New York Bike Accident Lawyer
In 2015, the number of bicycle accidents resulting in fatalities exceeded 800, with thousands of individuals sustaining severe injuries. Bicycling is a popular activity among people of all ages, and learning to ride a bicycle without training wheels is often seen as a rite of passage for children. While biking is generally safe, accidents can still occur, particularly when cars are involved. When a bicycle crash happens, the bicyclist is often left with significant injuries due to the lack of protection from the open-air environment. Consequently, bicycle accidents can result in life-threatening injuries, such as head and brain injuries, which are among the most common. Additionally, bicyclists frequently suffer arm and wrist fractures as they instinctively try to break their fall by extending their arms. Back and spinal cord injuries are also prevalent and can lead to long-term disabilities. Internal injuries affecting the abdominal area and internal organs can even be fatal. Following a bike accident, it is important to seek medical evaluation to ensure any injuries are properly treated. It is also advisable to contact an experienced New York bike accident lawyer who is knowledgeable not only in personal injury law but also in the specific regulations pertaining to bicyclists.Common Causes of Bike Accidents
Bike accidents can occur due to various factors, and it's important to understand the common causes to prevent such incidents and determine liability in the event of an accident. The following are some of the most prevalent causes of bike accidents:
- Failure of car drivers to yield the right-of-way to bicyclists: One of the leading causes of bike accidents is when car drivers fail to give bicyclists the right-of-way. This can happen at intersections, crosswalks, or when merging lanes. Drivers may not pay enough attention or misjudge the speed or distance of a cyclist, resulting in a collision.
- Failure of car drivers to check for cyclists before making a turn at an intersection: Bike accidents often occur when drivers make turns at intersections without properly checking for cyclists. Drivers may overlook or fail to notice a cyclist in their blind spot or underestimate their speed, leading to a collision when the cyclist has the right-of-way.
- Failure of car drivers to stop at a sign or red light: Disregarding traffic signs and signals is a dangerous behavior that can result in bike accidents. When drivers fail to stop at a stop sign or red light, they may collide with cyclists who are rightfully proceeding through the intersection.
- Cars drifting into bike lanes: Many roads have designated bike lanes to provide a safe space for cyclists. However, bike accidents can occur when drivers unintentionally or negligently drift into these lanes, either due to distractions, lack of awareness, or careless lane changes.
- Dooring: Dooring accidents happen when a parked vehicle occupant opens a car door without checking for approaching cyclists. This sudden door opening can create a hazardous situation for cyclists who may not have enough time to react or maneuver around the door, leading to severe collisions.
- Distracted driving, including texting while driving: Distracted driving is a significant cause of all types of accidents, including bike accidents. When drivers divert their attention from the road, particularly by engaging in activities like texting, talking on the phone, or using electronic devices, they become more prone to colliding with cyclists.
- Drunk driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs significantly impairs a driver's judgment, coordination, and reaction time. Intoxicated drivers may have difficulty maintaining control of their vehicles and fail to notice or yield to cyclists, posing a significant risk to their safety.
Bicycle accident victims can sustain a wide range of injuries, varying in severity depending on the circumstances of the accident. Some common types of injuries experienced by bicycle accident victims include:
- Head Injuries: Head injuries are among the most serious and potentially life-threatening injuries in bicycle accidents. These can range from concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) to skull fractures. Wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the risk of head injuries, but they can still occur, especially in high-impact collisions.
- Facial Injuries: The face is particularly vulnerable in bicycle accidents. Victims may suffer facial fractures, lacerations, contusions, dental injuries, or damage to the eyes, nose, or jaw. These injuries can require extensive medical treatment, including surgery and reconstructive procedures.
- Bone Fractures: Bicycle accidents often result in broken bones due to the impact between the cyclist and the ground, a vehicle, or objects. Fractures commonly occur in the arms, legs, wrists, hands, collarbones, ribs, and hips. Severe fractures may necessitate surgical intervention, immobilization with casts or splints, and a lengthy recovery period.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Bicycle accidents can cause spinal cord injuries, which can have long-term or permanent consequences. These injuries can result in partial or complete paralysis, loss of sensation, motor function impairment, and a reduced quality of life. Spinal cord injuries require immediate medical attention and ongoing rehabilitative care.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: Soft tissue injuries refer to damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues in the body. These injuries often include sprains, strains, contusions (bruises), and whiplash. Soft tissue injuries can be painful and lead to limitations in mobility and functionality.
- Road Rash: Road rash occurs when a cyclist's skin scrapes against the pavement during an accident, causing abrasions. These injuries can range from minor scrapes and bruises to deep wounds that require medical attention, including cleaning, debridement, and dressing to prevent infection.
- Internal Injuries: Bicycle accidents can cause internal injuries that may not be immediately apparent. These injuries can include damage to organs such as the lungs, liver, spleen, or kidneys. Internal bleeding and organ damage can be life-threatening and may require emergency medical intervention.
- Psychological Injuries: Bicycle accidents can also have a significant psychological impact on victims. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other emotional disorders can develop as a result of the accident and its aftermath. Victims may require therapy or counseling to cope with the psychological trauma.
It is important to note that the severity of injuries can vary widely depending on factors such as the speed of the vehicles involved, the use of safety equipment, the point of impact, and the overall health and age of the victim. Seeking immediate medical attention after a bicycle accident is crucial, even if injuries initially appear minor, as some injuries may manifest or worsen over time.Compensable Damages
Under New York law, victims of bicycle accidents who sustain serious injuries have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault party. Depending on the specific circumstances of the case, the following types of compensation may be available:
- Medical Bills: As a victim of a bike accident, you can seek compensation for medical expenses related to the accident.
- Lost Income: If your injuries caused you to miss work and lose income during your recovery, you are entitled to demand compensation for the wages you lost.
- Pain and Suffering: Bicycle accident victims can seek compensation for pain and suffering, which includes chronic pain, emotional distress, scarring, disfigurement, and other long-lasting symptoms.
- Property Loss: If your bike was damaged in the accident, you have the right to demand compensation for repairs or, if it is beyond repair, the replacement value of the bike.
- Wrongful Death: In tragic cases where a bike accident results in the death of the victim, the decedent's personal representative may file a wrongful death claim.
If you find yourself involved in a bicycle accident in New York, it is essential to seek the assistance of an experienced bike accident attorney serving New York to navigate the legal complexities and protect your rights. Stephen Bilkis & Associates, we understand the unique nature of these personal injury cases involving bicycles and have a deep understanding of the relevant laws and regulations in New York. We prioritize the protection of your legal rights and strive to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages. Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent injured victims in the following locations: Westchester County, Suffolk County, Staten Island, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, and Queens.