Westchester County sees around 100 bicycle accidents each year with injuries according to the latest statistics collected by the state. You don’t want to be one of them. But if you’re reading this, you’ve probably been in a bicycle accident and want to know what to do next.
If you’ve already seen a doctor, your next step is to talk with a Yonkers bicycle accident attorney at Morelli Law Firm. We have the experience you need to approach the insurance companies with a strong case and fight for the full value of your damages.
What Am I Compensated for in My Bicycle Accident Case?
The entire purpose of compensation is to pay you money that will make you as close to “whole” as possible. That is, as close to how you were before your injury. This starts with economic damages. These are all the bills associated with your case, as well as lost income from your injury.
There are also non-economic damages like pain and suffering. These are consequences recognized by law as something you can receive compensation for. There are several ways to calculate the value of these. One common way is to use a multiplier of the economic damages.
In extreme cases, a court may decide to award you punitive damages. This is a fine on the other party payable to you for especially gross negligence. These are only awarded in cases that go to trial, and it’s up to the court to decide if your case qualifies.
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What Has to Be Proven to Win a Bicycle Accident Case?
Any personal injury case requires the victim to prove four things to win. You or your bicycle accident lawyer in Yonkers have to show the insurer or the court evidence to make your case and show these four things are present.
The four things are a duty of care, breach of the duty of care, causation of your injuries, and damages. Without making it too complicated, you need to show that the other party was present and did something unreasonable to cause your injuries, along with proof of those injuries.
Proof of injuries are things like your medical bills, bicycle repair bills, and lost wages. It also includes things like accident journals and testimony from those who know you about how the accident has diminished the quality of your life.
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What Could the Insurance Companies Do?
It would be wonderful if insurance companies never put up a fight and just paid what claims are really worth, but these are for-profit companies and have had over a century of practice lowering or denying claims. They have armies of lawyers. Hiring one of your own lets you fight back.
You may get contacted by a friendly sounding adjuster who wants to get a recorded statement to hear your side of the story, or ask you to sign something so they can start paying for your initial treatment. Both tactics are used to limit your compensation. Never do either without speaking with a lawyer first.
If an insurance company knows they might have to make a big payout, they could also delay your case. They do this to drain your savings until you’re forced to take a lower amount to avoid financial ruin. A lawyer can force them into action using the legal system.
What if I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet?
Westchester County has been fighting to require all bicyclists to wear helmets, not just children 13 and younger, and there are good reasons. They lower the chance of injuries, but there’s a legal reason to wear one, too. An insurer could use your lack of a helmet as an excuse to lower your compensation.
New York uses a pure comparative fault standard for all accidents. If you had a share of responsibility, your percentage of fault will reduce your compensation by that amount. You could be 20% at fault or 80% at fault and still collect damages.
So, if you got in a bicycle accident and you didn’t have a helmet, or feel you contributed to the accident, you’ll need the help of a Yonkers bicycle accident attorney to argue against the insurers so that your compensation gets reduced as little as possible.
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How Long Do I Have to File My Bicycle Accident Claim?
In all civil claims, there is a deadline to start your lawsuit before the law declares you’ve waited too long. This is called the statute of limitations, and it’s part of our Sixth Amendments rights to due process and a speedy trial.
States are allowed to set their own limits. In New York, under CPLR § 214, you have three years to start a case because of an injury to you or to your personal property. There are some exceptions, like injuries to minors, or if a government vehicle was involved, that could change this limit.
This means you shouldn’t wait too long to start your case. While your attorney can pause this clock, it’s better to speak with a lawyer as soon as you’ve been diagnosed with an injury after your accident. That gives them time to build your case and protect you from insurance adjuster tactics.
Protect Yourself With a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If you live in Yonkers and get injured in a bicycle accident, you need protection and strong advocacy to get the compensation you deserve. Morelli Law is the firm you need. We’ve been helping personal injury victims in New York for decades. Let our bicycle accident lawyers in Yonkers help you now.
To get your case started, call or email our offices to set up an appointment for a free case evaluation. If you are in the hospital and cannot come to us, we can do a virtual consultation or come to you. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Your consultation is completely free and without obligation.