Know Your Rights: Understanding Personal Injury Claims for Pedestrians and Cyclists

Without an outer shell of metal to protect them or airbags to help absorb the shock of a high-speed impact, cyclists and pedestrians are the two most vulnerable groups on the road. Personal injury can’t protect an individual from harm, but it does help ensure your rights will be protected if an accident happens.

The United States Department of Transportation estimated that 7,388 pedestrians were killed by cars in 2021, and 60,000 more were injured nationwide. Children and adults who ride bicycles are also at risk of being killed or injured. In 2021, approximately 41,000 bicyclists were injured by motor vehicles, and almost 1,000 more were killed.

If you or a loved one is ever injured in a motor vehicle crash, it’s easy to be taken advantage of. Understand your rights and the steps you need to take to protect them.

Understanding Your Rights in New York

Like every state, New York has specific traffic laws to protect all citizens who use the roadways. For example, Section 1146 of the New York State Legislation states that if a driver does not exercise due care and causes injury to a pedestrian or bicyclist, they will be found guilty of a punishable traffic violation. One all-too-common scenario that results in injury is when a driver fails to stop at a crosswalk.

Common Causes of Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents

The nationwide statistics are devastating, but in New York State alone, approximately 15,000 pedestrians are injured, and 300 are killed by motor vehicles.

Some of the most common situations that result in the injury of a pedestrian or cyclist include:

  • Riding against traffic
  • Uncontrolled intersection accidents
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Failure to yield
  • Right turn collisions
  • Crosswalk accidents

Without the extra layer of steel to protect them, even a minor accident can cause major injuries that take months or even years of recovery.

What to Do Immediately After an Accident

If you are a pedestrian or a bicyclist in an accident, there are certain steps you need to take to protect your health and your legal rights.

  • Get to safety, remove yourself and your bike from traffic
  • Call 911
  • File a police report
  • Document the incident with photos and take statements from bystanders
  • Seek medical attention
  • Contact a Hempstead personal injury lawyer

Taking these steps will help you build a trail of information you will need if you decide to pursue a personal injury claim.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim

The State of New York allows three years after the date of injury to file a personal injury claim. To file a claim, you must notify the insurance companies and other relevant parties of your intent.

The best advice is to seek legal counsel to learn whether you qualify for a claim. Your attorney will help you determine liability and negligence. A skilled personal injury attorney knows how to negotiate with an insurance company for a settlement and when it is best to take a case to court. 

Legal Challenges in Pedestrian and Cyclist Injury Claims

There is no guarantee you will receive compensation when you file a claim, especially if you try to do it on your own. Navigating the complexity of the New York Legal system without representation is difficult. Providing all the information needed to prove liability is also a challenge.

Lastly, those who are inexperienced with personal injury law may underestimate the amount of pain and suffering compensation an individual is entitled to.

Personal Injury Claims for Pedestrians and Cyclists

Thousands of bicyclists and pedestrians are injured by motor vehicles each year in New York. Many do not understand that they may be entitled to financial compensation. If you or someone you know has been injured because of a driver’s negligence, contact a personal injury lawyer to protect your rights.

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