After suffering injuries in a bicycle accident, you may find yourself dealing with a lot of financial challenges. You have to repair your bike, which can prove costly depending on your bike’s worth. You may have considerable medical bills, especially if you sustained serious injuries. On top of that, you may find yourself completely rearranging many areas of your life.
How much is your bicycle accident worth in New York? It can depend on many factors, but a New York bicycle accident attorney will be able to help you determine what kind of compensation you can recover following your accident.
Who caused your bicycle accident?
To determine the value of your bicycle accident claim, you may need to start with a look at who caused your bicycle accident. In many cases, the party that caused your bicycle accident will carry an insurance policy designed to protect you in the event of an accident. Auto insurance, for example, will cover the cost of bicycle accident injuries and injuries caused by another auto accident. Likewise, many employers carry policies to protect them when their employees cause any type of accident.
The insurance policy that covers the liable party may greatly impact the compensation you can recover after your New York bicycle accident. In many cases, those policies will contain clear limits that will lay out what compensation the victim can expect and what areas of compensation the policy actually covers. Some policies, including commercial policies, may offer higher-value coverage than others.
What injuries did you sustain in your New York bicycle accident, and what treatment did you require for those injuries?
In order to determine the compensation you may deserve for your New York bicycle accident, your lawyer will generally start with a look at what injuries you sustained in the accident.
Your medical bills will generally stand as the highest financial loss you suffer due to your bicycle accident. You might have a long road to recovery and equally high medical bills if you suffer extreme injuries. If you sustained relatively minor injuries, on the other hand, your medical costs might remain much lower and much more affordable.
Your lawyer may help you break down the specific medical costs you sustained due to your accident.
Emergency Medical Care
Across New York, you can find a number of hospitals and emergency rooms, from NYC Health + Hospitals in New York City to Albany Memorial Hospital in Albany. Emergency medical costs can rise higher than you expect, especially if you suffered serious injuries and require substantial immediate treatment after your accident. Talk to your lawyer about the cost of your ambulance ride as well as the cost of any medical care you may have received in the emergency room.
Surgical and Treatment Costs
Many bicycle accident injuries may require significant medical intervention in order for you to increase your odds of making a full recovery as much as possible. You may, for example, need surgery to reset a broken bone or prevent internal bleeding.
Bicycle accident victims who suffer a traumatic brain injury may need immediate surgery to help relieve swelling and pressure on the brain. If you suffer severe road rash, you may need many of the same treatments required for a burn victim. In extreme cases, that may even mean skin grafts and ongoing medical care to reduce or treat scarring.
The extent of your injuries may have a great deal to do with how long you spend in the hospital after a bicycle accident. Severe bicycle accident injuries can mean a long stay in the hospital. While you may go home soon after your accident if you suffered only minor injuries in the collision, you may end up back in the hospital if you have to have surgery to treat your injuries. The cost of a hospital stay can add up fast, especially if you need to spend time in the ICU or need any type of specialty care.
Durable Medical Equipment
Many people rush to get home as soon as they can after a bicycle accident. However, managing independently following a serious accident can prove very difficult. Many victims find themselves in need of ongoing assistance. Durable medical equipment can help aid in overall independence. For some, that may mean crutches and braces.
Other victims may need to use a wheelchair to get around, either temporarily or long-term, after the accident. Victims of severe injuries may also need items like prosthetics, communication devices, or assistive devices at home to help them maintain independence and get around as well as possible after the accident. Durable medical equipment costs, however, can rise exponentially, depending on what type of coverage the patient’s medical insurance offers.
While some patients will receive care from family members and loved ones when they return home immediately after an accident, others may need additional assistance. An in-home caregiver can help with basic self-care tasks or assist in minor medical care that does not require direct attention in the hospital or from a medical care provider.
In-home care following an accident can help a patient recover faster since patients often do better in their own homes. However, an in-home care provider can prove essential if your bicycle accident injuries require ongoing assistance. However, those providers may charge by the hour, further increasing the cost of medical care.
A Long-Term Care Facility
Some bicycle accident victims may lose enough function that they cannot return home after their accidents. Their injuries may require ongoing care that they cannot receive in a home environment. As a result, they may have a long stay in a long-term treatment facility after their accidents.
Physical therapy often serves as a critical part of recovery after a devastating bicycle accident. Physical therapists often help victims regain strength and flexibility in injured areas of the body or maintain strength in uninjured areas of the body while an injury heals. Many bicycle accident victims may go through weeks or even months of physical therapy as they try to get back on the bike and regain their independence and love of the sport.
In extreme cases, bicycle accidents may result in injuries that may cause permanent limitations for the victim. For example, a bicycle accident victim with a severe traumatic brain injury may lose some memory and focus permanently. An occupational therapist can help that patient learn how to cope with those limitations and maintain as much independence as possible.
Many people who have sustained severe injuries may need psychological therapy to help them cope with the limitations they may face after the accident. A therapist can help them work through the emotions associated with those limitations and losses and, in many cases, develop more healthy coping mechanisms. A therapist may also help with conditions like depression and anxiety.
Do you carry PIP insurance?
New York drivers who own motor vehicles need to carry motor vehicle insurance on those vehicles. New York law requires drivers to carry personal injury protection insurance along with their liability coverage. PIP insurance offers up to $50,000 in coverage for the medical bills associated with severe injuries after an auto accident.
Suppose you suffered injuries in a bicycle accident with an automobile, and you carry PIP coverage. In that case, you may have the right to use your PIP coverage to help with the cost of treatment for bicycle accident injuries. You may need to exclude that amount from your injury claim.
Did you have to miss work because of your bicycle accident?
For many people, missing time at work quickly turns financially catastrophic. While you may have sick time or vacation time that will cover some of your early time off, if you have a long road to recovery ahead of you after a bicycle accident, you may find that you do not have adequate provisions to cover your missed time at work.
Furthermore, some people may not have any option for funding missing work time. As the victim of a bicycle accident, you may lose thousands of dollars of income while you recover from your injuries.
Even if you have some coverage that will assist with that missed time at work, you may end up draining your vacation and sick time, which may mean you do not have that time to use later.
Talk to your lawyer about the time you have to miss at work because of your bicycle accident injuries. Discuss the time you had to take off right after the accident as well as:
Time Missed for Future Procedures
Sometimes, the procedures you need to make a recovery from your bicycle accident injuries will require you to take time off work weeks or months later. You may have gone back to work but later needed to miss more time due to the need for those further procedures.
Time Missed Due to Appointments
You may have a lot of medical care appointments to juggle while you recover from your injuries. You may have to follow up with your care provider or schedule therapy appointments to ensure your recovery progresses smoothly. Most often, those follow-up appointments will take place during work hours. Unfortunately, many people do not have sick time or vacation time to cover those missing hours.
Inability to Work Full Shifts
Before your bicycle accident, you may have worked full shifts without a problem. After your bicycle accident, on the other hand, you may have found that you could only work a limited number of hours before you had to sit down. Pain and weakness can combine to make it very difficult for you to take on your usual job tasks, especially over an entire shift.
As a result, you may have to change your schedule, dropping down to part-time hours to accommodate your continuing recovery. Unfortunately, that may lead to further income losses.
Inability to Return to Work
Sometimes, bicycle accidents can result in such severe injuries that they prevent the injured party from returning to work. You may lose your ability to work in your industry or in your current position. Talk to your lawyer if you have found yourself in a position where your injuries permanently impact your ability to work in your field since you may have the right to claim compensation for your lost earning potential.
What suffering did you face because of your bicycle accident?
When you file a bicycle accident claim in New York, you may have the right to include compensation, not only for the financial damages you sustained because of the accident but also for the ongoing suffering that went along with your bicycle accident and injuries. As the victim of a bicycle accident, you may face immense physical pain as well as emotional suffering. Talk to your lawyer about your impact because of your bicycle accident injuries.
Discuss factors like:
- Loss of independence
- Changed relationships
- Inability to participate in your favorite hobbies and activities
- Anxiety or depression
Your lawyer can help give you a better idea of how you can best include compensation for your suffering as part of your bicycle accident claim, as well as how you can best establish the extent of that suffering to the insurance company so that you will receive compensation that reflects the full damages you sustained in your accident.
Talk to a Lawyer About the Value of Your New York Bicycle Accident Claim
If you suffered injuries in a New York bicycle accident, do not deal with the insurance company that covers the liable driver on your own. You may often find yourself fighting to get reasonable compensation for your injuries. Instead, contact a lawyer to discuss your bicycle accident, your injuries, and the likely value of your bicycle accident claim.
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.