Monday, September 16, 2013

Bicycle Accidents and Safety

With the advent of new bike lanes throughout New York City, coupled with the recently launched bike sharing programs providing easy access to bicycles in Manhattan and Brooklyn, Bicycle accidents are fast becoming more common occurrences in and around the New York area.

These accidents can occur for a wide variety of reasons including: potholes; unsafe conditions; negligent repairs; manufacturer defects in bicycles; helmets, accessories; drivers not paying attention, etc. Dangerous conditions can occur on public or private property and often times the property owner may be held liable.

Depending on the circumstances of an accident you can still sue the driver who hit you even if you were partly at fault. Sometimes bicyclists are at fault themselves. New York is a comparative negligence state which means that a bicyclist's own mistakes do not bar him from suing a vehicle operator who also contributed to the accident. Your recovery will be reduced by the percentage that you are found to be at fault. In other words, if the jury were to award you $2 million for your injuries but determined that you were 50% at fault, your recovery would be limited to $1 million dollars.

The New York State Insurance Law provides that a bicyclist must file a No-Fault claim within thirty days of the accident with the insurance carrier for the vehicle that hit him or her regardless of who was at fault. No-Fault provides coverage not only for necessary medical expenses, but for a portion of your lost earnings as well. If the bicyclist was injured on the job, Workers' Compensation will pay the medical bills. We can explain what documents you will need to file under either circumstance.

By listening to the details of your bicycle injury case, a good attorney can make a reasonable assessment of potential damages and liable parties. At Cheriff & Fink, P.C., we will listen to the details of your case and help determine who was at fault. In addition, we commonly utilize a variety of experts that can help reconstruct the circumstances of your accident and establish potential liabilities.

Sometimes injuries occur because of reasons outside the impact itself.  For example, a bicycle defect may lead or be the causing factor of one or more injuries incurred during an accident.  Defected parts or poorly designed bicycles may also lead to unnecessary injuries that were not the direct result of the accident itself. The following is a list of the common situations that can cause car accident injuries:
-         Drivers under the influence of alcohol
-         Dangerous railroad crossings that cause accidents
-         Defective tires
-         Defective helmets and equipment

Make sure you seek medical attention for any injuries that you received as a result of the accident as soon as possible.  This way any claims of injury cannot be refuted by saying that they happened between the time of the accident and the medical visit.  

If you have any questions, call Bruce Cheriff and Ken Fink at Cheriff & Fink, P.C.

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