New York City Personal Injury Law Blog
Filing a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit
Posted on Jan 11, 2018 in Bicycle Accidents
According to the Pedestrian and Bicycling Information Center, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2015, 818 people died in bicycle/motor vehicle accidents in the United States – over 2 people every day of the year. This represents a 6% increase in bicyclist deaths since 2006 (772 bicyclist fatalities) and a 12.2% increase from 2014.
It also reported that there were an estimated 45,000 bicyclists injuries in 2015 – a 2.3% increase since 2006. According to the National Safety Council, each year the US spends over $4 billion dollars towards bicyclist injuries and fatalities.
Bicycle accidents can cause serious and in some cases fatal injuries. Filing a lawsuit to recover damages for injuries in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle or a negligent property owner involves a number of the same issues as any car accident lawsuit.
When it comes to bike accidents, liability for injuries often boils down to negligence – whether the negligent actions of an automobile driver or property owner resulted in the bicyclist’s injuries, and whether there was any negligence on the bicyclist’s part that contributed to or caused the accident.
Bicycle vs. Sanitation Truck Accident Results in $2.6 Million Settlement
On December 5th, the City of Clifton agreed to a $2.6 million settlement in a Passaic County lawsuit filed by a bicyclist who was hit by a city sanitation truck. The bicyclist was then blinded in one eye as a result of a complication from surgery.
According to attorneys in the case, 46-year-old Harry Updegraph was riding a bicycle on April 15th, 2015 on the right shoulder of Mian Avenue when the garbage truck passed him and made a right turn in his path. The cyclist applied his brakes and tried to turn to avoid colliding with the truck, but was thrown forward and under the truck. Updegraph sustained fractures and scarring to the face and fractures to the wrist and left shoulder. He permanently lost vision in his right eye.
Although Updegraph was able to return to work and did not suffer any short-term loss of wages, his vocational expert concluded that the combined effect of his injuries would decrease his working life by 7 years, at a cost of $742,000.
Updegraph filed a lawsuit against the City of Clifton and its sanitation truck driver, Omar Fernandez. He contended that his blindness resulted from a surgical procedure that was necessitated by the original bicycle/garbage truck accident.
An accident reconstructionist for Updegraph, the plaintiff, maintained that Fernandez was solely responsible for the accident. The defense, on the other hand, maintained that the plaintiff was in the act of passing the garbage truck when the accident took place. The defense reconstructionist determined that Updegraph was the sole responsible party of the accident, adding that his failure to wear a helmet worsened the injuries he sustained.
Louis DeVoto of Rossetti & DeVoto, who represented Updegraph, said that his client and the defendants mediated with a former Superior Court judge who is now with Hoagland Longo Moran Dunst & Doukas, Mark Epstein. The settlement was arrived at after a lengthy discussion with Judge Randal Chiocca at the Passaic County Superior Court, during the trial in the presence of the plaintiff and defendants.
The settlement was confirmed by Harry Norton who works at the Norton Murphy Sheehy & Corrubia law firm and represented the City of Clifton. This is what RMFW Law can do for you in NYC. If you have any legal issues, if anyone has put you in harm’s way or injured you, you need to call them now.
Negligence and Bicycle Accidents
Drivers as well as bicyclists are under obligation to obey the rules of the road, including traffic laws and the duty to exercise ordinary care in regards to their safety as well as the safety of others on the roadways. Similar to other vehicle accident lawsuits, lawsuits involving bicycle accidents are governed by state law, and often informed by local and state traffic laws.
When a bicyclist files a lawsuit to recover damages for injuries sustained in an accident with an automobile, there are two questions that the outcome often depends on:
- Did the driver’s negligence – or recklessness – cause the accident and the resulting injuries suffered by the bicyclist?
- Did any negligence on the bicyclist’s part cause or contribute to the accident?
There are many forms that a driver’s negligence can take. For example, speeding, drifting into a bike lane and running a stop sign constitute driver negligence, or even recklessness if it is done without any regard for the safety of others.
In a lawsuit that alleges negligence by another person, it lies upon the plaintiff to prove that the defendant’s actions violated a duty that is owed to the plaintiff. In cases involving auto accidents, this means that the defendant violated the basic duty of care owed to everyone else on or near the roadways.
Bicyclist NegligenceWhether a bicyclist files a lawsuit against a driver or a suit is filed against a bicyclist, the laws governing bicyclist negligence can determine the results of the lawsuit. Some of the most prominent examples of bicyclist negligence are running a stop sign, riding against the traffic on a one way street and making an abrupt turn into traffic.
Negligent bicyclists may not be able to recover damages for injuries sustained in accidents that involve automobiles. Such negligence is termed as comparative or in some states as contributory negligence, which means that the bicyclist’s negligence, at least in part, caused the accident and therefore, caused some of the injuries sustained by the bicyclist.
If a bicyclist was riding negligently, and another person was injured as a result of that negligence, the bicyclist may be held liable for the injuries sustained by the other person.
Los Angeles Agrees to $6.5 Million Settlement After Bicyclist Hit a Pothole
Los Angeles paid $6.5 million to settle a lawsuit that was filed by a man who suffered serious injuries after he hit a pothole with his bicycle in Sherman Oaks.
According to his lawsuit, Peter Godefroy lost control of his bicycle two years ago when it hit a pothole on Valley Vista Boulevard, which resulted in him being thrown to the ground. The crash left him with a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and broken bones.
Godefroy and his wife, Patricia filed a lawsuit against the city, the county as well as the state. They argued that maintenance on the street, he was bicycling on was so poor that it created a hidden trap for bicyclists. The lawsuit claimed that as a result of government negligence, Godefroy has suffered such severe injuries that he expected to suffer “some permanent disability.”
The Los Angeles City Council voted 11 to 0 to approve the $6.5 million settlement.
In a statement that followed the vote, Godefroy’s attorney Spencer Lucas said that they were happy that Los Angeles had taken responsibility for the safety of the roadway that resulted in the life-changing injuries that the plaintiff suffered.
There have been repeated lawsuits against Los Angeles over road conditions following serious and gruesome accidents. This city has major systemic problems and is losing jobs and businesses but this is another topic as well.
In the spring, Los Angeles agreed to spend $4.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed Edgardo Gabat’s family. 56-year-old Gabat was thrown from his bicycle and died after he hit an uneven pavement in Eagle Rock. According to a motion filed by City Councilman Paul Krekorian, the city approved over $15 million in legal judgment payments or settlements for bicycle accidents linked to life-threatening road conditions during the last budget year.
Krekorian, a councilman who is a representative of part of the San Fernando Valley, refused to discuss the case involving Godefroy but said that the city must have rules to ensure that all bicyclists can ride in total safety in Los Angeles.
Krekorian’s motion asks officials to conduct a thorough investigation on the current condition of all bicycle lanes across the state and determine how much money and time would be required to get them fixed. He said that it is important to make sure that bicyclists have safe pavements to ride on.
Damages You Are Entitled to in a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit
The amount of damages that you may be entitled to depends on your individual injuries. The categories of damages in a bicycle accident lawsuit are:
- Medical expenses – current ones as well as expenses you are expected to incur in the future
- Loss of wages – current as well as wages that you will lose in the future either because you are unable to return to work at all or unable to return to your former employment even if you can work
- Long-term medical and nursing care required due to your injury
- Rehabilitation expenses – this includes physical rehabilitation as well as vocational retraining if necessary
- Pain and suffering
Wrongful Death Bicycle Accident Lawsuit
The untimely death of a loved one can be devastating. Apart from grief, you also need to deal with expensive medical bills and funeral expenses. During this traumatic time, the parents, spouse or children of the deceased can consult a wrongful death lawyer to explore the possibility of filing for a compensation for wrongful death due to a bicycle accident.
In many cases, wrongful death lawyers can negotiate a fair settlement before filing a lawsuit. If this cannot be achieved, the process of filing for compensation, investigation of the event, settlement negotiations and even a trial is the same as would be in any other type of personal injury lawsuit.
The only difference in a bicycle accident lawsuit is the kind of damages that you may be entitled to, which includes but may not be limited to:
- Your loved one’s medical expenses as well as burial and funeral expenses
- Your loved one’s lost wages and the future financial support that you expected to receive from your loved one if they had not been killed in the bicycle accident
- Loss of expected benefits, such as retirement benefits as well as health care coverage
- Mental anguish you suffered and currently suffering due to the loss of your loved one
- Loss of the companionship you received from your loved one
- Loss of care, protection, and guidance of the deceased
As with personal injury lawsuits, you must file a wrongful death bicycle accident lawsuit within a certain time period after the death. If you do not file within that time frame, you will lose your right to collect damages. You should make sure that you consult a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible after the death.
Filing a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit
If you are involved in a bicycle accident, the first thing you should do is make sure that you recognize the party responsible or liable for the accident. It is important to figure out who is at fault. If you were partially at fault, it is likely that you will not be able to file a lawsuit against the other party.
The next step is to calculate any damages that you incurred as a result of the accident. Your bicycle accident lawyer can help you calculate any possible damages you may want to include.
Next, you should begin collecting evidence. Preferably, you should collect as much evidence as you can at the scene of the accident. Keep in mind that your personal injury attorney can also help you in the process of collecting all applicable evidence for your case. RMFW Law knows all about this and has been around the block many times before.
Make sure that you have a personal injury lawyer with experience in handling bicycle accident cases. An experienced attorney will help you put your bicycle accident lawsuit together and ensure that you follow the correct procedure in filing your lawsuit to avoid any mistakes that may get your case dismissed.
Keep in mind that while bicycle accident lawsuits are rather straightforward and can involve several negotiation processes and can be extremely time consuming as well. This is why you need to hire a prudent and reliable bicycle accident lawyer. Your legal professional should be easy to reach and keep you updated regularly on the status of your case.
Bicycle Accident Lawsuits & RMFW Law Go Hand in Hand
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you should immediately seek the help of a sagacious and proven bicycle accident attorney. You can schedule an appointment for a free consultation to get your case evaluated and determine if you can file a lawsuit against the negligent party.
With your attorney’s help, you can make sure that your rights are protected and that you recover fair damages that you are legally entitled to. Waste no time, contact Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff &; Wolff, of RMFW Law at 212 697 9280 and a dignified and standout legal counselor will handle your case from start to finish.
RMFW Law knows this legal domain very well. We have been winning cases like the ones mentioned above for many years now. Our combined experience in these types of cases runs very deep. We know how the legal system works and the players in it.
We have won millions of dollars for past clients. You too can be on this awesome list. Call RMFW Law today!