A New York bicycle accident lawyer helps maximize the settlement you could receive after someone hits you. It takes a lot of work, including investigating the wreck, reviewing medical records, working with experts, and negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf. Bicycle accident lawyers know New York’s bicycle laws and have experience dealing with insurance companies. Your attorney uses the laws, experience, and other factors to recover the compensation you deserve.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
If you have minor injuries after a bicycle accident, you can help your case by:
- Taking photos of the accident scene.
- Obtaining contact, license, insurance, and registration information from the driver.
- Obtaining witnesses’ contact information.
- Giving your statement to the police.
- Allowing emergency medical technicians to check you over.
- Seeking medical attention immediately after the accident, even if you believe your injuries are minor.
However, a bicycle doesn’t afford much protection, if any, against a much larger vehicle. Even the smallest subcompact vehicles can cause catastrophic injuries, including traumatic brain injuries or death to a bicyclist.
You should also contact a New York bicycle accident attorney as soon after the accident as possible. The initial case evaluation is free and without obligation. The attorney should also represent you on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay attorneys’ fees if they don’t win your case.
Even if you are still in the hospital, contact a New York bicycle accident lawyer. We can arrange a hospital visit, a telephonic case evaluation, or a video case evaluation. If a traumatic brain injury prevents you from speaking to us, your spouse may contact us to get the ball rolling.
Why You Should Retain a New York Bicycle Accident Lawyer
An attorney helps you recover the compensation you deserve in many ways. Some people believe they will receive more money if they do not have to “share” it with an attorney, but that is almost always not the case because of how insurance companies work.
While you recover from bicycle accident injuries, you shouldn’t have to deal with the stress of fighting with the insurance company to recover damages owed to you—and it will be a fight. The attorney writes a demand letter to open settlement negotiations and negotiates on your behalf. If the insurance company refuses a fair and reasonable settlement, the attorney prepares for a jury trial.
Your New York bicycle attorney hires forensic investigators to investigate the accident scene. The investigators will determine who was at fault for the accident. They will write a report that the attorney can use in settlement negotiations. Should your case go to trial, the investigators can testify to the events that led to and caused the accident.
The attorney reviews your medical records and expenses to determine the economic damages the at-fault driver or insurance company should pay. If the accident caused catastrophic injuries, such as head or traumatic brain injuries, the attorney might retain expert witnesses to create a report regarding the long-term or permanent disabilities you will endure. These professionals will also testify in court should the insurance company refuse a fair and reasonable settlement.
Fighting the Insurance Company
The last thing you want to do following your injury is arguing with the insurance company. Insurance companies are in business to make money. Any claim they pay out reduces their profits. Thus, they will find a reason to deny your claim or offer you a pittance.
Even if the evidence is cut-and-dried against their client, they will try to find a way to get out of paying. An insurance company uses tricks, like twisting what you say to place the blame for the accident on you. Personal injury attorneys recommend you do not speak to the insurance company about the accident and leave communication to them.
If you decide to notify the insurance company of an upcoming claim, give only your name, contact information, the date and location of the accident, and your attorney’s contact information.
The insurance company may try to coerce you into talking about the accident. Politely refer the insurance company to your attorney and end the call.
Another trick the insurance company uses is to admit its client is at fault. Before you get too excited, the insurance company tells you that it can only pay a small amount, which is almost always a lie. The insurance company will act like your best friend until you accept their lowball offer.
Thus, you should never speak to the insurance company or its attorneys and never sign any document an insurance company hands you without discussing it with an attorney.
Work with Medical Professionals to Delay Payments
Even if you use your health and auto insurance to cover some of your medical expenses until you receive your settlement or a trial award, you may have additional out-of-pocket medical expenses. The attorney can ask your medical professionals to hold off on collecting any outstanding expenses, including not reporting you to the credit bureaus.
In some cases, the attorney may know doctors and other medical professionals who automatically hold off on collecting and can refer you to those professionals.
Pay Medical Expenses
After receiving your settlement check, the attorney pays any outstanding medical expenses for you. The attorney reimburses your insurance companies if you used your health and auto insurance to cover medical expenses. After deducting attorneys’ fees and costs, they forward you the balance.
If you have ongoing medical expenses after the case is closed due to long-term or permanent disabilities, such as a traumatic brain injury, you will have the money to pay them as they arise.
Bicycle Accident Injuries
Because a bicycle rider does not have much protection, they could suffer catastrophic injuries or even lose their life. Depending on several factors, injuries could be minor or catastrophic, though minor injuries are usually the exception for bicycle accidents. Regardless of how minor you might believe your injuries, you should always seek medical attention after an accident.
Let the medical professionals know that you were in a bicycle accident and need a thorough checkup, including MRIs, CT scans, or other tests to find hidden injuries. If the emergency medical technicians believe you have a minor concussion, allow them to transport you to the hospital, as a minor concussion is considered a traumatic brain injury. Depending on your medical history and other factors, it could affect you differently within a few days or far down the road.
Other injuries could include:
- Bumps, bruises, scratches, and cuts.
- Strains and sprains.
- Pulled and torn muscles and other soft tissue injuries.
- Simple and compound fractures.
- Crushed bones and other crush injuries.
- Internal injuries.
- Road rash.
- Chemical or thermal burns.
- Amputation of a digit or limb.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Face and eye injuries.
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
- Back and spinal cord injuries.
In addition to injuries sustained directly in the wreck, you could also suffer secondary injuries, such as infections of open wounds, including surgical wounds. Bicycle accident injuries could also exacerbate existing illnesses or injuries. The at-fault driver is responsible for the additional medical expenses and pain and suffering of these injuries.
Recovering Damages After a New York Bicycle Accident
One of victims’ most common questions is, “How much is my case worth?” No attorney can take a guess and come close without reviewing your medical records, the police report, and other information from the accident. An attorney can tell you what type of damages you could recover after a New York bicycle accident.
Most accident victims recover compensatory damages in the form of economic damages. Some recover compensatory damages in the form of non-economic and economic damages. In most cases, you can only recover non-economic damages if your accident injuries caused long-term or permanent disabilities or if the accident caused the death of a loved one.
Even if you have obvious traumatic brain injuries, it is difficult to guess the financial outcome of a case since brain injuries affect everyone differently. You and another person could have the same brain injury, but one might recover faster than the other, or one might not recover at all.
The court orders a defendant to pay compensatory damages to make a victim whole again. Compensatory damages include economic damages, which have an established monetary value, and non-economic damages, which do not have a monetary value.
While the money cannot remove injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, or bring back a loved one, it does reduce the financial stress on you and your family if you can no longer work.
Sometimes referred to as special damages, economic damages include:
- Doctors’ appointments, surgeries, and follow-up appointments.
- Prescriptions and prescribed over-the-counter medications.
- Ambulatory aids.
- Prescribed medical equipment, such as shower chairs and oxygen tanks.
- Home health care.
- Rehabilitation or nursing home care.
- Therapy expenses, including cognitive, physical, psychological, and occupational therapies.
- Hand controls and other modifications to your vehicle, including lifts.
- Updates to your home, including but not limited to wheelchair ramps, grab bars, handrails, and widened doorways.
Certain injuries, such as head injuries, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries, might prevent you from working again. They might also allow you to work, but not for the salary you used to make and possibly only part-time.
You can recover compensation for the time you missed from the accident through the time you settle or win a jury trial. If your doctors believe you will never work again or cannot return to your prior work, you could recover loss of future earning capacity.
Your attorney will ask the at-fault driver for compensation that covers your salary from the time you were last paid, either from work or an amount included in the settlement for “current” lost wages, through the time you would normally retire. Your attorney also figures in cost of living increases and, depending on certain work-related factors, any raises you might miss out on between now and retirement.
You can also recover compensation from replacing or repairing any personal property destroyed or damaged in the accident, including your bicycle, cell phone, textbooks, or laptop computer.
If you lost a loved one in a bicycle accident, you could recover compensation for certain death-related expenses. The loved one does not have to die in the accident but could succumb to their injuries sometime after the accident.
You could recover:
- Funeral expenses.
- Burial expenses.
- Cremation expenses.
- Certain probate court fees and expenses.
- Probate attorneys’ fees and costs.
Sometimes referred to as general damages, non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
- Loss of quality of life if you have to make changes that affect you for the rest of your life, such as taking prescription medications or using ambulatory aids because of accident injuries.
- Loss of companionship if you can no longer enjoy spending time with your family or attending family activities and events.
- Loss of consortium if you can no longer enjoy a physical relationship with your spouse.
- Loss of use of a body part, such as a foot or arm.
- Loss of use of a bodily function, such as your eyesight or bladder.
- Inconvenience if you have to hire someone to do the chores you usually do, including but not limited to grocery shopping, lawn maintenance, house cleaning, and home repair and maintenance.
- Excessive scarring or disfigurement.
- Amputation of a digit or limb.
If you suffered a head injury or other catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one in a bicycle wreck, contact a New York bicycle accident attorney for a free case evaluation.
Mr. Finkelstein is the Managing Partner of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP. He has become a noted consumer activist through his representation of injured individuals against corporate wrongdoers and irresponsible parties.
An accomplished litigator, Mr. Finkelstein has represented Plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has successfully handled dozens of multi-million dollar cases.