Crashes that cause property damage or injuries happen for many reasons. The Courts call the reason for the crash the “proximate cause” and sometimes there is more than one. This can be true whether you are an injured pedestrian, driver, or bicyclist. An example of this can be found in one recent case from New York City, where a bicyclist was able to pursue his case against two car drivers, including one who was not even directly physically involved in the accident. The cyclist successfully argued that the drivers of two different cars may have both been a proximate cause of the crash that ultimately injured the bicyclist. The multitude of different potential causes and at-fault parties in a bicycle accident is just another of the many reasons why you should get an experienced New York bicycle accident attorney working on your behalf as soon as possible.
The plaintiff in the case was a man who was bicycling in Manhattan on the morning of Sept. 3, 2014. According to the bicyclist, he was heading north on Lafayette Street and attempting to cross the 9th Street intersection when things became complicated. The bicyclist said that he was initially inside the designated bike lane when he entered the intersection, but he had to depart the bike lane because a vehicle driven by Defendant Kostadinov was backing up in reverse against the flow of one-way traffic on 9th, leaving the bicyclist facing a bike lane blocked by Kostadinov’s vehicle. The bicyclist steered out of the bicycle lane and, at that point, was involved in a collision with a vehicle driven by Defendant Karczewski.
The injured bicyclist brought a negligence lawsuit against both drivers. Sometimes, as was the case here, an injured cyclist can present the claim that multiple drivers caused the crash in question. This bicyclist pursued his case against Kostadinov, even though he was not part of the collision, based on the claim that Kostadinov was traveling in reverse against the one-way flow of traffic on 9th Street, and against Karczewski for crashing into the plaintiff.
Defendant Kostadinov asked the Courts to let him out of the case. The Courts involved refused. This ruling demonstrates two things. One, a driver need not be directly involved in a crash with a cyclists in order to have some amount of responsibility and liability. Two, there can be multiple different causes for an accident, and a defendant driver, in order to be let out of the case, must prove to the Courts that he was completely free from fault.
What does all of this mean if you are injured in a bicycle crash? This means that a person can be responsible for your injuries after a crash if the collision that injured you was a “foreseeable consequence” of that person’s driving, even if that person was not physically involved in the crash.
For your bicycle injury case, you need legal counsel who really understand the issues that bicyclists face, and can find all the potential responsible parties. The knowledgeable New York bicycle injury lawyers at the Rabin Law Firm have spent many years dealing with precisely these issues on behalf of cyclists. To set up an initial consultation, contact us at 877-451-2453 or through our website.
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Photo Credit: Otoomet, [CC0 License], via Wikimedia Commons.