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Old 10-31-05, 11:45 AM   #1
flmmkr
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Bicycle Lawyer in NYC???

So I've got one for you...A friend of mine was recently involved in an accident on his bike. Sparing you the details, he was swerving to avoid an insane cab driver and ended up running into a woman pedestian and knocking her over. She was a little banged up, but he called her an ambulance (when she requested it), gave her all of his info, waited with her for the paramedics. He waited to make sure she was OK and in no pain. Now she's got some hack "attorney" (a web search turned up nothing on this guy) threatening him to settle, or be taken to court. Needless to say my buddy is worried. I was hoping someone on this forum might have know who to call, someone specializing in bike accidents?
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Old 10-31-05, 12:13 PM   #2
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I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.

I suspect that any competent lawyer used to dealing with vehicular issues would be fine. The extra few paragraphs of motor vehicle code that relate specifically to bicycles are probably irrelevant to the heart of this case.

Any lawyer could look at the relevant code and be up to speed in minutes in case the opponent's weasel decides to challenge the cyclist's right to be on the road (which is the only cycling specific aspect of the suit I could envision a weasel trying to whip up).

I hope your friend does well in this, although it is going to be hard because it sounds like he is the one of the two of them most at fault (unless the lady was jay walking or doing something else to place herself in peril). If the cabby can not be identified and be given an appropriate and hefty share of the blame it may be tough to make a case defending your friend from all financial responsibility.
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Old 10-31-05, 12:18 PM   #3
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I think he's willing to make some reparations, I just hope this woman is not trying to take him to the cleaners.
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Old 10-31-05, 12:20 PM   #4
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contact transportation alternatives. look it up on the internet - there may be some lawyer contact info or at least a general email address for you to ask. they're good advocacy people so i'm sure it would be a good starting point.
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Old 10-31-05, 02:21 PM   #5
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A couple of ideas, but to give better advice I would need some clarification on the following issues.

First, was she at fault in the accident? If she was jay-walking and he was cut-off by a cab, then the cabbie is primarily at fault, not your buddy.

I would recommend that he determine whether he has insurance to cover him. If thats the case, the ins. co. will take care of everything for him. I don't practice in new york, but if he has a car, maybe his car insurance will cover it. If he was working at the time, then possibly his employers's liability ins will cover it. If he has homeowners ins, check that(althought thats probably a stretch). I would advise him against giving a statement to the attorney until after he determines whether there is insurance.

If he has no ins and no assets, then he should talk directly to the attorney after making it clear that he is only talking to the attorney as part of settlement negotiations. Tell the attorney that he is not at fault, the woman was jaywalking (if that was the case) and/or that the cabbie is really at fault (if that was the case), that he should go after the cabbie and that he has no money, that if the lawyer files a lawsuit he will only be wasting his time and money since your friend has no assets(he is probably on a contingency fee basis which means he doesn't get paid till he gets something from your friend.) This will usually dissuade him.

If he has money, then he should get an attorney. The NY bar has a referral service.

Free advice from an attorney in Florida. See, we're not all that bad.
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Old 10-31-05, 02:49 PM   #6
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you could always email the guys from http://bicycledefensefund.org/ they're all stand up people and probably know who to talk to.
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Old 10-31-05, 02:56 PM   #7
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I think the TA Century was partially sponsored by a bike-friendly lawyer named Adam White. His info was on the water bottles we got at the end.

A quick search and I find that yes this is true: http://www.transalt.org/info/lawyers.html

Good luck!
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Old 10-31-05, 02:59 PM   #8
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If there was no physical contact with the cab driver, no witnesses, and the cab driver was not ID'd, then it will simply be a matter of cyclist vs pedestrian as far as everyone is concerned.

If the cyclist has no insurance, and no assets, then there is no need for him to attempt to settle anything with the lawyer. No attorney is going to bother trying to get blood from a turnip.

[edit] Post or PM me the attorney's name and any info you have, and I'll happily give you all the details about him I can find. It's part of what I used to do for an insurance company.
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Old 10-31-05, 05:01 PM   #9
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Cab driver is not at fault. He wasn't involved in the accident and has nothing to do with it, thats how the law sees it. He may be a reckless driver or other things ut theres nothing to be done about it.

Say I run into an old lady, and then say I had to swerve a cab. I can't prove it, and theres no reason to take my word for it. Thats how it works here in cali.

I came up on a scooter in the road ahead of the car, the illegal types of underpowered ones. I thought it was a bicycle with no reflectors. Hard to see, until the light his just right. I saw it soon enough to change lanes. I realized an older 280Z had been behind and watched in the rearview as he swrved and lost control of his car and hit a curb hard. The scooter tried to flee so I chased him down and made him return or I threatened to run him off the road and drag him back. We flagged down a cop and they did paperwork. They were gonna just let him go since he wasn't involved in the accident even though they knew his actions caused it. All the driver of the Z could do was sue in small claims court for up to 5k and win since it was witnessed.

However I informed the cops tht he had broken the law by driving an illegal scooter with no lights, no license, no plates, and no insurance. This was enough to get his scooter impounded for 30 days. The fees would be as much as a new scooter so h would nver get it back hopefully.
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Old 10-31-05, 08:37 PM   #10
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FLMMKR: Keep in mind that, with one exception, the posts in response to your question are not from attorneys. Your friend should consult with an attorney if he can afford to; he'll get legal advice, rather than personal opinion. If he's represented by an attorney, the opposing attorney will be prohibited from talking directly with your friend-- he'll have to talk with your friend's attorney. If your friend can't afford an attorney, he should be careful about admitting to anything in his discussions with the pedestrian's attorney. Finally, if this accident is covered by insurance (say under an auto policy) your friend's insurance company will foot the bill for legal defense.
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Old 10-31-05, 08:50 PM   #11
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I should point out that all my comments are facts, not mere opinions.
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Old 10-31-05, 08:56 PM   #12
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There's only one licensed attorney posting, and he was the only poster who didn't feel competent to offer his legal opinion on the accident without knowing the facts of the case. Kind of funny how the non-attorneys stepped right up and offered more "legal advice" than the attorney did.
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Old 10-31-05, 09:26 PM   #13
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Fact: Without a witness to substantiate that the cab driver was driving in a dangerous manner, liability rests solely on the cyclist.

Fact: Attornies work on either a retainer or contingency basis. In this case, it is most likely on a contingency basis.

Fact: If the cyclist has no assets, the attorney has zero motivation to pursue him, as 33% of nothing is nothing.

Fact: I spent 10 years handling subrogation claims for an insurance company. There is nothing to be gained by pursuing people that have no assets.
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Old 10-31-05, 09:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Expatriate
Fact: Without a witness to substantiate that the cab driver was driving in a dangerous manner, liability rests solely on the cyclist.

Fact: Attornies work on either a retainer or contingency basis. In this case, it is most likely on a contingency basis.

Fact: If the cyclist has no assets, the attorney has zero motivation to pursue him, as 33% of nothing is nothing.

Fact: I spent 10 years handling subrogation claims for an insurance company. There is nothing to be gained by pursuing people that have no assets.
Fact: You're not qualified to give legal advice.
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Old 10-31-05, 09:34 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Order
Fact: You're not qualified to give legal advice.
I haven't provided any legal advice.
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Old 10-31-05, 09:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Expatriate
I haven't provided any legal advice.
Your first "fact" is a an opinion on a matter of law.
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Old 10-31-05, 09:41 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Order
Fact: You're not qualified to give legal advice.

I rarely agree with anything Exp. says, but I'd take what he has said as sound, non-legal advice.



To the OP, please tell us how this plays out. There are some sketchy laws about bike on ped collisions, and a good lawyer could probably get your friend out of any hot water. Was his bike messed up? Was she was jaywalking? I have had lawyers tell me they could get money from jaywalker I hit, ( breaking my collar bone =no work for 7 weeks and damaging my bike)

MrRed Thanks for the good words for Freewheels, but I would contact the accident lawyers connected with TA.
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Old 10-31-05, 09:50 PM   #18
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FLMMKR: You've received some very helpful responses from cyclists about legal resources. You've also received advice from an attorney, as well as from non-attorneys. The attorney who responded is the only poster who is qualified to practice law, and he's only qualified to practice in states in which he has passed the bar. Keep that difference in legal opinions in mind. My own advice to you would be to follow the attorney's advice, and to explore the legal resoucres suggested here.
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Old 10-31-05, 09:50 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Order
Your first "fact" is a an opinion on a matter of law.
Would you like me to edit it?

It should read "Without a witness to substantiate that the cab driver was driving in a dangerous manner, responsibility (for this accident) rests solely on the cyclist.

If the pedestrian was jay-walking, that would change things. But if they were, I doubt they would have found an attorney to take their case.
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Old 10-31-05, 09:52 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Expatriate
Would you like me to edit it?

It should read "Without a witness to substantiate that the cab driver was driving in a dangerous manner, responsibility (for this accident) rests solely on the cyclist.
Still an opinion on a matter of law.
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Old 10-31-05, 09:56 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycm'er
I rarely agree with anything Exp. says, but I'd take what he has said as sound, non-legal advice.
The bartender at Ellen O'Dee's near The Shelbourne Murray Hill is as Irish and racist as they come. You can't beat hot chestnuts in the winter. A Snapple and a pretzel is a perfectly acceptable lunch once in a while. Docks has great seafood. If you're going to smoke a cigar, buy it at Nat Sherman's. America is over-rated.
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Old 10-31-05, 09:58 PM   #22
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You can't beat hot chestnuts in the winter.
You're right-- I had great hot chestnuts in December in Ljubljana.
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Old 10-31-05, 10:27 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Order
Still an opinion on a matter of law.
It's actually a fact. Without being able to prove that there was another contributory party, the cyclist is on his own.

Re: Chestnuts. I was just hoping to get my NYC friend to agree with me on something, anything, else.
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Old 10-31-05, 10:34 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Expatriate
It's actually a fact. Without being able to prove that there was another contributory party, the cyclist is on his own.

Re: Chestnuts. I was just hoping to get my NYC friend to agree with me on something, anything, else.
A matter of fact and a matter of law are two different things. There was an accident and a pedestrian was injured. Those are matters of fact. Who is responsible is a matter of law, and that is for the court to decide. In order to prove his case, the pedestrian's attorney has to prove each element of the tort he is claiming. He has to establish that certain facts happened, and that those facts meet the elements of the tort, and that as a matter of law, his client is entitled to relief. And he has to get the court-- whether it's a judge or a jury and judge-- to agree.
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Old 10-31-05, 10:36 PM   #25
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Heck, here in California, it would still be the cyclist's fault, even if the cab had knocked him into the pedestrian. If I'm sitting in my car at a traffic light, and someone rearends me, pushing me into the car in front of me, my insurance company has to pay the guy in front of me.
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