According to the New York State Department of Transportation, only bicyclists under 14 years old must wear helmets. While some areas have county-specific mandates, others do not. For instance, in Suffolk County, bicyclists under 17 years old must wear helmets.
If you suffered harm in a bicycle accident and weren’t wearing a helmet, you can still pursue compensation. However, even under New York’s no-fault insurance system, failing to wear a helmet can reduce your total settlement or court award. Our lawyers can examine your case and pursue financial recovery.
How to File a Bicycle Accident Claim If You Weren’t Wearing a Helmet
Your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage doesn’t just cover auto accidents. It covers bicycle accidents, as well. So, following your bicycle accident, you can file a claim with your PIP insurance provider.
To promote a successful claim:
You Should Notify Your Insurer As Soon As Possible
Your insurance company wants to know about your situation as soon as it happens. Doing so allows the insurer to process your claim and begin an investigation. Prompt reporting also gives the insurer less reason to dispute the cause of your injuries.
You Can Counter Accusations of Fault
Even though New York operates on a no-fault system, the insurer may still accuse you of causing or contributing to your injuries. Ultimately, this can reduce your settlement. For instance, if you caused 20 percent of the collision, you could only pursue 80 percent of your losses.
You can counter accusations of fault by using your case’s evidence. Our lawyers can also help with this. We can use the accident report, traffic camera footage, and witness testimony to contest fault.
You Have the Right to Negotiate a Settlement
After notifying the insurer, it may immediately extend a settlement. However, without understanding the value of your losses, it’s risky to accept it. You don’t have to accept any unfair offers. You have the right to negotiate a better deal.
A lawyer from our firm can help you do this. We can present your case’s evidence, consult with economists, and review the liable policy to secure what you need.
You Can Seek Compensation From the At-Fault Party’s Insurer
Bicycle accidents can result in life-altering injuries. If your damages exceed your PIP coverage’s limits, you can turn to the other driver’s insurance provider. Here, your obligations are similar to filing a claim with your own insurer. As noted, you have the right to negotiate a settlement and contest fault.
You Can File a Lawsuit If the Insurer Denies Your Claim
Many bicycle accident claims are settled through insurance negotiations. However, if the other party refuses to settle, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
CVP § 214 notes that you generally have three years to file your bicycle accident lawsuit. In court, you would use evidence to fight for damages. When you entrust your case to us, we can handle the legal process for you.
Evidence Can Support Your Right to Fair Compensation
Your case’s outcome depends on its supporting evidence. The more evidence you have, the stronger your case. Evidence in your case may comprise:
- Cellphone records
- Dashcam footage of the accident
- Imaging scans
- Eyewitness reports
- Medical records
- The police report
- Testimony from accident reconstruction specialists
Our firm can advise you on what other information can support your right to damages.
Considerations While Filing a Bicycle Accident Claim
Here are some considerations while you explore your legal options:
You Should Seek Medical Attention
Even if your collision didn’t result in external injuries, you should still seek medical attention. Spinal cord injuries, soft tissue damage, and internal bleeding does not manifest right away. Consulting a doctor doesn’t only promote your health; it also provides evidence to support your case.
You Want to Act Sooner Rather Than Later
Aside from abiding by the statute of limitations, it’s important to consider prompt legal action because:
- Eyewitness accounts can fade over time.
- The insurer might deny your claim because you waited too long to file.
- Traffic camera footage can get erased.
- The insurer might argue that another incident caused your injuries.
Our Lawyers Can Manage Your Bicycle Accident Case in NY
You don’t have to navigate the financial recovery process alone. Our lawyers can assess your situation and implement a plan of action. You have the right to seek damages, even if you weren’t wearing a helmet.
We can file your claim, negotiate a settlement, and pursue compensation for your losses. We can also combat any threats to your legal rights.
Connect with the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP
We offer free case reviews to bicycle accident claimants in New York. Here, you can explore your financial recovery options at no obligation. You can also ask questions about our previous successes and how we can assist you.
To connect with our firm, dial (516) 358-6900.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900