Hit by car while riding my bike on the sidewalk...
(Buffalo, New York)
I was riding my bike on the side walk when a car was driving out of the driveway - not backing out but driving out. There was a set of bushes at the end of her driveway BEFORE the sidewalk and she just continued going and hit me on the sidewalk. I flew up on the hood of her car. Hit the windshield and landed in the street.
I tore my ACL and now require surgery. I am not able to work and this could not have happened at a worse time. I will just be at this job for 1 year in October. I was up for promotion and my company was sending me to school which was part of my promotion.
What are my options as far as a lawsuit? Does it matter that I was on the sidewalk when I was hit (does this affect liability)? Can I get compensation for losing the promotion and/or compensation for school? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Hit by car while riding my bike on the sidewalk...":
Darlene (Buffalo, New York):
Section 479-19(1) of the Buffalo City Traffic Code states:
"No riding on sidewalk except children under 14 years. No person in the city shall ride any motorcycle, bicycle or other vehicle propelled by the hand or foot of the rider, along or upon any sidewalk or footpath intended for the use of pedestrians. This subdivision shall not apply to children under fourteen years of age and to persons who cannot walk by reason of being invalid or cripples."
New York State is a "comparative negligence" state. This means in an injury accident the victim and at-fault party may share liability. In such a case, the victim's compensation for their injury will be reduced by the percentage of the victim's own comparative negligence.
Here's an example...
A car runs a red light and collides with a person who was "jaywalking." In most cases, the driver would seem to be entirely at fault. However, because the jaywalker was in violation of the city traffic code, the jaywalker will share some liability.
For instance, the driver might be held 70% liable and the jaywalker 30%. So if the jaywalker's medical bills and other expenses were $10,000.00, the insurance company or a jury might only award the jaywalker $7,000.00 - representing the jaywalker's 30% fault for the accident.
Learn more about pure comparative fault here.
Your set of facts is a perfect illustration of comparative negligence. You were in violation of Section 479-19(1). The driver, while not in violation of a City of Buffalo traffic law, appears to have been negligent in failing to slow down to see if anyone was approaching.
While you should be entitled to a percentage of compensation for your medical and therapy bills, medications, lost wages, and pain and suffering, it's doubtful you would be awarded compensation for your apparent loss of a promotion, and for your time lost at school.
File a claim with the driver's insurance company. If the police or paramedics were dispatched to the scene, secure a copy of the police report. Doing so can be string supporting evidence of your injury claim.
For more information about the City of Buffalo Zoning Code, go here.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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