Most people know that wearing a helmet while riding a bike can reduce their risk of sustaining a head injury in the event of an accident. But there’s another reason to don a helmet before you hop in the saddle: If you suffer a head injury while riding without a helmet, the insurance company may argue that your own negligence contributed to your injury.
Pursuant to New York’s comparative fault law, the amount of compensation you recover in a personal injury claim can be reduced by your own percentage of fault. For example, if you were hit by a driver who failed to yield the right of way but you weren’t wearing a helmet, you can still file a claim, but the insurer might contend that you were 40 percent at-fault for your injury. If your total damages are $60,000, your monetary award would be reduced by your percentage of fault, bringing your recovery to $36,000.
If you were injured in a bicycle crash and you are concerned that the insurance company will dispute your claim, contact Charnas Law Firm for advice. Scott Charnas is a bicycle accident lawyer in New York City with more than 25 years of experience representing victims of personal injury and wrongful death. He has won numerous multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts for his clients. Scott’s work in bicycle accident claims has been covered by some of the world’s top publications including The New York Times.
If you cannot come to our law firm, we will come to you. Call 212-980-6800 for a free case evaluation.
What Are New York’s Bicycle Helmet Laws?
Every year in New York, dozens of people die in bicycle accidents and thousands more are hospitalized with debilitating injuries. A significant percentage of these tragedies could have been prevented had the victims been wearing helmets.
In the state of New York, all bicycle riders age 14 and younger are required by law to wear certified bicycle helmets. Children age 1 to 4 are required to sit in a specially designed safety seat. Children younger than 1 are not permitted to be transported on a bike. If a parent or guardian allows his or her child to ride a bicycle without a helmet, he or she will be fined up to $50.
Tips for Avoiding Bicycle Accident Claim Disputes
Not wearing a helmet is just one of many reasons why the insurance company or defendant might dispute your claim. You should expect the opposing party to perform a thorough investigation to uncover any possible excuse to dispute liability or the value of your damages. For example, they might review your social media profiles for photos of you and posts about your case. They might also try to coerce you into unknowingly admitting fault during a recorded statement.
The best way to avoid making a critical mistake that would compromise your case is to seek the advice of a bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible. An injury lawyer from Charnas Law Firm can explain the steps you can take to avoid potential disputes, which include:
- Disabling your social media accounts;
- If you choose not to disable your social media accounts, you should set them to “private,” avoid posting photos of yourself, avoid posting any details about your case, and refrain from accepting new friend requests until your case has been resolved;
- Leaving all correspondence with the insurance company and the defendant’s legal team to your lawyer; and
- Attending all doctor’s appointments and following your doctor’s treatment instructions.
Discuss Your Case with a New York City Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a bicycle crash, contact Charnas Law Firm to discuss your case. Scott Charnas has built a reputation on providing compassionate and aggressive representation to victims of personal injury and wrongful death throughout New York. Call 212-980-6800 or email Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free initial consultation.