Smithtown, NY Bicycle Accident Lawyer
In a bicycle accident, you are vulnerable to serious injuries. In a car accident, you have the car around you to protect you, as well as added protection from seat belts, airbags, and other safety devices. In a bicycle accident, you could be directly hit by a car or pushed to the ground with little padding or insulation.
If you suffered injuries in a bicycle accident, you could be entitled to compensation from the driver who hit you. Getting this compensation, however, is not always simple. Working with a lawyer can help you get compensation you might not have known you were entitled to, and we can fight negligent drivers and their insurance companies to maximize your damages.
Call (718) 841-0083 for a free case review with the bicycle accident lawyers at The Carrion Law Firm today.
Determining Fault in a Bicycle Accident in Smithtown, NY
When you are hit by a car while riding a bike, it is likely that the driver of that car is at fault. However, there are some particular legal questions to answer to determine fault. A closer look at the specific facts of your case is often necessary before our bicycle accident lawyers can determine who is at fault – but these general principles can help you determine fault in your case.
Laws for Cyclists
In New York, bicycle riders are supposed to be treated like cars, but with some notable exceptions. That means that cyclists should ride on the street, but they are supposed to ride in bike lanes instead if a bike lane is available. It also means cyclists should stop at stop signs and red lights, signal when turning, follow speed limits, and otherwise follow the rules of the road, which some exceptions carved out because the vehicle is human-powered.
If a cyclist was riding on the sidewalk or expecting to be treated like a pedestrian, that could play into questions of fault. This could potentially make the bicycle rider partially at fault for the crash – but that might not be enough to make them lose their case.
Fault Based on Traffic Violations
Fault is typically determined in an auto accident case by looking at who was following the law and who broke it. For example, a speeding driver, a drunk driver, or a driver who ran a red light is often held accountable in a crash where the other driver was following all the rules of the road. The same is true in bicycle accidents: a driver who caused the crash because they broke the law can often be held liable.
As we touched on above, a bicycle rider can also be accused of violating the law if they did something unsafe or did something a vehicle is not allowed to do.
Fault Based on Unreasonable Driving
If no law was explicitly violated, the driver can still be found at fault for a crash if they did something unreasonable or unsafe. For example, distracted driving laws primarily focus on cell phone use, but a driver can also be distracted by conversations, food, or even the radio. If a driver was unreasonably engrossed in adjusting their radio when they hit a cyclist they did not see, then they could be held responsible for the crash because their distracted driving was unreasonable.
This standard is supposed to be an objective one, based on what an ordinary driver of reasonable prudence would do behind the wheel in the same situation.
While the driver who hit you might ultimately be the most at fault, courts can assign partial fault to each driver or cyclist involved in a crash. This could mean holding multiple drivers at fault if they each contributed to the accident. It can also mean holding a cyclist partially responsible for the collision that injured them.
Under New York’s rules, each driver is assigned a percentage of the blame for the crash. Each defendant then pays that share of the damages. Any remaining damages attributed to the cyclist are left to the victim to pay out of pocket.
For example, if your case is worth $100,000 and two drivers were each found 50% at fault, they each pay you $50,000. If you were found 10% at fault and the other driver was found 90% at fault, they pay you $90,000 and you do not recover the other $10,000, leaving you to cover those damages on your own.
How a Lawyer Can Help You Recover Compensation in a Smithtown, NY Bicycle Accident Case
Injured cyclists might not be familiar with the laws surrounding accidents, insurance, and lawsuits. One of the primary ways that a lawyer can help you is by handling all of the legal issues for you, allowing you to focus on your recovery. More specifically though, our lawyers can help you after a bicycle accident with each of the following issues:
To bring a claim for injuries, you need evidence of what happened and who was responsible. Our lawyers can get statements from witnesses, take pictures of the scene of the accident, obtain police reports, and use your medical records to help prove your injuries.
As a non-lawyer, you might have little to no experience calculating damages in an injury case. Our lawyers have experience calculating compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages related to bicycle accidents. We can make sure that these calculations are backed up by evidence to help show the insurance company or the court what your case is worth.
Dealing with Insurance
Insurance companies often make it harder to collect compensation because they will refuse to cover damages in full or deny their driver’s fault. In bicycle accident claims, the driver’s insurance is supposed to cover you on a no-fault basis regardless of who caused the crash. However, this does not cover damages in full. Our lawyers can fight to file additional liability claims or lawsuits. We can also negotiate with insurance for full compensation.
If your case needs to go to court, our lawyers are prepared to file the case and represent you throughout the whole process.
Smithtown, NY Bicycle Accident Attorneys Offering Free Case Evaluations
If you were hurt and need help recovering damages in a bicycle accident case, call (718) 841-0083 for a free case evaluation with The Carrion Law Firm’s bicycle accident lawyers.