September 28, 2020

Who Is At Fault in a Car Vs. Bike Accident?

By Jonathan Damashek

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Getting around the Big Apple is no joke. Just in 2017 alone, the New York Department of Transportation reported more than 58,000 injuries and 221 fatalities involving motor vehicles and bicycles. Most of these accidents took the form of a cyclist getting “doored,” or having a car door opened up on them mid-ride, thereby sending them flying. In short, you have to keep your head on a swivel while tooling around the city. If you don’t, it could end up costing you more than a few broken bones.

Anyone who’s spent five minutes in New York traffic knows how harrowing and dangerous it can be. Between speedy taxis and ambling cyclists, it’s easy to get lost in the crush and land yourself in an accident. Here at Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C., we’re New York City natives, so we get it; our knowledge of local traffic laws and neighborhood routes makes it easy for us to put you in your shoes and fiercely advocate for what you deserve. If you were the victim of a car or bike accident in New York City, give us a call at (212) 490-5700 to schedule a free consultation today. One of our team members would love to talk to you and get the details of your case.

Bikes Are Vehicles, Too

Did you know that according to New York state law, bicycles are considered “vehicles”? It’s true, and cyclists must follow the same rules as drivers as a result. For example, they’re subject to the same traffic infractions that drivers are, and they also must drive in the same direction as drivers. But wearing protective gear is not legally required for cyclists in most places, so drivers must be extra vigilant when driving alongside cyclists; drivers have to yield or offer the right of way to them, in an attempt to exercise “due care” and avoid any accidents with cyclists.

However, some additional laws apply exclusively to cyclists in the interest of their safety. For example, New York law requires all children between ages one and 13 to wear a helmet while riding a bike, and any children under four must be fastened in a child safety seat while riding. Some jurisdictions extend this helmet rule to everybody, regardless of age.

Who’s At Fault in an Accident?

To determine who was officially at fault in a bicycle and motor vehicle accident, you’ll need a seasoned personal injury attorney to conduct a thorough investigation. It’s possible that a number of parties are at fault in one of these accidents, ranging from the drivers themselves, to pedestrians on the street, to government or business entities that could have influenced your driving environment.

What happens if you think you’re the one who’s partially on the hook, though? All the more reason to get in touch with a New York personal injury lawyer, as the state has some comparative negligence laws that may allow you to claim compensation in spite of your culpability. But let’s say you weren’t the one at fault in the accident but you weren’t wearing a helmet, either. Even though there’s a chance you broke the law, you can still claim damages. This is because most jurisdictions in New York don’t legally require anyone over the age of 14 to wear a helmet.

How Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. Can Help You

If you were the victim in a bike or car accident in New York City, you understand how exhausting it is trying to sort out medical bills, alternate transportation methods, and insurance claims. Let our team of experienced and empathetic personal injury lawyers take the guesswork out for you; we know New York City traffic laws and we use our knowledge to help our clients get the restitution they deserve. Call us at (212) 490-5700 to learn more about how we can serve you.