Bicycle Accidents

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Bicycle Accident Lawyers in Buffalo

In New York, if you are involved in a bicycle accident and you believe that the accident was caused by another party’s negligence, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover damages for any injuries or losses you have sustained.  To win a bicycle accident lawsuit in New York, you will need to prove that the other party had a duty to exercise reasonable care, that they breached that duty, and that this breach caused your injuries.

New York follows a “comparative negligence” rule, which means that if the court finds that you were also negligent in causing the accident, your damages may be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault.

What Injuries Do People Sustain in Bicycle Accidents?

Common injuries from bicycle accidents include head injuries, road rash, fractures, and internal injuries.  Head injuries are particularly serious and can lead to permanent brain damage or death.  Wearing a helmet can greatly reduce the risk of head injuries.  Road rash is a type of abrasion caused by skin coming into contact with the pavement.  Fractures can occur in any bone, but are common in the collarbone, arm, and leg.  Internal injuries, such as damage to organs, can also occur and may not be immediately apparent.

In a bicycle accident, your personal health insurance would typically be the primary coverage for any medical expenses.  If the other party is at fault and has liability insurance, such as car insurance, their policy may cover the accident.

What Type of Accidents Affect Bicyclists?

A “dooring” accident occurs when a cyclist collides with a car door that has been opened unexpectedly by a driver or passenger. This type of accident can result in serious injuries, including head trauma, broken bones, and even death.  As a cyclist, it is important to be aware of the possibility of dooring accidents and to always be on the lookout for cars parked on the side of the road. When passing parked cars, it is recommended to ride in the center of the lane, or at least far enough away from the parked cars that you will have time to react if a door is opened unexpectedly.  In many states, including New York, it is illegal to open a car door into the path of a cyclist or vehicle, and drivers and passengers are required to check for approaching traffic before opening the door.  If a cyclist is doored and it is determined that the driver or passenger was at fault, they may be held liable for the cyclist’s injuries and damages.

Additionally, bicyclists may struck by other vehicles.  Because the bicyclist does not have the protection of a vehicle around them the cyclist can be seriously injured.  Defects in riding paths and roadways also may affect cyclists.  On occasion, particularly in cycling events, bicyclists may collide with one another, causing injury.

Are There Laws That Protect Bicyclists in New York?

In New York, it is illegal to open a car door into the path of a cyclist or vehicle. This is covered under the state’s “Right to the Road” law, section 1214, which states that no person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and can give an appropriate signal if any other vehicle may be affected by the opening of the door.

A violation of these laws can result in fines and penalties. If a cyclist is doored and it is determined that the driver or passenger was at fault, they may also be held liable for the cyclist’s injuries and damages.

As a cyclist in New York, it is important to be aware of these laws and to always be on the lookout for cars parked on the side of the road, and to ride in a manner that allows you to react if a door is opened unexpectedly.

In New York, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists when riding on the road. This means that they are required to follow the same traffic laws, including obeying traffic signals and signs, and riding with the flow of traffic.

If a cyclist is involved in an accident while riding on the road and it is determined that they were not following the laws and regulations, they may be found to be at least partially at fault for the accident. In such cases, their ability to recover damages in a lawsuit may be limited.

However, if a cyclist is following the laws and regulations and is hit by a motorist who is found to be at fault, the cyclist may be able to recover damages in a lawsuit. Damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

What if I Am Partly at Fault?

In New York State, there is a “comparative negligence” rule, which means that even if the cyclist is found to be partly at fault, they may still be able to recover damages, but the amount of damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to them.

Drivers have a responsibility to look out for bicycles and take necessary precautions to avoid accidents. Here are a few key tips for drivers to ensure the safety of bicyclists:

  1. Always check for bicyclists before turning, changing lanes, or opening car doors.
  2. Give bicyclists enough space when passing, at least three feet.
  3. Always yield to bicyclists at intersections and crosswalks, even if they don’t have a traffic signal.
  4. Be aware that bicyclists may be riding on the shoulder or in bike lanes, and check for them before merging or turning.
  5. Watch for bicyclists when backing out of a driveway or parking space.
  6. Remember that bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists when riding on the road, and treat them with the same respect and consideration.
  7. Be especially cautious when driving in areas with a lot of bicyclists, such as near schools, parks, and bike trails.
  8. Be aware that bicyclists are more vulnerable to the road and weather conditions, and may need to take evasive action.
  9. Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol or while sleepy or texting.
  10. By following these tips, drivers can help ensure the safety of bicyclists and reduce the risk of accidents.

Can I Bring a Lawsuit if I Am Injured on a Bike?

Yes.  There are important and complex issues that need to be evaluated related to how the accident happened, who may be at fault, and what deadlines exist to bring a claim.  The personal injury attorneys at The Coppola Firm have decades of experience representing people who have been injured. We are conveniently located in suburban Amherst, New York, with a ground floor office, close, free parking, and easy office access.  Our lawyers will come to meet you at your home, office, or hospital, or via call or videoconference to minimize your need to travel, if you like.  The lawyers at The Coppola Firm represent people across the State of New York.

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