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  • Writer's pictureAlex Maltese

How to File a Lawsuit for Bicycle Accident in New York: Get Compensation

More and more people are choosing bicycles as their preferred mode of transportation. The health and eco-friendly benefits appeal to many, but the increased number of cyclists on New York City roads- and roads around the rest of the state- has led to a higher risk of injury for bike riders.

A collision with a motor vehicle can be catastrophic for cyclists- often leading to severe injuries and property damage. New York law allows injured bicycle riders to claim compensation from negligent drivers or any other at-fault party. Understanding how to file these claims is vital.

Bicycle Accidents and Personal Injury Laws in New York

Bicycle Accidents and Personal Injury Laws in New York

Any accident involving a cyclist has the potential for a lawsuit. Where the claim is directed depends on the circumstances surrounding the incident- and where the majority of the blame is placed. The most common causes of bicycle accidents include:

  • Collisions with motor vehicles

  • Collisions with pedestrians

  • Accidents caused by a defective bicycle

  • Accidents caused by poor road conditions

As a no-fault insurance state, New York State only allows someone involved in a motor vehicle accident to claim against another party's insurance if they can prove their negligent actions caused the accident and the resulting injuries- and only if the injuries are considered serious. If these conditions are not met, the injured party must use their own insurance company to cover damages.

In bike accidents that are caused by defective bicycles or neglected roads, the cyclist may be able to file a claim against the responsible manufacturer, township, municipality, or private road owner. The Law Office of Carl Maltese also has insight on how to file a lawsuit for motorcycle accident in New York.

Settlement Claim VS Personal Injury Lawsuit

There are two legal avenues to explore in NYC bicycle accident cases. In most cases, the first (and preferable) option is to file an insurance claim. This is when the injured cyclist seeks a compensation settlement from the negligent driver (or other party) and their insurance carriers.

When the at-fault party is a driver, the settlement comes from their auto insurance provider.

Insurance settlements work through negotiations, with the injured party and their legal team seeking compensation at a certain figure and the insurance adjusters responding with an alternative figure. Negotiations continue until a figure is agreed upon by both parties.

Unfortunately, this doesn't also yield an agreeable result. When recovering compensation through settlement negotiations doesn't work, the next step is filing a lawsuit.

This takes the decision regarding financial compensation out of the hands of the insurance company and into the hands of the court. It is a longer process but may be the only option if the insurance company rejects the claim.

How to Make a Bicycle Accident Claim

Starting with a settlement claim is best when possible. When at-fault drivers are identified, the victim's lawyer sends a letter detailing the case, claim, and proposed settlement.

The insurance company responds- either to accept, reject, or negotiate the settlement amount. That continues until a settlement is reached- or not, as the case may be.

How to File a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit

Filing a lawsuit is a bit different. The Long Island bicycle accident attorney representing the victim must inform the negligent party and their insurance provider of their intent to file the lawsuit, then submit the case to the New York court.

A judge then reviews the case, and a trial happens to investigate the accident, its cause, and the resulting damages. It is up to the judge what compensation to award- if any- and to determine the fault where relevant.

Who Can File a Personal Injury Claim for a New York Bicycle Accident?

If someone is riding their bike and is involved in a car accident caused by someone else- or has a solo accident that was not their fault- they could file a lawsuit against the responsible party.

Because of New York's no-fault laws, they will have to prove that someone else's negligence was the cause of the accident and that their injuries are serious. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help navigate this element.

In severe accidents, when victims suffer injuries that prove to be fatal, their direct family members may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. Accidents caused by negligence (by drivers, bicycle manufacturers, or people responsible for road upkeep) resulting in fatalities amongst cyclists often lead to lawsuits rather than settlements.

The statute of limitations on personal injury or wrongful death claims in New York limits how long a person has to submit a claim or file a lawsuit. It is usually two or three years, depending on the specific circumstances.

That said, victims only have 30 days to file a claim against any government agency if they believe their bicycle accident happened because of damaged and neglected roads under their care.

What Types of Compensation are Available for New York Bicycle Accident Victims?

Bike accidents can result in serious injuries- predominantly to bicycle riders. They may be able to recover compensation for those injuries. Compensation in personal injury lawsuits is generally divided into three categories.

  • Economic damages

Economic damages cover everything with a set dollar amount. Some examples include medical bills, subsequent medical treatment, property damage, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses.

  • Non-economic damages

Not everything has a tangible cost- but that doesn't mean other elements aren't worth something. Non-economic damages cover the other damages- including the mental anguish for victims, the pain and suffering caused by the accident, and the lasting impact the accident and injuries with have on the person's life.

  • Punitive damages

Punitive damages only apply in lawsuits- not insurance claims. These are additional amounts set by the judge to punish the at-fault party for their negligence. The amount is payable to the victim- as well as the economic and non-economic damages involved in the case.

Overall, a bicycle accident settlement or lawsuit result is based on a combination of these damages. The more proof the victim has to substantiate their claim, the more chance they have of winning all the compensation on the table. Obtaining video evidence, gathering witness statements, and collecting police report data can all help in these kinds of cases.

What Are the Common Bicycle Accident Injuries?

Bicycle accidents involving a motor vehicle often result in significant injuries to the cyclist because of the uneven weight distribution and their lack of protection from the force of the vehicle. Some of the most common injuries include:

  • Broken bones

  • Serious lacerations

  • Head injuries

  • Traumatic brain injuries

  • Fractures

  • Spine and back injuries

  • Concussion

  • Paralysis

  • Fatalities

These types of accidents are most common when people run red lights or stop signs or when other vehicles don't pay attention to bike lanes.

When accidents are caused by faulty bicycles or poor road conditions, the injuries may be less serious- but not always. All the injuries listed above can still occur, but there is less likelihood of a fatality or permanent debilitating injury.

It is important to remember that New York law only holds other parties responsible for repaying damages if the injuries are considered serious. Arranging a free case review with an expert attorney can help establish whether or not an injury qualifies.

Why Hire an Expert New York Bicycle Accident Lawyer?

Working with an experienced New York bicycle accident attorney gives injured cyclists the best chance at winning their cases and getting the fair compensation they are owed.

When settlement negotiations don't work out, the legal process involved in filing a lawsuit can get very complicated, and it is important to have experienced representation to fight the cause from the front line.

There is a lot of work involved in putting together a bicycle accident lawsuit, and it is much easier with a legal expert on the case.

Navigating the lawsuit process while recovering from an injury and getting over the shock and trauma of being involved in an accident is too much to face alone. Having a professional legal team takes some of the weight off the victim's shoulders and increases their chances of success. They can also assist with how to file a lawsuit for pedestrian accident in New York.

Work with an Elite Legal Professional from the Law Office of Carl Maltese

Work with an Elite Legal Professional from the Law Office of Carl Maltese

The Law Office of Carl Maltese is a leading New York personal injury law firm specializing in personal injury. Hiring a professional expert to lead the charge in a bicycle accident case puts victims in the best position to win the justice and compensation they deserve.

This team is dedicated to fighting on behalf of injured cyclists- providing a free legal consultation to get the claim or lawsuit started in the right way, and laying the groundwork for the best possible outcome.


Anyone who has suffered injuries in a New York bicycle accident is entitled to seek compensation. If the insurance claims process doesn't work out, the next step is filing a lawsuit. To do so successfully, victims need the unwavering support of expert personal injury attorneys who care about their case.

Arrange a free consultation with the Law Office of Carl Maltese today and begin your journey to justice and financial recovery after a bike accident in New York.


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