According to the NYPD, there were over 4,200 bicycle accidents in New York City and 20 fatalities in 2012. If you are going to ride a bicycle in NYC you should be aware of the steps you should take if you find yourself in a bicycle accident.
Go to a Safe Location and Call for Help
You do not want to be hit a second time so make sure you immediately move away from traffic to a safe location. A sidewalk, yard, parking lot or side street are good choices. Call for an ambulance if needed. Call the police to have them come out and create an accident report.
Get Contact Info and Photos but Don’t Negotiate
Exchange contact information with the driver and any witnesses. Obtain insurance information from the driver. Use your phone to take photos of the accident location, your bicycle, and any minor injuries you have. Consider writing down notes of what happened so you don’t forget details later on. This is not the time to negotiate with the other party. Have the police file a police report so no one can change their story later on. Often people accept blame at the scene of the bicycle accident but later deny it was their fault.
Seek Medical Help
Go to the hospital if you are injured. Document your injuries. Document your recovery each day and how your injuries have impacted your life. Your compensation will depend on your injuries so it is important to have an accurate record.
Familiarize Yourself with New York Laws
Bicyclists and pedestrians in New York are covered by No Fault insurance. The coverage will allow you to recover expenses from medical bills and lost wages of 80% of your current income up to $2000 per month. Anyone in a bicycle accident has access to this coverage regardless of who is at fault. Timing is important because you only have up to 30 days after the accident to file a no fault insurance claim. Medical expenses must be submitted by 45 days after treatment is conducted.
Seek Legal Advice
The time limitations on the no fault insurance make it imperative that you contact a bicycle accident lawyer immediately after an accident. A lawyer will advise you on how to proceed, help you with appropriate paperwork, deal with your insurance company for you and represent you if a lawsuit is necessary. They will know how to handle your specific situation and will work to negotiate a favorable settlement. A lawyer will know if an adequate settlement is not being offered and will aid you through a trial if necessary.
Contact Pulvers, Pulvers & Thompson so we can provide you a free bicycle accident consultation and suggest your best course of action.