Bicycle accidents may not get nearly as much media time as auto accidents, but they can be just as dangerous, especially when pedestrians are involved. Bicyclists can hit pedestrians, or they may be hit by cars on New York City’s busy streets or elsewhere throughout the state.
If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, you may need medical attention and may be required to file a police report. Understanding what to do after a bicycle accident – and what legal steps are available once you’re safe – is crucial to maximizing the potential compensation you may receive from an at-fault party.
The right bicycle accident attorneys can make securing compensation easier. Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. has years of experience serving New Yorkers just like you in bike accidents, auto accidents, and other personal injury cases. This wealth of experience makes us uniquely adept at securing positive verdicts and settlements for bike accident victims, sometimes ranging up to several million dollars.
New York bicycle accident attorneys can make a massive difference in your lawsuit’s chances of success. Let’s break down the benefits of hiring a bike accident attorney and explore what you should do in the immediate aftermath of an accident to improve your lawsuit’s results.
Are Bicycle Accidents Common?
Bicycle accidents might be more common than you think. According to official New York City data, 2020 alone saw:
- Approximately 6300 crashes between bicycles and automobiles
- Approximately 340 crashes between bicycles and pedestrians
- Approximately 125 crashes between two or more bicycles
- Approximately 214 crashes with just one bicycle
Furthermore, city data indicates that approximately 300 pedestrians and 55 bicyclists are injured due to bicycle accidents each year.
Bicycles are vulnerable to many of the same hazards and dangers as automobiles, and their riders are even more vulnerable since they are more exposed than automobile occupants. Whether you walk the streets of the Big Apple or like to ride your bike, you must be prepared for bicycle accidents in addition to auto accidents.
Why Are Bike Accidents So Dangerous?
Auto accidents can be dangerous, but bike accidents are often even more so. Bicyclists don’t typically wear much protective gear while on the road, aside from a helmet and potentially some padded clothing. This is doubly true for many New Yorkers, who may pedal down the streets without any protection whatsoever as they hurry from place to place.
Bicyclists share the roadways with heavy automobiles and distracted drivers all the time. Additionally, New York’s sidewalks are not available for bicycling like they are in other metropolitan areas, given the prevalence of pedestrians.
Add to that chaotic intersections, noise, and other distractions, and you have a recipe for biking hazards that many bicyclists encounter each year. Even a small tumble from your bicycle could lead to an impact with a vehicle or a significant injury.
Bike accidents are even more dangerous if they involve a motor vehicle. The average car weighs several thousand pounds at minimum. Even when moving at relatively slow speeds like 20 mph, they can transfer a massive amount of kinetic energy to an unwary bicyclist. In certain bicycle accidents, an impact that seems minor to a driver could be severe or deadly to a bicyclist.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents
In many cases, bike accidents occur due to the same root causes as car accidents. These root causes include:
- Inclement weather, such as biking when it is raining or when the roads have frozen over
- Biking while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Biking during heavy traffic
- Biking on inappropriate walkways, such as sidewalks
- Distracted drivers behind the wheel
- Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Although bicycles don’t weigh nearly as much as cars, they can still cause major injuries to those they hit. Additionally, bicyclists must be careful when maneuvering on New York City’s roadways – even careful drivers may still lose their attention for a second and impact an unwary bicyclist, causing severe injuries as a result.
Bicycle Accident Injuries
Bike accident injuries can range from minor to moderate to severe depending on how many people are involved, whether the incident involves an automobile, and other factors. You may experience the following injuries if you’re involved in a bicycle accident:
- Broken bones
- Road rash
- Spinal damage
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries
While many bicyclists wear protective gear like helmets or kneepads, these are not always enough to protect you from becoming injured if your bicycle accident includes a car. Even single-person bicycle accidents can lead to injuries for the victim – for instance, if they ride their bike across a hazardous stretch of road and crash into a lamppost.
If you are injured in a bicycle accident, you may not necessarily need to pay for the costs of recovery yourself. Additionally, any damage to your bicycle may be covered by compensation upon a successful lawsuit.
If you’re interested in pursuing a lawsuit, contact our team at 1-800-966-4999.
What To Do After a Bicycle Accident
If you’re involved in a bicycle accident, you should immediately get yourself and anyone else involved to safety. If you are a bicyclist, get out of the road (if applicable) and help anyone else to safety if possible. If you can’t move, contact 911 and request emergency services.
If you’re a driver or a pedestrian, you should also try to get out of the way of traffic and help anyone who may need assistance moving.
Once everyone is out of the road, assess for injuries and damages. Any serious medical injuries should be prioritized over minor wounds like scrapes. A bicycle accident should be reported to the emergency authorities to make sure a police report documents the incident. Any victims should be examined for head trauma or other latent injuries that may not be outwardly apparent. A record of any injuries will help if you choose to file a case later on.
Only after you and any others have been stabilized or seen by medical personnel should you consider a lawsuit or legal recourse.
You should also take pictures or videos of the scene of the accident and any potential injuries. While gathering information, get details from responding officers and professionals who show up to the scene, like their names and who they work for, as well as witness statements.
Legal Steps To Take After a Bike Accident
Things can seem chaotic and unclear in the immediate aftermath of a bike accident, and you may not know exactly who was at fault.
If you’re not injured, write down your eyewitness account, so you have it on hand for later court needs. Writing down your account immediately after the incident will help avoid your memory from making mistakes. It could be invaluable when your lawyer attempts to prove another party’s negligence.
Contact a bicycle accident attorney as soon as you are able. The faster your lawyers can begin work on your case, the better your odds of recovering as much compensation as possible from an at-fault party.
Once you contact your attorneys, tell them everything and provide them with written copies of your notes. Legal teams like Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. will then keep the notes on record and compare them to the eyewitness accounts of others involved in the incident.
In many cases, what you record can improve your chances of receiving a big payout when all is said and done.
How an Experienced Lawyer Can Help Your Case
You might think that lawyers aren’t necessary for bicycle accidents, especially those that don’t cause major injuries. That’s not true at all.
Lawyers with experience in bike accidents have an in-depth understanding of New York traffic laws. They may be able to determine which party, if any, is ultimately at fault for the accident in question. For example, your attorney may be able to identify whether you, a driver, or a third party caused the chain reaction that led to injuries and damages.
That’s crucial because the compensation you’ll receive for your case is contingent on how convincing your evidence is. Even if you escape from a bike accident without major injuries, your bicycle itself might be damaged or destroyed and need replacing.
Compensation can range from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars or more. It can be used to pay for past and future medical bills, destroyed property, pain and suffering, and more.
Bicycle accident attorneys like Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. can help you in several specific ways. Call us at 1-800-966-4999 because you have a limited time to collect the money and benefits you may be entitled to.
Your lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need for your lawsuit to succeed. Evidence could include police reports, eyewitness accounts (including your own), information about your bicycle, reports from companies involved in the accident, and vehicle reports if any drivers were present.
This evidence could prove crucial during testimony and when you present your facts to the court. Perhaps more importantly, your lawyer can handle all this legwork for you and keep it organized, allowing you to recover without worrying about all the minor details.
Speaking of details, your lawyer will help you file your paperwork on time correctly, avoiding any potential delays in your lawsuit. They’ll also ensure that you file your bike accident lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires.
The statute of limitations for bike accidents can vary heavily depending on the specifics of the case. For instance, if your bike accident is classified as an auto accident, your statute of limitations may be up to three years from the date of the accident. But if your lawsuit is instead classified as a personal injury, you may have only up to one or two years from the accident’s date to file.
Your lawyer will keep all these dates in mind, so you don’t have to.
Provide Support and Representation
Above all else, bike accident lawyers can give you the moral and legal support you need while acting as your dedicated representatives. Recovering from a bike accident can be taxing physically and mentally, and you may not wish to converse with the at-fault party or handle the case specifics.
When you hire a bike accident lawyer, you can instead let your legal team do the heavy lifting. A lawyer can:
- Negotiate with insurance providers
- Negotiate with other parties in the accident
- Present your evidence convincingly to the court
- Coach you if you need to provide testimony
The right bike accident lawyer can make or break your lawsuit, which is why choosing the best legal team for your needs is paramount.
Bicycle accidents can cause serious injuries, but you don’t have to file your lawsuit and pursue compensation alone. Bicycle accident attorneys can take a major load off your shoulders and help you get the funds you need to pay for your medical bills, repair your bicycle, and more when you give them a call.
That’s why you should call attorneys with experience in bicycle accidents like Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. With practice areas ranging from personal injury to auto accidents to medical malpractice and more, we’re well-equipped and ready to assist with your bicycle accident case.
More than that, we’ll stand by you throughout the court proceedings and ensure that your bike accident case receives the attention it deserves from a judge. If someone was ultimately responsible for your bike accident and any injuries, we’ll help you secure damages from them fairly and promptly.
Best of all, we now offer free case evaluations and are currently accepting new bike accident clients. There’s no time to lose and no reason to wait to get the best New York legal representation working for you. Call Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. at 1-800-966-4999 today and let us help you!