The scenic roads around Smithtown offer fantastic biking routes, and many enthusiastic cyclists take advantage of them to get exercise and enjoy a day outdoors. But a negligent driver or other hazard could turn a fun excursion into a dangerous situation. When that happens, a skilled personal injury attorney is available to help.
If you were hurt while cycling, you could be entitled to monetary damages to compensate you for your losses. A Smithtown bicycle accident lawyer could guide you through the process of getting proper restitution for the harm that a negligent party caused.
Cycling Injuries Could Have Long-Lasting Impact
With only a thin bike frame between themselves and the ground, and no external protection, cyclists are vulnerable to severe injury in a collision with a motor vehicle, even at low speeds. Some common injuries that result from encounters between cars and bicycles include:
Traumatic brain injuries
Spinal cord damage
Any of these injuries could be slow to heal and require significant medical intervention. Some of them, like brain and spinal cord injuries, could prevent a cyclist from resuming some or all of their former activities.
If an injury prevents a cyclist from working for a significant period of time, they might be concerned about supporting their family. Consulting a Smithtown bicycle crash lawyer could help an injured cyclist and their family make realistic plans for the future.
Seeking Compensation After a Crash
When a car causes a cyclist’s injuries, they must first look to the driver’s automobile insurance to cover their losses. New York requires drivers to carry at least $25,000 coverage for bodily injury to an individual. However, if the cyclist’s injuries required surgical repair, hospitalization, or extensive rehabilitation, their medical expenses could easily exceed $25,000.
If the cyclist’s injuries meet New York’s definition of a serious injury, they could sue the motorist for their unreimbursed medical expenses and other damages. A cyclist who suffers a fracture or a disfiguring injury could be eligible to bring a lawsuit. If the injury resulted in the impairment of a particular body part or system, it qualifies as a serious catastrophic injury under the law. If the cyclist could not participate in their usual activities for 90 out of the 180 days immediately following the crash, that would be considered a serious injury.
Sometimes bike crashes happen because the bicycle or one of its components was defective. In some cases, poor maintenance or signage renders a road hazardous. In any circumstance in which someone else’s negligence contributes to a cycling accident, the injured person could sue the negligent party for damages. An experienced bicycle accident attorney in Smithtown could advise a cyclist about whether there are grounds to bring a negligence claim in their particular case.
Cyclist’s Negligence Could Reduce Damages
Sometimes a cyclist’s conduct contributes to an accident. For example, they might be negligent if they were disobeying the rules of the road when the crash occurred. Although New York does not require bicyclists over the age of 14 to wear a helmet, if a rider suffered head trauma because they were not wearing a helmet, another party might allege that their failure to use readily available protective gear was the true cause of their injury.
When an injured cyclist’s negligence was a contributory factor, New York Civil Practice Law and Rules §1411 still allows them to collect damages from other negligent parties. However, a court adjusts the amount they could collect by a percentage that reflects their degree of responsibility.
Before a case reaches the trial stage, insurance adjusters could attempt to shift blame onto a cyclist to limit their client’s liability. A savvy lawyer could minimize the amount of responsibility a cyclist bears for their injury.
Learn More from a Smithtown Bicycle Accident Attorney
The laws in New York regarding accident claims can be tricky, and misunderstanding them could be costly. Relying on a legal professional to handle the business of securing an appropriate settlement is a wise decision.
A Smithtown bicycle accident attorney could identify potentially responsible parties, help you calculate your damages, ensure you meet all applicable deadlines, and handle communication with insurance companies and others. That allows you to focus on healing. Schedule a case review with us today.