Frequently Asked Questions

Answer: If you or a family member have been injured while on a bicycle due to the fault of a motorist or another party, you have the right to bring a law suit for personal injuries and other damages. If the accident is caused by a motor vehicle, the plaintiff does have to sustain a serious injury as defined by the No-Fault law in order to have a qualifying law suit. There is no type of serious injury requirement if the accident is caused by something other than a motor vehicle.

The case would seek compensation for all economic losses, together with compensation for past and future pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.

Answer: The negligent driver/owner of an automobile, bus, truck, or train if the accident was caused by the driver.

The public municipality that maintains the roadways if the accident was caused by the negligent maintenance of a roadway.

The owner of private property or the maintenance company of that private property, if the accident was caused by negligent maintenance of private property.

The manufacturer or retailer of the bicycle, if the accident was caused by a defective product.

Answer: Under New York State Law, in most instances, the insurance company of the motor vehicle involved in the accident will cover all of an injured cyclists medical bills regardless of who was at fault. The insurance company will also cover the cost of all diagnostic exams and surgeries, if needed, without any co-payment by the injured bicyclist. Transportation costs to and from medical appointments will be covered. The insurance company may even pay for any household help needed during recuperation. The insurance company will also be responsible for a portion of lost earnings (up to 80% of your income or $2,000.00 per month, which ever is less). The above coverage is afforded under the No-Fault law. An application for No-Fault benefits must be filed within 30 days of the accident for the insurance company covering the vehicle involved. All medical bills must be submitted within 45 days of given treatment.

Under certain circumstances, if the accident involved a public bus, the insurance of the bicyclist’s motor vehicle will be primary for the purposes of No-Fault coverage. If the bicyclist has no motor vehicle in his or her household, then the entity of the public bus will provide coverage for No-Fault benefits.

Answer: If the bicycle accident is caused by an uninsured driver, or the accident is caused by a hit and run motor vehicle, and the cyclist has no motor vehicle in his or her household, then all medical expenses will be paid for by a statutory entity known as the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC).
Simply put, this entity was formed to protect those who have been injured by irresponsible owners of motor vehicles who do not insure their vehicles or victims of “hit and run” motor vehicle related accidents. MVAIC will “step into the shoes” of the motor vehicle’s owner/driver and will provide coverage for No-Fault benefits. Furthermore, the statutory entity known as
MVIAC allows itself to be sued by the bicycle accident victim for the purposes of the liability-bodily injury portion of the claim.

Answer: The health of the bicycle accident victim is of the most important immediately after an accident. However, one can recover compensation for damages to property (the bicycle). If fault is not contested by the other party, this portion of a case may take only a few weeks to resolve.

Answer: Under New York State Law, bicyclists, for the most part, must abide by the same laws as motor vehicles. If a bicyclist violates any of these rules and regulations as set forth for motor vehicles or specifically for bicyclists and this violation is found to be a substantial factor in causing the accident, then the bicyclist can be found at fault for the accident. New York State recognizes pure comparative fault. In other words the relative fault of an accident may be distributed on a relative percentage basis, all of which must add up to 100 percent.

Answer: It is very important to wear safety equipment while riding a bicycle especially in New York, but the failure to wear this equipment does not, in and of itself, destroy a lawsuit. The failure to wear a helmet is not relevant on the issue of negligence (i.e. who was at fault for the happening of the accident), but rather it can only be used in the limited capacity to mitigate the damage claim to the extent that there is a claim of a head injury due to the accident.

Answer: The insurance company of the negligent motor vehicle that struck the cyclist will contact the accident victim. The accident victim should not speak to the representative of the insurance company. These representatives are called adjusters. It is their job to collect as much information from the bicycle accident victim as possible. This information may be used against any claim brought forth as a result of the accident. It is imperative that one speaks with an attorney as soon as possible.

The Law Office of Joel J. Turney will contact any adjusters immediately and advise them that the accident victim is now being represented. The insurance adjustors will not be allowed to contact the victim in the future. Remember, it is the business of insurance companies to have people working immediately on a case after the accident. Likewise, it is in the best interests of a bicycle accident victim to also have
immediate legal representation.

Answer: Nothing! All consultations are without charge. The legal fee (standard one-third) is contingent upon recovery. In other words, if we don’t win or settle your case, there is no cost to you. This firm pays
all expenses in the prosecution of the action. Despite the fact that the rules of attorney ethics require that the client remain responsible for expenses incurred, the
Law Office of Joel J. Turney has yet,
in the many years of litigation practice, to seek reimbursement from a client for expenses where there has been no recovery.

Answer: This question can only be answered on an individual basis. Is only a minor injury involved or a more serious injury? Serious injuries such as a concussion, broken bone(s), a separated shoulder, permanent scarring, and torn cartilage naturally increase the value of a case. Serious injuries typically require ongoing medical care and sometimes surgery. Future medical care, loss of earnings, disability, or permanent injury are unknown factors at the time of an accident and sometimes the passage of time is important to place a proper value on a given loss. In other words, before considering a compromise of your case in terms of a settlement, it is important that maximum medical treatment has been reached. The value of a case is very much determined three general factors (1) the extent of injury (both economic and non-economic losses); (2) the nature of the liability and (3) the insurance coverage available (or ability to pay),

Valuing a personal injury case is never an easy task. This is why the initial consultation with an experienced litigator is of primary importance. Be assured that the
Law Office of Joel J. Turney will provide you with a candid opinion of your case. If retained, you as the victim in a bicycle accident, will be advised through every step of the legal process.

Answer: This office may resolve your case within a year from the date of the accident. However, be aware that depending on the severity of your injury and/or the complexities of the accident, a case that proceeds to trial can take up to three years or more. There is never a standard time line in the area of litigation. The
Law Office of Joel J. Turney will always try to resolve your case as soon as possible when, and only if, it is in the best interests of the client. Any resolution always involves the client’s participation and approval.

Be assured that the Law Office of Joel J. Turney values each and every case that is accepted and we will pursue our client’s best interest with diligence, honesty and without compromise.