New York Auto Accident Law: Dealing With Bicyclists, Pedestrians, Trucks & Motorcycles

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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Auto accidents don’t always involve two cars. In many cases, bicyclists, pedestrians, trucks and motorcycles are involved. Knowing how the law deals with these situations can make all the difference in being adequately compensated for your injuries.

New York Bicyclist & Pedestrian Accidents

How does New York law deal with bicyclists and pedestrians who are involved in auto accidents? We asked Ira Slavit, a New York attorney in practice for over 20 years whose firm concentrates its practice in personal injury matters and medical malpractice litigation. He told us, “Bicyclists and pedestrians still are covered by the no-fault law and the serious injury requirement (that limits pain and suffering damages to ‘serious injuries’) also applies to them. Unlike motorcyclists who are specifically exempted from no-fault laws, pedestrians and bicyclists are entitled to have no-fault benefits for lost wages and medical and hospital expenses paid by the insurance company of the vehicle that hit them.”

New York Truck & Motorcycle Accidents

New York accident victims should be aware of special considerations when a truck or motorcycle was involved in the accident. Slavit explained:

  • Trucks. There are safety regulations that apply to trucks that do not apply to other motor vehicles. For example, driver fatigue is often a big factor in truck accidents and there are restrictions as to how many hours a driver can work. There are also requirements regarding inspection and maintenance and load information that drivers have to keep. There are other logs that a driver has to keep, such as a log of rest and drive times and that log is something that is obtainable during litigation. Obviously, a truck is capable of doing a significant amount of damage given the massive weight and there are additional restrictions to try to regulate the safety of the way the trucks are being operated on the highways.
  • Motorcycles: With motorcycles, some different considerations are involved. For example, no-fault insurance does not apply to those who are operating a motorcycle. They don’t have that coverage. Anther consideration with motorcycles is that motorcyclists are just not seen by other drivers. That seems to make up a large portion of accidents. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are more vulnerable to significant injuries than someone else who is protected by the steel and airbags in an automobile or SUV.

Preserve the value of your case

In order to preserve the value of your case, it’s important to contact an experienced attorney sooner rather than later. Slavit explained:

One of the most important reasons to contact and attorney as soon as possible is not to miss out on any of the time limitations so that they don’t get stuck being personally liable for medical or hospital bills that should have been covered by no-fault insurance. Also, if there’s evidence that might not stay in the same condition as it was at the time of the accident, it’s important to have that preserved so that it can be presented to a jury later.

For example, photographs have to be taken and it’s important to be sure that you have the right kinds of photographs so that you can show all of the different aspects to the situation. You often need photographs that show the condition of the accident up close and from a distance, and photographs of the damage to the car before it’s repaired to show whether there has been a significant impact. Unfortunately, the photographs taken by the insurance company may not show the full extent of the damages that would best serve the injured party.

If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident in New York, contact an experienced New York auto accident attorney to discuss your situation confidentially.

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