New York City Bicycle Dooring Injury Lawyers
Bicycle dooring injuries are an alarming and often overlooked issue in New York City. This type of accident occurs when a motor vehicle occupant opens a car door into the path of a cyclist, causing a collision. The consequences can be severe, leading to catastrophic injuries or even death. At The Orlow Firm, we specialize in handling bicycle dooring injury cases and fighting for the rights of injured cyclists. With our years of experience and expertise, our New York City bicycle accident lawyers can guide you through the legal maze and ensure that you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries and suffering.
Who Is Liable For Injuries From Dooring Accidents In NYC?
In New York City, determining liability for a dooring accident involves assessing who acted negligently in the situation. Below are some potential parties that could be held liable:
- Car Driver or Passenger: According to New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1214, a car’s driver or passenger must not open a door unless it is safe to do so without interfering with other traffic, including cyclists. If a driver or passenger opens a car door into a bike lane or the path of an oncoming cyclist, they can be held liable for any ensuing injuries.
- Cyclist: While less common, there may be instances where the cyclist is found partially at fault for not exercising due caution, though this doesn’t absolve the driver or passenger of their primary responsibility.
- Employer of Commercial Vehicles: If the vehicle involved is a commercial vehicle, the employer may be held liable under the doctrine of “respondeat superior,” which states that an employer is responsible for the actions of its employees carried out within the scope of their employment.
- Local Municipality: In certain cases, the city or local government may share some liability if poor road design, inadequate signage, or lack of proper bike lanes contributed to the accident.
- Vehicle Owner: If the person who opened the door was not the owner but had permission to use the vehicle, the vehicle owner might also bear some liability.
- Insurance Companies: In many cases, insurance providers for the responsible parties will be involved in settling the claims. However, it’s essential to note that insurance companies often aim to minimize payouts, underscoring the importance of legal representation.
Understanding liability in dooring accidents is complex and often requires a detailed investigation, including gathering evidence like traffic camera footage, eyewitness accounts, and police reports. It is advisable to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to properly identify all liable parties and pursue a comprehensive claim for damages.
What Damages Can You Be Compensated For In A Dooring Accident In NYC?
In New York City, victims of dooring accidents may be eligible for various types of damages to compensate for the physical, emotional, and financial burdens they have incurred. These damages are broadly categorized into economic and non-economic damages. Here’s a breakdown:
- Medical Expenses: This includes hospital bills, doctor visits, surgeries, prescription medications, physiotherapy, and any future medical costs related to the accident.
- Loss of Income: Compensation for time off work due to injuries, including future lost earnings if the injury leads to a permanent disability affecting work capability.
- Property Damage: Costs related to repairing or replacing your bicycle, as well as any other personal property damaged in the accident.
- Rehabilitation Costs: Expenses for physical and occupational therapy required for recovery.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering endured due to the accident.
- Emotional Distress: Damages for psychological impacts such as anxiety, depression, or emotional trauma related to the accident.
- Loss of Consortium: Compensation for the impact of the injuries on relationships with spouses or family members.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Damages for the diminished quality of life due to permanent injuries or long-term health issues resulting from the accident.
In rare cases where the defendant’s conduct was especially egregious or reckless, punitive damages may also be awarded as a means to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar future behavior.
Given the complexity of personal injury law and the range of potential damages, consulting an experienced attorney is essential. A knowledgeable lawyer can evaluate the specifics of your case and guide you through the process to ensure you obtain the full compensation you are entitled to.
Most Common Types of Injuries From Dooring Accidents
Injuries sustained from a dooring accident in New York City can range from minor to severe, and in extreme cases, they may even be life-threatening. Here is a list of some common types of injuries that victims may experience:
- Broken Bones: Arms, legs, and wrists are frequently broken due to the forceful impact against the car door.
- Road Rash: Sliding along the road can cause severe skin abrasions, often requiring medical treatment to prevent infection.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): Even with a helmet, a cyclist can suffer a concussion or more serious brain injury due to the sudden jolt or head impact.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: The force of colliding with a car door can result in damage to the spine, possibly leading to partial or full paralysis.
- Severe Bruising and Lacerations: The impact and subsequent fall can cause deep bruising and cuts, requiring stitches or surgical intervention.
- Facial and Dental Injuries: The face and mouth area can be injured, causing fractures, tooth loss, or other oral issues.
- Dislocated Joints: The impact can cause joints like shoulders and hips to be dislocated, requiring immediate medical treatment.
- Soft Tissue Damage: Muscles, ligaments, and tendons can be strained, sprained, or torn.
- Internal Injuries: Less visible but potentially critical are internal injuries like punctured lungs or internal bleeding.
Given the potential severity of these injuries, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention after a dooring accident to properly diagnose and treat any conditions. A thorough medical record also serves as important evidence in a legal case for compensation.
What is the statute of limitations for bicycle dooring injuries in New York?
In New York, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including bicycle dooring injuries, is generally three years from the date of the accident. This means that you have a three-year window to file a lawsuit against the responsible party.
It’s important to note that there are exceptions to this general rule. For example, if the defendant is a government entity, such as a city or state agency, you may have to file a notice of claim within a much shorter timeframe, often within 90 days of the incident. Failure to meet these deadlines can forfeit your right to pursue legal action.
If the victim is a minor, the statute of limitations may be extended until the minor reaches the age of 18, although this can have complexities and should be verified with legal counsel.
Due to the varying circumstances that could affect the statute of limitations, it’s crucial to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that you don’t miss any important deadlines.
What steps should you take after being involved in a bicycle dooring accident in New York?
If you are involved in a bicycle dooring accident in New York City, taking the right steps immediately after the incident can be crucial for your physical well-being and any subsequent legal action. Here’s a guideline on what to do:
- Check for Injuries: Your health comes first. Assess yourself and anyone else involved in the accident for injuries. Call 911 if medical attention is needed.
- Move to Safety: If possible, move yourself and your bicycle out of the flow of traffic to prevent further injury.
- Contact Authorities: Call the police to file an official accident report. This document can be vital when you’re seeking compensation.
- Collect Evidence: Take photos of the scene, your injuries, and any damage to your bicycle. Gather names and contact information of witnesses.
- Exchange Information: Get the contact and insurance information from the person who opened the door. This includes the name, address, driver’s license number, and insurance details.
- Seek Medical Attention: Even if injuries seem minor, it’s advisable to get a medical examination. This will provide a medical record of your injuries, which can be valuable in a legal case.
- Notify Your Insurance: Contact your insurance company to inform them about the accident, but avoid making any statements that could be used against you later.
- Consult a Lawyer: Before accepting any settlement, consult a personal injury lawyer experienced in bicycle dooring cases. They can provide legal advice tailored to your situation and help you understand the worth of your case.
- Keep Records: Save all medical bills, repair invoices, and any correspondence with insurance companies.
- Follow Medical Advice: Stick to your treatment plan to recover fully and to support your case for compensation.
Adhering to these steps can significantly impact your ability to receive just compensation for your injuries and other damages.
Comparative Negligence & Dooring Accidents in NYC
In New York, the concept of comparative negligence plays a significant role in determining compensation in dooring accidents. According to this principle, both parties involved in the accident—the cyclist and the vehicle occupant—may bear some degree of responsibility for the incident. For example, if a court finds that a cyclist was riding too close to parked cars, they may assign a percentage of fault to the cyclist. The total compensation awarded to the injured party would then be reduced by that percentage. However, it’s important to note that New York’s comparative negligence law allows for the injured party to recover damages even if they are partially at fault, unlike in “contributory negligence” states where any fault by the injured party can negate their right to compensation. Our experienced bicycle accident lawyers know the nuances of comparative negligence and are experts at navigating the complexities of a personal injury claim arising from a dooring accident in New York City.
What are the laws regarding dooring in New York?
Section 1214 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law addresses the issue of “dooring,” which refers to the act of opening a vehicle’s door into the path of an oncoming cyclist, pedestrian, or other vehicle. According to this section, no person should open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic. The law further states that no person should leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
This law is designed to protect cyclists and others who share the road from the risks posed by carelessly opened vehicle doors. Violation of Section 1214 can result in fines and serves as an important legal basis for those injured in dooring accidents to claim damages. By clearly stating the responsibilities of those inside the vehicle to ensure they are not obstructing traffic when opening their doors, Section 1214 aims to make the roads safer for everyone and provides a clear pathway for legal recourse for victims of dooring accidents.