthen your claims. 

Compensation for Bicycle Accident Victims

Determining typical compensation for a bike accident in New York can be challenging as it varies widely depending on the specific circumstances of each case. Several factors can influence the amount of compensation awarded, including the severity of the injuries, the extent of property damage, the impact on the victim’s life and livelihood, and any contributory negligence.

However, in New York, compensation for bicycle accidents typically covers the following categories of damages:

  • Economic: This can include anything that directly impacts the injured party’s finances like medical bills and lost wages. 
  • Non-economic: These damages can include non-tangible items like pain and suffering and loss of consortium. 

An experienced personal injury attorney can help victims assess their damages accurately and pursue fair compensation for their losses.

Working Within The Statute of Limitations

In New York, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim, including those related to bicycle accidents, is typically three years. This means that if you’ve been injured, you have up to three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party to seek compensation for their injuries and damages.

It’s important to note that the statute of limitations is a strict deadline, and if a claim is not filed within the specified timeframe, you may lose their right to seek compensation through the legal system. There may be exceptions to the statute of limitations depending on the specific circumstances of the case, such as if the injured party is a minor or if the injury was not immediately apparent. 

Contact Cellino Law

Experiencing a bicycle accident can be a life-altering event, but you don’t have to go through it alone. At Cellino Law, we understand the complexities of bicycle accident cases and are committed to ensuring that you’re not only heard but also compensated fairly for your suffering. We’re well-versed in the rights of cyclists and have a track record of successfully representing those injured in bicycle accidents. Our team of attorneys will work tirelessly to seek the justice and compensation you deserve. So, if you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, don’t hesitate. Contact Cellino Law today at 888-888-8888, and let us take the legal burden off your shoulders, so you can focus on what truly matters—your recovery and well-being.

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Content checked by the personal injury attorney Ross Cellino. As a family man and a trial attorney, I pride myself on winning cases and serving the community. With over 35 years of experience, I understand the function of a jury, how juries arrive at conclusions, and the role that the jury plays in administering justice. I know how to win cases. You can find us in Manhattan, Buffalo, Melville, Rochester, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and other locations throughout New York.

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