New York City Bike Accident Attorney
Bicycle Accidents in Brooklyn & Throughout NYC
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.
Since 1972, our attorneys at Rubenstein & Rynecki have been fighting for maximum compensation for victims of bike accidents in Brooklyn and throughout New York City’s boroughs. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are ready to fight for you after a bike accident negatively impacts your health, well-being, and quality of life. We provide compassionate, personalized legal services and remain consistently available and accessible to our clients.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Despite a record number of miles of new bicycle lanes created in 2020, as well as overall fewer vehicles on the road during the COVID-19 pandemic, there were nearly as many bike accident fatalities—24—in New York City’s five boroughs last year as in 2019. In fact, 2020 was one of the deadliest years in recent history for everyone on the road, including both pedestrians and cyclists. Although Mayor De Blasio enacted his Vision Zero initiative, which aims to lower traffic-related fatalities to zero, you can still face serious accidents and injuries as the result of a drivers’ negligent actions.
Common examples of motorist negligence 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
- Driving while distracted, including texting and driving
Although a bicycle rider may share fault by not obeying traffic signals or by engaging in unsafe behavior, in many New York City car-and-bicycle accident cases, the negligent driver is to blame.
Tragically, many of these collisions are hit-and-runs, meaning the driver involved in the crash flees the scene before the cyclist can get their name, contact information, or insurance information. This can leave injured cyclists with relatively few options when it comes to recovering compensation—and it can leave the surviving family members of those wrongfully killed seeking answers and justice.
If you were injured in an accident in which the negligent driver fled before you had time to exchange information, or if your loved one was killed in a hit-and-run bicycle accident in New York City, turn to our team at Rubenstein & Rynecki. We are here to answer your questions, address your concerns, and fight for the justice and fair compensation you are owed.
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
- Spinal cord injury
- Herniated disc
- 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 Department of Transportation (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.
Responsibilities of Cyclists Sharing NYC Roads
Just as motorists have certain responsibilities to act reasonably and avoid engaging in conduct that could cause injury or harm to others, including cyclists, people who ride bikes on New York City roadways also have a certain responsibility to others.
Some of these responsibilities include:
- 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 cyclist. A vehicle blocking a bike lane is in violation of NYC traffic statutes. Cyclists can also collide with illegally parked vehicles.
Under the state’s comparative negligence laws, you can still file a personal injury claim and recover damages if you were partially at fault for an accident. However, your total recovery award will be reduced by the same percentage of fault you are found to have in the crash. For example, if a court decides that you were 25% to blame, you would only be able to recover up to 75% of the total amount you could have otherwise received.
Can You 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.
At Rubenstein & Rynecki, our NYC bike accident 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 non-economic 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. We believe that you should not have to simply deal with the consequences of another person or party’s negligence, and we are here to fight for the justice you deserve.
How to File a Bike Accident Claim
For minor property damage, you can handle the no-fault insurance claim yourself. However, when you suffer injury, you should consult with a lawyer to help you with your claim. Most attorneys—including ours at Rubenstein & Rynecki—take personal injury cases under the terms of “no recovery, no fee” and offer a free consultation for case evaluation.
Filing a claim for damages after a bicycle accident is a complicated and challenging process. You should spend this time focusing on healing, getting the medical care you need, and managing your everyday expenses while you are out of work recovering. You should not have to worry about handling complicated paperwork or negotiating with the insurance company. Instead, allow our team to deal with the various legal details of your case so that you do not have to.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation Today
Since 1972, our attorneys have been passionately fighting for the rights of victims throughout New York City. We bring extensive experience and an in-depth knowledge of the law, along with extensive resources, to every case. This allows us to develop personalized legal strategies and advocate for maximum recovery for each individual client.
Based in Brooklyn, we represent clients throughout the five boroughs. Our firm can assist you in English, Spanish, Russian, Romanian, Greek, or Creole, and we do not charge anything for consultations. Additionally, you pay zero attorney fees unless/until we recover compensation on your behalf.