Visitor Question

Hit by car turning left when in a crosswalk on my bike?

Submitted By: Connie (Elizabethtown, New York)

After pressing the button to change the light I began crossing when the light turned green (this intersection did not have countdowns and lights specifically for the crosswalk). I was about 7ft? across (moving at a leisurely jog speed but starting from a stopped position) when I was struck by a car turning left.

I seem to have a minor concussion, a hematoma on my left temple, small cut that will scar, my eyebrow got roadrashed off but will grow back (in 16-20 weeks), I may have nerve/muscle damage and/or numbness that may take 6-12 months to resolve or may remain in the area of the hematoma (less likely but possible).

I had lots of bruises, a huge black eye that isn’t gone yet after two weeks, blood in the white of my left eye, a large bruise with scrape/cut that is hard still after two weeks and may be a muscle cut/tear, several of my fingers turned black and blue on the inside and as I have minor joint pain in them from time to time I am concerned about long term impact of joint damage from this.

I was taken by ambulance to the hospital and had head/neck cat scan, chest/hip/hand x-rays. I imagine my medical bills may be in the vicinity of $10,000. I am a teacher so not working but the second 1/2 of my summer has been ruined (can’t mow the lawn, handle household cleaning/laundry/childcare effectively).

The bike that I was picking up brand new at a cost $900+ is totaled (accident within 25 ft. of the store). Police officer said technically I am at fault since I was ON the bike and that makes me traffic (but I was going straight and she was turning?). He said had I been walking she would have been ticketed.

No tickets will be issued. I have not obtained an attorney but did call one the day after. He felt my injuries were minor since nothing was broken but said to call if anything became long term or permanent.

Does this warrant a lawyer? What ball park range might this warrant for a settlement?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Connie,

The police officer was correct. In the State of New York bicyclists are bound by the same traffic laws as are operators of motor vehicles. See NY Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1231:

“Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on in-line skates. Every person riding a bicycle or skating or gliding on in-line skates upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle…

Drivers of motor vehicles and bicyclists, who approach intersections must yield the right-of-way to traffic already in the intersection.

For example, let’s say you approach an intersection. The traffic light is green and you want to drive straight through. Another vehicle is already in the intersection making a left turn. You must let that vehicle complete its turn before you enter the intersection.

See NY Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1143

It is always good to heed the advice of an experienced attorney. However, to prevail in a personal injury claim will require you to do the following:

  • Show the driver was in violation of New York Traffic laws
  • Show the driver was negligent
  • Show the driver’s negligence resulted in your injuries
  • Show the injuries resulted in medical bills, out of pocket expenses, lost wages (where applicable), and pain and suffering.

Due to the liability issues, it may be difficult for you to pursue a settlement on your own.

If you want to pursue your claim, visit with several other personal injury attorneys in your area. One of them may decide your claim has merit and agree to represent you. If so, you may be entitled to compensation.

Learn more here: Determining Liability in Bike Accidents

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck with your claim,

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