New York Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Finkelstein & Partners, LLP
Newburgh, NY, 12550
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Finkelstein & Partners, LLP – Winning Serious Injury Lawsuits Since 1959
New York is a unique state in that it is home to some of the most iconic urban landscapes in the world, as well as charming, idyllic towns and villages in forested rural areas. Its people are just as diverse as the landscape and come from all walks of life.
One thing that everyone has in common is a need to get around. Whether navigating the streets of a busy city, taking a leisurely ride through parks, riding a riverside trail along the Hudson, or pedaling to work every day to save gas, bicycles are a way people from all over New York choose to get around.
But riding a bike isn’t without its risks. Each year hundreds of people are injured in bicycle accidents, most of which are motor vehicle-related. Colliding with a car can lead to some serious injuries and even death.
What you need on your side, in that case, is a skilled personal injury attorney who is familiar with bicycle accidents. Bicyclists are subject to the same traffic laws as motor vehicle drivers, but that doesn’t always protect them, especially if a driver is distracted.
New York Bicycle Accident Guide
- Why Choose Finkelstein & Partners
- Causes of Injuries
- Types of Injuries
- What to do after an accident
- Contact Us After Any New York Bicycle Accident
Why Choose Finkelstein & Partners
Finkelstein & Partners, LLP has been around for decades, starting with a humble office in Newburgh, NY. It wouldn’t have been an uncommon site for Howard S. Finkelstein to have looked out of his office window and seen bikes sharing the road with cars, cabs, and trucks.
Now we cover a much wider area, from Boston to Newark and most of the territory in between. Bike accidents are as dangerous now as they were back then, mostly because bike riders are slower moving, lack protective elements such as the metal frames of cars, and are disproportionate in size and weight to other vehicles on the road.
Today with the rising fuel prices and a desire for some to maintain their health and reduce their carbon footprint, many people are going back to riding bicycles to get around. The result is an uptick in bicycle accidents.
In one recent year, Albany reported bicycle accidents, Poughkeepsie reported 22 injuries, and Newburgh had ten bike-related injuries, nearly double the accidents from the previous year. White Plains experienced 50 bike accidents.
These numbers might seem lower than you would imagine, and part of the reason for this is how many people actually report accidents and the exclusion of larger urban areas such as New York City. Rochester reported 102 bike accidents resulting in injury. Buffalo topped the charts at 114 bicycle accidents in one year.
Bicycle accidents, especially involving motor vehicles, often result in permanent injuries and even death. These cases are often nuanced and require special attention to details, investigations, and other factors that affect settlements with insurance companies and other parties. You need an attorney skilled at arguing your particular case to get the compensation you deserve.
Causes of Injuries
Here are some causes of injuries between bicycles and vehicles.
- Distracted drivers: Drivers need to be aware of their surroundings and drive defensively. Texting while driving or being otherwise distracted can have dire consequences.
- Intoxicated drivers: Substance abuse or driving above the legal limit for intoxication can result in reduced reaction times and impulse control.
- Failure to check blind spots: Not checking your blind spot can lead to a collision with a cyclist since they are smaller and harder to see than other moving vehicles.
- Turning on red: Though turning right on a red light is legal in most places, bicycles often use the advantage of crossing with a signal and are often struck by turning drivers who weren’t checking their field of vision.
- Road conditions: Slipping on damaged or poorly maintained roads can lead to non-vehicle-related crashes or even be compounded by vehicles following too closely after a bike goes down from a bad patch of road.
- Crowding bicyclists: Motorists must share the road with bicycles, especially on country roads. The slower-moving bikes are often overtaken by cars and run off the road, struck, or knocked over.
- Opening car doors: Opening your car door while parked without checking can result in collisions with bicyclists. As with other traffic, you must be aware of your surroundings to prevent injuring others.
- Dragging: Not only striking a bicyclist but dragging them under your car for a distance is serious and often fatal.
Types of Injuries
Because of the nature of bicycle versus motor vehicle accidents, the injuries often vary.
Here are some ways a bicycle accident may injure you:
- Cuts and bruises: Among minor injuries, cuts and bruises are common in bike accidents. Some are more severe than others, resulting in serious bleeding and even internal organ damage, which might require surgery.
- Road rash: One of the most common and very serious injuries. Road rash results from abrasion of skin against asphalt at speed, stripping off the layers of the skin, sometimes down to muscle and even bone. Protective clothing can only do so much when it comes to road rash.
- Shock: The impact and trauma of an accident might be enough to kill if the victim of the accident goes into shock. It is a hyper-response to trauma that affects heart rate, breathing, and other system functions that can lead to death.
- Broken bones: When a car traveling at speed meets the flesh and bone of a bicyclist, the results are never good. Broken bones such as femurs, ribs, and even shattered pelvises are common since the force of the impact often affects larger bones in the body more than smaller ones.
- Whiplash: When the head snaps forward and back again during an accident, the force involved can cause extensive damage along the spinal column and the base of the skull, as well as the supporting muscles, ligaments, and nerves. Whiplash can be a long-lasting condition that requires surgery and rehabilitation, as well as lasting conditions such as chronic pain.
- Traumatic brain injuries: Among the more serious injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) occur when the brain is bruised inside the skull, resulting in hemorrhaging, blood vessel damage, and increased pressure due to internal bleeding. Without medical attention, the results are dire, and even with emergency surgery, a TBI can lead to permanent cognitive damage and even death.
- Loss of limb or eyes: The eyes and extremities are especially vulnerable, and the force of impact against a motor vehicle is enough to cause loss of these vital body parts.
- Death: Loss of life is too common in bicycle accidents, regardless of protective clothing, gear, and even medical assistance. Losing a loved one this way is tragic for those they leave behind and unnecessary hardship.
It is always important to wear protective gear when riding a bike. In New York State, all bicyclists under 14 must wear helmets.
What to do after an accident
If you are injured in an accident, you have probably already taken the first steps: call 911, get to safety, and get medical assistance on the scene. Never leave the scene of an accident unless law enforcement clears you. First responders may take you to a hospital for treatment.
Here are some other steps to remember after a bicycle accident.
- Admit no fault: Sharing the road is the responsibility of everyone, and if you are injured in a bike accident, you might feel pressured to admit fault in the accident. Do not. Investigators, such as law enforcement and your attorney, should determine fault.
- See a doctor: Even if you think your injuries are minor, it is important to seek medical attention. Some injuries such as internal bleeding and TBIs might not be apparent until later, in which case significant damage may occur in the meantime. Get yourself checked out by a medical professional regardless of how you feel. Always attend follow-up appointments and rehabilitation sessions, and continue to monitor your recovery.
- Documentation: From the scene of the accident onward, it is important to document everything. Some bicyclists use GoPro cameras or other ways to record their activities. Take pictures of the accident scene, get insurance information from all parties involved (taking a picture of the card is easy with a smartphone), keep a journal of your recovery, and keep all receipts for treatment, property repair, or replacement. Get police reports and witness statements. Keeping track of this information can be challenging. An attorney can help and use the information collected to support your case, mediation or settlement, and discovery if the matter goes to trial.
Many factors can affect the compensation you recover for your injuries. Liability is the most significant of these factors. Never muddy the waters at the accident scene by claiming any responsibility.
You have been involved in a traumatic accident and might not be thinking clearly, but an insurance adjuster might use your statement against you to reduce or deny any compensation owed to you.
The severity of your injuries, including hospital bills, rehabilitation, psychological impact, and pain and suffering, can weigh heavily in your favor regarding compensation. A quick settlement might mean the insurer has overlooked future expenses and bills, especially if you have permanent injuries or a long road to recovery.
Permanent disabilities will require you to change how you live your life, and cognitive or emotional damage might affect your livelihood. Extensive treatment can cause lost wages and even unemployment, and should be included in your claim and settlement negotiations.
If you and the insurer cannot reach an agreement, the matter might be taken to trial for a judge to award compensation. A judge may also award punitive damages if they see negligence, malice, or corporate negligence resulting in your injury from a company driver.
Finkelstein & Partners, LLP has extensive experience in these matters and can effectively negotiate with insurance companies who attempt to offer the lowest payout possible to maintain their bottom line. Your injuries are worth more than saving the company money, and those responsible for an injury need to be held accountable.
You may feel frustrated, angry, and depressed following a bicycle accident, but there are some things you can do proactively to strengthen your insurance claim. Immediately following the accident, seek medical treatment for your injuries.
To make your claim as strong as possible:
- Keep a journal – Keeping a record of your recovery, including your daily pain, progress, and setbacks, goes a long way to showing how challenging recovering from your injuries is and will continue to be for you and your family.
- Request the police report – Collision reports help establish liability for the accident and document what police saw upon their arrival at the scene. You can request the police’s accident report within 30 days of your bicycle accident.
- Keep all receipts – Keep your receipts to back up your claim. Keep all medical bills, pharmacy receipts, and receipts for any work you would normally do yourself, which you had to hire someone to do on your behalf because of your injury.
- Keep all doctor’s appointments – In addition to following medical orders immediately after your bicycle accident, keep all your follow-up appointments. These appointments will help you get back to normal as soon as possible after a New York bicycle accident.
Provide these documents to your legal team at Finkelstein & Partners, LLP. This paperwork will help increase your chances of getting a settlement reflecting your true damages and anguish after a New York bicycle accident.
Another important note is to remain silent about your accident and injuries on social media. While it is natural to want to share information with friends and family, do so in a way that is not public. Photographs of you participating in everyday activities posted on social media can prove that your injuries are not as severe as you portrayed them, even when your medical records show they are serious.
Contact Us After Any New York Bicycle Accident
A bicycle accident can change your life, which is why you need an attorney like Finkelstein & Partners, LLP, fighting for you. Our approach to working with our clients is unique in that 170 paraprofessionals and case managers support our team of over 85 attorneys to give you that personal touch and never leave you feeling abandoned.
A free consultation and a no-fee guarantee mean that regardless of your income, you can receive award-winning representation from us. Our attorneys work on contingency, meaning you won’t pay upfront for services, except for personal fees for copies of records from local government or other reports. You will only need to pay a percentage of your settlement if your attorney is successful.
Hiring an attorney can help avoid the struggle and hassle of navigating the legal system, fighting insurance companies, and gathering documentation during an investigation when you should focus on your health and recovery. Hiring an attorney allows you to meet deadlines, file appropriate paperwork, and be backed by years of experience to protect your rights and get the compensation you need.
Contact us today at (518) 452-2813 to set up a free consultation. Our team of experienced attorneys, paralegals, and allies in your battle are ready to help. We haven’t backed down from large corporations, government entities, or mega-insurance companies in the sixty years we’ve served people just like you. We are prepared to stand by you and ensure you receive fair treatment and a fair settlement.