New York City Bicycle Accident Attorneys Assist Injured Accident Victims
Our personal injury attorneys fight for justice
Faced with crowded streets and busy roadways, New Yorkers frequently rely on bicycles for an effective and economical mode of transportation. However, when careless drivers threaten your safety as a responsible cyclist, tragedy can strike. Even with the abundance of designated bike lanes and strict cycling laws, you are still at risk when you are on the streets. You could sustain life-altering injuries to your brain, spine and neck — or even risk a fatal collision. Rubenstein & Rynecki has more than 30 years of experience fighting for maximum awards for victims of New York bike accidents. Our attorneys are ready to fight for you after a bike accident has affected your health, well-being and quality of life.
Common causes of bicycle accidents
In 2018, there were 4,304 reported motor vehicle accidents — 10 of them fatal — involving bicycles throughout the five boroughs, according to the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT). Despite Mayor De Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, which increased the number of bike lanes in the city, you can still face injuries as the result of a driver’s negligent actions. These may include:
- Making an unsafe or illegal left or right turn
- Not obeying traffic signals
- Opening a vehicle door while a bicycle passes
- Sideswiping a bicycle
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Although a bicycle rider may share fault by not obeying traffic signals or by engaging in unsafe behavior, in many New York City car accident and bicycle accident cases, the negligent driver is to blame.
Injuries associated with bike accidents
When a 4,000-pound car or 33,000-pound tractor-trailer collides with a 30-pound bicycle, the bike rider is at an obvious ― and dangerous ― disadvantage. Even with a helmet and other safety gear, you could be at risk for such injuries as:
- Brain injury
- Skull fracture
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Severe bruising
- Abrasions and cuts
In the event of a fatal bike crash, the family of the victim may file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party. An experienced attorney can evaluate your circumstances and your potential compensation.
What are New York's bike lane laws?
Bicyclists must comply with the NY Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL). The city does not allow bicycles on sidewalks. There are numerous bike lanes around the city, which a DOT study shows have reduced serious accidents by 40 percent. While the VTL states you should ride in usable bike lanes, it allows some exceptions. You have the right to move out of bike lanes when you prepare to turn or to avoid unsafe conditions, such as:
- Fixed or moving objects
- Motor vehicles
- Other bicycles
- Dangerous surfaces
However, abruptly moving out of an unsafe lane and into traffic can put you at great risk and even expose you to liability for a crash.
Liabilities bikers face
Cyclists approaching intersections must observe the rules of the road. When making right turns, cyclists must use the closest lane to the curb. Before making a left turn, cyclists must merge to the center of the road. Failure to obey the law can make a biker partly liable for an accident. When a collision occurs, liability may be shared between the parties involved. A motorist negligently opening the door of a parked vehicle can strike a biker. A vehicle blocking a bike lane is in violation of NYC traffic statutes. Cyclists can also collide with illegally parked vehicles.
Can I sue in a New York bike accident?
The New York Insurance Law limits your right to sue to recover damages for your losses. For minor property damage, you can file a no-fault insurance claim. However, when you suffer a bodily injury, you should consult with a lawyer. Our attorneys can file your no-fault claim with that motorist’s insurance company. The motorist’s insurance must cover your "reasonable and necessary medical expenses," which includes lost wages related to your injury. You have 30 days to file a no-fault claim.
No-fault recoveries do not include compensation for noneconomic damages like pain and suffering. However, when your injuries meet the New York Insurance Law threshold for a “serious injury,” you are permitted to sue for such damages. In that case, you would be wise to seek professional legal help to manage the complicated legal issues. We handle insurance company communications, deal with defensive tactics and work effectively to maximize your recovery.
Contact our personal injury attorneys for a free bicycle accident consultation
Rubenstein & Rynecki in New York City has represented bicycle accident victims since 1972. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a bike accident, our attorneys may be able to help you. Call 718-522-1020 or contact us online for a free consultation. No recovery, no fee.