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New York Bicycle Accident Lawyers

Especially in compact urban areas like New York City, bicycles are an increasingly popular way to get around. These low-carbon vehicles are very good for short trips. They’re good exercise and, perhaps most importantly, they’re easy to park. Furthermore, New York City has rolled out some innovations which make the streets a little safer for bicyclists. These improvements are most welcome, because vehicle-on-bicycle collisions are often very ped tragic. However, these innovations only go so far, and in some cases, they might actually make the streets more dangerous. The compassionate New York bicycle accident lawyers at the Pianko Law Group understand the intense pain and suffering these victims must endure on a daily basis. Furthermore, many of the people on our professional team are avid cyclists, so we also understand the hazards these riders deal with. So, we work extra hard to obtain maximum compensation in these cases. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Types of Bicycle Accidents

Most bicycle wrecks happened in or near crowded intersections when drivers are turning right at a light or turning left against traffic.

As mentioned, the large concrete barriers and other obstacles that sometimes separate bicycle lanes from other traffic lanes sometimes contribute to crashes. That’s often true regarding right turn wrecks. When bicyclists are behind barriers, vehicles in the traffic lane might not see them. That’s especially true if the rider is a small child. Since most drivers only look to the left when they turn right, they might not see bicyclists who are beside them, and they may turn directly into their path.

Lack of visibility also contributes to left-turn crashes. Many New Yorkers drive pickup trucks, SUVs, and other large vehicles which impede visibility. So, when drivers wait to make left turns against traffic, they often don’t see approaching bicycles. Once again, the driver often turns directly into the rider’s path.

This lack of visibility is hardly an excuse for negligent driving. If anything, limited visibility requires motorists to slow down and use extra caution, because of the duty of reasonable care. More on that below.

Types of Bicycle Accidents

During collisions like these, vehicle occupants have multiple restraint layers, not to mention plastic and steel cocoons, to protect them from injury. At most, bicyclists only have thin plastic helmets. As a result, these riders often sustain serious injuries, such as:

Head Injuries

As mentioned, bicycle helmets often protect riders from accidental fall injuries. But this tiny amount of headgear does very little good in a high-speed collision. And, in the aforementioned turning crashes, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) usually accelerates into the bicyclist’s path.

Biker's Arm

When riders fall off their bikes, they naturally extend their arms to break their falls. Since the force of these falls is so great, this natural reaction often snaps nerves in the brachial plexus area. Such injuries usually cause permanent paralysis.

Blood Loss

Exsanguination is usually the official cause of death in fatal bicycle crash claims. The tremendous amount of force on the rider causes internal organs to grind and bump against each other. As a result, they usually bleed very badly. This bleeding is hard to detect and hard to stop.
Other injuries, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, are much less visible. About half of vehicle collision victims experience PTSD symptoms, such as depression, anger, and hypervigilance (i.e. a fear of riding again in the area where the accident occurred). PTSD is a physical brain injury. So, it must be addressed in the same way as any other head injury.

Liability Theories

To obtain compensation for these losses, as well as the other losses associated with a bicycle wreck, most New York bicycle accident attorneys use the negligence per se rule or the ordinary negligence doctrine. Device distraction illustrates the difference between these two principles.

New York has a rather broad hands-free law. It’s generally illegal to use a hand-held device while driving. This use includes not only talking and texting, but also web surfing, video conferencing, and pretty much anything else. If tortfeasors (negligent drivers) break such a safety law and cause crashes, they could be liable for damages as a matter of law. Evidence is admissible on the question of damages.

But the hands-free law has a number of loopholes. Furthermore, it does not apply to hands-free cell phones. When drivers use these gadgets, they take their minds off driving and they also take their eyes off the road. Therefore, according to several studies, driving while using a hands-free phone is as bad as driving while intoxicated.
In these situations, attorneys use evidence to establish a lack of care. Such evidence includes erratic driving before the wreck, the device’s use log, and the tortfeasor’s statements about using a device. Many people voluntarily make such statements. They think it excuses their negligent behavior. But in fact, the opposite is true.

Victim/plaintiffs must establish negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. That’s one of the lowest standards of proof in New York law.

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